Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review - " The Death Cure " by James Dashner

Thomas knows that WICKED can't be trusted. They stole his memories and locked him inside the Maze. They forced him to the brink of death by dropping him in the wilds of the Scorch. And they took the Gladers, his only friends, from him.

Now WICKED says that the time for lies is over. That they've collected all the data they can from the Trials and will rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission: to complete the blueprint for the cure for the Flare. But the Gladers must undergo one final test.

What WICKED doesn't know, however, is that Thomas has already remembered far more than they think. And it's enough to prove that he can't believe a word of what WICKED says. The time for lies is over. And the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever have imagined.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.... DEATH CURE by DASHNER!

Did I mention that yesterday, the mailman was my FAVORITE person in the whole wide world????

So what are YOU doing this weekend?  Watching the DVR of the episode 1 of The Jeresey Shore in Italy from Thurs??  If your not from here (NJ), I'm hoping the answer to that is NO!  Well, I'll give you, let's see.... 1 guess as to what I am doing this weekend.  I couldn't believe it when I got the call from the old lady (approaching 36...getting REAL old!) that this showed up in the mail yesterday! Thank god it was Friday and ther ewas only another few hours of work left!  Well, if you happen to catch this post in the next day or so, just know that there will be a review up before the weekend is over.  When I was given the book by someone at Random House, I was asked to hold off on the review.  I called to thank her yesterday for the book to find that she is no longer there.  I was told it would be ok to put out the review by someone who was covering for her temporarily.  With that permission, I'll have a review up as soon as I finish this sucker.  I know you have ALL been waiting for this so as usual,  I'll try my best to give you a good review without spoiling too much!  WOO-WEE! DASHNER IS IN THE HOUSE!


Monday, July 25, 2011

INTERVIEW AND GIVEAWAY CONTEST!! " Wings of Light " by Laura Bingham

WE ARE EXTENDING THE CONTEST UNTIL 12:01am on Sept 12, 2011!

Hello all! Well, you all know our great friend and wonderful author of the Alvor series, Laura Bingham.  Not too long ago, I reviewed "Wings of Light".  What would a review be without the rest of the TLGBRS "triple threat"components???  Exactly- that's why we are bringing you the other 2 parts.  First the interview, and then we will get to the giveaway.

TLGBRS: Laura, What are your websites where people can go learn more about you and your books?

TLGBRS: Tell us who you are and what you do.

I'm an author of young adult books.  Right now I have ALVOR and WINGS OF LIGHT out there as published works.  Think teen fantasy.  
I love writing, reading, clogging, Irish dancing and eating dark chocolate.  Which doesn't make me a typical mom, but I'm that too.  I have five kids, all adorable, destructive tendencies notwithstanding.
Besides writing, which I like to think of as my dream career, I teach clogging and Irish dance.  Once upon a time I taught Earth Science, Biology and Physical Science, but I hung my science teacher hat on the wall after we adopted my first son.  I haven't looked back.
I still love teaching.  These days I end up in schools as an author doing presentations- and that too is one of my dream jobs.

TLGBRS: What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead/plot or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?

I have a general idea of what the story line is, and then I write in the rest.  I love finding out new dimensions of the characters and stories as I write.  Always, something unexpected turns up as I go.

TLGBRS: Do you write best at a certain time of the day?

Whenever it’s quiet.  I’m not picky.

TLGBRS: What food or snack keeps the words flowing?

Dark chocolate is the food of life.  I don’t really snack while I write, but every morning I bring hot chocolate to the computer.

TLGBRS: What sparks a story?

Alvor was the first novel I wrote and it comes with its own story.  Wings of Light was planned since the day Alvor was created.  There’s three books to this series, so hold on to your seats!

TLGBRS: What was it about your genre that interested you enough to choose to write in it and not in another genre?

I guess I never grew up.  I love reading young adult and middle grade, but even more, I love teaching kids.  Writing in the genre is the most natural place for me to be.

TLGBRS: What's the best advice you ever received?

There is more than one story.  You have as many opportunities as you create for yourself.  I believe good writers read a lot.

 TLGBRS: What do you use to mark your page when reading?

That depends on where in the house the book is located.  I read while I work out (a perfect motivator) and I have a book holder on my elliptical fitness trainer where I use binder clips to hold the pages down while I work out.  Then there’s always a book behind the sofa.  Post-it notes rule- and it was the first thing they were used for I’m told. 

TLGBRS: What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?

I love losing myself in the story and feeling like time has no meaning.  It gives me such a happy boost to write several pages in one sitting.  What I like least- not getting enough uninterrupted time.  I can’t write if I don’t have enough time to get my head back into the story.

TLGBRS: Tell us what inspired the Alvor series.

  For years I have visited my grandparents who live in the Pennsylvania hills.  I’ve walked through the dense forest where bushes and thick vegetation fill the gaps between the tall oak trees.  It isn’t hard to imagine that fairies could live in a place where fireflies bounce off the lawns in the evening.  This is the world where Erin and her twin brother have lived most all of their lives
    She is an average fifteen year old whose twin brother is everything she’s not.  He’s athletic and charismatic.  She feels about as coordinated as a four year old on roller skates, and with her unruly red hair and extremely fair skin, she doesn’t find herself compellingly attractive.

   Living in a quiet village there isn’t much to do, and most of their summers are spent exploring the hills.  It was only a matter of time before they found the cabin.  A world of fairies, elves, and magic is opened up and disbelief is not an option.  They can see them, talk to them and then they find out that if they choose, they can become elves.  

         I wrote this story because I believe that we all have power inside of us.  Power to change who we are, who we become and to influence the world around us.  If I could reach out to readers and inspire them to see the infinite potential that lies there, I will have succeeded in the purpose of this story.

TLGBRS: Why should anyone part with their hard earned cash and precious time to read your book? Sell it to us!

  Take a journey into the world where you can use magic, talk to butterfly winged fairies and learn to use an eternal blade.  Fall in love, but be prepared for the evil that stands in the way between you and all you hoped to achieve.
TLGBRS: What advice would you pass along at this point in your career?

Don’t stop writing.  Always move forward.  Don’t give up in the face of rejection.  Seek help through writers groups, writers conferences and the internet.  Find other authors and read their stories of how they got published. 



What would you do for a Klondike Bar? (in this case, a second Klondike Bar!)

Oooh, it is hot this summer and my air conditioner broke.  I think I would fly all the way to New Jersey for a Klondike Bar.  What do you say Dave?


HA! LOVE IT! Fly all the way to NJ for a Klondike bar??  Who would do such a thing?? As a matter of fact, Laura is doing just that!  Yup, Bingham and her #1 fan (Hubby "P") are flying out to hang with the gang!  So what we are going to do is have a special contest and have it end on August 12th, the day we will be hangin with the Binghams.  So lets say at.... 12:01am on Friday August 12th, we will pick a winner together using  Sound good? 

So what are we giving away and what do you have to do to get it?  Laura is going to be giving away 2 copies of Alvor and 2 copies of Wings of Light.  That's right, 4 in total.  So we are going to have 4 winners.  That means if you win Alvor, you will definitely want to go out and read Wings, and if you win Wings, well, you will just have to trust us here that it's worth it and go grab a copy of Alvor.  Sound good? Now how???

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL!!!!!!  YOU MUST AND I REPEAT MUST BE A " FOLLOWER " of our site.  That little box on the right side of the site that has the pictures of some of our followers..... Go there and sign up if you are already not a follower.  As you may know from the past, we absolutely, positively, without a doubt will check to make sure you follow our site before we confirm you as a winner.  If you are not a follower, you are not a winner. (well, at least not for the contest anyway)

Now that we got that out of the way, there will be a few ways to gain entries.  Here is how:

+2 For being an EXISTING follower of our site and post a comment here with your email address (membership has its privileges!)

+1 For being a NEW follower and posting a comment here with your email address

+2 For posting a link to this contest on your site AND linking back to it in your comment

+1 For Tweeting, FB'ing, etc. You can add +1 for each different thing you do (only 1x per tweet, etc. tho)

+2 For EACH person that enters the contest and states they entered because of you in their comment here

So that's it.  Pretty simple.  You can earn a bunch of entries.  How many you get depends on how hard you want to win a copy :o)

As usual, any questions, feel free to email me at

Just a friendly reminder (I know, I know.....YOU know) please make sure you are a follower of our site.  Not being a follower can AND will be held against you in the court of TLGBRS!



Monday, June 20, 2011

Blog Tour! The Book Blogger's Cook Book by Christy Dorrity ***AND CONTEST***

Christy Dorrity

When initially approached on this one I had no idea what it actually was.  Once I got my hands on it I LOVED it!  That says a lot since Mara is the actual cook in the house!

What I LOVED was that the concept was a simple one, but so creative and perfect I wondered why no one had thought of it before.  Here's the deal.... There are a ton of popular titles (mostly recent and best sellers!) that all have some sort of significant "food" item in the story.  Let's use the one I was involved with-  "Alvor" by Laura Bingham.  In the sequel, "Wings of Light" one of the characters makes bread dough rise magically. 

So, here is what the book is about.... Christy takes a short description of the story, takes a key "food" ingredient or idea from the book, and writes the recipe.  Along with the recipe comes a few blurbs from bloggers...ahem, ahem..... that would be us :o)  Seriously, a fantastic idea!  You get a ton of info all rolled up in one.  Let's look at mine...

"Raised by Magic Quick Rolls"

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could magically make bread dough rise, just like Erin and Bain's mother, Julia, does in Wings of Light, the sequel to Alvor? These rolls are one of my favorite recipes. They are simple to make, requiring only a thirty-minute rise before cooking them from a cold oven.

It's almost magic.

2 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons shortening
6 cups flour

Mix the water and sugar.  Sprinkle with yeast and wait for it to activate.  Add salt, shortening, and three cups of the flour.  Mix well.  Add three more cups of the flour.  Mix again.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Knead.  Roll out and use a clean glass to cut out circles.  Using the blunt side of a butter knife,  depress a line across the circle of the roll and fold in half,  stacking the rolls in a 9x13 inch pan.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Put in a cold oven and set the temperature at 400°.  Take the rolls out after 25-30 minutes.  Makes 2 dozen rolls.  
Note: you can form the dough into whatever bread you desire:   rolls,   loaves,   bread  bowls,   breadsticks,  pretzels,   bagels etc. 

That was 1.  IF you want the rest, your gonna have to pick up the book.  I would definitely say its worth it.  If you love reading, love cooking and eating, and love reading reviews, it's a must buy.  

You can find more info on the book as well as purchase details at

For more reviews, check out the tour sched at

Thanks Christy and Laura for allowing us to be a part of this!




Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: " Wings of Light " by Laura Bingham AND other fun "Wings" stuff!!! (also a few random things!)

Laura Bingham


Sixteen year old Erin and her twin brother, Bain, chose to leave their normal lives, step into the magical world, and become immortal elves.  But when it comes to falling in love and solving mysteries, all the magic in the world doesn't seem to help.

As the search for the truth behind their missing mother, they discover new friendships and encounter new terrors.  And the closer they come to the truth, the more they learn how forces of evil are pitted against the whole world.

Join Erin and Bain in this thrilling quest that will take you deeper into their world with each turn of the page.

My Review:

Mountain lions, elves, and imps, oh my- Mountain lions, elves and imps, oh my- Mountain lions, elves, and imps, OH MY!!!

As you all know Laura is a very dear friend to our site and an even better personal friend.  Myself, as well sa the rest of the gang adore her and have gotten to know her and her family (shout out to Master P!) very well and we consider her a true friend.

I was fortunate enough to read this when it was still in PDF format for Laura and give he some of my opinions.  Obviously if you read Alvor, you know that she really didn't need any of my suggestions.  What Laura asked for was the truth.  That's what I gave her.  I honestly loved it the first time I even read it.  What I had mentioned and it is captioned somewhere, is that an author can have a really good book.  When they try to expand, MOST of the time they screw the series up and should have quit while they were ahead.  I absolutely LOVED Wings of Light.  I have been contemplated whether I liked it more than Alvor or not, but I am on the fence.  It definitely was not any less exciting than A1 (that's what we will refer to Alvor and A2 for Wings).  I think that I liked the details in book 1 better when it was new to us and everything needed to be learned for the first time.  I love this book because I felt that Laura really got us deep into the story, gave us answers to MOST of the questions I had through this book and some still left from A1, AND introduces some really cool stuff, like the Wings of Light.  Of course, my FAVORITE, the brooch was still in the book and used often.  LOVE THAT as well as my other favorite, the pop fountains.  Every time she mention them, I wish for one in my back yard.  That stuff, along with the magical settings, animals, powers, and action are just fantastic.  The book was just plain written very well. I definitely think if you haven't tried A1, go get it.  You will be hooked and the good news is A2 will be ready for you to pick up where you left off without delay.

The story of the twins, Erin and Bain, are normal teens who suddenly become invincible elves with crazy powers and one heck of a mean-A** dragon.  There is all sorts of magic, like the invisibility ward and the sound ward, which keeps what your saying only in the inner circle who you allow to hear you (how cool??).  So much content here, I couldn't put it down.  The story for one, got really exciting how you learn the connection between many of the characters.  And they were big surprises also.  Erin and Bain end up in a ton of messes and situations and seem to be able to work together with their friends and family to solve them.  There is all sort of of things going on like trust issues, again, new powers (i wish,wish, wish i was able to use the wings of light!  Boy would that come in handy!) You are gonna have to read to find out what it is.  Anyway, in the end, Bingham does put a bunch of closure on things, ends with some surprises that I wondered about the whole 2 books, but figured I was crazy for thinking, and coolest of all, left some opened ended issues that I will just DIE if she doesn't write a follow up.  Ptinces, and princesses, magical elves and faerie, an enchanted world, ugly as sin villains, and twists and turns around every corner, I am once again in awe at Bingham and her work.  

My favorite part of the book was that most of the chapters were short ones, which for the 100th time I LOVE!  It makes it way easy to jump around a lot,  cover many different angles at a time, and still tie everything together. 

SO I am putting this one at the top of my suggestion pile.  I seriously would suggest getting these and giving them a shot.  It was genuinely hard for me to put them down.  Once in a while you guys may not agree with me and think I'm nuts, but I don't think that will be an issue this time  around.  Go ahead, give it a shot.


Im not sure exactly what Laura and I are going to be doing but it is looking towards are signature " Triple Threat " where the Gang does a review (duh, what I just did), an interview, and a giveaway.  I also have a feeling Laura may be feeling generous and giving a couple of copies away.  I can even see if she has some old Alvor books laying around so we can give away one of those possibly too.  Makes sense if she does.  Some of you who haven't read it may want to try Alvor.  I guarantee if you do, you will be getting Wings of Light shortly after.

Stay tuned for the interview as well as a collaboration with Laura on some funs stuff including the Giveaways.  

Thanks to you all as always and you know the only reason we keep doing this is because of your support.

 One final note, one of our most faithful followers since day 1, Sandra Stiles, has taken the leap from English teacher to PUBLISHED author!  her new book, Steps of Courage is available online I believe.  Not sure about stores yet, but when Sandra comments as usual, she can include a link as to where to get a copy.  I will be reviewing it shortly once I finish something else I'm in the middle of.

BTW, BEA was cool.  Missed Dashner, but as much as I love him, my brother had met us in the city with surprise Yankees tickets for that day, and as much as I love him, I had to see my Yanks. Sorry Dash and I still love ya!

Last but not least, TLGBRS was recently asked to participate in and ARE in a new book called " The Book Blogger's Cook Book" but Christy Dorrity.  It is actually a fantastic idea.  Long story short, she took some of the recent best sellers, incorporated a part of their story (synopsis) with a fresh recipe of her own (something related to each book), and then ending it with some reviews for each book.  We happen to get Laura Bingham's ALvor, which I thought was cool.  I also had one foe Maze Runner, but I don't think I submitted it .  Anyway, check it out.  The concept is fantastic and I loved reading it.  Possibly considering an in depth review.

Ok so I said one final thing 10 times.....shoot me..... Last thing I just want to mention, is that my all time favorite author, the one who actually inspired me to start this site, James Rollins has a new book in his Sigma series coming out in a week or so called "The Devil Colony."  If you haven't read him , I suggest you give his stuff a try.  Guy got me into this site!  He actually has a short story you can buy for peanuts on amazon, which is a middle short story between the new one and his previous sigma novel, The DOomsday Key.  Besides the sigma force story, he wrote a bunch of independents, not in a series.  These are what got me hooked.  I read 8 hours a night, and finished all 12ish of the books he had out in a week or so.  From there I was hooked! Just wanted to give a shout out to James who is also a really nice guy.  


Thanks again to all of you who keep coming to the site and contributing.  WIthout you, I would have nothing.  You guys rock!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review - " The Power of Six " by Pittacus Lore

THEY are getting closer.
THEY are tracking us.
THEY know about the charm.
THEY know about our legacies.
THEY know too much for us to believe
WE will ever be safe again.
WE must find each other.
WE must unite.
WE must fight and we must win.

My Review:

So last year I reviewed " I am Number Four " and LOVED IT!  I have been harassing Harper for this for a while and made sure I got my hands on a copy as soon as it came out.  What's funny is I actually watched "I Am Number Four" on Friday and thought it was really cool.  Obviously a lot from the book was cut, but it was definitely a refresher for me before tearing The Power of Six apart!

SO MUCH happens in this book, I don't know where to begin.  Ill try to keep it short and sweet BUT if you liked the first one, this was an awesome sequel.  Did not disappoint and making me wish the next one was out already.  More of "them", more Legacies (OMG, I want them all!), and more info that you are all looking for in the sequel, including what is in those stinkin chests!  Ill start by telling you this, once I finished the book, I knew about #'s four, six, seven, and nine.  Nine comes in at the end, but he's a cool dude.  The other thing that we learn (BIT OF A SPOILER SO SKIP THIS IF YOU DONT WANT TO KNOW) is that the Gardes ship was NOT the only one that came.

So here's the breakdown- Four, Six (who you met in the first book), and Sam run from Paradise, leaving Sarah behind.  No choice- for her safety.  They basically spend the book running, training, and killing so many Mogs I wonder how there are any left out there.  A lot more background info about what their purpose is and more about their planet is explained in this one. What is really super cool is the chests.  A few were opened in the book and although we don't know what a lot of the stuff inside does, its all still really cool.  Some of the Legacies that the others have is also really cool.  Let's give you a few examples BESIDES the ridiculous fighting skills they all have that make Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and everyone's favorite this week- The Terminator, look like American Girl Dolls.  A few- underwater breathing, healing (which you can imagine comes in handy many, many times throughout the book, and invisibility.  Don't want to give them all away :o)

While Four and Six and Sam are doing their thing, there is also a crazy love triangle-quadrangle goin on because remember John (four) loves Sarah, and he is only supposed to have one love of his life, as Henri told him.  BUT as he spends all this time with Six, he really starts to like her.  Sucky part is Sam likes Six too.  The rest is left for the next book....  While they are figuring this stuff out, always on the move, we go to number Seven.

A good part of the book is from the point of Seven, who is somewhere in a Church/Orphanage with her Cepian hiding away in Spain.  Not only are her legacies just starting to show, her Cepian seems to be fallen for the Church and doesn't remember their ultimate goal of saving Lorien.  Throughout the book, the stories get closer until Six finds Seven (as well as Ella and Crayton, who all you will get out of me is they are from a second ship that came to Earth....ok-ok-ok Ella happens to be the 10th Garde BUT THAT'S ALL IM SAYING!) and Four finds Nine.  BTW, six and seven are females and four and nine are males.  Just thought i'd share that in case you were counting.  I am a bit curious about five and eight, but that will be for the next book i guess.

Something interesting here is that Sam actually has a purpose.  A HUGE one.  All of you remember how Sam was looking for his Dad who was crazy into aliens??  Well, his dad was actually a big part of how Four and Henri started their life on Earth.  Again, more for later. There was a twist at one point where Four goes back to Paradise, OH and runs into Sarah, but it is possible she turned him in, so I am not really sure about where that is going.  He does have a kiss with both her and Six in the book, so right now it's kind of up in the air about who likes who. I did notice that although four was mostly 70/30 in favor of Sarah throughout most of the book, I think that shifted to 70/30 in favor of Six by the end.  Just my thought.  I could be wrong. 

Anyway, tons of new info, cool weapons and cool toys in their chests, some romance, and a ton of killing, the book was just as good as the first, if not better.  I've been pondering how many of these will come out and as much as I was thinking originally a trilogy, I don't know if I can keep that thought.  I am definitely going to guess at minimum 4 with definitely more possible.  Honestly, Bring Em On!!  Loved and and can't wait for it to hit shelves for everyone to read.  

BY THE WAY- Mara and I are going to BEA again this year, so if things go well, we can hold a big contest like we did last year with a ton of ARC's.  Please do us a favor and let us know if you guys would be interested in that.  I know it sounds corny, but shlepping around 50 lb bags of books for 12 hours a day isn't the funnest thing to do. But if you guys are interested, we are happy to do it.  Dashner should be there, so maybe we can convince him with some New York street pretzels and cart dogs to share some secrets about Death Cure.  Probably not, but it will be fun trying!  

Lastly, I want to say that recently Mara was really sick and had to go in for surgery.  I am sorry it took me a few weeks to put something new up, but life around here has been crazy for the last 2-3 weeks.  You know how things are fine and then all of a sudden- WHAM! you are slapped with something HORRIBLE...... It happened.  Good news is she is all recovered and better again.  That will give me more time for reviews.  I do owe a big review to Laura Bingham and Wings of Light.  She was SO super kind to get me a copy AND share with me that my blurbs made her book!  OMG, it was the most exciting thing..... I have to re-read Wings, which I like to call "A2" for Alvor 2, and once I do I will put up a review.  I can tell you this, it was excellent.  I mean that.  I had a chance to read it early on and then again when it was finished.  Loved it.  I haven't read it in months though and want to give it a quick whirl before reviewing it.  Who knows, Laura may even stop by the site to talk about it?!?!?!  Thanks to you all and looking forward to more!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Book Review (and other stuff too!) " Toys " by James Patterson


So I'm thinking I can get the "other stuff" out of the way quickly then get to this review, which I am super excited to give to you guys!  Really, there isn't much I have to say. Basically, here goes.....  As some of you know, we moved last October and it was a nightmare.  For a while, the Gang had to take a little break from reviewing so we could unpack, etc.  I have been on here 5 times since, all pumped up to get things going again.  Well, its come to the point (DONT WORRY!)  where I think I should just apologize.  It's not that I have not wanted to do more.  So many things happened over the last few months that have really limited my time on the site, which has KILLED me.  You all know how dedicated I am to reading, reviewing, the family thingy cause, etc....  Bottom line, time was not on my side.  I honestly missed this site so much you guys have no idea.  I missed all of you.  I missed the comments on my reviews, the opinions of you guys, the contests, and all the other fun stuff that the Gang has always been around for.  One thing I missed SO BAD was the Sunday Scoop.  So, things have calmed down a bit and I really do have all intentions on getting back in the game full time here.  This site was my very inexpensive therapy, which I definitely need again (not in a crazy kind of therapy, but more of a relaxing thing.  I guess call it my yoga.  

The one thing I mentioned before and I will mention it again is that even though I wasn't really around much, I didn't stop reading. I may have slowed down from my 300 pages a night, but I never stopped.  For whatever its worth I wanted you guys to know that.  Now I do have an unbelievably awesome review for you but first I want to give a shout out.  Many of you regulars know how much The Gang supports and loves our very special friend Laura Bingham (obviously you too P and the rest of the Bingham Gang!).  Laura's sequel to Alvor, titled "Wings of Light" is out and I am so happy for her.

  I was fortunate enough to read the story a few times through its developmental stages and I really want to say that Laura has done a great job on the sequel.  I was quoted in the new book saying something to the effects of what I loved about Wings was that often authors ruin something good when they make a "series".  Laura actually did the opposite.  I loved Wings just as much as Alvor and I know those of you out there familiar with the series will love it too.  I do plan to review it here and am hoping Laura will still be interested in the contest I promised Id do for her ages ago.  In fact, if I can convince her to take some time from her already packed 50 hour days, I may even shoot for a "Triple Threat"!!  I miss those too :o(

Anyway, thats about it.  I figured I owed you all an apology and hopefully I can make good on my promise and get things going again.  So before I review Toys by Patterson I want to give you a little idea of how I got to the book (its not my usual YA/FIC/Fantasy as usual.  Its close without the YA part, although its totally appropriate for teens.  So the Gang was lucky enough to meet Mr. Patterson last year at BEA (have to include this one! GO GIRLS!!!).

SMILE JAMES!  (ok so he didn't quite get that "smile" part, but still, it's James Patterson!)

At the time, I had known he was the king but really only read his few recent YA books, which I thought were pretty good.  I happen to be browsing B and N online as I usually do every Tuesday for the new releases/coming soon and for some reason took a deeper look at Toys.  (ok the car on the cover was too cool for me not to at least explore!)  When I read the description, which you will see in a sec, I had to give it a try.  I figured 250 million copies sold worldwide or something like that, he must be doing something right, right?  Well, I am SO happy I did.  It was fantastic. for several reasons.  Here we go!


Hays Baker and his wife, Lizbeth, possess superhuman strength, extraordinary intelligence, stunning looks, (hide your eyes if you are under 18!) a sex life to die for, and two beautiful children. Of course they do- they're Elites, endowed at birth with the very best that the world has to offer. The only problem in their perfect life: humans and their toys!

The top operative for the Agency of Change, Hays has just won the fiercest battle of his career.  He has been praised by the president and is a national hero. But before he can savor his triumph, he receives an unbelievable shock that overturns everything he thought was true. Suddenly Hays is on the other side of the gun, forced to leave his perfect family and fight for his life.

Now a hunted fugitive, Hays is thrown into a world he never imagined, fighting to save humans everywhere from extinction. He enlists all of his training to uncover the truth that will spare millions of lives- maybe even his own. James Patterson's Toys is a thriller on a hyperplane- with a hero who rivals both James Bond and Jason Bourne.


Well, if that description doesn't get you excited, I'm afraid there is no hope for you.... (JK, relax...) Hopefully you at least see why I HAD to read it, or at least give it a try.  Now, first thing that I LOVED- chapters are like 3-4 pages each.  You all know how much I love that.  Not sure what it is but I just do.  So here is the deal.... action, action, action. NON STOP ACTION... I'll admit, I couldn't put it down until I fell asleep after 300 pages or so of straight reading and what was even worse is I only left myself like 65 more to read.  Aarrggh.... bed at 4 am with a 6am work wake up..... cut me some slack!  The writing was great, the action was non stop, and best of all, the surprises just kept coming and coming and coming.  It was definitely one of the better one's I've read in a while.  Mr. Patterson- you deserve every dollar you have made off the 250 million copies you have sold over your career (Ummm... anyone doing the math on how much this guy is worth??) Back to the review...  Great ready that went quick and there wasn't a chapter where I couldn't wait until the next.  No doubt will I be looking in the Patterson section to figure out what to give a go at next.  No doubt.  So enough of my Rah Rah.... What's up with the book?

I don't want to tell you much because this thing really was filled with a ton of surprises.  More twists than all the pretzels in NYC.  (ok that's a bit of an exaggeration but you get the point).  The story line is awesome.  The "Elites" are totally hooked up with super everything- speed, powers, strength, intelligence, and toys.... oh do I LOVE the toys.  My favorite are these futuristic cars that  cruise at about a buck fifty and can hit like 300+mph with precision handling.  Not to mention the on board assistance of an assistant to fix you a drink or the virtual reality games on board that can basically put you in ANY situation you want it to in order to relax your mind.  

Hays is part of the "Elites" which basically are genetically engineer people who's ultimate objective is to wipe out all the humans and take over.  They call the humans "Skunks" and think equally high of them.  Hays is one of the strongest (in all powers) of the Elites who despised "skunks" just as much as the next Elite, if not more.  

This is where it becomes tough to talk about because his surprises and twists are just so darn good.  Let's say that Hays ends up having to fight for his life AGAINST the Elites with his sort of half sister Lucy as well as saving the human race.  When I say "save" I mean like down to the last few minutes of near extinction.  THAT CLOSE!  NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS really does describe this book.  I will say this and i doubt anyone really doesn't expect this so it's not really a spoiler.  He does save the human race.  It's not a spoiler. How many books are there where the hero doesn't win? Over it? Good, me too.  Getting back to the twists and turns, Hays gets some information not too far into the book that took me for a 180.  Can ya guess what it is?  

This news makes him doubt everything and everything he has always believed in and fought for.  That's where things get interesting.  I'd say the action also picks up, but it would be a lie.  The action starts on pg 1 and ends on the last page.  Traveling all over the world, Hays along with his halfie Lucy run into trouble everywhere they go.  Someone is hot on their trail and is really doing as much as they can to kill them.  The good news, without really knowing it, Hays is always a step ahead.  Prior Planning Pays for sure here.  Ill give you an example- there is a secret meeting of all the human leaders that Hays attends.  The elites come in and mass slay every single one of them (except Hays of course).  Hays is so saddened to see them killed, what he doesnt realize is they were all "copies" of the leaders.  THis threw off the Elites and gave the real human leaders time to go gather at some other secret location.  Only thing is Hays wasn't informed about that PRIOR to the slayings and feels horribly responsible for their deaths.  Until of course he learns they are all alive.

Anyway, from love to deceit to love gain, non stop action, some of the coolest futuristic "toys" I have ever read about, this one has it all.  I really can't speak highly enough for it.  I would absolutely suggest picking up a copy (it's expensive, so look for a B and N coupon or something and once you get the price down a bit, it's much more enticing to pick it up).  

I'd tell ya more, but Hays would have to kill you if I did.  Did I mention the "killings" are also kind of cool?  I know it may sound cruel, but keep in mind we are in a fictional environment, which sort of makes it ok to appreciate the "ways" and "amount of kills" this book has.  

Hopefully, you guys who end up reading it will agree with me on this one.

For now, that's all I've got for you.  I am going to do my best to keep my promise to you all and get re-active in the community.  I didn't totally disappear, but I have had this guilt hanging over my shoulders about being MIA for a while.  Again, life throws you some curve balls you just can't hit and the best you can try to do it smack the next fastball out of the park.  Batter up!


p.s. BEA is coming!  My plans are to collect a ton of books for you guys like we did last year!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Review: " Matched " by Ally Condie


Cassia has always trusted their choices.  It's hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate.  So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one... until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.  Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one else has ever dared follow- between perfection and passion.

My Review:

To start, I did mention this book in a previous post.  I wasn't really sure if I was going to review it, but I REALLY liked it so I figured a quick review wouldn't hurt.  Also, TLG was supposed to be interviewed for our site today by a local paper.  Mara had fallen and injured herself (and her new Iphone!!) so we had to cancel the interview for today and reschedule.  I sort of felt obligated to do SOMETHING site related, so here we are....

First of all, this is NOT a "girlie" book per say.  I was hesitant when I first saw the cover (even a Macho reviewer like myself knows there is line.  Not sure where it is, but there's definitely a line somewhere).  Being the dedicated reviewer I am, I bought it anyway after reading the flap.   Glad I did.  I wouldn't say it was an excellent book, but definitely a good one.  Unique, which is hard to find these days.

So Cassia lives in this society where they control everything.... (seems to be a common theme lately).  What is interesting is that they control your "match" as well.  It's a big ceremony, etc and the matches see each other for the first time via video screen at the Matching ceremony.  Well, as stated above, Cassia sees her best friend Xander on her match screen which is not only against most odds, but also something that makes Cassia feel really good.  She likes Xander a lot.  After all, mates are supposed to be friends foremost, right? Well, that part was already taken care of.

For a brief second, another pic flashes on the screen which has never happened before.  It is of Ky.  Ky is another kid that is friendly with Cassia and her friends BUT he is from an outer province.  Somewhere where the "rejects" or people who are imperfect live.  Obviously this confuses the heck out of Cassia.

As time goes on, her friendship grows for Ky, but so does her love.  She is super confused.  She really likes and kind of loves Xander, but at the same time is falling in love with Ky.  This is a problem.  The matching system, in fact, everything where she lives is controlled.  Calculated is really the best term.  Everything is calculated so that the most desirable, or most accurate outcome always occurs, including death.  (although I must say, in the first few chapters when Condie is taking us through Cassia's grandfathers death, I was freaked out.  Not only was I freaked out, but the way in which he dies (80th birthday exactly) is the way everyone there dies.  It is calculated.  Pre planned to have a life lived as optimized as possible.  It is something that highly disturbed me.  The death.  I don't know why, and its only a book, but Condie REALLY disturbed me with the controlled death.  Not in a bad way.  She definitely got emotions out of me, which is the point of a book I think.

Anyway, so here we are.  Cassia matched with Xander.  But could Ky be her real match? Is it possible that 2 people fit her match perfectly?  I don't think so.  Keep in mind, this "society" that controls everything, controls EVERYTHING.  I'll leave it at that.  There is a definite budding romance in the story and some tough decisions that have to be made.  Who is the real match for Cassia?  Ill leave it at this- the "society" knows who the best match is.  The questions is- does Cassia figure it out.  Does her heart lead her in one direction, or does the "society" lead her in a different.  That part I will leave to your reading.

So yes, a quick little review.  The story did flow well.  I was most curious about the "society" and how it was all formed, etc.  I would love to have had some more  background info on them, but it wasn't there.  That's all right, the story was good without it.  Maybe next time we can get some more background info.  To me, that would be interesting.  Anyhow, I really liked the story itself.  Fun to read and a fairly quick read as well.  I believe for sure there will be more installments.  Ill definitely read book 2.  Keep in mind what I have said before about authors and series....  sometimes an author can turn a great story into a mediocre series.  We shall see.