Saturday, September 28, 2013

August 20th - September 20th book haul by Eleni

I used to spend a lot of money on new books (books in Greece are very very expensive) but since i moved in the States books are cheaper and in some cases ridiculously cheap as used ones but in a good shape. I don't buy used books unless they are in a great condition and only if i want the book but it doesnt really deserve it's actual price. Here's the list of the books that i purchased for August and September:

  1. The Snows by Sharelle Byars Moranville (new hardcover, amazon bargain price: 1.76$)
  2. Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison (new hardcover ,amazon bargain price: 2.00$)
  3. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (like new hardcover, thriftbooks: 3.69$)
  4. Shark Girl by Kelly Birgham (like new hardcover, Goodwill: 1.69$)
  5. Blaze by Stephen King/ Richard Bachman (new hardcover, Goodwill: 1.69$)
  6. Big Slick by Eric Luper (new hardcover, Amazon bargain price: 1.05$)

Now this is the funny thing. I got the whole Twilight Saga on Hardcover (except new moon which is softcover) brand new for like 6 bucks which is crazy...from Goodwill. No I am not one of those people that are closed in a basement and they one day suddenly come up and see all these available series etc.. I already have the Twilight Saga in Greek I just wanted it in English.

  1. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (like new softcover, Thriftbooks: 3.40$)
  2. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (like new softcover, Thriftbooks: 3.40$)
  3. The Silmarillion by Tolkien (new softcover, Goodwill : 0,89)
  4. All You Desire And The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller (brand new hardcovers Thriftbooks: 3.40$ and Amazon Bargain Basement 2.00$)

  1. Beautiful Disaster by Lauren Spinella (softcover used, Thriftbooks: 3.00$)
  2. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (brand new softcover, Goodwill: 0.89)
  3. Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino (brand new hardcover, Thriftbooks: 3.69$)
  4. Slash by Slah (brand new hardcover, Goodwill: 1.69$)
  5. A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin (like new hardcover, Goodwill 1.69$)
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (used hardcover, Goodwill: 1.69$)

  1. P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern (brand new softcover, Goodwill: 0.89)
  2. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (brand new hardcover, Goodwill: 1.69$)
  3. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks (brand new hardcover , Goodwill: 1.69$)
  4. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (brand new hardcover, Goodwill: 1.69$)
  5. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Claire (hardcover, Walmart: 11.60$)
Total books: 26
Total Price: $61.14

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen Book Review by Eleni.

Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 435
Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy at: Barnes and Noble, Amazon

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?


     The book for me was a piece of art. Although I am not familiar with Dessen's novels I have to say that she did a great job when it comes to character development and realism.  All the characters have human traits and no one is perfect there is so much diversity that I believe anyone can relate himself to one. Not lot of authors have the ability to do that. 
      There is the girl that cares about all, the b*** who is also sentimental deep down, the overly attached - overly worrying mother and of course the awesome but douche boyfriend and the cool friends and sister. I found all the characters funny and clever (except a certain person who in the end turned 160 around) thus the book has a good sense of humor and i like funny books.
      What I didn't really like was the story. I saw the whole book but I continued reading because I went through a same phase when i was leaving for college a couple of years ago. I liked that Dessen showed how a departure of one person can change not only his life but others too. How everyone is start seeing this person and how they try to figure out how to treat him. As an adult or as a child? Through my experience this is the worst thing that can happen to a parent - the kid wants freedom the parent refuses to see that due to fear of what might change.
   The writing was really really good and I felt like i was walking around Colby and i liked that a lot!!!
I am sure the book will appeal to anyone that is ready to leave for college and also likes summer readings.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan book review by Eleni

Author: David Levithan
Release Date: August 27th 2013
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 208
Rating: 3 Stars
Buy at: Barnes and Noble , Amazon

New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS. 

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.


I finally finished the book after a hectic week and i dont know how to rate this book.

The book starts with a gay prom and how it got organised. We get to ''meet'' the main characters of the book that soon we will follow through their battle with anguish, inner demons etc.

I loved the fact that all the characters are being connected in the book through on event: The Big Gay Kiss (thats how i call it). Two boys decide to break the world record of the longest kiss by kissing for 32+ something hours in the front lawn of their school. And thats when everything start.

The gay couples around the book deal with their demons. Some of them try to make their families acknowledge  the fact that their gay, others avoid their families after being discovered and some of them battle with the social life that surrounds them. What they have is common is that each one of them finds refuge in the end.

What i found weird in this book is the narration. Some dead boys narrate the whole story referring to their selves as ''we'' which is kinda pathetic in the beginning but you will get used to it as i did. I liked the way Levithan chooses his words and tries to pass a message through this book: You are not the first one going through this, others been there too and there is always help even if you cant see it.

Also, i felt a little detached from the main characters probably because of the narration and if there was one thing that i would change in this book that would be it. Other than that everything was great and totally gayish but also gloomy at some point.

Definetely a good gay book that i would recommend.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo book review by Eleni

Author: Leigh Bardugo.
Release Date: June 5th 2012
Publisher: Henry Colt and Co.
Series: The Grisha (bk 1)
Pages: 358
Rating: Dropped
Buy at: Barnes and Noble, Amazon

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?


Some of you will probably condemn me for not finishing this book. I can't make a full review because  didn't read the whole thing but i have to say that it is well written but not my style. At all. I couldn't even push myself to page fifty for that matter. 

It will appeal to all of the fantasy readers out there and i really hope you will enjoy it more than i did.

I won't promise anything but i will try to come back to this book somewhere in the future.

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's So Easy and Other Lies by Duff McKagan book review by Eleni

Author: Duff McKagan
Release Date: October 4th 2011
Publisher: Touichstone
Pages: 366
Rating: 5 stars
Buy At: Barnes and Noble , Amazon.

''A founding member of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver shares the story of his rise to the pinnacle of fame and fortune, his struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction, his personal crash and burn, and his phoenix-like transformation via a unique path to sobriety.
In 1984, at the age of twenty, Duff McKagan left his native Seattle—partly to pursue music but mainly to get away from a host of heroin overdoses then decimating his closest group of friends in the local punk scene. In L.A. only a few weeks and still living in his car, he answered a want ad for a bass player placed by someone who identified himself only as “Slash.” Soon after, the most dangerous band in the world was born. Guns N’ Roses went on to sell more than 100 million albums worldwide.
In It's So Easy, Duff recounts GN’R’s unlikely trajectory to a string of multiplatinum albums, sold-out stadium concerts, and global acclaim. But that kind of glory can take its toll, and it did—ultimately—on Duff, as well as on the band itself. As GN’R began to splinter, Duff felt that he himself was done, too. But his near death as a direct result of alcoholism proved to be his watershed, the turning point that led to his unique path to sobriety and the unexpected choices he has made for himself since. In a voice that is as honest as it is indelibly his own, Duff—one of rock’s smartest and most articulate personalities—takes readers on his harrowing journey through the dark heart of one of the most notorious bands in rock-and-roll history and out the other side.''
I don't know what to say about this book or the author. Duff Fucking McKagan has been a huge inspiration to me since my early teens. Guns N' Roses is my favorite rock band and i love all the members but a little more Duff. I always knew that rock has to do with drugs but that was something else. To be honest i never read anything like that in my entire life. Neon Angel by Cherrie Currie is not even close to the things described in this book.
When i started the book i didn't know what to expect, i just wanted to read about Guns N Roses and the life they led before they become famous and its true that Duff did a great job with describing his early childhood/teen years and how everything shaped around the name of GNR. I was surprised from a lot of things and i needed more and more and more. I loved the way he wrote.
As the book progressed we could see how deep in addiction Duff and his bandmates fell and how fame and money eventually changed everything. How the band mates got estranged from each other and how a certain member suffered from megalomania which resulted in the band to eventually split in 1997. Although the book answered a lot of questions it created new ones and at some points i found myself screaming Why????
I would loved to have read a little more descriptive situations and especially about the fallout between Axl and Slash. For obvious reasons there is no sex scene descriptions in the whole book (im sure no rock star would want their daughters read about their fathers um....experiences (?)).
I was amazed on how Duff got out of the cocaine-alcohol addiction pit and did his best to recover and how to this day he is still suffering from his past. Although i think Duff doesnt realize it he got out from one addiction with another - exercising and i think although this is kind of healthy it can also destroy you if you are not careful. 
The book also focuses on the musical career of Duff before and after GNR and the differences that he saw. How people accepted him back then and how they accept him now - everything is easy when you are a legend.
Duff did a great job with a book and i would totally recommend it to any GNR fan out there and not only. 
Adorkable by Sarra Manning book review by Sharon

Author: Sarra Manning
Release Date: May 24nd 2012
Publisher: ATOM
Pages: 387
Rating; 4 stars 

"Welcome to the dorkside. It's going to be a bumpy ride..."

Jeane Smith's a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on twitter.

Michael Lee's a star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie.
They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can't they stop snogging?"    


Adorkable by Sarra Manning is one of those books that I have to talk about in two stages.
The first stage would be about the plot in itself- characters, relationship and summer read. The second would be about the whole blog sphere.

So, Jeane and Mike go to the same high school they are both in a relationship only that Jeane's boyfriend and Mike's girlfriend kind of fell in love with each other. That's what the synopsis in the back of the cover is all about. Truthfully, this is just the beginning. You, it doesn't take long for Jeane to come to terms with the fact that she likes her boyfriend like a friend and it is better for her and for him that he'd be with Scarlett. She even encourages Scarlett to break up with Mike and that's one hell of a nasty breakup. That's what leads me to the interesting side of the hypnosis- Mike's and Jeane's snogging.  So Mike is this cool boy- the most popular boy in school- that everyone likes, he has tons of friends from the Jocks to the nerds. Jeane is this blogger of a lifestyle brand- adorkable which is all about embracing your inner dork.
She is smart and snarky and cynical, she dresses funny with all sorts of colorful clothing that are interesting and weird and hurt the eyes. She's weird and proud of it. She had half a million followers on twitter, she knows big names, and she's something outside of school. In school she's rarely liked, everybody talk about her and nobody (beside her boyfriend/friend) talks to her. She doesn't like Mike because in her opinion someone who gets along with everybody probably doesn't have much depth and Mike doesn't like her because of how she dresses and acts and because the whole school doesn't. then he starts following her on twitter and there they get along well but not in real life, then an accident occur and their contact with each other increase and before long they start snogging and make out even though they don't like each other that much.

There's a lot happening- we get to see Mike's perfect family and Jeane's broken one. They form some sort of friendship with benefits that they keep a secret and soon Mike realize that maybe Jeane is as big as she says she is, and Jeane starts to see that maybe there's more to Mike then just his pretty face and friendliness (BTW, they are both smart).

From what I just described this is just another summer read. And it is, totally. Then the question is what is there to like about this book?

The answer is simple. 

First of all Sarra Manning created two characters that have many faults, they annoyed me more than once I dare say that even after the book ended I didn't find myself liking them too much if at all (I'm still debating) But they sounded like teens, they felt like teens and they talked like teens and it didn't feel forced to me. Manning also described the internet world wonderfully- but I'll get there soon. More importantly there was no slut shaming at all. Not even a tiny bit. Jeane has many admirable sides- I'm not sure if her sexual experience is vast but even so she was open about it, she was confident about herself in bed and she expressed her needs without being even a little embarrassed. The book doesn't dwell on the sexual and relationship part too much, and it doesn't preach but it shows all those things- that in a relationship a friendship and trust are important, that you need to care about the other, that you need to be accepted as yourself and it's important to feel comfortable and express your wants and needs. You may say such things are not important but I still wait for the moment in which the paranormal and dystopian sides of the YA books would also portray such relationships with no abuse and stupid Mary Sues and stalkerish violent boys. On that level the chick lit genre is doing the best in my opinion.

As I said I didn't like the MCs too much- both Mike and Jeane are arrogant fools. And I wanted to smack each of them more than once but they were also very rounded and I liked that. Truthfully, Jeane was more rounded on that regard and Mike was okay mostly, his POV was fine though I read better male's POV. There was one thing that got constantly on my nerves- Jeane's feminism, now, wait! I do not go against feminists in any way but one part of Jeane's feminism made her regard the opposite sex in a disrespectful tone that I didn't like one bit. Feminist have worked hard for women to have the same rights as men and be treated with respect at their own right, when I see a (supposed) feminist that treats the opposite sex or some women with less respect because of their gender or their tendencies- like women who decide to be a housewife- I get mad. Jeane isn't that bad, but she does make comments about training Mike and Barni (her ex) and on how weak willed Scarlett is that I saw as distasteful.

Now to the second part of the book- the whole blogger thingie. I'm new to it- when I read the book I was even newer. Manning portrays the whole "life on the net" thing wonderfully so even those who do not understand it can relate and understand and learn something new. While reading this book I actually had this urge to make people I debated with on the subject to read it, so that they'll understand. Also there's the oldest debate on the subject- net life vs. real life. Mike is more real life and Jeane is more net life- or so it seems at first, and Jeane is lonely at times. But on this day and age net life is part of real life- your friend through the net are still your friend a "total stranger on the net" can understand you on some levels better than your friends back home. Those two worlds are important, needed and real. Many times over people feel free to expose some parts of them on the net- they learn to be themselves and they meet a person like them that accepts them for who they are, that is a valuable lesson. And that is Manning's message- be yourself, both worlds are real. And frankly, IMO, I think we need to learn how to live in both because well- the world is growing smaller.

p.s. in the book there's a conference that talks about all kind of things that regard the future. Jeane has a speech in that conference- and her speech is worth reading with tons of remarks about the Y generation. .
       It's a good book, a really good one. One I'll probably re-read again in the future.


this review can also be found here

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West book review by Sharon

Author: Kasie West
Release Date: July 2nd 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 320
Rating; 4.5 stars
Buy at: Barnes and Noble, Amazon

"Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about."


On a first glance, the Distance Between Us is the your typical summer chick lit read. Only a YA one (adults are allowed to enjoy too). 
Really when I first saw the book I thought it would be Boy meets Girl and summer love. In many ways it is. The formulated part of the genre is executed exactly that way - down to how the MC and the boy don't get along immediately 

But you see, this one book this particular book is very different to me. Why? 

Because….well, I prepared a list! 

1. The doll shop- yes, Caymen and her mother own a doll shop- those porcelain 'freakish-that-totally-give-me-nightmares' dolls. 

2. Caymen and her mother are really poor and you're not only told of that fact but shown as well. e.g: the fact that most of the dolls boxes are empty, when her mother buys juice Caymen is really surprised, and their meals do not consist of meat

3. Susan, aka Caymen's mom, so yeah, I kind of saw the big revelation about her in the end coming. That woman gave birth to a child out of wedlock, got cut off her family and she hates rich people. But you know what? She's a selfish little twat, she goes after her passion (by having a doll shop), she raises her daughter in the kind of stressing poor environment, she's irresponsible and actually expects her teenage daughter to help her in the shop and inherit it from her afterwards without thinking that her daughter might have other dreams. I'm sorry but that pure selfishness and even though I presented it more or less in an exaggerated way that doesn't change the bottom line. I didn't love Caymen's mom, but I did like her a little because she raised a wonderful daughter and she was very realistic. 

4. Xander- he's the rich boy, the one that helps Caymen see that even though many of the stereotypes she had on rich people are true rich people are still human and can still be very charming, lovely and fun to be with. You see he had his faults and I wanted to punch him a few times, he acted like a spoiled little brat sometimes in a way he was ignorant to the fact that some people just live differently. He also bordered on stalker with meeting her every morning before she went to school. But since Caymen didn't mind it, I didn't either. 

5. Skye- Caymen's best friend. She was a good friend and one rarely seen in most YA books, actually I encountered such a good BF only twice before one on the Kate Daniels series (yes, Ellis it's directed to you) and the second on Going La La (by Alexandra Potter- a lovely summer read) but I haven't read that much contemporary or chick-lit so maybe I'm the one at fault. Also her boyfriend was a good boy and they fitted each other. 

6. The friendship- the friendship between Caymen and Xander with their little rituals and how they got to know each other better was really great (in many ways I liked them better that way)

7. The relationship- there wasn't much of it but for a standalone the romance still developed at a decent enough pace as well as slowly enough. There was immediate attraction but not insta-love. Also, the time Xander was courting Caymen he did that gently, he was going all macho with a violent attitude, and the little occasional touch was really sweet. 

8. This leads me to the most important part- Caymen. I LOVE YOU CAYMEN! Caymen easily makes it to the list of my Beloved Female Characters of All Times right there with Anne (from persuasion) and Kate Daniels. She's rational, she loves science, she's mature, funny and sarcastic and I just loved her from the first sentence. She was human in her reactions and actions. She had to balance between helping her mother and living her own life and she did that well (with Xander's help). She was funny and I related to her a lot- in many ways she reminded me of myself. Why? Because her rational and analitic side is very much like me, as well as her funny childish side that decided to pull a prank on Xander. I related to her more than I thought I would. You see from an early age I knew what I wanted to do and I what I wanted to be and Caymen supposedly didn't know- and I thought she and I would have a problem on that point, but she did know and she was only denying it for a while for the sake of her mom. Caymen needed to accept the fact that she doesn't want in on the family business BUT she doesn't want that business to stop (Xander had the same problem more or less), and I relate to that cause my family has a business too one which I grew up in and I love dearly but I'm not sure how I fit in and right now the path I choose doesn't put me in for at least the next several years. I could relate to Caymen on that part.

9. I really loved the "career days" the Caymen and Xander did to each other- you want to know more? READ THIS BOOK

10. Yes, in a way things were more or less tied up very neatly at the end, but not so neatly to my taste and I felt that this was just the part where we needed to part with Caymen, her story continues off the pages and I hope it's happy one (or I'll kill you Xander)

So all in all, I really loved this book, it was a fast, fun fantastic read that kept me smiling most of the part and even the drama ilma was written without too much drama and tears and I appreciated that a lot (I don't like it when the drama is too dramatic, which is why me and Shakespeare never got along too well).

It is not 5 starts cause as I mentioned I still had issues, and they made hot chocolate with water, which is a big no no!


p.s.1 this review is also posted here

p.s.2  to see how to make good hot chocolate visit here :D