Posted by: Kelley | October 5, 2011

We’ve moved! is our new address. Curse you, Albert Cabrera, Pllc!!

Posted by: shelleybean1 | October 4, 2011

Shamelessly shopping for germs…

So what kind of book do YOU want to read?

That’s what I keep asking myself as I try to get inspired for NaNoWriMo, or NNWM, as Kelley insists we call it. So far, none of my potential little idea germs is intriguing me enough to make me want to write a short story, much less a whole novel.

Thus, here I am humbly, wretchedly, shamelessly begging you to share your germs with me!

Posted by: Kelley | October 2, 2011

Fairest – Gail Carson Levine

Fairest is a (very, very loose) retelling of Snow White. In fact, it’s so incredibly loosely based on Snow White that I kept forgetting what fairytale it’s supposed to be about. Our heroine is Aza, and she’s the adopted daughter of innkeepers. She was left in their inn when she was a baby, they raised her as a daughter, blah blah.

Now here’s a sort of interesting thing about Fairest: Aza is ugly. That’s quite a departure from other fairy tales, right? …Except that you know from the moment you find out she’s ugly that she’s not going to be ugly at the end of the book. Really, the ugly thing got pretty tedious, cause Aza was always whining about it. Of course Aza has a special skill though – she’s the best singer in the world – and she learns early on how to throw her voice (she calls it illusing). The voice throwing (an impossible skill for humans to perform, apparently?) is the basis for the kinda contrived conflict that comes later. There’s  also a queen who is jealous of anyone prettier than herself, and yet another poorly-written prince whose only real asset seems to be that he’s a prince. Yawn.

A weird thing is the whole singing aspect. The story takes place in Ayortha, which is next to whatever country Ella was from, and Ayorthaians sing everything, in a way that reads like very bad poetry. They run around having composing contests, singing to heal people, and singing randomly in normal conversation. It is weird and unnecessary.

The only things that I noticed that had anything to do with Snow White were the fact that the heroine had very black hair, very white skin, and very red lips (these were also the reasons she was ugly, BTW), and also a mirror that talked was mentioned a few times. Oh, and she did at one point get fed a poison apple, too, but that was so unimportant to the story that I almost missed it. Oh, and there are no dwarves whatsoever.

Despite all of my complaints, I like the way this author writes, and this was a quick, fun, lighthearted read. Retellings of famous stories fascinate me but sadly this wasn’t quite as good as Ella Enchanted.

Posted by: shelleybean1 | October 2, 2011


Image by nataliesap via Flickr

So, I’ve been toying with this idea of “joining” NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) for a few years but just never had the time. (I know, I know, excuses…) It’s always been a dream of mine to write an actual book, but as much as I love reading books and writing …stuff, the two somehow never seem to mesh for me.

Maybe I’m too lazy and give up to soon. Maybe life intervenes.  Maybe I’m just paralyzed that whatever I write will end up being utter crap. Maybe…well, I’m out of excuses.

So maybe, instead of reviewing books here in the month of November, I’ll actually be updating you on my own 🙂

Posted by: shelleybean1 | September 28, 2011

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

Faced with the prospect of an entire day in a doctor’s office waiting room and having misplaced the book I was currently reading, The Book Thief, I had to quickly pick something else from my overflowing bookshelf. The Wednesday Letters had been on the shelf for a year or two and I’d never even picked it up. I’m not even sure when or where I bought it, but it was up front, and I was in a hurry.

In spite of all that, it was a good choice as it certainly held my interest all day, and I was able to breeze through all of the novel’s 280 pages in one sitting. It’s the type of inspirational romance that reminds me of one of Mitch Albom’s unapologetically sentimental novellas. Unlike The Five People You Meet in Heaven or For One More Day, however, it left me feeling less like I’d just been forcibly hit over the head with a quasi-emotional epiphany. It had its cheesy moments, certainly, and it does take its readers on an emotional roller coaster. (I even cried at a couple of parts– this is rare.)

That said, it had very real, believeable characters that I quickly came to care about. I really didn’t want Malcolm to go to jail, I detested Nathan, and I rooted for Sammie. I laughed at Anna Belle, respected Rain’s dedication to the family even if I didn’t understand her romantic decisions, and worried about how the two main characters were ever going to live happily ever after by the end. The titular marital letters between Jack and Laurel felt personal and romantic; the interactions between the siblings rang true and gave their relationships depth. A few less plausible scenarios were minor and didn’t detract from the overall plot.

You’d also think that the decidedly Christian undertones would turn me off. (I usually find overtly Christian stories sappy, contrived, and too preachy.) Fortunately, while those topics were present, they were handled tastefully and not heavy-handedly.

All in all, it ended up being quite a poignant read that left just the right amount of unanswered questions for the reader to fill in. While it might not be the type of life-changing book I’ll remember forever, it had enough of the requisite happy ending that it made an otherwise mind-numbingly boring day quite enjoyable.

Posted by: Kelley | September 23, 2011

This is Michelle being diplomatic.

Michelle: Love your graphic for the new post. That was a really great idea! But…what does it mean exactly? All books ever on kindle? That you’ve downloaded? Read? And what are wildcard/witches? Wizards?

Kelley: omg, did you pick those phrases from your first paragraph off of a “how to not wreck the self esteem of dumb kids” teacher book? I was working on that post last night for forever, tying in her undoubtedly magicky YA books with the stupid vampire/werewolf thing, and it kept evolving and it was still not quite right, and then I got bored, deleted all but the first paragraph, and posted it. 🙂 FINE, I’ll edit it tonight!

This was the offending post.

And Wildcards is an enormous series by George R. R. Martin, about superheroes who…play cards or something, that he’s been writing for like 20 years and which he seems to think is worth delaying ASoIaF, but he is wrong.

I never did edit my post, either.
I’m lazy.
I’m doing this instead.

Posted by: shelleybean1 | September 22, 2011

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Hmmm…what to say about this book? Well, first off, it is delivered in a clever and underused format. The use of vintage photos as a framework for a story, in this case a ghosty/monster/time travel story, seems refreshing and new. However, the pictures aren’t entirely creepy enough to carry the plot and there isn’t enough plot to keep this reader interested.

Or maybe the problem is too many plots. In fact, I felt like there were several very good books started here, but none of these kernel stories were carried through. Is this a story of a supernatural set of kids surviving in a far off land where they were abandoned for being different? That would make a good story, but it’s not really this story. Is it the story of an awkward, disillusioned teen who struggles to find himself after facing his grandfather’s suspicious homicide? Yes, but not exactly. Is it a time travel thriller in which the boy falls for his grandfather’s old lover with the added complication that she is still a child? Maybe it tried to be, but it really didn’t end up there either. Is it a monster mystery in which the kids must hide from creatures who want to harvest them for… well, I don’t know what? Yep, been there, tried that too.

Another place the novel falls short is in answering all the questions it raises:

What is the deal with those darn clowny twins?

Why do they “need” Jacob’s power and how is it so life-changing?

What is up with that cryptic message from dying Grandpa? Read More…

Posted by: Kelley | September 16, 2011


Philippa Gregory has signed a deal to write 4 young adult novels. I’m sure they’ll be historical romance with a fantasy/magic element, so not really much different than her previous books.

I just hope there are no vampires or werewolves.

Posted by: Kelley | September 12, 2011

this is an awfully racy book cover.

That is all.

image from

Posted by: Kelley | September 11, 2011

The Nanny Diaries – Emma McLaughlin

This was one of several books I read while spending a week at the beach (I’m actually sitting on the beach right now). I guess I enjoyed it, there were a few really funny parts. I felt that the characters were poorly developed though – except for the Xs – including:

-HH: this guy was sort of a dick, and she seemed to only like him because he was cute.
-everyone in Nanny’s family: what was up with the rich grandmother? why was she even in the series?
-Nanny’s friends: sarah? blue-haired Josh? Charlene who kicked her out and btw, did Nanny ever find a place to live? Did any of them have a point?
-Grayer: he instantly went from a brat to a great kid…how?
-Nanny herself: perhaps the most poorly developed of them all. I could not figure out her motivation for doing the things she did. Why did she let them treat her that way?

Most of those characters I felt didn’t even need to be mentioned in the book – they added nothing to the story. But sometimes random detailed facts about them were thrown in that left me wondering if this was the second book of a series or something, because it was as if the author expected me to know/care already. I really enjoyed the parts with Grayer, though, and the (sad) tales of the macrobiotic food, French lessons, super clean apartment, etc.

Basically I thought it was a good concept with terrible implementation and writing.

I just found out there’s a sequel, I’m gonna have to hunt that down. It sounds…not good, though.

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