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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Best of 2013 Giveaway Hop

2013 saw some really great releases from all kinds of authors- some debuting their first novel and some their tenth. Today, for you, I have a list of the my top five favourite books of 2013 and some lucky person gets to pick one to take home and enjoy for themselves.

Thanks so much to the hosts of this Giveaway Hop:

The Prizes:

1) Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (My Thoughts)
2) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (My Thoughts)
3) Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano (My Thoughts)
4) Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (My Thoughts)
5) Altered by Jennifer Rush (My Thoughts)

The Rules:

  • This giveaway is open internationally as long as the book depo ships to your country.  
  • Just fill out the Rafflecopter below.
  • Make sure to check out all the other blogs participating in this hop- links below! 
  • Good look everyone! 

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR

I love making TBR lists and with the exception of the Fall TBR I have been pretty successful with TBR lists. But maybe this time, it will be better.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish.

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

1) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak- I have had this book on my shelf for a looooooong time. But I haven't been putting it off. But with the movie out and people talking about how good it is. I need to get around to it (I may or may not have already started it). 

2) Four Seconds to Lose by KA Tucker- I just finished One Tiny Lie a couple days ago and I really enjoyed it- a lot. Maybe even more than Ten Tiny Breaths

3) Rules of Civility by Amor Towles- I was supposed to have this read by the end of November for Book Club. But we cancelled our meeting, but I still want to read this book. SO that is my plan. It looks pretty good. 

4) The Descent by Alma Katsu- This one was in my fall TBR but I only just recently got my hands on it. SO to be fair... This one is for review so I am hoping to read it soonish. 

5) Cress by Marissa Meyer- I am pretty excited about this one. That's all. 

6) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- This is a big maybe. I really really want to read this one. It was in my Fall TBR and I thought for sure that I would have it read by now, but I haven't. I say maybe because I have heard that this one is a wee bit sad and I have also heard that The Book Thief is a little sad as well, so we'll see.

7) Erased by Jennifer Rush- I loved Altered when I read it last year and I have been eagerly awaiting it's sequel. I am very excited. 

8) Heaven is for Real by Todd by Todd Burpo- I've heard about this story by a number of people and I really want to read the book. I also saw the trailer for the movie last week and I am pretty curious. Hopefully I'll get to it soon. 

9) Something Real by Heather Demetrois- This looks really cute and I am pretty excited to give it a try. I hope I can get to it sooner rather then later. 

10) Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov- I said at the beginning of this year that I would read this book. I wanted to read a Russian classic and Lolita is the only one I own. I am hopeful. 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Thoughts: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

Where to start. I decided to read Trish Doller's debut Something Like Normal soon after her second novel came out and I couldn't get my hands on it. I had been seeing a lot of praise for this new author and I wanted in on the experience. I had initially thought that I would never read Something Like Normal because of it's militaristic themes- it just wasn't something I was interested in- which we'll get to in a bit. But... almost everyone who had read this book had good things to say about it, so I gave it a go.

Let me begin by saying that I may step on some toes with this review. I am going to share my opinions and it is just that- my opinion. Edit: This review has been sitting here for a while and I was never sure if I was going to share it. I guess if you are reading this, I decided to share it.

As I mentioned before, I had originally thought that I would never read this book because of it's military setting. The protagonist- Travis- is a soldier on leave from the navy. I generally don't like the attitude that North American  media outlets take when it comes to the military. There is extreme reverence of those in the military and it makes me SO uncomfortable. I do not believe that I am free because people chose/are choosing to serve in the military- to me this is silly.  So, because I was believing that this is what I was going to get in Something Like Normal made a little grumpy at it. But Doller surprised me with her book and I am very appreciative about it.

Tavis has just spent a year serving in the navy and is home on a month long leave before receiving his next assignment. He has spent the last several months in Afghanistan, and survived a number of traumatic events while there. One of them being the death of his closes friend. So naturally Travis is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff. Except: when he gets home, his parents' relationship is on the rocks and his younger brother is dating his girlfriend. What a wonderful home coming.

What I found really interesting about Something Like Normal was how not perfect Travis was. He wasn't the picture perfect soldier coming home. He made some really dumb decisions and said some ridiculous things and sometimes his logic was lacking. I liked that. I also found it really interesting how unpatriotic he was. There was no "God Bless America" coming out of him. He didn't feel like it was his American Duty to serve in the navy. Well that was not the sense I got from the story. This was not something I had anticipated.

One of the things that often upsets me about the military and soldiers who return after serving, is how down playing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is. PTDS is not often talked about. Men don't like to admit that they are struggling with it. There is this stigma attached to it and it is seen as a weakness. Trish Doller does not let that happen in this book. Travis's mom is pretty awesome and is incredibly supportive of her son and his vocation in the navy. She's a totally navy mom. She also knows something is going on with her son and takes him to talk to someone when he feels overwhelmed. And she doesn't judge him for that.

I suppose I should talk about the relationship Travis has with Harper. And while it was sweet and I liked that she didn't coddle him and she doesn't censor things when she's talking to him. However, for me, this romantic relationship wasn't the most impressive thing for me in this book. There were a bunch of other amazing interactions between Travis and the various characters.

Trish Doller wrote a great book. Her story telling was authentic and it was bias. I could never tell whether she was for the military or against the military, and as a reader who isn't sure about novels about the military this was something I was very grateful for.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I am glad that I caved to peer pressure and read it. Now please oh please can I get my hands on Where the Stars Still Shine.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl