August 26, 2012

Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks - Book Review

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks comes a tender story of hope and joy; of sacrifice and forgiveness -- a moving reminder that love is possible at any age, at any time, and often comes when we least expect it. At forty-five, Adrienne Willis must rethink her entire life when her husband abandons her for a younger woman. Reeling with heartache and in search of a respite, she flees to the small coastal town of Rodanthe, North Carolina to tend to a friend's inn for the weekend. But when a major storm starts moving in, it appears that Adrienne's perfect getaway will be ruined -- until a guest named Paul Flanner arrives. At fifty-four, Paul has just sold his medical practice and come to Rodanthe to escape his own shattered past. Now, with the storm closing in, two wounded people will turn to each other for comfort -- and in one weekend set in motion feelings that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.

August 25, 2012

Book Review: This Lullaby


Title: This Lullaby
Author: Sarah Dessen

Synopsis:

"I had no illusions about love... It came, it went, it left casualties or it didn't. People weren't meant to be together forever, regardless of what the songs say." Remy doesn't believe in love. And why should she? Her romance novelist mother is working on her fifth marriage, and her father, a '70s hippie singer, left her with only a one-hit wonder song to remember him by. Every time Remy hears "This Lullaby," it feels like "a bruise that never quite healed right." "Wherever you may go / I will let you down / But this lullaby plays on..." Never without a boyfriend, Remy is a compulsive dater, but before a guy can go all "Ken" on her (as in "ultra boyfriend behavior") she cuts him off, without ever getting close or getting hurt. That's why she's stunned when klutzy, quirky, alterna-band boy Dexter inserts himself into her life and refuses to leave. Remy's been accepted to Stanford, and she plans on having her usual summer fling before tying up the loose ends of her pre-college life and heading for the coast. Except Dexter's not following Remy's tried-and-true rules of break-up protocol. And for the first time, Remy's questioning whether or not she wants him to.

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Book Review: On The Island


Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves

Synopsis:

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.

Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

August 20, 2012

Book Review: Gone Girl


Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn

Synopsis:

'What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?' Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what did really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife? And what was left in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war...

August 15, 2012

Book Review: Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas


Title: Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas
Author: James Patterson

Synopsis:

Katie Wilkinson has finally found the perfect man - but one day he suddenly disappears, leaving behind only a diary written by a new mother named Suzanne for her baby, Nicholas. In it she intimately reveals the romance between herself and the child's father, her hopes for their marriage, and her unparalleled joy in motherhood. As Katie reads on, she realizes that the man she loves is Suzanne's husband. Now, filled with terror and hope, Katie must struggle to understand what has happened - and find out if her new love has a prayer of surviving.

Book Review: Take a Bow


Title: Take a Bow
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

Synopsis:

Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.

Thoughts on the Book

The story was about six teenagers who were chasing their dreams. The story focuses on the four main characters – Emme, Ethan, Carter, Sophie. The four students have different attitudes and personalities which will determine their success as future performers and artists. They’ll come to different realizations about themselves, about whom they considered friends and about their real passion and dreams. 

EMME. A redhead who has a passion for music. She’s a very talented composer and she believes that her best friend Sophie is the most appropriate artist to sing her song. She was used to Sophie being the center of attention and her the person behind the music. She is contented being a wallflower that she didn’t realize her amazing talent. With the help of her three band mates - Jack, Ben, and Ethan – she discovers that she has more talents other than composing. Through her friends (except Sophie), she began to develop her self-confidence and she began to do things outside of her comfort zone. She finally got the chance to play the guitar and she had also begun to sing her own compositions. She started to believe in herself and in her capabilities. 

ETHAN. He’s Emme’s best friend. He is a silent person who loves to compose and write songs. He’s in love with Emme since the first day she approached him to share his table with her but he never found the nerves to tell her how he feels until they were ready to take off for college. He is Emme’s rock. Every time Emme doubts her capability, Ethan is there to assure her that she can do it. He made sure to include all of Emme’s top university picks in his own list because he wants to be with Emme. I think that’s so sweet of him. I specially loved his name. I don’t know why but I’m very fond of the name Ethan. 

SOPHIE. She was a very confident person and she really believes in her talent. Back in her hometown, she was adored by many people. She has a fan base. She knows what she wants and she’ll do anything to get it. So she auditioned at CPA. That’s her plan. She even encouraged her best friend Emme to audition because she knew that her chance of succeeding is higher if Emme will be there to compose her songs. However, her plans backfired. She wasn’t getting famous. She never excelled. Unlike her, Emme is making a name for herself. She was beginning to be recognized by her mentors. Sophie lost her confidence and began to worry about her dreams and about her future. So for their last audition for the talent showcase in their school, she asked Emme for a new composition. Emme agreed to do it but then she found out about her real motives towards her. That’s when Sophie’s plan began to lose its balance. 

CARTER. The wonder kid who managed to have a blockbuster hit movie at the age of nine. He was so popular until the day he realized that he doesn’t have the passion for what he was doing anymore. He auditioned for CPA and was naturally accepted. Every performance in the school, he got the last spot. He hated it because he feels like he wasn’t accepted because of his acting skills but because of his being famous. He knows that he’s being ridiculed behind his back. He knows that his passion lies elsewhere – painting. So he dropped out of CPA and began to enjoy what he loves the most to do. He took his paintings to curators and ask for their honest criticisms. 

JACK and BEN. These two were really funny. They were the ones who gave the comic relief in this book. I love the tragic stories they made about the group. How will they die in the end? What unlucky demise they might end up with? But what I love about them is how protective they were towards Emme. 

Reading this book is like reading the book version of the popular Korean drama, Dream High. The plot was almost the same. I can’t help but compare the characters from the book and the drama. 

The book was good but it did not leave any strong impression on me. I hope the writer will write a sequel for this one. I want to know what will happen to them after college.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • When Emme played the guitar for the first time. This was after Ethan’s accident. That was really hot. Everyone who watched that show craved for more guitar-playing from her. 
  • When Emme confronted Sophie in front of the other CPA students. 
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to see what you’re really like. Since you feel the need to air dirty laundry in front of everybody...Guess what. When I write songs for you, I have to limit the melody to ten notes because those are the only notes you can hit well. You don’t have a good range, which is what your problem is. I’ve known that for years, but I’ve hidden it. That’s why you only shine when you sing my songs, because I’ve been trying to help you...by disguising your biggest flaw. Well, one of your flaws. You can’t blame me for your lack of range. You can’t blame me for you not getting into the showcase. You always want things to be all about you. Anytime I come to you with a problem, you don’t want to hear it, unless it has to do with you. Well, congratulations, Sophie – you finally got what you wanted. Because this, not getting into the showcase, is all about you. You struggling in class, it’s all about you. The wake of relationships you’ve destroyed to get to this moment, it’s all about you. Enjoy your moment. You’ve earned everything that’s coming to you. Truly. 
  •  When Emme and Ethan auditioned for Juillard. I loved how Emme nailed the interview portion. She’s so brilliant. She finally found a place where she really belongs. So bad, Ethan hadn’t gotten in. 

Judge: Can you tell us why you wish to get a degree in composition?
Emme: Yes. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a special connection to music. I would spend hours listening to the radio or watching concerts on TV. When I started to take piano lessons, my teacher would get annoyed with me because I’d change the melodies of songs since I wanted them to sound like songs that I had in my head. For so long I thought it was a bad thing to do because I’d always get in trouble. She’d tell me, ‘That’s not what’s written on the page’. I was getting so upset because I wanted to do my own songs, but then when I was six, I got a new teacher who encouraged me to write my own music. I love starting with a blank piece of paper and making a new song from scratch. There are many times when I step away from the end of a long day of composing and I’m surprised about how much I did. Like it was coming from someplace else. All I know is that I have this need to create music. And if I don’t get into any music programs, I’m still going to do it for as long as I breathe. 
Judge: Favorite composers? 
Emme: Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Lennon/McCartney 
Judge: Can you tell us about a challenge you’ve had to face and how you’ve grown from it? 
Emme: To be honest, being here, onstage, is a challenge. I’ve never been the kind of person who has a desire to be in the spotlight. What inspires me is the writing, not necessarily performing in front of an audience. Most of the music students I know enjoy seeing their name in lights and being onstage. But that’s always been my least favourite part. So standing up here having to sing for you, to have the confidence it requires to be an entertainer, that’s been a real challenge. However, this experience has really taught me a lot about myself. It’s wonderful to have people believe in you, but if you don’t believe in yourself, you really can’t accomplish much. So the fact that I’m standing here, and I’ll be able to walk out that door and be proud of what I’ve done, is an unbelievable accomplishment. It makes me wonder what else I’m capable of. 
Judge: Why Juillard? 
Emme: Because it’s Juillard. I’m from Brooklyn. New York City is part of who I am. I attend the New York City High School of the Creative and Performing Arts, mainly because of its proximity to Juillard. This has been my dream for so long. I think it would be more difficult for me to answer ‘Why would anybody choose to not to go to Juillard?’ 
  • When Ethan sang a song he composed for Emme to express what he really feels. That’s sweet! 
There are so many words bottled up inside
They scream out to be released
You’ve cast a spell over me
Been blinded for long, but can now see
 
You’re the only thing that matters in my life
All that I’ve done is for you
The biggest piece, the biggest part
The one person who controls my heart
 
If I could kiss away your pain, I would
If I could hold you every night, I would
If I could erase every mistake, every other face
I wouldn’t change a thing
Because all those things led me to this place
And to you
 
Because I … I could never break your heart
I wouldn’t know where to start
All I know to be true
Is the only breaking will be done by you
 
If I could make you smile all day, I would
If I could be the person you want, I would
If I could erase every mistake, every other face
 
I wouldn’t change a thing
Because all those things led me to this place
And to you
 
Because I … I could never break your heart
I wouldn’t know where to start
All I know to be true
Is the only breaking will be done by you
Rating: 4/5 

August 12, 2012

Book Review: Sing Me to Sleep


Title: Sing Me to Sleep
Author: Angela Morrison

Synopsis:

THE TRANSFORMATION

Beth has always been 'The Beast' - that's what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth's only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she's selected to be her choir's soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.

THE LOVE AFFAIR

When Beth's choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek's untethered passion - for music, and for Beth - leaves her breathless. Because in Derek's eyes? She's not The Beast, she's The Beauty.

THE IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE

When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek?

THE HEARTBREAK

The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek's been hiding a dark secret from her .one that could shatter everything.

August 11, 2012

Book Review: Almost


Title: Almost
Author: Anne Eliot

Synopsis:

At a freshman party she doesn't remember, Jess Jordan was almost raped.

...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite. Three years later, Jess has managed to make everyone believe she's better. Over it. Because she is.

...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.

Unfortunately, until Jess proves she's back to normal activities, her parents won't discuss college. So, she lands a summer internship and strikes a deal with hockey jock, Gray Porter: He gets $8,000. She gets a fake boyfriend and a social life. 

Jess has no idea Gray signed on for reasons other than money. She also never expects to fall in love. But Gray’s amazingly hot, holds her hand all the time, and makes her forget that he’s simply doing his job. It’s like having a real boyfriend.

...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.

Gray Porter is hiding secrets of his own. About Jess Jordan. About why he’s driven to protect her, why he won't cash her checks, or deny her anything she asks.

August 5, 2012

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes | Book Review




Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

August 1, 2012

Book Review: Such a Rush


Title: Such a Rush
Author: Jennifer Echols

Synopsis: 

A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever. 

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.