April 2014 archive

Review: Quiet

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

Synopsis (GR): At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

What I Thought: I’m something of an anomaly: A loud, social introvert. Actually I didn’t even realize that I was an introvert until I had kids. I love being around people, I laugh loud and easily. As a senior in high school, I was voted class clown. I waitressed my way through college. That isn’t an introvert thing, right? Well, when I had Isaac, I started to unravel. I just felt insane. I was a stay at home mom and I was honestly with him 24/7. Several months in, Shaun suggested that we make a regular night where either I leave by myself or he takes Isaac out. I automatically felt like a new person, just from having a few quiet hours.

I started reading a little online, and realized that I was an introvert. I had to have quiet, alone time to recharge- I had just not put much thought into it before because I had unintentionally always arranged my whole life in a way that made that possible. I have never liked loud music or shows or background noise when I’m relaxing. I’m obviously much more entertained by books than by tv and being in big crowds for more than just a couple minutes totally, totally overwhelms me. I was shocked. An introvert. Hm.

And reading this book made it even more obvious that I’m a full blown introvert. I took the little quiz and the only ones that I didn’t answer in the introvert ways were the few about being talkative and social. In all other ways, I’m on the extreme end of introversion. It was one of those times where I was reading and realizing that little quirks that I thought were just mine are actually shared by about half of the world. There is something fun and delightful about reading something and over and over mentally squealing, “I DO THAT! THAT’S SO ME!”

The author did a pretty intensive study on introversion and how it got the stigma of being weird, creepy nerds instead of just people whose brain work in another way. I thought that the most interesting studies were on how early these traits start to reveal themselves in babies and children. When she started talking about ways that introverts start to reveal themselves when they are just kids, my jaw dropped. My oldest son fit every single one except for the super shy, backwards kid thing. He’s not shy, he’s confident and outgoing, but he also gets very fixated on very specific interests, he doesn’t get sick often, he is good at those “figure out what is different” games. Just this whole long list of things. He’s only 3 but we’ve already talked a lot about it being ok for him to have alone time if he is feeling overwhelmed and he takes us up on that a lot, especially when family is visiting from out of town. It was crazy to read this list and identify so much with it personally and within my family.

I thought that this was an easy book to read- the chapters were concise and the information flowed well- I never felt like I was being bombarded with facts, there were enough stories mixed in too. Although science isn’t my strong suit, I am super interested in it and am always glad when I find one of these pop science or psychology books that bring it to my level.

Really good stuff and I recommend it for introverts and people that live with introverts.

Review: Uninvited

Uninvited (Uninvited #1) by Sophie Jordan

From Goodreads: The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she’s destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature.

Jennie’s Thoughts: FIRST. We must talk about this cover. I remember being in love with it when it was first announced, and after holding it in my hands…I was in LOVE. It’s so amazingly perfect for this story – the DNA from her hair. So flowing and amazing.

SECOND. This book will make you think. Yes, it’s a YA, but don’t think this is light and fluffy. It’s a whirlwind of crazy and struggle and full of WTF moments, but it is eerily near reality. Close enough it truly creeped me out when I considering how I would react, or how society in general would respond to such discoveries.

THIRD. A troubled boy. Gets me every time. And this boy is dangerous and troubled? Gobble him right up. The romance isn’t steamy at first, but you feel it building. You feel the heart racing, the want for that kiss. OH MAN.

FOURTH. The plot. Was nothing like I expected and everything like I wanted. I won’t spoil anything, but when some crazy stuff goes down midway through and Davy ends up in a different place…all the things are on the line and it is nutso. The later half was probably my favorite, not because of a boring beginning, but because the action of the last half was so INTENSE my head wanted to explode. In a good way. I promise!

I can’t wait for the next book to be released. Once again, Sophie Jordan has blown me away!

Review: The Space Between (an Outlander novella)

This is the year of sequels. At least three (probably more, really) of my favorite series have more to their stories coming out this year, and I’m practically vibrating in anticipation. So when Diana Gabaldon announced on Twitter last week that an Outlander novella was freed up for ebook download (it is published in physical form as part of an anthology), I jumped ALL OVER IT.

With how busy life has been and how crappy my book choices have been, I really needed a short, sure bet to suck me in and fan my I-love-reading fires. Of course, I didn’t finish this book until the wee hours last night, and I had a not-sleeping 3-year-old helping me turn pages (do you call it “turn pages” on an ereader?). But that is neither here nor there. I finished the novella, and I loved it.

Of course. I would probably love Diana Gabaldon’s grocery list at this point, as long as she throws in some Scots.

So. The novella. For Outlander fans, The Space Between takes place after An Echo in the Bone, but it brings back a lot of crazy from Dragonfly in Amber. I’ll try to talk about this novella without being too spoilery, but some of the following might be information you don’t want to see if you haven’t read past DIA.

The Comte St. Germain? Alive. Master Raymond? Back and still creepy. Geillis? She’s part of the story, too. Mother Hildegard and Bouton are back as well.

The story follows Joan and Michael as they head to Paris following the end of An Echo in the Bone. As it is with all of Gabaldon, there is more than meets the eye with her characters. Joan has her own supernatural element, and Michael is a welcome new character. He reminds me of a mix of his da, his brother Ian and his uncle.

Imagine throwing the cast of characters into a bowl, mixing them up and dumping them onto the streets of Paris. I’m sure you can imagine that this short book is packed with interesting, suspenseful drama, and it ends with …

Let’s just say the end made me smile.

I now have more questions about Gabaldon’s time travel element, and I’m dying to see her flow chart that connects the characters that Master Raymond calls “his.”

If you’re a fan of the Outlander series and are caught up, you won’t want to miss this novella. In fact, you should read it ASAP.

Checking in!

We are all friends here, right? And I’m a reasonably intelligent adult. Like most of you, I grew up with computers, and I have had a bazillion different online personalities/blogs/chat handles in the past 15ish years. I work on a computer ALL.DAY.LONG, and I usually wind up with ebooks or audiobooks because they’re generally more convenient for my lifestyle.

But when it comes to techie stuff, and computers, and tablets, and anything more advanced than my phone…I’m clueless. My hubs has purchased some kind of Fancy Super Gaming Computer, and it is Not for Use by us lowly non-gamers (caps necessary). In the meantime, our PC has crashed or something. I don’t know. All I know is it’s taken me two hours so far toI’m trying to blog from my phone, which is why you aren’t getting a review or cute GIFs to go along with my whining.

The hubs has indicated he will replace my PC with either an iPad or a laptop. (I’m not exactly sure what the difference is other than one has apps and one is heavier). He asked if I wanted a kindle fire but nah. I like my ereader to be just a boring old ereader.

I’m sort of inclined towards the iPad, and to be totally honest, it’s because I’m a cranky old lady of 29 who’s too lazy to learn a new OS. (I still long for my Palm phone and palm pilot, you guys. I’m a creature of habit.)

What’s your go-to vehicle on the Information superhighway? (and Yes. I’m THAT old) Anything I should know? I’m open to suggestions, handmedowns, or even good plans to build my other three bookcases instead of a new techie toy.

Survey says?

Thank you for taking the time to answer our survey questions! We received 37 responses and got a nice glimpse into who is hanging out with us here at We Still Read.

Things we learned from the survey:

  • 100 percent were female
  • 83 percent fell within the 26-35 age range
  • 63 percent work outside the home at least part time
  • 86 percent have children
  • 70 percent follow us on various social media outlets
  • 35 percent read 26-50 books a year, and 30 percent read 51-75 books each year
  • All survey responders have followed us here from elsewhere.
  • 78 percent get book recommendations from friends, 75 percent find books by simply browsing, and 46 percent use blogs for recommendations (shouldn’t this one have been 100 percent?!)
  • No surprise here, but our readers cover all genres of books – just like Jennie, Jacki, Andrea and Jenny!

Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions! Winners, you have been notified via e-mail. If we don’t receive a response in 48 hours, we will choose a backup winner.

Review: Hopeless

Hopeless, by Colleen Hoover

Synopsis (Goodreads): Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

What I Thought: Do you ever start a book that is universally loved and start getting that sinking feeling like you are going to be the only one who hates it? So. Much. Of. That.

I mean, from about page 5 I was done. The names are so stupid I cannot even deal. It was honestly distracting. Sky, Holder and Six are the main characters. They are people. Not beloved pets. People. Awful.

And the weird stalking-means-love vibe makes me puke my brains out. THIS IS NOT ROMANTIC. Punching things? Not romantic. Window climbing? Not romantic. Scary Glares? Not Romantic. None of it is romantic.  I sent Jennie and Julie (Of Book Hooked fame) a text when I was about a quarter of the way through, genuinely confused about if Holder was supposed to be romantic or scary. I honestly could not tell. That is a problem.

I thought that there were a lot of inconsistencies with the past timeline and story. I really liked the friendship between Six and Sky in the beginning of the book but then I started to feel like it was really just a plot device to get Sky a phone because after the phone was acquired, Six was rarely mentioned again except for Sky admitting to Holder that Six’s texts were starting to annoy her. Come on.

I hated that it was all tied up so neatly and I hated the meaning of the title and… I could go on.

I usually only review books on here that I really like, but I was just appalled and so many people loved it and I just needed to get this off of my chest.

I will admit that I was compelled to continue reading- although I was really annoyed, I wanted to know what happened. I thought that it was moderately well written, but it was one of those cases where it was just not enough to redeem it. Sorry folks, this one missed the mark for me.

Review: Wanderlove

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

From Goodreads: It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria’s a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan’s a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they’ve got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can’t run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

Jennie’s Thoughts: If there is any book that will give you the urge to immediately hop on a plane to somewhere you’ve never been….this is most certainly it. I was swept away. Wholly absorbed in the places, the people, the experiences. It was like I opened the cover and was transported.

Bria and Rowan are both lost and broken and whole and fun and heavy and every other word I could ever come up with. I was dying for their kisses and wanted things to blossom between them, but I also wanted them each to realize their potential. To grow into the people I hoped they would.

OH! And the sketches. YOU GUYS. They were the perfect visual to Bria’s journey and her skill and basically I SWOONED. SO MUCH SWOONING.

And, I totally looked up flights and prices for backpacks after I finished. No lie. I bought a second copy of this book recently at a library used book sale. It wasn’t a library book, clean and in excellent condition. I had to buy it, because this is one of those books I have to push on people!

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