Sunday, September 11, 2011

Soul Surfer

Title: Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board             
Author: Bethany Hamilton
Release Date: 5 Oct. 2004
Publisher: MTV
Pages: 240

Synopsis from Goodreads

That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii -- a glorious part of the world, where it's hard to deny the divine -- Bethany responded to the shark's stealth attack with the calm of a girl with God on her side. Pushing pain and panic aside, she immediately began to paddle with one arm, focusing on a single thought: "Get to the beach...." Rushed to the hospital, where her father, Tom Hamilton, was about to undergo knee surgery, Bethany found herself taking his spot in the O.R. It's the kind of coincidence that isn't mere coincidence to the Hamilton family, a clan whose motto could easily be "the family that surfs and prays together stays together." To them it was a sign someone had a greater plan than the one they'd been working on themselves -- which had been to scrape together whatever resources they could to help Bethany rise to the top of her sport. When the first thing Bethany wanted to know after surgery was "When can I surf again?" it became clear that her unfaltering spirit and determination were part of a greater story -- a tale of courage and faith that this modest and soft-spoken girl would come to share with the world.

My Thoughts

I can't remember ever reading an autobiography before now. That being said, I also don't know how to review one. I don't think I can say this IS a review. I'll just pass along my thoughts on it.

A couple weeks ago I watched the movie Soul Surfer. It has just come out on DVD and I had wanted to see it. Bethany's story is one that I had heard little things about for years, but never the full story. However, I was very curious to hear more. I thought the movie was amazing. I kept thinking about her, so I got on her website. Then I had to read her book. What an amazing story!

I am not religious. At all. Nothing against religions, but I don't want to hear someone preach at me, so I almost never read books where that is an important fixture in the characters/peoples' lives. Well... I thought her faith was really cool. Doesn't make me want to join her, but it is inspiring.

My thoughts are scattered. Let me say that she is an incredible person who I admire and she has a strong passion. I never knew much about surfing, but now I think it sounds really fun!

I found this video on Bethany's website and I had to share it. I can't get enough of the song. It won't let me show the video, so you'll have click on the link.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans (Harlequin Superromance)Title: The Best Laid Plans
Author: Sarah Mayberry
Release Date: 9 Nov. 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 256
Rated: Lovable
Won from Ashley Barker over at The Blogging Book

Synopsis from Goodreads

Boundaries. The key to how corporate lawyer Alexandra Knight manages her busy life. However, lately all her precisely drawn lines are getting blurred. Blame it on her out-of-control biological clock that is ignoring her single status…and on Ethan Stone.
Because her sexy, no-strings colleague has posed an outrageous solution to her dilemma—he'll be her baby daddy. This from the guy who avoids all commitment? Okay, so they're attracted to each other. Really, really attracted. But crossing the line from coworker to co-parent with Ethan could ruin Alex for all other men. After all, when you've had the best…

My Thoughts

I found this to be a very cute story. Alex and Ethan were adorably appealing characters. They are successful, smart, kind, funny, lawyers who I would love to know. They play racquetball -which is so much fun!- together and Alex has a breakdown in front of Ethan after seeing her ex with a baby after his strong desire not to have children was what had driven them apart, plus, her doctor told her that if she wanted kids she had to act fast. Of course, Ethan wants kids, too. You can see where it goes from there!

Alex was one of those people who always wanted kids. She worked on her career figuring she would eventually marry and have children. Even when she was a teenager she expected that. Being a teenager who has every intention of having a family, I do not like the thought of never finding my significant other and having children. Can you see where I'm going with this? Yes, I was completely invested in this story.

I found myself frustrated with the characters. So many times did they nearly come together, and so many times they would shy away from each other. There was quite a bit of good suspense. They both had their share of trouble throughout their lives and you love them more for it. They had to grow and find what they actually wanted from life, from each other.

It was a quick, cute read that I really enjoyed.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Review: Bloodlines

Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)Title: Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: 23 Aug. 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 421
Rate: The Best to Love

Synopsis from Goodreads

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

My Thoughts

I saw nearly every twist coming way before it hit. There were a few things I didn't predict, but for the most part the entire story was obvious. I didn't really mind it, though; I was too eager for every predictable twist to be officially revealed.

In the Vampire Academy series each book was more intense than the ones before it. The first book had conflict with irritating people in school, but the later books had so many astonishing twists that the petty kids didn't matter. There were petty teenagers in Bloodlines and I felt like they were fillers for more intense drama to come. Don't worry, there was still fighting, mystery, and a hint of romance that I'm sure will be explored later. This book is easing us into the story and letting us get to know the characters.

Sydney is a great character; she's cautious, smart, and relatable. She tried to protect people, and her efforts kept being thrown back in her face. I know her sister, Zoe, will eventually be thrown into their world. And Jill, she tried so hard to take care of Jill, but she went about it in ways that weren't helpful and Jill became frustrated. I wasn't sure how her personality would turn out, and I'm happy to say she's likable in a completely different way from Rose.

I was delighted to read Sydney's thoughts on Rose. Little things would make her think about Rose, and I was struck by how she touched people. I was so used to being in her head that I didn't think much about her influencing others.

I'm glad Adrian was still hung up on Rose. There was no way he could have been over her that quickly. When he came into Vampire Academy I was against him because I loved Dimitri so much. Now I had the chance to completely appreciate him and sigh over the good and bad pieces of him.

VA is my all time favorite YA series and I am overjoyed that I love this book. I can't wait to get my hands on The Golden Lilly!