Thursday, December 31, 2009

Keeping the Moon - Sarah Dessen

Keeping the Moon is about fifteen year old Colie who goes to stay with her Aunt Mira for the summer while her mom goes to Europe promoting her fitness line. When Colie was younger, her and her mom moved around a lot and were both fat. Her mom then decided a change was in order and became KiKi Sparks, face of a fitness movement.

Colie arrives in Colby and quickly finds that her Aunt Mira is very eccentric. She's an artist, loves yard sales, and nothing in her house works properly. She wonders why her aunt puts up with the people in town talking about her, because she knows first hand that all the snide remarks and mean comments can hurt no matter how much you try and fight it. She learns that Mira is really not bothered by it because she's happy with who she is.

During Colie's summer, she ends up getting a job at the Last Chance Bar and Grill and befriends her co-workers Isabel and Morgan, as well as Norman who lives in Mira's basement. Isabel has no patience for Colie until she overhears a classmate of Colie's saying mean things. As Colie begins spending time with Morgan and Isabel she blossoms into a young-woman who finds confidence and learns to stand up for herself. She also finds that she's attracted to Norman the more time she spends with him while he does her portrait.

Although I related to Colie in the fact that she wasn't comfortable with herself, I never felt a real connection with the character. Maybe it was because I was hurrying to read this book so I could reach my goal of 50 books read in 2009 (finished with 90 minutes left!) but even so, I found myself not really caring what happened with the character as I did in the last Dessen book I read. I also think it had something to do with just finishing Shiver earlier, that is a book that you need to digest for a day because it's just that good and not fair to the book that follows it.

Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

After hearing Becca, a fellow NBCer rave about this book called Shiver, I decided to add it to my Christmas wishlist. Then after seeing the author, Maggie Stiefvater, write on Becca's facebook wall I thought to myself that I really needed to read it now because the author just seemed so awesome. Christmas came and I didn't get the book but I did go to Books-A-Million's after Christmas sale and picked it up.

First I want to say that the writing was amazing and I loved how Maggie flipped back and forth between the two main characters point-of-view. This is also the first book that I've read recently that didn't have any misspellings. That gets major points in my book. If it did though, I was so captivated by the story that I didn't even notice.

Shiver takes place in Mercy Falls. Grace is a high school girl who was bitten by wolves six years earlier and has since become obsessed with the wolf that saved her. I mean, obsessed. She spends her winters waiting for a glimpse of him and even comes close enough to touch him at one point. Her obsession is a little..weird at first because she's so enamored with him that she takes to sleeping with the sweater she was wearing when she had contact with him because it smells like him.

Anyway, Grace soon finds out that her wolf, the one with the yellow eyes who saved her all those years ago, is actually a boy who is a shape-shifter. Sam's form depends solely on the temperature, turning into a wolf when it's cold outside. Even knowing his secret, Grace loves him, although it doesn't hurt that he's a hot, sweet, smart, emo, poetry loving, lyric writing, guitar playing guy.

Sam fears the cold because that means the change is coming, and this time it's different, this time it's his last change. He's loved Grace since the day he saved her and can't bear the thought of leaving her. Sam tries to prolong the time before he shifts and spends every moment possible with Grace. Shiver is a love story and a good one at that. It's so terribly sweet and it even made my eyes well with tears because of it.

If you're looking for a book to read, this is it. The story is great, the writing is wonderful, and I absolutely loved getting to know Sam and Grace. Even the weirdness didn't seem so weird to me after a while. I can already see myself reading this book over and over.

I cannot wait until Linger comes out in July.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen

One thing I can say about the Nest Book Club board is that I've found a lot of wonderful ladies who share my love of books. Without these ladies, I would be missing out on a lot of fabulous books, especially those in the Young-Adult category. To kick-off my book review portion of this blog, I'll be starting with Sarah Dessen's Along for the Ride. This book was a really easy read but with all the Christmas traveling and visiting, it took me a full week to finish it. This was my fifth Dessen book I've read and it quickly became one of my favorites.

One of my favorite things about Sarah Dessen is that you meet and get to know her characters in their book but when you move on to another book you come across those characters you've come to love (or hate) as background characters and get to see what they're up to. Reading her books is like running into old friends you haven't seen for a while at the grocery store or a party.

Along for the Ride follows Auden West during her summer between graduating high school and becoming a college freshman. Auden doesn't plan on doing anything different during this summer but a spontaneous decision lands her in the beach town of Colby with her dad, step-mother, and their new baby.

When we first meet Auden she's a miniature version of her mother, not because that's who she is but because it just seems easiest for her. Growing up she was always a little adult and can't even remember whether she learned to ride a bike or not. Auden has always been told by her mother that people never change..using Auden's dad and brother Hollis as examples.

During her summer in Colby, Auden becomes closer with her step-mother Heidi and learns she's not just a vapid, pink loving, exclamation point loving woman. She also forms a bond with her baby step-sister Thisbe. As the summer progresses, Auden starts to transform, she's got a job, helps take care of Thisbe, and even more shocking is she's found friends. Even with a growing social life, Auden is still an insomniac and finds herself wandering around town at night when she meets Eli, another insomniac. They become friends and Eli takes it upon himself to help Auden do all the things she never did as a child and deems it her quest.

After spending time with Eli, Auden finds out from others something heartbreaking about Eli and up until he met her he wasn't socializing with anyone, which is a far cry from who he was a year ago. During her time spent with Eli and in Colby, Auden finds herself changing and realizes her mother really was wrong all along.

You can't help but relate to Auden and her transformation. She went from being her mother's carbon copy to blossoming into the person she was all along, just never having found the real her until her summer in Colby.

2010 Blog

I think it's safe to say I suck at blogging. As much as I'd like to have a blog dedicated to one thing, I really don't think that's going to happen because I tend to get bored with it easily, which is why I named my blog Crystal's Chronicles. This way, I can make it whatever I want, whenever I want.

As you can tell I've blogged about 3 different things in the past (and not very consistently). Those things are books, Project 365, and gearing myself up for weight loss. So my goal for 2010 is to blog each day at least once because I'm going to see these three things through. Call it my quest if you will.

I've decided to re-start Project 365 starting tomorrow, December 31st.

As far as the books go, I've read a lot of great books in 2009 and wish I'd documented some of them in here. Later today I'm going to start my book reviews with the last book I finished. As time goes along, I may re-visit past books I've enjoyed.

My biggest obstacle this coming year is definitely going to be weight loss and eating healthier. I hate not feeling comfortable in my own skin so here starts my journey in remedying that.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Books read in January

So far the Winter Book Challenge (WBC) and the 50 in 2009 Challenge are going ok. I haven't read as many books this month as I would have liked but I guess I can't complain with 5 completed. Hopefully I'll be adding at least 2 more to the count by Saturday's end. So far the books I've read this month are:

Dance Upon the Air and Heaven And Earth by Nora Roberts (both are parts 1 and 2 of the Three Sisters Trilogy)
Tales of Beedle the Bard and Harry Potter and the Socorer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

The 2 books I plan on having done by the end of the month include the 3rd book in the Three Sisters Trilogy (Face the Fire) and This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. I may post a brief description of each book but I'm not entirely sure yet.


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