Saturday, 28 May 2011 | By: Nicole @ Nicole About TOwn

In My Mailbox #3/Mailbox Monday: May 22-29, 2011 Edition

So once again In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday have been combined into one post this week.  I think that I am going to keep them this way for all future posts.

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren.  Mailbox Monday is being hosted this month over at Mari Reads.  The purpose of both meme’s is pretty much the same thing.  They highlight books that you have received in your mailbox over the past week.  I must say that I keep receiving a lot of books and I really love it.  For the books that I received that have not been released yet, I will give you the synopsis of the books and not just the names.

So here is what I received this week:

From NetGalley

Title: The Devil Colony
Author: James Rollins
Release Date: June 21, 2011

Deep in the Rocky Mountains, a gruesome discovery—hundreds of mummified bodies—stirs international attention and fervent controversy. Despite doubts about the bodies' origins, the local Native American Heritage Commission lays claim to the prehistoric remains, along with the strange artifacts found in the same cavern: gold plates inscribed with an unfathomable script.

During a riot at the dig site, an anthropologist dies horribly, burned to ashes in a fiery explosion in plain view of television cameras. All evidence points to a radical group of Native Americans, including one agitator, a teenage firebrand who escapes with a vital clue to the murder and calls on the one person who might help—her uncle, Painter Crowe, Director of Sigma Force.

To protect his niece and uncover the truth, Painter will ignite a war among the nation's most powerful intelligence agencies. Yet an even greater threat looms as events in the Rocky Mountains have set in motion a frightening chain reaction, a geological meltdown that threatens the entire western half of the U.S. From the volcanic peaks of Iceland to the blistering deserts of the American Southwest, from the gold vaults of Fort Knox to the bubbling geysers of Yellowstone, Painter Crowe joins forces with Commander Gray Pierce to penetrate the shadowy heart of a dark cabal, one that has been manipulating American history since the founding of the thirteen colonies. But can Painter discover the truth—one that could topple governments—before it destroys all he holds dear?

I love James Rollins books.  More specifically, I love books in his Sigma Series and this is number seven.  I have been waiting for this one for a while so look out for the review very soon.

Review: Skinny

Skinny by Diana SpechlerTitle: Skinny
Author: Dian Spechler
Genre: Fiction & Literature
Age Restriction: PG
Pages: 368
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Source: Digital Galley from NetGalley
Rating: 2*

[Goodreads | Amazon]


After her father’s death, twenty-six-year-old Gray Lachmann finds herself compulsively eating. Desperate to stop bingeing, she abandons her life in New York City for a job at a southern weight-loss camp. There, caught among the warring egos of her devious co-counselor, Sheena; the self-aggrandizing camp director, Lewis; his attractive assistant, Bennett; and a throng of combative teenage campers, she is confronted by a captivating mystery: her teenage half-sister, Eden, whom Gray never knew existed. Now, while unraveling her father’s lies, Gray must tackle her own self-deceptions and take control of her body and her life. Visceral, poignant, and often wickedly funny, Skinny illuminates a young woman’s struggle to make sense of the link between hunger and emotion, and to make peace with her demons, her body, and herself.

My Thoughts

I received a digital copy for review from NetGalley. I really, really wanted to like this book, but was unable to find anything about the book that I liked personally which was very disappointing.  The premise sounded both interesting and witty and it was a topic that I have never really read about before.  From the moment we are introduced to the main character, she lacks any kind of personality and comes across as unbelievably whiny and self-absorbed.

It's not very often that after I have read a book that I find myself still asking what the point of the entire thing was.   Gray finds herself at as a counsellor at a Fat Camp for kids, ironically run by some fat people themselves.  From the descriptions Gray, she is about 15-20 pounds over weight and not really fat herself.  I will not spoil one of the other reasons about why she is at the camp. but needless to say, it is not an environment that she needs to be in.  She rather bizarrely blames herself for her father's death from a massive heart attack, even though he was morbidly obese by all descriptions.  Rather than deal with her grief, she begins binge eating and as such puts on those dreaded 15 pounds.

Rather than get professional help to get to the underlying reasons for her binge eating, she takes herself and her unhealthy mindset to the fat camp where she is supposed to be helping kids.   Then comes the casual sex, and cheating on the boyfriend who genuinely cares for her and is waiting for her at home.  I'm not really down with this skinny. shallow and unstable girl being put in a position of authority over children who need genuine help to make healthy changes to their lifestyle.  Gray would have been better off on a psychiatrist's couch getting much-needed help for inability to cope in a productive fashion when life doesn't go her way.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 | By: Nicole @ Nicole About TOwn

Review: Not My Daughter

Title: Not My Daughter
Author: Barbara Delinsky
Genre: Fiction & Literature
Age Restriction: PG
Series: None
Pages: 368
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 1*

[Goodreads | Amazon]


When Susan Tate's seventeen-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an unimaginable tragedy for both Lily and herself.

Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school juniors who happen to be Lily's best friends-and the town turns to talk of a pact. As fingers start pointing, the most ardent criticism is directed at Susan. As principal of the high school, she has always been held up as a role model of hard work and core values. Now her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother, perhaps not worthy of the job of shepherding impressionable students. As Susan struggles with the implications of her daughter's pregnancy, her job, financial independence, and long-fought-for dreams are all at risk.

The emotional ties between mothers and daughters are stretched to breaking in this emotionally wrenching story of love and forgiveness. Once again, Barbara Delinsky has given us a powerful novel, one that asks a central question: What does it take to be a good mother?   

My Thoughts

This had to be one of the most unrealistic books I have read in a long time.  The characters weren't at all believable and I had a hard time just finishing the book it was so absurd.  The idea that girls would get pregnant for the hell of it and the parent just sit idly by and pretty much let them run roughshod over them is insane to me.  Not to mention the whole getting pregnant as part of a pact.

This is one book where I feel that the author is very out of touch with today's teenagers, their mentality, or their reasons for doing anything.  There are very few teenagers out there who would say that I am going to get pregnant for the sake of getting pregnant.  You may find one of them, but to find a group of them operating under that mentality is just insane.  Not to mention, it says far more about the parents and their parenting skills if their children are 'convinced' to do something like that for the sake of the pact.

There is also an overwhelming lack of personal responsibility and maturity shown by the teens in this book.  That they thought that they were going to do this, in a town that has such puritanical views, and no one would be upset just screams that they are out of touch with the reality of their situation.  On top of that, we have a bunch of parents, who never express any real anger at the situation.  The express disappointment in the girls, but no consequences are implied (apart from the obvious one of being pregnant).  It's like there are no rules, and no consequences for breaking said rules.  I don't know, maybe I would be happier if someone had yelled, and told the girls how they have ruined their lives.  Of course, this does not happen.

Then you have the whole aspect of the town wanting to blame the entire thing on the mother of one of the girls, because she is the school principal who opened a clinic in the school to prevent this very thing from happening.  Did I also forget to mention that she had her daughter at 17 as well?  It is surely a case of history repeating itself, at least in the eyes of some of the school board, but in reality, this isn't the case.  She never intended to become pregnant when she was 17 (like so many other teen moms), was disowned by her parents and struggled to do it all pretty much on her own.  She has demonstrated to her daughter that being a single parent is not easy, and that there are struggles to overcome and sacrifices to make.  What she forgot to do was to actually be the parent and set some ground rules and give her daughter a dose of reality.  I find her reaction the hardest to stomach, as someone who has been where her daughter is and knows how hard it is.  For that reason, she should have been the most upset and disappointed that all her sacrifices were in vain (and that her daughter appears to be the most out of touch with reality).

All in all, there was nothing about this book that I would recommend to someone else.  Scratch that!  I would recommend it as a manual of what no to do in case your 16 year old daughter comes home and tells you she is pregnant and expects you to be happy about it.
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 | By: Nicole @ Nicole About TOwn

Waiting on Wednesday # 3: Tris & Izzie

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.  Basically, it’s a chance to highlight one of the many books that you want to read but hasn’t been released just yet.

My Waiting on Wednesday pick for this week is…

Tris & Izzie

By: Mette Ivie Harrison

Publication Date: October 11, 2011

From the Goodreads website

A modern retelling of the German fairytale "Tristan and Isolde", Tris and Izzie is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until -- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school.

For some reason, the books that I have been looking forward to lately have been a mixture of YA novels.  I guess with work and studying, I need some lighter reading.  I can't wait for this book.  I am especially loving re-told or re-imagined versions of timeless classics lately, and this seems like another fabulous one to add to the pile.  I must say, that I really did fall in love with the cover and that is what initially caught my eye.

What are you waiting for this Wednesday?
Monday, 23 May 2011 | By: Nicole @ Nicole About TOwn

In My Mailbox #2/Mailbox Monday: May 15-21, 2011 Edition

So I decided to do a combined In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday post this week.  I may continue doing it this way from now on.

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren.  Mailbox Monday is being hosted this month over at Mari Reads.  The purpose of both meme's is pretty much the same thing.  They highlight books that you have received in your mailbox over the past week.  I must say that I keep receiving a lot of books and I really love it.

Here is what I received this week.

1. Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon

2. Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

3. Memoirs of a Bitch by Francesca Petrizzo

4. Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

5. When you Dare by Lori Foster

6. Numbers by Rachel Ward

7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

8. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

9. Cleopatra: A Novel by Stacy Schiff

10. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

11. Abandon by Meg Cabot

12. Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

13. Ain't No Sunshine by Kimberley A. Johnson & Ann Werner

All of the books were bought by me apart from Ain't No Sunshine which was sent to me for review by the author.

What did you get in your mailbox this week?
Friday, 20 May 2011 | By: Nicole @ Nicole About TOwn

Follow Friday

Welcome to Follow Friday & Blogger Hop.  So I am a bit new to this whole thing, so leave me a comment and I will see you at your blog!

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop Question of the Week:

"If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?"

For me it would be Ancient Rome.  More specifcally the Ancient Rome found in Kate Quinn's Daughters of Rome.  I am a big history buff, and I find this period in Ancient Rome fascinating.  I mean the year of four Emperor's, just imagine how much you could have witness to during that period.  Especially as the four Emperor's were such vastly different men and would have changed the tone of Rome, for however short a period they were in power, based on their own personal whims.
Tuesday, 17 May 2011 | By: Nicole @ Nicole About TOwn

Waiting on Wednesday #2: Juliet Immortal

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.  Basically, it's a chance to highlight one of the many books that you want to read but hasn't been released just yet.

My Waiting on Wednesday pick for this week is...

Juliet Immortal

By: Stacey Jay

Publication Date: August 9, 2011

From the Author's Website:

"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But Romeo didn't anticipate that Juliet would be granted eternal life, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light.

For 700 years, Juliet has struggled to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent, while Romeo has fought for the dark side, seeking to destroy the human heart. Until now.

Now Juliet has found her own forbidden love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy their happiness.

Doesn't that sound interesting?  Romeo and Juliet was the first Shakespearean play that I ever read (back when I was eight) and it's still one of my favourites (call me sentimental).  Can't say that I have ever heard of it having this twist before, which is what it makes it so much more interesting to me.

What is your Waiting on Wednesday pick this week?
Sunday, 15 May 2011 | By: Nicole @ Nicole About TOwn

In My Mailbox #1: May 8 - 14, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

So it's been a pretty busy week for me.  I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing yet.  All in all, it looks like there will be plenty of reviews on this first week of the blog.  Lucky for me that I have already read 3 of the books and just have to write up the reviews.

Here is what I received this week.

The Poet Prince by Kathleen McGowan
The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke
Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
Incendiary by Chris Cleave
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
The Library of the Dead by Glen Cooper
Book of Souls by Glen Cooper
The Lincoln Lawyer (Movie Tie-In) by Michael Connelly
Something Borrowed (Movie Tie-In) by Emily Giffin
Water for Elephants (Movie Tie-In) by Sara Gruen
Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

Books 1-6 seem to be pretty heavy, in terms of subject matter.  Still I think it's a good mix,  but this pile might take me a bit.  Books 7-12 are the lighter reading pile.  Evidenced by the fact that I have already read 3 books out of this pile already.  Yay, me!

As you can see I got few movie tie-in versions of the books.  I did this because they are in mass market paperback format and much easier to carry in my bag and because I really had no interest in these books before I saw the movie previews.  I am one of those people who can't see a movie that is based on a book before I have read the book.  So I picked up the books after seeing and liking the previews for the Lincoln Lawyer, Something Borrowed, and Water for Elephants.  Must resist watching movies until the books are finished.

All of these books were purchased by me.  Good thing I have a full-time job to support my book habit.

Till next week!

Review: Generation Kill

Title: Generation Kill
Author: Evan Wright
Genre: Non-Fiction, Military, War, Contemporary
Age restriction? PG-13
Series: None
Pages: 368
Publisher: Berkley Caliber
Release Date: February 1, 2004
My Rating: 4 Stars

[Goodreads | Amazon]


Generation Kill follows the twenty-three Marines of First Recon, in a platoon that spearheaded the blitzkrieg on Iraq. This elite unit, nicknamed "First Suicide Battalion," took the fight directly to the enemy by racing ahead of American battle forces, literally driving into suspected ambush points from the opening days of the invasion until after the fall of Baghdad. 

Author Evan Wright was embedded for two months with this group and saw frequent action, never leaving the side of the battle-hardened team. In one thirty-day stretch they participated in violent engagement nearly every day. He was welcomed into their ranks - even offered a weapon. From this bird's-eye perspective Wright tells the unsettling story of young men trained by their country to become ruthless killers. He chronicles all the triumph and horror - physical, moral, emotional and spiritual - that these Marines endured." 

Like such works as Michael Herr's Dispatches and Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers, Wright's book is a portrait of a generation. There is Sergeant Colbert, the icy professional who somehow manages to keep this ragged fraternity together; Corporal Trombley, the shy one who develops a taste for killing; Lieutenant Fick, the Ivy League graduate who would challenge his commander but never break faith with his men; and Captain America, the swaggering, out-of-control commander who is later investigated for war crimes.

My Thoughts

Ok, so this book has become my recent obsession. You see, I have this thing for war books, specifically modern war books. Generation Kill is one of the better modern war books that I have read in a long time. It's not a cautionary tale, or even a tale about the difficulty of military life. This is just simply the story of the First Recon Battalion of the United States Marine Core and their experience in the opening days of the war in Iraq.

Told by Evan Wright, a staff reporter at Rolling Stone Magazine, the book originally started as a series of articles back in 2003 called "The Killer Elite". The articles spawned the book and more recently the critically acclaimed 8 part HBO series (here's looking at you Alexander Skarsgard and Rudy Reyes).

The book itself is actually quite funny, and more often than not, without even trying to be. I frequently found myself laughing out loud while reading it. This of course has now lead to everyone on my train route thinking I'm insane for finding anything funny in a book titled "Generation Kill". All in all, this is a great book and I would recommend it to anyone. I guarantee that after reading it, you will have a hard time not telling everyone to "stay frosty"
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 | By: Nicole @ Nicole About TOwn

Waiting on Wednesday: Crushed Seraphim

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.  Basically, it's a chance to highlight one of the many books that you want to read but hasn't been released just yet.

My Waiting on Wednesday pick for this week is...

Crushed Seraphim

By: Debra Anastasia

Publication Date: May 17, 2011

From the Omnific Website

How does a foul-mouthed angel end up as the last hope for all of Heaven and Earth?

When Seraph Emma is maimed and tossed from Heaven by a rogue angel who's taken charge, she fears she'll never be allowed to return. Tasked with the impossible job of showing the self-loathing (and not even human!) Jason his worth, Emma is sure she's doomed to fail.

Meanwhile, having wormed his way into Heaven, the corrupt Everett has trapped God in Hell and has designs on unleashing evil everywhere. Fortunately, if there's one thing Emma can't do (in addition to minding her language), it's give up. Determined to save Jason and get back to Heaven-even if it means going to Hell-Emma's plan is simple yet impossible: trick the Devil to save God.

What she doesn't count on is the devotion and, well, humanity she finds in Jason; the spirit, hidden compassion, and raw sex appeal within the Devil; and the vulnerability of her own heart. With the help of two unlikely allies, she'll wage the battle for Heaven. But will Emma be sidetracked by a new sort of heaven along the way?

What's truly more dangerous? Falling from Heaven, or falling in love?

Debra Anastasia has twisted a fast-paced tale of intimate relationships with literally universal impact. Rich with humor and electrified by attraction, this novel offers a playfully off-beat take on the good and evil that make up the world.

What is your Waiting on Wednesday pick this week?