Month in Review: February 2012

February was another great month here at I'd So Rather Be Reading!

Reviews posted:

Book-to-Movie News:
Blog News:
How was your February?


Book Review: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her. 

Release Date: May 3, 2011
Age Group:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Katherine Tegen Books
Source:  Purchased

So, I know that I am probably going to get some hate for this, but, I've got to come clean.  I had Divergent built up in my mind as this awesome book, better than The Hunger Games, better than any other YA dystopia.  The longer I waited to read it, the more I built it up.  I had it set to be the best book I've read in months.  The ultimate.  As good as, say, Neal Shusterman's Unwind.  Gasp!  I can't even write that!  I'm sorry, Neal, I'm sorry!  I take it back!!  Nothing is as good as Unwind.  I really cannot think of another dystopia that I continually think of and compare other books to.  Except for maybe The Giver and 1984.  

Anyway, I digress.  Every time I sit down to review a dystopian novel I start comparing it to the greats in the genre.  Which is really not fair to the novel in question, but I just can't stop myself.  I did like Divergent, I liked it a lot, but I just was not crazy in love with it.  It was no Wither, that's for sure.  But I did like it.

The breakdown of society into factions was very unique and welll-done.  I enjoyed that aspect of the book.  I had no idea Tris was really going to choose Dauntless and was taken aback by some of their practices.  Wow...the careless way they handle major issues such as life and death was so, well, dauntless.

Divergent loses a star for a slow start and for a rushed ending.  I did not like the way Roth started killing people off so quickly there at the end.

Overall, I enjoyed Divergent and am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series, Insurgent.  I plan on reading it before I read too many reviews hyping it up.  I tend to do better forming my own opinion on a book---reading it before I read any other reviews. 

Book to Movie Review: Wuthering Heights

It's been years since I've read Wuthering Heights but my sweet husband, who knows how much I love period pieces, put Masterpiece Theater's 2009 adaptation on our Netflix queue.  I confess that my main reason for getting excited to watch this movie is because of Twilight.  Remember how Bella and Edward are always talking about Cathy and Heathcliff?  I wanted to see what all that fuss was about.  
All I remembered from reading the book back in high school was that the story is sad and set on the moors.  Watching the movie brought it all back to me, though: just how sad the story is and what a love/hate relationship Cathy and Heathcliff truly have.   

I think that Tom Hardy as Heathcliff did an excellent job.  His mannerisms were perfect and gave him an air of manic desperation.  He was longed to be with Cathy, but his own arrogance got in the way of happiness.  Instead, he turned into a scorned, spiteful being whose only purpose was hate and bringing despair to those he felt wronged by.  

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie, although on the whole, the story is dark and haunting.  It is definitely not a feel-good story---so, be prepared for that.  It is definitely worth watching, though.


Book Review: Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning. 

Release Date: January 17, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: NetGalley
Other Books in the Series: Unearthly

I enjoyed Unearthly and jumped at the chance to read Hallowed on NetGalley. Unearthly was the first angel book I've ever read that I truly liked.  For some reason, and maybe it was because I started with Hush, Hush (read my original review/read my second opinion), I have never really gotten in to the angel genre.  But this series is making me rethink my stance on angel books.

I liked Unearthly for the writing style, tender love story, and well-developed relationships.  I also really enjoyed the loving, positive relationship between Clara and her mom.  It is so nice to read about a YA character who actually likes and respects her parent(s)!  Happily, my favorite things about Unearthly were in abundance in Hallowed.  In fact, Hallowed had more emotional drama over action, which I enjoyed.  I really felt for Clara in this book.  She goes through so much, more than someone her age should have to handle.  But, she handles it all with grace and steadiness of character, along with some character growth.

There were a couple of things that bothered me about this book: the pacing was slow at times, and there was just SO MUCH emphasis on Clara's Purpose.  I got tired of reading about that forest fire.  Save Tucker, don't save Tucker, by the end I was losing interest in Clara's Purpose just because reading about it so much felt like beating a dead horse.

With that aside, though, Hallowed is a great read, and a great installment in what I feel is a shaping up to be a solid series.  I am hoping for more action in book three.


Book Review: The Forgiven Duke (Forgotten Castles #2) by Jamie Carie

Tethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemon - the path of least resistance - Alexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton - the path less traveled by - on Dublin’s shore still haunts her.

Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.

The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love.

Release Date: July 1, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Source: NetGalley
Other Books in the Series: The Guardian Duke

I was so thrilled when I saw that the sequel to The Guardian Duke was available on NetGalley!  I really enjoyed The Guardian Duke (read my review here) and was on pins and needles with the way Carie left the ending.  I just had to know what happened, if anything did happen, between Alexandria and Gabriel.

My main complaint with The Guardian Duke was the very, very open ending.  It was much more open than most cliffhanger endings in series novels.  I felt like the book ending was suited to a chapter ending, not an ending to a novel.  Anyway, I am happy to report that The Forgiven Duke  did not have that problem.  There was definite closure, while keeping things open enough for the next installment in the series.

I just loved both Alex and Gabriel as characters.  They were both strong, yet stubborn, and to see them change and grow was very satisfying.  I loved the tenderness of the love story---kudos to Carie for keeping it clean.  The main issue of the book was Alex's search for her parents.  That part of the story remains largely unresolved, which is keeping me very interested and ready for book three in the series.  

I loved reading about Alex and Gabriel's faith in God.  Both have a very strong faith, and have learned to lean on God and trust in Him throughout their struggles.  Gabriel, especially with the loss of his hearing, and Alex, who must withstand so much negativity towards the search for her parents.  They never wavered in their beliefs.

I highly recommend this series to fans of historical fiction and fans of Christian fiction.  Jamie Carie is a new favorite of mine and I am going to seek out more of her work while I wait for the next book in the series!

Giveaway Winner: Random Acts of Kindness Hop

The giveaway is now closed and it's time to announce our winner.  Congratulations to...


who won a $10 eGift Card to Barnes and Noble!

Christina, we have emailed you, and you have three days to respond and claim your prize.  

Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway and visited our blog!

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop

Thank you to I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Read for Your Future for hosting this hop!  February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day and we are celebrating by joining this giveaway. 

The giveaway runs from February 17th - 21st.  The lucky winner will be notified via email and announced on our blog on February 22nd.

And now, for our giveaway!  One winner will receive:

A $10 eGift Card to Barnes and Noble!
(can be used to purchase anything at a Barnes and Noble store or on

Click here to visit the other blogs participating in the hop!

New Pinterest Board: Hunger Games Fever!

It is getting closer... can you feel the Arena?! You know I never turn down the opportunity for a good party, especially a Book Based Bash! I have started a Hunger Games Fever! board on Pinterest and want to invite all ideas. I have opened the board and would love contributors! If you find something awesome related to The Hunger Games... SHARE. 

What to Do: Join the big P (almost the entire planet has joined the community), next follow us, then leave a comment to this post if you would like to be added to the board!

We love you like...

We love you like...
  • Edward loves mountain lions 
  • Jacob loves motorcycles 
  • Dimitri loves Westerns 
  • Adrian loves smoking 
                         Vampire Academy
  • Peeta loves decorating cakes 
  • Gale loves hunting 
                         The Hunger Games
  • Jace loves pain 
  • Simon loves manga 
                         The Mortal Instruments
  • Sam loves poetry 
  • Cole loves music 
                         The Wolves of Mercy Falls
  • Ky loves knowledge 
  • Xander loves the game from the Rec Room 
                         The Matched Trilogy
  • Seth loves painting 
                         Wicked Lovely
  • Damien loves red tulips 
                         The Immortals
Happy Valentine's Day!

Book Review: Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) by Janet Evanovich

Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 from Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, she’s flying back to New Jersey solo, and someone who sounds like Sasquatch is snoring in row 22. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. The FBI, the fake FBI, and guns-for-hire are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.

Only one other person has seen the missing photograph—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.

Over at the Bail Bonds Agency it’s business as usual—until the bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke, Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their “largest” FTA yet, lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment, and everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?!
Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii.  And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.
Release Date: November 22, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Source: Purchased

I have been following the Stephanie Plum series for years now, and look forward to these books for the humor.  They are laugh-out-loud funny, and I love that!  I vowed after reading a very lackluster Smokin' Seventeen (read my review here) that I would no longer be purchasing the Stephanie Plum books, but that I would read them if my library had a copy.  

Well, I broke my promise when I saw that my library's waiting list was over six months long.  Smokin' Seventeen ended with a cliffhanger as to the love triangle, and I couldn't wait six or more months to find out who Stephanie chose.  And now, thanks to Stephanie's never-ending emotional immaturity and indecision, I STILL don't know who she will choose.  She continues to waffle between Ranger and Morelli, all the while testing the waters with both of them.  It really baffles me that neither man forces an ultimatum on her---she has been toying with both of them for what seems like years now. 

All that aside, my main complaint about Explosive Eighteen, besides the lack of trademark Evanovich humor, is that the plot felt so, so recycled.  Each book goes like this: Stephanie looking for work, a bad guy enters the plot, Stephanie is charged with catching him/bringing him to justice, and said bad guy tries to kill her.  Ranger, Morelli, or a combination of the two bring Stephanie to safety after she and Lulu royally muck up the situation.  All this time, Lulu is overeating and Stephanie is catting around with both men.  This formula worked well for the first ten or so books, but after 18 rounds of this, we need something fresh.  Evanovich needs to either come up with something new or end this series.

I will most likely keep reading the series, but I WILL NOT be buying any more of them.  I paid $12.99 plus tax for this Nook book, which took me about two hours to read.  SO not worth it!


We have a new button!

So, you may have noticed our new button, which debuted last week.  It was made by Natalie's awesome sister, Rockell!  Rockell is our go-to source for all things picture-related.  Can you believe she thought this up by herself?  Thank you, RockellNow it's time to get you started on a new header... You can see more of her pictures by following her on Instagram @RockellyBelly

Breaking Dawn: Part 1 on DVD and Blu-Ray Update

So, I just got my shipment notification email from Amazon.  They have shipped my copy of Breaking Dawn: Part 1, but I will not receive it until February 13.  Words cannot convey my disappointment in the fact that I won't be watching, in my opinion, the best Twilight movie to date, tomorrow.  Amazon has failed me.  FAILED ME!!  I need to see that wedding again, stat!  Well, I should be perfectly honest and say that I need to see that wedding and honeymoon again, stat!

Now I need your advice, fellow Twilight fans.  Should I wait it out until my copy arrives from Amazon on February 13---or (and this is what I really want to do) should I buy a copy tomorrow and return my Amazon copy when it belatedly comes in?  I lose all ability to reason when it comes to Edward so I really need some guidance here!

Book Review: Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black

Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.

When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?

Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.

Release Date: April 5, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Library

Having loved White Cat (Curse Workers #1)--read my review here--I was on pins and needles waiting for Red Glove to be released.  I loved the details, intense plot, and intricacies of White Cat, and I'm happy to say that Red Glove had those same qualities in abundance.

Poor Cassel.  Besides his funky name, his family is the most dysfunctional family I have ever read about.  And considering that I just read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, that's saying a lot.  Cassel is so in love with Lila, but he doesn't know if her feelings for him are real or not, since she has been cursed to love him---a lovely little gift from his emotion-worker mom.  Before Cassel can process the events in book one, his older brother is murdered, and Cassel has to help find out who did it.  He is forced to help the Feds, but at the same time, the Mob is after him too.  He tries to work a con and play both sides, at the risk of his own life and that of everyone he loves.

The Curse Worker series is so unique.  I can't wait for book three, Black Heart.  I think it will be the best yet!  Being new to Holly Black, I am impressed and plan to read her other books.

Book Review: Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry #3) by Simone Elkeles

Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?

Release Date: August 16, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Library

I really liked book one in the series, Perfect Chemistry, so I was excited to read Luis' story (my library did not have book two, so I had to skip Carlos' story).  I was hoping that Luis would not fall prey to the same things that mired Alex into the gang life, especially since Alex went through so much to keep his family safe.  But, pride and responsibility to keep his family safe weighed heavily on Luis and he made many of the same mistakes that Alex did.

I liked Nikki a lot and really felt for her, especially considering her past.  She was my favorite character in the story, and I loved seeing her walls come down as she grows and lets herself fall in love.

My favorite part of Chain Reaction was seeing Alex and Brittany's happily ever after.  I loved getting a glimpse into their lives.

Overall, Chain Reaction felt recycled.  The story seemed so similar to Alex's story (and I'm sure it was similar to Carlos' as well).  I got so tired of reading about gangs, drugs, and guns.  I don't regret reading this book, but I am glad that I got a library copy instead of buying it.  Fears that book two, Rules of Attraction will be the same as the other Perfect Chemistry books are keeping me from buying it.  If my library ends up getting a copy of Rules of Attraction, I'll read it, but I won't be buying it. 

Book Review: Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry #1) by Simone Elkeles

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers. When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.  In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Release Date: January 1, 2011
Age Group: Young adult
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Library

I loved Elkeles' Leaving Paradise and Return to Paradise and I had a feeling I would like the Perfect Chemistry trilogy just as much.  I went into Perfect Chemistry expecting the things I loved about the Paradise series: complex characters falling in love despite major obstacles, a fast-moving alternating narrative, and an intense story.  And that was exactly what I got.

I did not identify with Alex, and to be honest, the whole gang mentality got old for me.  I just didn't get it.  I wanted to smack him upside the head several times.  I hated the bet and the way he treated Brittany at times.  But, I realized he was doing it for a reason, and that ended up making me like him even more. I loved the way Brittany treats her disabled sister.  That was the sweetest part of the book for me, the way Brittany always put her sister first.

While this book didn't have the same intensity or feelings as the Paradise series for me, I still really, really liked it.  Simone Elkeles writes excellent contemporary YA that I would recommend to anyone!

Breaking Dawn Part 1 on DVD and Blu-Ray

Natalie and I have been behind on our Twilight stalking---and therefore had no idea that Breaking Dawn was being released February 11!  Read more here from our go-to place for all things Twilight-movie related.   

We admit that we (especially Natalie) used to visit on a daily basis but have gotten behind as our Twilight fever has subsided to the point where we are 'almost' normal human beings.  However, with the release of the movies, our fever returns and we become giggling schoolgirls at the promise of seeing Edward on the big screen, or in this case, having Edward in our homes...sigh.  I love the "jump to" feature of the DVD where you can forward to all the Edward or Jacob scenes and watch those.

I just pre-ordered my copy from Amazon---the site says they will pre-ship and I will get my copy on Feb 11.  Let's hope they get it right and I'm not left waiting!  What about you?  Are you buying Breaking Dawn: Part 1?

Book Review: The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken by Mari Passananti

Zoë Clark thinks her world will implode when her fiancé dumps her on the eve of their splashy wedding. After nearly a decade with her college sweetheart, Zoë feels like a teenager about to be eaten alive by the New York dating scene. And her problems don't end there. Zoë works a less-than-ideal job, managing other people's careers while her own ambitions wither.

Enter Oscar Thornton. He's handsome, charming, attentive and rich - the perfect boyfriend. But does he harbor a dark secret? Or will Zoë torpedo her newfound happiness by indulging a far fetched suspicion?

THE HAZARDS OF HUNTING WHILE HEARTBROKEN tells the story of a young woman who sets out to find a man to solve her problems. Instead she finds herself facing her own shortcomings, testing her oldest friendships and realizing that she has the power to make herself happy.

Packed with snappy dialogue and playful wit,
THE HAZARDS OF HUNTING WHILE HEARTBROKEN will strike a chord with any woman who's ever allowed herself to think, My life would be perfect, if I could just meet the right guy.

Release Date: July 9, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Rutland Square Press
Source: Review copy from publisher

I confess that the cover and title of this book did not draw me in.  The summary, however; did.  I couldn't help but feel badly for Zoë---can you imagine planning an entire wedding only to have your fiancé call it off at the last minute?  And to add insult to injury, it's not because he doesn't love Zoë, it's for another reason entirely.  I'll let you read the book for yourself to figure that out, but it makes the end of the relationship even more embarrassing and heartbreaking for Zoë.  

So here Zoë is, trying to figure out how she will make her rent after Brandon moves out, working in a job she doesn't love.  She is a head-hunter for the legal field and has to do some pretty demeaning things to keep her clients happy.  Zoë is paid on commission and worries constantly about making enough money to keep her apartment.  

One day, she receives a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Oscar, who works in the building across the way and has been secretly watching
Zoë through the window (in a non-creepy way).  She is thrilled and excited to finally have a date and they enter a whirlwind relationship.  Zoë has doubts about Oscar though, but instead of listening to her good friend Kevin, pushes her doubts to the side in light of all of Oscar's good qualities.  

I found the beginning of The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken to be a little slow, but it picked up and got really exciting in the second half.  I suspected some things about Oscar and Kevin all along, although I did not suspect the extent of what was really going on.  I loved the ending, and I loved Zoë's growth throughout the book.  

I thought The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken was great chick lit, smart, funny, and engaging.  I loved the escape into Zoë's world. I would definitely read Mari Passananti again!