Book Review: Switched

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

First sentence: "A pool of drool unceremoniously spilled out across my desk, and I had opened my eyes just in time to hear Mr. Meade slam a dictionary down on the table."

"When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of."

My take: Someone asked me if I had read this book and when I did a search for the title online, I found that the whole book was available to read over at Scribd. I usually try to avoid reading books online or in any other electronic format, just because I'm set in my ways and prefer the good old fashioned feel of a book in my hands. But, I started reading the book and found that I was enjoying it, so I read the whole thing yesterday in between loads of laundry. It wasn't fabulous. But it was good enough to hold my interest making me want to see what happens next. Of course, this is just book one in the Trylle trilogy. Now, I have to get the next book to see what happens. It ended in a good place, but there is still so much more to be learned. I found, with the online version, there are several typos. I wrong word in places, an omitted or extra word in others. But I'm sure the printed version has been corrected. I recommend you read the book if you like sassy heroines.

If you've reviewed the book, leave a comment here and I'll post a link to your review!

Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (July 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1453688935
ISBN-13: 978-1453688939

My rating: C


The Bestsellers
Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland Last Week

The following were the bestselling titles at independent bookstores in and around Chicago during the week ended Sunday, January 23:

Hardcover Fiction

1. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
2. Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland
3. The Empty Family by Colm Toibin
4. Room by Emma Donoghue
5. A Lonely Death by Charles Todd

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
2. Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand
3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
4. The Best of America's Test Kitchen by America's Test Kitchen
5. Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain

Paperback Fiction

1. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Ellen Simonson
2. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
3. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
4. True Grit by Charles Portis
5. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Paperback Nonfiction

1. Just Kids by Patti Smith
2. Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott
3. Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love by Andrew Shaffer
4. The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut
5. Heart and Soul of the Cubs: Ron Santo by Chicago Tribune


1. Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama
2. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip and Erin Stead
3. Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer
4. Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
5. The Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game by John Feinstein

Reporting bookstores: Anderson's, Naperville and Downers Grove; Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock; the Book Table, Oak Park; the Book Cellar, Lincoln Square; Lake Forest Books, Lake Forest; the Bookstall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka; and 57th St. Books; Seminary Co-op; Women and Children First, Chicago.

Could Not Finish

It may seem like I haven't been reading up to my potential. Or reading as many books as I normally do. That's because the last 2 books I picked up to read -- I could not get into them at all.

I really wanted to love "Return the Heart" by T.K. Richardson. It got good reviews everywhere I looked. Everyone raved about how well written the book was. I'm sorry. And I shouldn't have to apologize for not liking a book or an author, but... I could not get into this book and I thought the writing was atrocious. In fact, I think the idea for the story was magnificent. I just could not get into the book and part of that reason was I didn't think the writing was very good.

The other book, "Dream Spinner" by Bonnie Dobkin started out awesome. Sucked me right into the storyline. But somewhere around 70 pages later I was started wrinkling up my nose thinking that the book just wasn't going to hold my interest any longer. The writing was better in this one, it was the storyline that fell short this time around.

So, there you have it. Two books I started to read, wanted to love and couldn't.

If you've read either book and have anything more kind to say about them, let me know and I'll post a link to your review.

Book Review: Full Dark, No Stars

Book Review: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

From the front flap: "I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger..." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922," the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

In "Big Driver," a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

"Fair Extension," the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.

When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It's a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage."

My take: I hadn't read any King in a long time. I like his work but sometimes he can be a bit too wordy for my taste. So, reading his short stories is a nice change of pace. In "Full Dark, No Stars" there are 4 short stories. Of the four, my favorite was the final one in the book. "A Good Marriage." Though they are short Stephen King stories, the are by no means any less entertaining or gruesome. There is violence, rape, and horror. By no means is this for the faint of heart. But true Stephen King fans will love this book and true horror fans will love it as well.

If you've reviewed the book, leave a comment here and I'll post a link to your review!

Watcha Readin' Books?
The Book Nerd Club

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (November 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1439192561
ISBN-13: 978-1439192566

My Rating: A

New Year's Reading Resolutions - Winner!

We have a winner!!! I've never seen #1 come up, but I'm sure that BLHmistress will be happy it did! I have notified the winner via email. Congrats and thank you to everyone who took the time to stop by and enter.

Book Review: Lily Dale Awakening

Book Review: Lily Dale Awakening by Wendy Corsi Staub

First sentence: "Here are the random thoughts that run through Calla Delaney's numb brain as she stands tearfully at her mother's burial service, flanked by her father and grandmother."

From the front flap: "Calla thought that her boyfriend breaking up with her in a text message was the worst thing that could ever happen to her. But just two weeks later, her mother died in a freak accident, and life as she knew it was completely over. Suddenly, Calla is spending the end of the summer with the grandmother she barely knows in her mother's hometown of Lily Dale.

To her shock, the town is full of psychics -- including her grandmother. The longer she stays in Lily Dale, the stranger things become. Calla starts to experience unusual visions and unsettling events that lead her to wonder whether she has inherited her grandmother's unique gift -- and to question just who her mother really was. Staying in Lily Dale is the only way to uncover her family's secrets. But will Calla be able to deal with what she learns about her mother's past and her own future?"

My take: I read this in a few hours. I really enjoyed it. Of course, the community of Lily Dale fascinates me and I think it would be a great place to visit. This is the first book in a series and I am anxious to get my hands on the rest of them. There are several things going on at one time to keep you guessing. Two different guys in the picture and another one from the past. What really happened to Calla's mother? What does Calla's grandmother know that she's not telling? What is the secret about the lake? You won't get the answers in this book, and will need to read the other books in the series to get the answers. This book isn't really a stand alone book. It's a good beginning to the rest of the story.

If you've reviewed the book, leave a comment here and I'll post a link to your review!

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (August 21, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802796540

My Rating: B

New Year's Reading Resolutions

New Year's Reading Resolutions

An advanced reading copy of Joan Frances Turner's "Dust." One lucky winner will win this book! Just comment above and I will choose the winner when the contest is over! I will contact you via email -- so be sure to leave your email. You will then have 48 hours to respond!

Good luck!

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