About my Blog

There is nothing better in the world than sitting down to read a truly amazing book. My name is Vicky, and I read books and write books, and I'm truly uninterested in a life without literature. Come talk to me about good books and the woes of being a writer!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Slumpety Slump Slump

It's official. I'm in a slump.

I blame John Green.

Stupid John Green. With your books. And your death. And your...argh!!!

Oh, and How I Met Your Mother. I blame them too! Not you, Josh Radnor. You are magnificent.

I am currently trying to force my way through Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, which I've heard such amazing things about. And I'm loving the story! But for some reason, I'm moving through it at a speed barely reaching glacial. This is the book I chose for my book club. I will know in nineteen days if they're struggling as bad as I am.

On the other hand, I spent hours (no exaggeration) trying to pick out a book to read after Four to Score because Stephanie Plum (and more specifically, Joe Morelli) was exactly what I needed right now. So, I picked up an adult novel by Alyson Noel, Fly Me to the Moon and only made it 20 pages in before telling The Husband, "Oh, my gosh! I'm so bored!"

So, I was wading through my books, looking at them all and realizing how much I couldn't stand the idea of another tragic ending. The thought of reading a book right now where the hero and heroine don't live happily ever after makes me want to have a panic attack.

And then it came to me. The Rosie Project. People are saying insanely wonderful things about this book. They're saying it's fabulous and amazing and all other kinds of words. So I'm starting it today. And if it doesn't work out for me, well, I might just have to set my library on fire, and myself with it.

Wish me luck.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: Looking for Alaska (spoilers)

Here is the thing about me: I love happy endings. Happy endings make me feel wonderful about literature and being a writer, and I can float on the wave of those feelings forever, if I have the chance. I was, in fact, still floating on the wonderful feelings that Reached gave me, when I decided to read Looking for Alaska. I should have given it some time. I had to sleep on this one because I was (and still am) so incredibly heartbroken that I needed to let it sink in. It hasn't, but I want to get this review out of the way.

Miles Halter decides to go to boarding school in Alabama for one reason: he is looking for The Great Perhaps. His life is boring, and he wants to shake it up. And then he meets Alaska. She is crazy, impulsive, and totally alive, and it isn't long before Miles is falling for her completely. But then the unexpected happens, and he's left to decide whether he really knows her at all.

Every writer, at some point or another, will try to understand death and how people cope with it. In my opinion, John did it flawlessly. At the end of this book, I didn't feel like everything was magically going to be okay, and I think that's the key to writing about death, because you're never really okay again, no matter how hard to try and no matter how much things seem to go back to normal.

I knew before I started this one what the before and after represented, but it was still really freaking hard to deal with it. It might take days.

As for the rest of the book, I still think John Green is a genius. This story is nothing special. This is not original. Kid is bored with his life so he goes on a journey to search for the meaning of existence? Yeah, nothing new. But he did it so well. By the time this book was over, I loved these characters so much, I wanted to keep flipping the pages, to follow them through the rest of their lives. I will probably come back to that again and again, wondering where they all ended up.

This book tore my heart out, but it was done with such intensity and grace that I'm almost appreciative of it. John Green, I don't know why you love to write sad stories. I can't do it. It's too freaking hard. But as long as you do it with this amount of grace, I think I'll survive. But I'll have to take a break before I can handle anymore.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

John Green Obsession

I'm not sure what happened. One minute, I was going along, minding my own business, living my life, and the next minute, I'm on a reading streak of Looking for Alaska, saying in the back of my head, John Green, I love you, I hate you, I love you, I hate you. It's embarrassing really. I'm only halfway through Alaska, but I went out and bought An Abundance of Katherines, even though I know I'm not going to be able to read it any time soon, seeing as how I have a million and one books in my library that have to be read before. And before anyone says anything, yes, I know how Alaska ends! It's not the kind of thing you can not know when it seems everyone else in the world has already read the book, and even though I know my heart is going to be ripped out and put in a blender, I'm going to read it anyway, because when an author completely turns an entire genre on its head, someone who writes in that genre has to stand up and take notice. Plus, I've seen John's videos about Obamacare and whatnot, and I think he's brilliant, just like everyone else.

Please, if you disagree, don't tell me. I think I'm too fragile to hear anything negative about this particular somebody. Let me finish Alaska in peace, and then I'm sure I'll hear all the reasons all the haters in the world are holding grudges against him. Haters gon' hate and all that jazz.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Reached by Ally Condie

It has been a while since I have finished a trilogy (or a series) and been downright sad to see the characters go. While I am overjoyed at the way the book ended, I cannot help but wish it would never end, that the amazing, incredible, lovable, fantastic, wonderful characters would never leave. I think I  might be too emotional for this review, but I'm going to write it anyway.

In the final installment of Ally Condie's Matched trilogy, everything has changed from that moment where it all began: the Match Banquet. The Rising has finally taken hold, and it's bigger than anyone could have imagined. But is The Rising really going to save the people in the Provinces? Or will the introduction of The Plague be the end to mankind as we know it?

I can tell you the last time I felt this satisfied, truly satisfied, with the end of a series, and let me tell you, boys and girls, it wasn't The Hunger Games. It was the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. First of all, Ally Condie is an incredible writer. These books are beautiful and poetic and so incredibly emotional. I'm pretty sure I had my teeth gritted and my fingers clenched through this whole book. And once I was halfway through, I couldn't stop. The amount of serious stuff that goes down from page 1 to page 500 is enormous.

Unlike most dystopian series, when this one ended, I didn't feel like anyone got cheated. I didn't feel like someone died who didn't deserve to (Obviously, innocent people die, but it's not the heartbreaking death of a beloved character that you felt had the potential for a long, happy life); I didn't feel like maybe things weren't going to be okay after all; I didn't feel like it was all just a waste of time. This ending is perfect. Every character got what they deserved, and I was so happy that the love triangle aspect didn't end up with one person getting the shaft.

I love Cassia. She is strong and beautiful and smart and not some whiny girl who needs to be saved by a big, strong man. She is amazing, and there is not a single moment in any of the three books when I felt like she should just shut up. Her love is pure and kind and self-sacrificing in the best possible way.

I love Ky. Man, I so freaking love Ky. He's gorgeous and strong and incredible. If ever a man went through hell and back for the woman he loves, it's Ky. This poor kid deserved to be happy in the end after all the crap he was served up through all three books and beyond.

I love Xander. In the first two books, Xander was just a person that was in the way. He was this obstacle that kept Cassia from being happy. That sounds horrible, I realize, but it's true. But in this book, he grows up. In this book, he is a man, a man who understands that you have to get over it when life doesn't go your way and then make something way better for yourself.

Yeesh. I will probably not stop talking, thinking, dreaming about these books for a while, and I realize I'm a little late to the game, seeing as how everyone else and their uncle has already read this series, but I'm okay being one of the last, because I'm just glad I read it at all.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson

As much as I would love to participate in Top Ten Tuesday this week (top ten books on my tbr pile), I think I'm way too out of it. Been fighting a losing battle with an ulcer for the last two weeks that just got cranked up a notch in the middle of the night, so I'm just going to share this review with you, have some (very late) dinner and go on to bed.

During her time composing the novel So Many Books, So Little Time, Sara Nelson was a successful editor at Glamour magazine. At the start of one crazy year, she decides that she wants to get herself together and read one book a week for the entire year. Throughout the year, she reads new books, old books, and books from her childhood (and her son's). She learns quite a few amazing things about herself, her family, and what a book can say about a person.

I must say, I had no clue who Sara Nelson was when I picked this book off of a Clearance rack for three dollars. But now that I've finished it, I feel like I know her, and I also kind of feel like she could be my best friend. I have never before in my life felt like there was someone in the world who understood me like I did while reading this book. Bibliophiles are strange people, myself included, and I never felt like anyone truly understand my passion and obsession for books until this moment. Some of the sentiments expressed felt like they were coming straight from my mind, or from my heart.

Now, I must admit, Sara and I didn't always see eye-to-eye on our preferred reading material (the women didn't finish Cold Mountain, for God's sake! This is one of the few books I keep in my bedroom instead of my library because I cannot stand to be parted from it), but while I have only read half the books she read in her Year of Reading Dangerously, I am seriously looking forward to reading some of her highly recommended novels (as well as some of the ones she doesn't recommend). Also, it's so refreshing to know that someone so wise and important hated Tuesdays With Morrie as much as I did.

Happy reading everyone!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

I so wanted to do this last night, but by the time I was finished with the book, it was midnight, and I didn't feel like getting out of bed to get my computer. So, I finally finished Crossed after a very long and grueling week. I should have finished on, like, Monday, but yeah...didn't happen. So, here it is.

In the sequel to Ally Condie's Matched, Ky and Cassia have finally escaped the Society, but they are about to find out that life outside of their Provinces might be harder than they imagined. As they trek through the Carving that, until now, has been nothing but legend to Cassia, they'll find out more about each other and the forces that exist outside of the Society than they ever thought possible. But will the end up turning to the rebellion or going back to the lives they've always known?

While reading this book, I teetered somewhere between boredom and heart attack the whole time. It gets a little tedious, reading about the journey through the Carving. To sum up: Cassia- should I take blue pills? Ky- I feel bad about what I've done. That's pretty much the whole thing. But toward the end, it was all worth it. Those moments when I was biting my fingernails because I had no clue what was going to happen next (and that one moment at the end, where I wanted to scream so bad but couldn't because The Husband was sleeping next to me) were killer!

Once again, I'm not sure how I feel about how the story is moving forward. I was so sure that by the end of this book, I was going to be less in love with Ky, but I think I'm more in love with him. He's got that pure, innocent love of Peeta Mellark but with the tough worldly experience of a rebel. He's amazing, but I have a feeling it's all going to come crashing down in Reached, especially since a very important detail was unveiled in the final pages of this book that could (and does) change everything! Have a look for yourself.

Happy reading everyone! We're over the hump! And thank the Lord for it!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Review: A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers

Morning, kiddos! Gotta make this one quick as I'm supposed to be leaving for work in twenty minutes! Just finished A Little Too Much, and my goodness! I'm pretty sure Lisa Desrochers is a genius!

Alessandro Moretti, our favorite little almost-priest, is back! Once upon a time, he was a bad kid, living in a group home with his big brother and falling in love with a girl with trust issues- Hilary. Now, ten years later, Hilary thinks she has her life together, but when Alessandro shows up on her doorstep (still recovering from the broken heart he received in Rome), her entire world comes crashing down. As teenagers, Alessandro broke down her walls, taught her how to love, and then left her. Now, he wants a second chance to prove that he's no longer living in his brother's shadow.

Yeesh. This. Book. Seriously. I cried. I should say that. The only other romance writer who has been able to make me cry reading a romance book is Megan Hart, but this lady knows how to pump the emotions through the roof. There were parts of this book that were physically painful to read. This story deals with a lot of darker parts of the system, like what can happen to an abandoned fourteen year old girl who feels worthless and is thrown into a group home with teenage boys who also feel worthless. It's heartbreaking but the way these characters were able to turn their lives around is so incredibly beautiful.

I'm not going to say I won't read A Little Too Hot but I think it's safe to say I probably won't. My copy of A Little Too Much came with a sample of the third book in this series, and I just can't stand Sam. I want to trust Lisa because she hasn't let me down yet, but I just don't know. Although I must say, I didn't like Hilary when this book started (I relate a whole lot more to Lexie from A Little Too Far) but by the end of this book, I thought Hilary was amazing.

That's all I have time for.

Happy reading everyone! Enjoy you weekend!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday and Review of Playing Dirty by Susan Andersen

Hey everyone! I am suuuuper excited to be back in the game with Top Ten Tuesday!! If you don't know what Top Ten Tuesday is, it is a blog meme, hosted by the fabulous ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish! This week, we are talking about the ten popular authors we've never read. Now, this is a hard one, not because there aren't tons of them, but because sometimes it's really hard to admit that maybe we aren't reading what the rest of the world is! (I'm a firm believer that if the rest of the world is reading it, it's probably worth reading. This is not always true.)

So, here it is, my list:

1. John Green. I am particularly ashamed of this for two reasons: 1. Because I know I am going to ADORE his books, but my emotions get in the way of me picking up books I know are going to rip me to shreds. 2. I have had a copy of Looking for Alaska on my shelf for over a year. Haven't picked it up yet.

2. Rainbow Rowell. I am also ashamed of this one because I know I'm going to love them. KNOW IT. But I have so many books to read before I can get to my copy of Eleanor and Park. I have to practice patience.

3. John Grisham. It's just one of those things. I'm not a fan of court dramas.

4. William Faulkner. This is embarrassing because I have a Bachelor's Degree in Literature. Not sure why it hasn't happened yet. I should get on it.

5. Danielle Steel. This one is particularly surprising because I love these kinda of books. Cheesy romantic dramas are totally my thing. I even owned a Steel book once. Never read it. I suck.

6. RL Stine. I find this particularly shocking because I loved watching Goosebumps as a kid, but I never read them. Not sure what that's about.

7. Dan Brown. This is one of the few times that I really wanted to balk away from something so popular. Usually, I go straight for the bestsellers because I know there's a reason they're up there, but I hated all the controversy and the crap that surrounded the Da Vinci Code when it came out, so I totally avoided it. Maybe some day.

8. Nicholas Sparks. My desire to avoid books usually has little to do with my dislike for the author, but in this case, it is a serious factor. I think Sparks is kind of a douche. Man, I've read interviews where the man toots his own horn so much, I'm surprised the thing isn't broken. Not a fan of his attitude.

9. Anne Rice. Always wanted to. I own a few of her books from the Vampire Chronicles because I want to get around to reading them eventually, but for now, I'm all vampire-d out. Sorry Anne.

10. Tom Clancy. This is odd because when I was little, my father read EVERYTHING Clancy wrote and then my sister did too, but it's just not my thing. I'm hoping to find one some day that appeals to me.


So, I finished a fun little romance novel today, and I thought I would share it with you guys:

Playing Dirty is the third and final book in the Sisterhood series by Susan Andersen. This one is about Ava, the girl we've always wondered about. In high school, Ava gave her virginity to the boy she thought she could trust: Cade Gallari, but he stomped on her heart. Now, more than ten years later, he's back in her life, this time as her boss, and he's trying to make amends.

I've been a fan of Susan Andersen as long as I can remember. I can't remember the first book I read by her, but when I was done, I immediately read everything I could get my hands on. While I enjoyed the first two books in this series (uh, hello, I'm pretty sure the second book is the reason I have a serious thing for sexy cops), this one didn't really float my boat. I loved the relationship between Cade and Ava. They were so cute together, and I loved how much Cade truly adored her. But the mystery that was going on around their story and the movie set just kind of bored me. Susan, I love you, but this one didn't work for me, which really stinks because I know how hard Susan fought to have this book published. I'm hoping to move on soon to some of her later books (or maybe go back to some of her suspense books), but I'm going to let this one go.

Happy reading!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Book Review: A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers + Share a Scene Sunday!

Happy Sunday everyone! I woke up early this morning to finish this book because I couldn't stop thinking about what was going to happen! I'm happy to be sharing it with you guys on this fine Sunday morning (is there anyone else out there who sings the opening lines to Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning" every time the first day of the week rolls around?)!

I just have to start out this review by saying that I have never gotten this choked up and emotional about a New Adult/Romance novel. I think my heart broke directly in half about halfway through, but we'll get there.

Lexie Banks has a problem: she's in love with her stepbrother. And as if that wasn't bad enough, she slept with him and then moved to Rome two days later. Now, she's going to school in Italy, trying to forget what happened and trying to make up for what she thinks was a huge mistake. To pay her penance, she takes a job helping at the Catholic church in town, only to make friends with a soon-to-be-priest who she is attracted to and who is dealing with issues of his own. Lexie is in over her head, and she has no way how to get out.

I know, I know, I know. You're probably thinking, "Vicky, why the heck are you reading a book with yet another love triangle?" Well, that would be because they are IMPOSSIBLE to avoid. But this time, I didn't mind. I must admit, it isn't very often when I feel equally for two men in one love triangle. I always sway toward one team over the other, but in this book, I seriously loved these men equally. My only comfort was knowing that the second book in this series involves the one who gets left behind.

I don't think there is honestly anything I disliked about this book. Even though Desrochers deals with a lot of touchy subjects- step-sibling love, paying for what we believe to be sin, whether or not someone is right for the Church- but I never really felt like any of it was blasphemous or anything like that. It never felt wrong to me at all. I loved that this book was about so much more than lust. This book was about serious emotion and trying to figure out what's right and what's wrong. I really truly loved it, and I seriously can't wait to move on the second one!

P.S. I just found out that the third book in this series is about someone in this book who I seriously don't like, so I don't know if I'll be reading it. I mean, I can't even stand her a little bit. I don't think she deserves her own book. We'll see.

Happy reading!!


So, as a reminder that this blog is also about writing, I want to bring back Share a Scene Sunday! If there are any writers out there who want to share what they're working on, this is the place to do it! Leave ma a comment. I would love to read your work! Here's a little bit from my WIP, Brave.

I tossed a few more things into my suitcase and slammed it closed. I was never one of those people who, as children, dreamed of running off to join the circus, though I saw the appeal. A life of bright lights and excitement. But the dream was lost on me. As a kid, I only wanted one thing: New York City.
I knew Alton was a beautiful place, probably twice as beautiful as anything I would see in the big city. I lived on the tip of the country, less than a mile from the tumultuous waters of the Atlantic, and I woke up every morning to the smell of salt water and ocean air.
But I really wasn’t interested in all of that, in living in a town with a population of less than five thousand. People said New York smelled like sweat and garbage. I didn’t know if that was true or not, but I figured the only way to know for sure was to find out for myself.
Outside my window, a horn honked, and I rolled my eyes even as a smile pulled at my lips. I zipped my suitcase, a black and white polka-dotted thing that my grandmother had bestowed upon me on graduation day, and turned to make a run for it.
My mother was blocking my escape route.
“So, you’re really going?” she asked, leaning against my doorframe, her arms crossed and my little brother’s head peeking over her shoulder.
“Yes, Mom, I’m really going.” I politely went around her, draping my arm around my little brother as I walked down the hallway. He followed me like he somehow might be able to tag along.
“What are you going to do, Aiden? Where are you going to live?” My mother trailed behind us, flowering questions through the house like birdseed.
I rolled my eyes at Chris, and he giggled a little, the giggle of a fourteen-year-old boy who wasn’t completely jaded by life yet. My mother sent him a severe look, and he stopped laughing. She stepped close to me, until I was forced to look at her. That was my mother, maintaining dominance over her pets at all times.
“I’ll be fine,” I told her, even though she hadn’t asked. “Holly’s parents agreed to pay for an apartment as long as Holly stays in school. I won’t be living on the street or anything.” I tried to avoid the inevitable thought that living on the street in the city would be better than living in mom’s white house for another day.
“And what about work? Huh? You think you’re going to get a record deal the second you step into the city?”
I tried not to let her words bug me. I knew what she was doing: trying to scare me into changing my mind. But I wasn’t going to. Not even my mother’s complete lack of faith in me could stop me.
“I’ll see you later, Mom.” I rolled my suitcase out the front door and stuck it in Holly’s backseat when I heard her click open the locks. When I had settled in, Holly reached over and smacked my bare leg.
“Sheesh, hoochie mama!”
I didn’t normally wear my cut-offs and a tank top in public, but it was a five hours drive to New York City in the middle of June, and I wasn’t about to sweat the whole way there.
When I didn’t say anything, Holly looked over at me. “I’m guessing Mommy Dearest didn’t think you’d really do it?”
I stared down at my fingernails. I’d painted them bright red for the occasion, thinking that I would feel like a badass walking out of my mom’s house. But I didn’t feel like that at all. I scraped away at the polish on my thumb nail.
Holly nudged me with her elbow and threw the car in reverse. “Hey, come on. We’re going to New York. Cheer up!” As we backed out of the driveway, Holly cranked the music up until The Killers threatened to bust her speakers.

Have a great day everyone!!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie + Music Monday

Happy Monday everybody!! I come baring a review, and this time, I have to try not to get all weepy on you! (I've been weepy since like, page 300 of this book).

Let me start by saying that it is going to be IMPOSSIBLE to review this book without spoilers, but somehow I will manage.

Cassia Reyes lives in a society where Officials decide everything: what you do in your free time, what you eat, and who you marry. Cassie and her family thought they were okay with this, until Cassia falls for someone who isn't her Matched. Suddenly, the control the Society has over everyone begins to wear at Cassia and her family, and it isn't long before the Officials find out that Cassia is hiding more than they ever thought.

I want to start by addressing some of the complaints I've heard about this particular story, starting with the fact that it looks a lot like the world created by Lois Lowry in The Giver. While I can see the similarities, I have to disagree. Sure, the world of the story looks a lot alike, but this story is not just about the discovery of the Society's betrayal, like Lowry's story is. This is a story about love and the different forms it comes in. Which brings me to my second point: the love triangle. I must say, I'm as tired of the love triangle as anyone else who's read YA in the last five years. But I must admit that it was done well in this story. In this book at least, this is not a story about a girl who is in love with two guys and can't choose between them, it's a book about a girl who loves her Matched but is dreadfully in love with someone who is NOT her Matched, the only person who really knows her, and she understands that going against the grain will her hurt more than just her and her beloved.

At first, I thought the book was a little robotic. But as it went on, and I fell so head over heels in love with Ky and with his beautiful love for Cassia, I really got into it. I read the book in two days, which is a little abnormal for me, since I'm usually too busy to put away books that fast. As it stands, I'm not sure how I feel about where the story is going. I'm a little afraid of what will happen from here, since so much has been put at stake at the end of this one. I am so glad that I wait for a series to end before I start it because waiting a year for this one would have killed me. This is a seriously emotional, heartbreaking, gorgeous book, and I am terribly excited about reading the rest of this trilogy!


Now, if you're interested in starting your day out with a little music, I would like to invite you to join me for Music Monday, where I give you a little recommendation about what you should be listening to this week! Today, I want to talk about The Script. I'm sure that by now you'd have to living under a rock not to have heard of these talented men, but the thing about this band is that, most of the time, their truly best stuff doesn't make it on the radio. For example, their album #3 is AMAZING, but only Hall of Fame has made it anywhere, so I want to share with you my favorite song from the album called Glowing. Without this song, I'm not sure I would be able to work on this book I'm trying to re-write. This song has inspired me. It's beautiful. Have a listen.