AnnAlysis: The Fault in Our Stars

the fault in our starsFrom Goodreads:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Thoughts:
I did it! I caved. I read the book that everyone was talking about this summer. I normally avoid these books at all costs, until the hype has died down. I didn’t read Harry Potter until several were already out, same with Twilight and The Hunger Games. They all lived up to the hype, I’m just always way late to the game lol. When I started my vacation, my cousin and I had planned on reading the book so that if it rained, we could go see the movie. Vacation and the release were the same week. A couple of years ago, we took advantage of a rainy vacation and saw Bridesmaids. Best decision ever. And I’ve already told you about the teensy water issue that pushed our vacation back, so I had some extra reading time. And during my vacation this year, I wanted to take some time off Netgalley and away from review books and spend some time reading some on my TBR shelf.

So with that preface, I think the hype for this book was worth it. I read this book in 24 hours. I could not put it down. I went from reading in bed, to the porch with coffee, to the couch in the afternoon, then back to the porch in the evening, then back to bed. The book was with me the whole way.

I think this book can reach any age group that picks it up. Cancer impacts the lives of everyone. We all know someone who has battled cancer. It hits home for everyone. Hazel really hit home for me. Her cancer started in her thyroid. A few years back, I was talking to a coworker at a summer job, eating a piece of cinnamon candy and noticed a large lump on my neck, about the size of a baseball. How I did not notice it before is beyond me. But I immediately got it checked out. We got it biopsied, and drained (bleck), and the tests came back clean. But the lump came back too. I went to another specialist and they also said it was benign, but they didn’t want to risk it, so I had my left lobe of my thyroid removed. This book really put that in perspective for me. It could have been something much worse than what it was, and I learned that through a fictional teenage character. It’s funny the things that give us perspective, huh?

And although the characters are teens, they are wise beyond their years. I have talked about this book with so many people, and almost everyone I’ve talked to has loved the characters. The thing I loved most about them was their wisdom. They are not your normal YA characters. There’s no drama no BS, it’s just real. It’s raw. And there is wit for days. I laughed with them, I cried with them, and I got mad at cancer with them.

Now my whole idea for reading this book was in case we saw the movie. Yes, I’m one of “those” people who have to read the book first. It can really be a burden too lol But, I ended up not seeing the movie yet. My mom, who didn’t read the book, went to see the movie and really liked it. And it was nice that from my reading, and her watching, we were able to have a nice conversation about it. I’ll see the movie when it comes out on Amazon Prime for me to rent, watch on my computer, and bawl my eyes out.

Did you give into the hype of this book? Do you think it lived up to expectations?

Also this is my first John Green book. I’ve always seen great things about him and think it’s time I give more of his books a try! What are some of your favorites?

I give The Fault in Our Stars 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

Amazon B&N Goodreads
Released: January 2012
Author Website

AnnAlysis: Above

aboveFrom Goodreads:
Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up.

But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Deter­mined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give mean­ing to their lives below ground.

Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promis­ing and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.

My Thoughts:
I absolutely loved the summary of this book – and loved the book even more.

I am a sucker for off the wall books. The abduction and captivity kind of reminded me a bit of The Lovely Bones, but then it took on a whole new level of crazy. This is a story like I’ve never read before. We’ve all read captivity stories, they normally are short lived and end with death. This one takes you on a whole new wild ride. That’s all I’ll be able to say without giving too much away. But you can read between the lines.

I loved Blythe’s character in this book, from start to finish. I loved how she grew, and the person she became although her life was nothing like the one she expected and she wasn’t given the chance to make choices. They were made for her.

This is one of those books (you know that I love) because I had to stop and sit and think several times. What would I do in this scenario? Or that one? There are so many different twists and turns in this book and tough decisions that Blythe had to make that could have been life altering.  I was on the edge of my seat throughout several parts of the book waiting to see what her next move would be.

I absolutely loved this book and give it 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

Amazon B&N Goodreads
Released: March 2014
Author Website

AnnAlysis: Ripper

ripperGoodreads:
The Jackson women, Indiana and Amanda, have always had each other. Yet, while their bond is strong, mother and daughter are as different as night and day. Indiana, a beautiful holistic healer, is a free-spirited bohemian. Long divorced from Amanda’s father, she’s reluctant to settle down with either of the men who want her-Alan, the wealthy scion of one of San Francisco’s elite families, and Ryan, an enigmatic, scarred former Navy SEAL.

While her mom looks for the good in people, Amanda is fascinated by the dark side of human nature, like her father, the SFPD’s Deputy Chief of Homicide. Brilliant and introverted, the MIT-bound high school senior is a natural-born sleuth addicted to crime novels and Ripper, the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world.

When a string of strange murders occurs across the city, Amanda plunges into her own investigation, discovering, before the police do, that the deaths may be connected. But the case becomes all too personal when Indiana suddenly vanishes. Could her mother’s disappearance be linked to the serial killer? Now, with her mother’s life on the line, the young detective must solve the most complex mystery she’s ever faced before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:
I listened to this on audio book. It was on the new shelf and I thought the combination of murders and teenage online sleuths sounded pretty intriguing.

Unfortunately, I liked the summary better than the book itself. There were a few times I almost stopped listening, but I never have the heart to do it.

I liked a couple of characters in the book. I liked Amanda. She’s a dork and she’s witty, but she is extremely rude to her grandfather. I liked Ryan, former military, whose dog is his right hand man. The rest of the characters, they fell flat for me.

The story itself fell flat for me too. I felt there was a lot going on, taking into account all the stories of all the characters, the police and gamers trying to track down the murderer and how it was going to hit home.

I have been reading a lot of other reviews on this book. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m not the only one who thought the book fell flat. It appears that others have loved former books by Allende and that this is her first attempt at mystery writing.

I give Ripper 2 out of 5 bookmarks.

Amazon B&N Goodreads
Released: January 2014
Author Website

AnnAlysis: The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

romanov sistersFrom Goodreads:
They were the Princess Dianas of their day—perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.

Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. With this treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, we learn that they were intelligent, sensitive and perceptive witnesses to the dark turmoil within their immediate family and the ominous approach of the Russian Revolution, the nightmare that would sweep their world away, and them along with it.

The Romanov Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia, World War I and the Russian Revolution. Rappaort aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections. It is a book that will surprise people, even aficionados.

My Thoughts:
I must be honest that prior to me getting this book, I had heard the name “Romanov” but couldn’t have told you anything about the people the name belonged to. I was intrigued to learn about these young women, and the life they lived, and what led to their deaths.

I try to add in a little historical fact/fiction in my reading every now and then so I’m getting a grasp on reality, as well as adding to my vast collection on fiction. But, I am a very slow reader when it comes to history. This is something I struggled with since I was little. It just doesn’t click with me. I have to re-read things several times. The names and places, they all just swim in my head. A couple of the things that I really liked about this book are the notes and index that goes along with the story. But those also slow down my reading time! :)

I also really liked the use of diary entries to really give you a feel of what was going on during this time. It’s amazing what a first hand account can do for a story.

If you like history, this is a great book. But even if you’re more of a fiction lover, like myself, this book really reads like fiction. It’s really hard to believe this story is real. If you can get the names and locations down, you should be golden.

I have not finished this book yet. It’s one that I am leaving by my bedside and will continue to read here and there to get more of the story. Since I haven’t finished it, I hate to rate it at this time, but I have enjoyed what I have read so far. To check out what others are saying, click the links below. The book is getting an average of 4-4.5 stars.

Amazon B&N Goodreads
R
eleased: June 3
Author Website

 

Defining Ethos

I am so excited to share this new shop with you guys. My good pal Kevin, who helps with all the technical stuff on my blog that is above my head (yes I used the word stuff), has opened up a new shop and I absolutely love it!

It’s called Defining Ethos. You can find all kinds of goodies: bracelets, necklaces, scarves, charms, and other accessories.

Here are some of my favorite items in the shop right now:

teal-7-layer-bangle-set

where-there-s-a-will-there-s-a-way-leather-bracelet

gold-chain-necklace

book

cats-scarf

beige-polka-dot-scarf

Aren’t these cute?? I hope you noticed the Mockingjay Pin on the second bracelet and the cats on the scarf!! And the best part? They are priced great! Scarves start at $7, and necklaces and bracelets as low as $5! Oh and if you put in the promo code kari10, you’ll get an extra 10% off your total purchase!

Make sure that along with checking out the site, you also follow along on social media for updates and other awesome discount codes!
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