Do Reading and Reviewing Ever Stress You Out?

Natalie and I have been blogging for almost a year now, and since we started, I've noticed something: sometimes I get stressed out about reading and writing reviews.  For example, I've stopped borrowing books from the library because knowing I have to read them in two weeks tends to overwhelm me.  

Review requests especially make me feel guilty.  I feel bad about reading one of my picks when I know I have review requests waiting for me.  I hate making authors and publishers wait more than a couple of weeks for a review.  

And then there's the guilt involved when I give a review request a bad rating.  I feel guilty letting the author down, but know that I have to stay true to how I really feel about a book.  I don't ever want to become a cookie-cutter reviewer, giving every book 3.5 or more stars "just because."  I'm always going to say, within the bounds of common courtesy, how I felt about a book, whether it's good or bad.  I do work to always have something positive to say, and not to be too negative overall, but you can rest assured that the reviews you read here are my honest opinion.

Another thing I've noticed is that when I get too behind on reviews, I start feeling overwhelmed.  There's been a couple of times when I thought I was going to have to leave the blog, I felt so overwhelmed by reviews.  When I wait too long to review a book, the harder the review gets to write.  When I write my review immediately after reading is when the review flows the easiest for me (it's true I have talked her "off the ledge" on several occasions ~Natalie).

As much as pregnancy has mellowed me out on these issues, I'm hoping motherhood will soften me up even more.  I think a lot of these feelings stem from being a driven, Type A, perfectionist personality that turns everything into work and tends to take the fun out of things.  So, if you see a review here on the blog, I may have read the book several weeks ago, and that's okay.   My reviews may not be as long as they used to be: I'm not setting any word count goals for myself, to keep my reviews from feeling like work.  I may not review every single book I read, and that's okay too.  Blogging is supposed to be fun, and that's my goal for 2011---to have FUN with this blog!

My goals is simple for the blog... to survive my busy schedule and read during all nap times! ~Natalie

Maternity Blog Leave for Kelli

Baby Update: Kelli will be on Maternity Blog Leave

Kelli had her first bundle of joy! Miss Kaitlyn Elizabeth has arrived safely and both mother and baby are doing great. Kelli is going to be a wonderful mother and I wish her all the joys that can only come from this special experience.

She is a beauty! 
Congratulations to Toby & Kelli
Miss Kaitlyn debuted 3 weeks early
and was 7lbs. 5oz. and 19 inches long

Now there is no need for alarm, we have planned ahead and I have lined up some great posts from fellow bloggers and even have reviews lined up. 

Book Review: Broken by Susan J. Bigelow

In a post-war future world where First Contact has been made, humans are colonizing the stars, and the nations of Earth have been united under a central government, Extrahumans are required by law to belong to the Union. When a young man with visions of the future sets out on a mission to define the course of human history, he encounters a devastated former hero, a fascist dictatorship bent on world domination, and the realities of living in a society where affiliation is everything.

Release Date:  January 25, 2011
Publisher:  Candlemark and Gleam
Age Group:  Adult
Pages:  340
Source:  Review copy from publisher

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.  It was a great piece of speculative fiction.  Broken has the imagination of a Scott Westerfeld novel, the emotions of a romance novel, and the world building of a fantasy novel. 

Broken takes place in America in the 2100s.  There are superheroes in the world, called extrahumans.  Humans and aliens alike have populated other planets and the stars across the galaxy.  Humans have perfected interstellar travel, and can travel from colony to colony across the galaxy.  Earth is ruled by one goverment, based in Australia, which is the outcome of a world war.  After the alien invasion, some humans have developed superpowers, thus the existence of  extrahumans.  The extrahumans are all kept together in the Union Tower and are used to do the government's dirty work.

Broken is one such extrahuman.  She escapes from Union Tower and is living in the streets when she meets Michael, a teenage boy who can see people's future when he looks into their eyes.  Michael is caring for a baby whose mother hands the baby to him before committing suicide.  The baby, whom he and Broken end up naming Ian, will either save the world or bring it to its ruin.  Michael and Broken start a pilgrimage towards the future, away from the Black Bands, the enforcers of the totalitarian government.  The entire book details their journey, and the people they meet along the way.

I would recommend Broken to fans of YA and fans of dystopia.  It was a great read that I think nearly everyone would enjoy!

Just One Gripe: 
I would have liked to know more about the man at the end of the story.  Who is he?  Is he a good father?  The ending left me with a couple of questions.  

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The world-building was outstanding.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 
Most likely.  There are two sexual references, but nothing overt.

Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Setting/Imagery: 5/5
Originality: 4/5
Ending: 4/5
Total Score:  21/25

Book Review: Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman

It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

I absolutely loved If I Stay.  It was one of my favorite reads of 2010, and I was on pins and needles waiting for Where She Went.  While I think Where She Went was a great conclusion to the story, it did not have the emotional impact that If I Stay had for me.  The book is told from Adam's point of view, and I'm not a fan of the male POV.  It just doesn't work for me...I have a hard time identifying with the main character when he is a teenage boy.

Adam has "made it" in the music business.  He's famous and recognized wherever he goes.  With the fame comes problems though:  Adam is a bit of a mess, overwhelmed by fame, addicted to prescription anti-anxiety drugs, and smoking all the time.  He is kind of a wild child with his drinking, partying, and groupies.  If I wanted to read about an addict, I'd go pick up a Nic Sheff memoir.  So, when I discovered a few chapters into the book that the entire book would be told from Adam's point of view, I was pretty disappointed. 

Nevertheless, I did enjoy the conclusion to Mia and Adam's story.  My favorite parts of the book were when Mia meets up with Adam again, and when they reconnect and talk about the past.  I thought that the development of their relationship was realistic and appropriate.  Despite my lack of enthusiasm over the male POV, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone.

Just One Gripe: 
See paragraph two above.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The conclusion to Mia and Adam's stories.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 

Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Setting/Imagery: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Ending: 5/5
Total Score:  21/25

Book to Movie News: Castings!

Odd Thomas
If you follow I'd So Rather Be Reading you know that one of my all time favorite books is Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. When I found out that the movie was FINALLY moving forward I almost jumped for joy (but my belly kept me grounded). The movie will be directed by Stephen Sommers and Anton Yelchin is set to play the role of Odd. I can't wait to see who will play Stormy!
Set to release in late 2012
Hunger Games casting has begun!
Jennifer Lawrence has officially accepted the role of Katniss Everdeen. She was just nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Winter's Bone. A lot of the feedback I have read from readers stated that she is too old for the role of Katniss... what do you think? I want to see her in full character (hair dyed and braided) before I decide.

Source: Hunger Games Examiner
Source: Hunger Games Examiner
Also, Hunter Parrish has met with producers to discuss his possible role as Peeta Mellark. Again, if you follow us you know I am Team Peeta! I think he would be great for the role plus he is a fan of the series and I always like it when actors actually read the book prior to accepting the role.

The Hobbit
Peter Jackson is at it again and the highly anticipated film adaptation of The Hobbit looks like it might finally be moving along. Saoirse Ronan (Lovely Bone's) has accepted the role of Itaril and joins the cast who are set to return as their previous characters from The Lord of the Rings movies: Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom. Source: Word&

If you have any Book to Movie news that you would like to share email or leave a comment and I will share it in the next Book to Movie post. Love, Love hearing all the movie buzz and of course from you!

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway

Blog Hop Closed, Winner

Angela J. Prieto

It's the Luck of the Irish this week and there are lots of goodies up for grabs, so leave a comment for a chance to win and then hop onto the next blog. 

We are giving away Where She Went (ARC) by Gayle Forman!  
Leave a comment with your name, email and how you follow us for a chance to win.

Best of Luck! 

Giveaway rules:
Follow us on GFC, Twitter, or Facebook...leave a comment and good luck! Giveaway is open for US residents only.  

Thank you for visiting I'd So Rather Be Reading!

Book Review: Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy

The acclaimed national bestseller---a no-holds-barred account of what you can really expect when you're expecting. Oh, the joys of pregnancy! There's the gassiness, constipation, queasiness, and exhaustion, the forgetfulness, crankiness, and the constant worry. Of course, no woman is spared the discomforts and humiliations of pregnancy, but most are too polite to complain or too embarrassed to talk about them. Not Jenny McCarthy!

In the New York Times best-selling Belly Laughs, actress and new mother Jenny McCarthy reveals the naked truth about the tremendous joys, the excruciating pains, and the unseemly disfigurement that go along with pregnancy. Never shy, frequently crude, and always laugh-out-loud funny, McCarthy covers it all in the grittiest of girlfriend detail. From morning sickness and hormonal rage, to hemorrhoids, pregnant sex, and the torture and sweet relief that is delivery, Belly Laughs is must-read comic relief for anyone who is pregnant, who has ever been pregnant, is trying to get pregnant, or indeed, has ever been born!
A friend loaned this book to me when she found out that I hadn't read it.  I thought it was funny and truthful.  McCarthy tells it like it is---and holds nothing back. I wish I would have read this at the beginning of my pregnancy so I would have been more prepared for some of the things that have happened to me!

McCarthy is funny, and there were a couple of laugh-out-loud moments for me in this book.  The book is set up with short chapters, with each chapter detailing a pregnancy condition (stretch marks, headaches, forgetfulness, etc).  McCarthy has experienced most of the conditions described, and I liked reading about her experiences.

I would recommend this book to pregnant women, especially first-time mothers.  This is the truth about pregnancy---the things that happen to everyone that no one tells you about!

Just One Gripe: 
This book is just for fun.  It's not a pregnancy manual by any means.  It doesn't offer solutions to your problems, it's more of a commiseration: McCarthy is basically saying, this is what can happen, and yes, I've been there too and this is how I dealt with it.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
Reading what McCarthy went through and knowing that millions of other women have experienced what I'm experiencing kept me from feeling alone.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 
It'd be a good warning for teens to show them what pregnancy is really like.  Pregnancy seems to be glamorized in the media these days.


Book to Movie Review: Beastly

I read Beastly in almost one sitting (and that is saying A LOT for me). It was a very fast, sweet read and I love the tale of Beauty & The Beast. Alex Flinn nailed
it when adapting this tale into a modern day retelling. As with all movie adaptations I was a little worried that the movie would spoil the sweet story I had envisioned as I read the book. My initial concerns were only face value: 

1.) Vanessa Hudgens did not physically fit the character of Lindy. 
2.) Kyle wasn't a "Beast" he was more of a victim of an angry tattoo artist
3.) The standard plea..."Oh please stay true to the book"

I am very happy to report that I (and Kelli) truly enjoyed this movie! I loved all the changes that were made for the big screen. Alex Pettyfer is on FIRE! And he did great portraying Kyle/Grant/Adrian. I actually think that Kyle was more disturbing in the movie and a true modern day beast. I really liked the tree tattoo that kept track of the passing year & Mary Kate Olsen really pulled off Kendra the Witch. And how funny was Neil Patrick Harris?! I loved him as Will. He really gave the movie the comic relief that was needed just at the right moments.

Right after watching the movie my little sister immediately went and bought the book and read it straight through... who says movies can't motivate the youth to read :) 

Overall I have to admit that I liked this movie adaptation better than the original Twilight movie... there I said it :) This is a great book and movie for tweens and up!

"Just because something is beautiful doesn't mean it's good." 

Book Review: Shimmer (Riley Bloom #2) by Alyson Noel

Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi’s advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca’s sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she’s not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?

Release Date:  March 15, 2011
Publisher:  Square Fish
Age Group:  Middle Grade
Pages:  192
Source:  Review copy from publisher

This was a great middle-grade read! I enjoyed it even more than Radiance.  Riley is just as spunky and sassy as ever.  She is a fearless little thing, and I really enjoy her unique voice.  Riley is just the right mix of self-confidence and self-doubt for a middle grade heroine.

Shimmer was a little gritter than Radiance.  I was worried, when I read the description of the ghost girl Rebecca, that I wouldn't be able to get through this book.  Rebecca brought back memories of Wait 'Til Helen Comes, which is the reason behind my "no ghost" policy.  But, in thinking of Rebecca as a spirit instead of a ghost, I was able to read this book without getting freaked out.

To tell you the truth, I was a little surprised at some of the content.  While I think it's great to educate a middle grade audience about the horrors involved in slavery, I was surprised at the flashbacks to graphic scenes from the past.  I think that they definitely enhanced the story and served a purpose, but I would recommend parents read this book first so they can discuss it with their children. 

Just One Gripe: 
This book is short---as is custom for middle grade fiction.  It took me just over an hour to read it, and I was left wanting more.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The characters are growing and developing in their skills.  I love reading about character development!

Appropriate for a younger audience: 
Most likely.  Parents read it first so you can discuss it with your children.

Middle Grade Score:


"Book Slump" Phenomenon

So, I know I'm a little late to the party, but I just finished Karen Marie Moning's Fever series and loved every minute of it!  I selfishly ignored all of my review requests and have read this series exclusively for several weeks now.  As much as I loved the Fever series, it has left me in a state of mind that Natalie and I call a "Book Slump."  

A Book Slump occurs when you finish an excellent book or series and just can't move on.  Nothing else compares to what you just read, and you don't want to let go of the characters or story.  It's almost like you are honoring the book by abstaining from reading other books for a little while.  For us, only five star and stalker-worthy books inspire Book Slumps.  Before the Fever series, the last book that left me feeling this way was Richelle Mead's Last Sacrifice.  

We admit to being in the Book Slump state for weeks (more like months for Natalie) after reading the Twilight Saga.  Yes, we are Twilight fans through and through, although we have made room in our hearts for other books.  We have Richelle Mead to thank for breaking us out of our Twilight-inspired Book Slump with her outstanding Vampire Academy series.  

The Book Slump state is not to be confused with the Book Depression state.  A Book Depression occurs when you read a book that you thought would be awesome, epic, outstanding, etc, and ends up being a huge disappointment.  We tend to talk up our anticipated releases and build them up in our heads.  Then, when the book finally comes out and doesn't meet our expectations, we're left with all of our dreams shattered.  

The last book that sent us into a Book Depression was, I'm sorry to say, Mockingjay.  A Book Depression usually lasts until we read a stalker-worthy book (or binge watch episodes of The Vampire Diaries on  There are some authors we depend on to break us out of Book Depressions: Jeaniene Frost, Richelle Mead, Cassandra Clare, Anna Godbersen, Francine Rivers, and Liz Curtis Higgs, to name a few.  
Have you ever experienced a Book Slump or a Book Depression?  What do you do to break yourself out of it? CAN you be broken out of it or do you just wait it out?  I find that I have to give myself at least two days for a Book Slump, although I get out of Book Depressions faster if I start reading again immediately.  I want to hear your thoughts on Book Slumps and Book Depressions!

Book Review: Tempestuous (Wondrous Strange #3) by Lesley Livingston

"I don't love Sonny Flannery." 

That's the lie Kelley Winslow told to protect the boy she loves from a power he doesn't know he possesses. Devastated, Sonny retreats—to a haven for Lost Fae that's hidden deep underneath New York City.

But Kelley's not about to let things end in heartbreak. To get Sonny back, she's got to find out who's after his magick—and how to use her own. She's got to uncover who's recruiting Janus Guards to murderously hunt innocent Faerie. She's got to help rebuild the shattered theater company she called family. And she's got to do it all without getting dangerously distracted by the Fennrys Wolf, whose legendary heart of stone seems to melt whenever he's around Kelley.

The intrigue and romance that began with
Wondrous Strange and Darklight come to a stormy head in Tempestuous, the breathtaking conclusion to Lesley Livingston's ravishing urban Faerie trilogy.
Have you ever noticed that the longer it takes to read a book, the less you want to read it?  That was the case for me with Tempestuous.  I read a few pages out of this book every night before going to bed, and because of my slow pace, it took me about three weeks to get halfway through the book.  I didn't go into Tempestuous with high expectations, just because I was disappointed with Darklight, but I expected more excitement than what I read in the first half of the book.

As much as I wanted to learn the conclusion of Sonny and Kelley's story, I stopped reading halfway through this book.  I was too bored to continue, and I admit that I looked up plot spoilers to find out how the book ends.  I stopped caring about the characters because of the book's slow pace, and I felt like the entire series took itself too seriously, a pet peeve of mine with YA literature.

I would read Lesley Livingston again, but the only way I'd recommend the Wondrous Strange series is if someone could sit down and read all three books back-to-back.  I read them all as they were released, one year apart, and I think that was a big part of the problem for me.



Book Review: Faefever, Dreamfever, and Shadowfever (Fever Series #3, 4, 5) by Karen Marie Moning

Click the book titles to go to the Goodreads summaries.
Faefever (Fever #3)
Dreamfever  (Fever #4)
Shadowfever (Fever #5)

This series broke me out of my reading slump.  I loved it!  I sped through the last three books so quickly that I did not stop to write my reviews after each book, like I usually do.  Now the books in all of their glory are a little blurred together in my mind, so I'll just write a few sentences about each one.  

It felt like I had just gotten through saying, "Gee, how nice to have an adult fiction series, especially a paranormal series, that's not just full of sex" when, bam---the sex started.  And it didn't stop for the entire rest of the series.  Don't get me wrong, there was still a great story, but this series turned adult really quickly at the end of Faefever.

I missed Mac's happy-go-lucky attitude in this book, but appreciated her character growth.  I love to read about character growth, and Moning does a great job maturing Mac.  The Voice lessons with Barrons and the MacHalo were my favorite parts of this book.

Score for Faefever:

This was the darkest book of the series for me.  I have enjoyed the banter between Mac and Barrons the entire series and was disappointed at the way they finally get together.  Sex without emotion is empty and meaningless to me.

I did not like the Dani chapters because I felt like they disrupted the flow of the book.  They served a purpose, and I like Dani, but the way the chapters were sprinkled in throughout the book felt choppy to me.

A lot happened in Dreamfever, but there are a lot of questions left unanswered.  Moning really had her work cut out for her for Shadowfever.  I am so, so, so glad I started this series when all five books were already released and I didn't have to wait to read Shadowfever!

Score for Dreamfever:


This was my favorite book in the series.  I thought Moning did an excellent job wrapping up the story.  Yes, there was one main question I had that was left unanswered, but that just makes me want to read the spin-off even more.  I kind of liked that not everything was resolved, because if it were, I think the ending would have felt too "pat," a la Breaking Dawn.  Moning surprised me with the issue of Cruce and the issue of Alina's murderer.  I really enjoyed those plot twists.  All in all, the mythology and lore, as well as world-building, were superb in this series. 

Score for Shadowfever:


Just One Gripe: 
The "catch-up/review" sections of each book were too big and too spread out throughout the books.  A little blurb in the first couple of chapters would have been enough to bring people up to speed.  I hate being told the same thing over and over!

The Best Thing About This Series: 
The plot twists kept me guessing until the end.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 

I loved this series and would recommend it to just about anyone!