Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
By John Boyne

224 pages
4 hours and 56 minutes listening time

Grade A+

I would like to first thank Jacki at Lovely Little Shelf where I found this book. I at first didn't want to read another YA book, I wanted to read a grown up book ;) However when I read her review and found out it was about WWII, of course I had to read it because like I have previously stated, I am terribly intrigued about this time period.

So here I am listening to this book, thinking that it is a terribly innocent book about a German boy who befriends a Jewish boy. And mostly that is what it is. Bruno is 9 and he and his family move from Berlin to the concentration camp in Auschwitz where his father is a head honcho in the Nazi army. The wonderful ting about this book is the pure innocence of Bruno. He thinks they are moving to Out With, not Auschwitz, and he thinks the Fury is coming to dinner, instead of the Furor. One day as he is wandering through the woods, he comes across the work camp and starts talking to a little boy his age named Schmuel, through the fence. Schmuel explains all about the camp to Bruno, who thinks that they have all kinds of fun and sing and dance in the camp.

The book is incredible. I having been thinking about it all day long since I finished it, and I am sure, as with The Book Thief, I will be thinking about it for days.

It is sad, it will tug at your heart strings until you feel like you are being ripped in half. But read it. Invest the few hours it will take to read it, because it's just that good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cracked up to be

Cracked up to be
By Courtney Summers

224 pages
6 hours and 19 minutes listening time

Grade B

First off, I could not find this book on audio when I started, so I did paper read this one.

Second, I went the whole book wanting to know what was going to happen. I could not put this book down, except that Lucy made me on same occasions. Usually, with these YA books, I can normally tell what is going to happen next because it is usually the same story with different character names. However, it was not like this in this book. I was always trying to figure it out, which made it that much better. I even went to Amazon to read reviews hoping for a spoiler, and you know what? No spoilers.

I am glad that I didn't listen to this book on audio because there were some parts when the main character remembers things from the past and you can tell it's a memory in writing. On audio, I usually am lost for a little while until I figure it out. The one thing that I was annoyed with was that I felt it ended too quickly. I really felt like it could have been longer, because she summed the book up in like three pages.

It's not a book that will change your life, but it's alright. Like I said, it was a page turner.

On a side note, I got Anne of Green Gables on DVD yesterday and started watching it. But I had a hard time getting past the first 15 minutes. I felt that maybe it would ruin the book for me, so I am sending it back....unwatched.
On another side note, I am at book 50!!!!! I am half way to my goal. Remember a while back, I posted that if I had 50 followers by the time I get to 5o books, I would do a book give-a-way. I have not reached 50 no give-a-way this time people.....sorry

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Accidental Billionaires

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook
A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
By Ben Mezrich

272 pages
7 hours and 23 minutes

Grade C

Here's the thing. Everyone uses facebook. Everyone. If you don't use it actively, you have at least checked it out. Well who created it? Who changed the world of social networking? A guy named Mark Zuckerberg, that's who. Well actually, if you get technical, it was a group of people, Mark was just the programmer, but he sorta stole the idea from them. And then he pushed out his co-founder.

So this guy Mark is something like a super genius. He turned down a million dollar job with Microsoft when he was like 17. Then went off to Harvard. Met up with a group of people that wanted his help in creating a social networking site, spun off on their ideas, created Facebook, got his best friend to finance the entire thing, then ran off to California to start working closer to Sean Parker (the inventor of the infamous Napster) and then pushed them all out and then became a billionaire by the age of 24.

It was pretty neat story. I really liked hearing about how one of my most frequented websites and one of my favorites what created. It did kinda piss me off that the developer was such a tard and pushed everyone out. I think however, that he might have a bit of aspergers.

I rated it a "C" because it's not one of those books that will change your life or keep you thinking about it forever, but it was interesting. I will tell you though, when I logged into facebook tonight....I did think about Mark. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

13 Little Blue Envelopes

13 Little Blue Envelopes
By Maureen Johnson

352 pages
not currently available on audio

Grade B

Ginny is 17, and her aunt just passed away. One day she gets a letter in the mail from her aunt instructing her to go to her favorite chinese restaurant which awaits a package containing (wait for it) 13 blue envelopes containing instructions on when she can open the next one, and what she has to do. These envelopes send her on a trip through Europe alone.

As with My Life in France, I felt like I was with Ginny sometimes in Europe because the author is pretty good at her descriptions. I liked how it stayed pretty light hearted, and I really enjoyed the little journeys that Ginny was sent on. From London to Amsterdam to Denmark to Greece, Ginny sees it all. And what I liked so much about her tour, is that her aunt didn't want her to be a tourist. She wanted her to see the country as she did, from a lover turned resident. And Ginny did, and she had some downfalls. Her aunt didn't always come through with her letters which helped the predictability factor that usually happens with these teen books. The ending wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either. I felt like I still needed more, but am content all at the same time.

So all in all, it was cute, but not a must read kinda book.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

208 pages
5 hours and 1 minute listening time

Grade B-

I stumbled across this book while looking for something else, but was happy that I did. I LOVED the movie, so I was not too disappointed with the book. I really liked getting into the character's heads. Plus I am a sucker for music, so any book that describes the soundtrack of life or what they feel is great music, etc, really gets me going.

This book was just like that. They constantly talked about what music they liked, how it influenced their life. I will say one thing though. I liked the movie better. This book had a lot of forced swearing that really bothered me, but it was still pretty good.

So in short, it was cute, but I if I were to recommend would be to just watch the movie :)
On a side note, Anne of Green Gables showed up in my mailbox today so I am planning on watching it this weekend.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Life in France

My Life in France
By Julia Child

368 pages
11 hours and 17 minutes

Grade A

I have read/listened to so many books regarding food lately, that I am really second guessing my life in accounting, and think I should move to culinary magics. But after this book, I will only pursue my dreams of being a chef if I get to move to France.

This book was incredible. I don't know what else to say about it. Julia's descriptions of France, makes me feel now like I have been there myself. I also feel like I have gained 15 lbs.

I started my small obsession with Julia last year when I read Julie and Julia for my book club. If you haven't read that book yet, then maybe you have seen the movie, which was a pretty good movie. My husband liked it too, which is saying a lot because he doesn't like "chick flicks" at all.

Ok but back to the book. Julia is just incredible. I really liked her outlook on things and her desire and drive to do something with her life. Now, if you can believe this, I have never opened her cookbooks. And since she was pretty before my time as well, I haven't ever really seen any of her shows. I vaguely remember seeing reruns with my dad, but I had to have been pretty little. But I am so interested in seeing them, I have Netflixed them :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Book of Joe

The Book of Joe
By Jonathan Trooper

320 pages
9 hour and 58 minutes listening time

Grade A

So this guy Joe goes back to his hometown in which he hasn't been back to in 17 years. This is also after he writes a "fiction" book based on the events in his life when he lived in Bush Falls. The book is even called Bush Falls. He wrote a bunch of really bad stuff, that would have been slander or libel had it been labeled as his memoirs. So the town is pissed and they all hate him.

I tell you all that to tell you this....My friend Alison picked this book as her choice for book club this month. I can't make it because it is the same night as girl scouts. Anyway, as I first started reading this book, I thought it was a sequel. I was kinda upset at first that Alison hadn't mentioned this or anything. I even went on Amazon to search the first book "Bush Falls," thinking, I will have to get the first book too so that I can catch up to what is going on. Well to my dismay, The Book of Joe, is also called Bush Falls. They are the same book. And The Book of Joe, is a freaking fiction book, and the main character is just a fictional character that happens to be an author that in this story wrote a book that everyone hates.

So there I was feeling stupid, but loving this book. I mean, I really liked the book. And after I realized that it was just a book about a guy who wrote a book, I enjoyed it even more. I loved the characters, and I really loved how everything panned out. It was funny, and sad. I literally laughed and cried. It is a pretty easy read, and in some parts it is pretty graphic. There is some swearing, but for some reason, none of that bothered me in this book like it normally does.

Anyway, I really liked this book, and now that I know it is not a sequel to some other book that really doesn't exist, I will probably listen to it again, and enjoy it all the same.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Here's Johnny

Here's Johnny!: My Memories of Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show, and 40 Years of Friendship
Ed McMahon

240 pages
4 hours and 18 minutes listening time

Grade A

This book was incredible. Not only was it hilarious, it was also sweet, honest, and very loving. Ed McMahon actually narrates this book as well, and to hear him talk about his friendship with Johnny is so endearing. There were clips of the actual show on this audio book, and I found myself laughing to almost tears. I also found myself in almost sad tears when Ed talked about how great friends he and Johnny were.

The Tonight Show was just barely before my time, but I do remember seeing clips on TV and various skits. I remember seeing the performance of Bette Midler on Johnny's last show. The man was just utterly incredible. Hearing Ed's perspective of him makes him even more incredible.

Listening to this book has also prompted me to Netflix the DVDs of the show. I really want to see him in action. If you get an afternoon, read this book. It is short, but so very lovely. If you get a chance to listen to it on audio, do. With Ed being the narrator, it really puts more feeling into it. But really, it's a very nice book.

On another note, I rented the DVD for Speak because I had read the book. The main character is played by Kristen Stewart, which you should all know is the also the main character, Bella, in the Twilight series. Stewart plays a pretty good role in this movie considering the main character is confused, shy, doesn't talk much, and spends most the story feeling some sort of discomfort. So it is a great role for Stewart :P Other than that, the movie sticks pretty close to the book, a few things are different but not much. However, I wouldn't really waste your time on the movie if you read the book.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peter Pan

Peter Pan
By JM Barrie

Again, there are so many different versions of this book Amazon, it's hard to say how many pages the version I listened to was.

5 hours and 16 minutes

Grade A

This was such a great book. I smiled a lot while listening to do it. I giggled, I just felt good. There were only a few little things that the Disney movie didn't capture. I am sure there isn't a person alive that doesn't really know the story, but it is worth reading if you get a chance.

ETA: Sorry for all the edits tonight. Lucy has been climbing in and out of my lap all night so I tried to get out my reviews as quickly as possible.

Anyway, the other amazing thing about Peter Pan, or at least this version of the audio, is that it was narrated by Jim Dale which is the narrator of the Harry Potter series. Since I am in LOVE with Harry Potter, and I LOVE Jim Dale, I was able to continue my ear affair with Jim Dale, while still staying true to my original rules of not listening to Harry Potter until November. I swear it will be a LONG year :P

Vegas Confessions Part 7

Vegas Confessions Volume 7
By Editors of Sounds Publishing

1 hour and 1 minute listening time

Grade D

I found this book while scanning through the library website. It's a dumb dumb book. I am lucky that it was only a hour long because I really wouldn't put much more stock into this book. I thought it might be interesting because it is about Vegas.

But seriously, somethings need to stay Vegas secrets.

A Million Little Pieces

A Million Little Pieces
By James Frey

448 pages
10 hours and 9 minutes listening time

Grade B

I don't know what to say about this book really. I don't really know how I feel about it. I had a hard time with his writing style. He repeats himself, he repeats himself, he effing repeats himself. And yes, by the third repeat, he would drop an eff bomb. I thought it was great that this guy over came him drug addiction. I did not like how the book seemed to promote the disregard of the 12 step program that really does help a lot of people.

However, I did get wrapped up in this book and did want to keep reading it. I don't think there was a time where I was like, ugh, when is this book going to be over.

ETA: I also did not know much about the controversy of this book until I started reading it. Then I googled (yes I googled) and found that he did embellish parts. Whether he did it because he was an addict and that is just how he remembered it, or if he did it because (according to Wiki) he wrote about how he wanted to see himself, is no never mind to me. I enjoyed the story whether it was fiction or non-fiction. I think though the added hype about him and his truthfulness is what really made this book as famous as it is currently.

In the long run, I am glad the book was only like 10 hours listening time. I originally had My Friend Leonard on my list to read too, but after this book, I am not really too interested in reading further about James and his life, or his friends, mainly because I do have a hard time with books about drug addiction. Probably because I have a hard time relating considering that I have never had drug problems.

There were parts in this book that I was just utterly disgusted with because of what he says he did in the past. I literally wanted to throw up in parts. I guess it's hard for me to think that some people are just this effed up.

I am having a hard time wrapping this review up. I liked the book, but I am sure I will never read it again. Not because I hate it, but just because it is one of those books that I just don't want to relive, but not because it's bad.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables
By Lucy Maud Montgomery

I don't know how many pages because I couldn't find one on Amazon that had a correct amount

10 hours and 2 minutes listening time

Grade A

You can describe this book with just one word. The one word is not nice, sweet, interesting, great, perfect etc. The one word to describe this book would be DARLING! Everything about this book was darling. Young Anne reminds me so much of my niece Jade. Things that Anne would do or get into remind me of Jade. For instance there was this time at Thanksgiving dinner (or maybe Christmas) when Jade, out of nowhere, said, I signed up for the talent show at school. When my step-mom, Candy, asked her what she was going to do for her talent, Jade replied, I am going to play the trombone. This would be a wonderful talent to showoff, however Jade neither plays the trombone nor knows anyone that does. However, she is fearless, and fun, and when you get her started with a conversation, sometimes she just will not stop.

I really loved how the author created Anne. She would just talk and talk and talk (sounds a lot like me IRL) and would just go off on tangents but it is EXACTLY how a little girls mind works. Well little girls like me, and like Jade. I loved the trouble she got into, and I just loved her thought process. She was such a sweet little girl, and seemed to turn into a wonderful adult.

I was so sad to think that this book was going to end. I really didn't want it to end because the amount of crappy books I have read/listened to recently, or sad books, I wanted something to keep my spirits up. I didn't know until I was almost finished with this book that it was apart of series. And I also netfix'd the DVD. I will read the rest of the series too (hopefully I can get it on audio), and I look forward to reading the rest.

My word for this book is darling. Candy uses that word a lot, and it is one of my favorite words ever. But never ever have I known anything to deserve that word, more than this book.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Before I Fall

Before I Fall
By Lauren Oliver

480 pages
12 hours and 25 minutes listening time

Grade B+

Imagine you are popular, happy, and a senior in high school. Now image after a party one night, you and your three closest friends die in a car accident. Now, imagine, you have to relive your last day, over and over and over.

It is a little "Groundhog Day", but not really. It is incredibly touching, and I really liked how after reliving the same day, Sam, was able to see how she affected other people's lives, some in which she never thought she touched. I also liked how she was able to get to see the true sides of some of the people she knew.

I literally could not turn this book off. Matt had to deal with listening to parts of it, which I told him was payback for making me listen to Breakfast of Champions. I am sure had I had a paper copy of this book I would have had it finished in a day.

I needed to know what happened next. I was very surprised at some of the things that did happen, and I was happy with a lot too. Of course I was upset at the very ending, but not because it was a bad ending, only that it broke my heart.

So, there you go.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Some Girls Are

Some Girls Are
By Courtney Summers

256 pages
unavailable on audio

Grade B

This was the first book in about 5 years that I have finished in just barely two days. I really could not put it down. It was another young reader, but hey, it's the type of book I like....I can't help it.

There were parts though that reminded me of other books I have read recently, and in some parts I was a tad bored, but all in all, I thought it was a neat little book.

I really felt for the main character in this book. I hated to see what was going on in her life. But I did like how it helped change her. This book reminded me so much of the movie Mean Girls, but times 50. And seeing as the movie Mean Girls is one of my all time favs, mainly for quotes like "I have ESPN, my boobs can tell when it's raining" and "Irregardless", I kinda got a kick out of this book.

But again, it was just another teen book.

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions
By Kurt Vonnegut

303 pages
5 hours and 29 minutes listening time

Grade Lame

I can't give this book a grade. At least not a letter grade. This book is only 5 and a half hours long, and it took me three weeks to get through. I felt like the evil cats in the movie Bolt. First I was like huh? Then I was like What? And then I just got bored....

I was confused most the time. Kurt goes off on so many freaking tangents that I had a hard time keeping up. I also could not stand how he kept making references to the male genitalia.

The only thing I thought was remotely neat about the story was how he wrote himself into the story, and had himself talk with the characters. But even so it was kinda confusing for him to do that.

Anyway, I did not like this book.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are you there God, it's me Margaret

Are you there God, it's me Margaret
By Judy Blume

160 pages
3 hours and 8 minutes listening time

Grade B

First off, before anyone judges me for reading/listening to a kids book, let me preface with, I have NEVER read this book before in my life. While most girls at the age of 10 and 11 were reading this book, I was reading Misery by Steven King (dad what were you thinking?!?! lol).

Anyway, I really like this book. I do hope it has/will updated because there are a few things that are totally outdated in this book, but I think it is a wonderful reference for young women. I do know though, on a personal level, I was never hoping my period would start. Never. I still hate it. I also never wanted to wear a bra. And I still don't. But like the one girl in the book (I can't remember her name) I developed early, and probably needed a bra in fourth grade. I resisted until I was in 6th grade, which I don't know how I did that either. However, as a parent now, I can totally see how it might have been something my dad was dreading.

And my mom.....My mom is still angry at me for not calling her the millisecond after I noticed my period did start. She had this whole huge plan where stars would sparkle brighter and young children would sing like angels when I started. It was a time of celebration for her, and she wanted to have a huge night of bonding over steaks and hot fudge sundaes. Now, as a parent myself, I kinda think my mom was high when she thought of that plan....I dread the day my daughter will start her period. And will I take her to some crazy elaborate dinner involving over cooked meat and a dessert to satisfy all stereotypical time of the month cravings? No. I will probably cover the windows in black sheets and Lucy and I will sit around eating Midol and watch movies, like Saw or something. And I know that Matt will probably leave the house on a "business trip" at least one week a month when it does happen.

Anyway, it was a cute book but it needs to be updated.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Book Thief

The Book Thief
By Markus Zusak

576 pages
13 hours and 56 minutes listening time

Grade A+

Liesel Meminger is adopted by another German family after her mother is taken away and her little brother dies. She is sent to Munich, right dead center of WWII. Narrated by Death himself, this book is a fictional book regarding the events that happen on Himmel Street. Beside Thirteen Reasons Why, this has been the most heart wrenching, soul capturing book I have read this year.

The character building and the relationships that they each formed with each other, made me feel like I was there. I haven't felt this "involved" in a book in a very very long time. I wanted to reach out and hug Leisel so many times. And I wanted to shout to the heavens for Death to just leave Himmel Street or even Germany. I just wanted to reach out and say "Go find Hitler instead, you know where he is, your DEATH for God's sake."

I am terribly intrigued by WWII history. And not intrigued because of the horror, but intrigued because it simply is filled with history. It is a tragic history, yes, but a history nonetheless, and I am captured almost instantly when I read stories about this time period, hence this book and post.

There were times I literally could NOT put this book down. And I cried. I cried like a little baby, especially at the end. Hell I am getting teary eyed just thinking about this book and just how wonderful it is, and although I know wonderful isn't a great enough word. It was an incredibly beautiful book. It is sad, it is terribly sad, but I think this is just one of those books that you have to read.

So go get your copy, or borrow mine, but make sure you return it, because I will read this book again.

Dante's Inferno

The Inferno
By Dante Alighieri

432 pages
5 hours and 5 minutes listening time

Grade C-

I cannot tell a lie. I was bored. I was also lost, mainly because I have a hard understanding old English, and I understand that this one has been translated to English, but either way. So I know I should have probably loved this book, or appreciated it for it's history and the fact that it is still a very well known book even though it is a million years old. But I am sorry to say, I was not thrilled......

ETA: I promised Matt, that one day, I will re-read this book, in paper form, because maybe I will get more out of it in paper form.