Review - Thumped by Megan McCafferty

Title: Thumped
Bumped #2
Author: Megan McCaffery
Publish Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Hardcover, 304 pages

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Right away I was wondering why I liked this book so much better than the first book, Bumped. It took almost three chapters for me to figure out that Megan McCafferty dropped many of the weird ways the girls spoke. She did leave a few in, "I was so . . ." was one of my favorites. Though she used so many "fertilicious," pregging, egging. The first book almost required a few definitions from the religious talk of Harmony to the excitable, teen talk of Melody. The second book however, was toned down and made this book so much easier to read and in retrospect more enjoyable.

I'll be honest though, I am a bit bummed that this is the last book. I was hoping for a trilogy to find out exactly where Harmony and Melody actually found their happiness. Do they decide to eventually have kids or will they forever be without? Do they really take the fame and fortune earned by "Bumping" and make a stand? Or is this really it?

Don't get me wrong. I thought this book was so well thought up and completely creative. What a refreshing twist on the Teen Fiction Lit. It focuses on a very harsh opinion too of whether or not our society would adopt a similar policy of getting teenage girls pregnant to sell their babies should some catastrophic disease ever invade our society rendering women infertile. What is best for our teens? Bumping with parental consent or in secret? Is getting paid to have babies good or bad? Can it really be that easy of an issue?

Megan McCafferty also threw in religion to coincide with this touchy subject by allowing Harmony to come from a very religious sect of the country where women are not supposed to get pregnant for money, but rather get married young and be devoted to their God. Even though it was posed as two extremes, Megan McCafferty did a splendid job of making me vote for both sides. (ironic, huh?) But then again, I tend to vote for people who stand up for what they believe in.

Summary -

It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

Tell the truth.

Review - Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Title: Born Wicked
The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publish Date: Feb 7, 2012
Hardcover,  330 pages

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Oh my goodness this book was SO GOOD!!! Seriously could not put it down. Every single character in this book was superbly written. Even the ones I didn't like, I still loved. Jessica Spotswood developed each character with such splendid patience without overloading the book with descriptions. I was hooked on every single word. And yes it is part of a series!!! I am so disappointed it took me so long to read this.

Cate is the oldest of three sisters, who are coincidentally witches, as was their mother. But they must keep this a secret because the Brotherhood is constantly on the look out for witches to punish. They like their women insipid, pretty and obliging. A few months before needing to proclaim her interests, Cate's old friend returns to ask her for her hand in marriage. She is surprised and elated, but then along comes a surprise to her heart. A man who is easily overlooked and sadly, below her class. How does she choose? As she is dealing with this heart-felt tragedy, her sisters are being pulled toward their new governess straight from the Sisterhood, who are possibly not just out saving the world from girls who need a mother figure. Cate seems to be on her own fighting to protect her sisters from their own magic nature, keeping their secrets and figuring out whom to be betrothed to. Meanwhile her mother has left her clues in a journal she must locate and then decipher.

Cate is wonderful! So smart, so sweet and yet, she follows her heart as far as it will take her without endangering her sisters. This book didn't end until the last couple pages. Drat!! I cannot wait til the next book in the series. What a wonderfully romantic, fantasy book. Cate does make a few friends along the way, though they are unexpected and surprisingly well placed, but I will not tell who they are because that is a huge giveaway. I absolutely love Finn too! He was so well written that I hardly noticed him til he was already a main character. And Tess, the youngest sister came out of nowhere to light the entire book on fire.

The only character I truly care for was their father. I get that he was sad for his wife's death, but he pissed me off because he let his daughters down so continuously. I really hope he pops up as a stronger character for them in the future books. Maybe he can be a secret Brother who fights for witches on the brain side?

Seriously, go read this book right now!! (Or click the links above and order it.)

Summary -
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

Tuesday - Tune in and Teaser

My boyfriend left yesterday to go back to the big ol' city and if I didn't feel so overflowing with love, I would feel devastated. Maybe I know I feel devastated somewhere deep inside, but he has such faith in our love and our relationship that even when I feel we struggled all week to communicate and connect, it took less than a one hour conversation - me bringing up all the feelings I have kept inside all week during our phone conversations and texts - for him to shrug and say he loves me. Really? To him, our disagreements are so minimal and to me, each painful comment is a knife in my heart. I find it so refreshing that no matter what we go through he is so calm about the whole thing. He always knows we are good. One thing to look forward to is learning this technique from him.

This song must have something to do with the way I feel -
Carrie Underwood, I Unapologize


Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven
by Susan Jane Gillman

The day went so well at first. I rented a bicycle and went to the Grand Hotel Beijing and had tea okay? Proper tea like they might serve at the Plaza. They serve it with cream and gingerbread, and you sit in western chairs and listen to classical music, and it's clean and warm and quiet and it feels so civilized. Civilized and elegant, no one is spitting. Nobody's frying vegetables in the gutter. And the waiter speak English. And then? Then I biked over to the Main Post Office, by Tiananmen, and put in a collect call to home.

Title: Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven
Author: Susan Jane Gilman
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date: Feb 8, 2012
Paperback, 320 pages

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Here is where I wonder what type of review to write as I didn't necessarily enjoy this book, but at the same time I found it incredibly enlightening. Do I tell that I am left with so many questions regarding this endeavor of Susan's that it frustrates me? If I was her, I would need more closure. Will she be writing a sequel? I sure hope so because it kills me to not only to not know what really took place, but to be left without answers too. It is justifiably crazy talk.

This book is the prime example of why I chose not to have roommates after I divorced. People are plain crazy and you really don't know how cookoo til you live with them. And by then, what are you going to do kick them out on their arses and leave them to fend for themselves? Not me. I am a bit too kind-hearted for that. Damn it.

Susan starts her book out by explaining she has changed the names to protect the innocent. Blah, blah, blah whatever, so does everyone else. Uhm no, about halfway through the book I realize she without a doubt should have changed their names.

Not only is she all the way around the world in a country she doesn't speak the language, but she is a bit new to new world experiences. Yes, Susan grew up a bit rougher than most so she is used to living a tougher life, but when her roommate starts spending time by herself to do "counter intelligence work," saying things like "there are people here to protect us" and other such nonsense Susan isn't quite sure what to make of the stranger that was once her acquaintance. Susan is feeling her own anxiety of being alone, away from everything she has known especially the comfort of identifiable food, bathrooms with doors and toilets. Now her only friend has abandoned her to crazy-ville.

There were many parts in this book that kept me turning pages to try and get past the ever present giant WHAT?! that surrounded this book. And even when I finished it I didn't feel sated, but it was still an incredible read making me glad I wasn't there, but more so that Susan wrote this book for me to experience it.

That being said, Susan please find an investigator and track down your friend to find out WTH happened bc I gotta know!!! Susan has such a wonderfully creative way of telling her story that I was truly riveted even when I was trying not to gag. I truly enjoyed her take on the everyday living of the oriental culture with things like public restrooms being big holes the ground women went in to squat above. The fact that rice is a palate cleanser served at the end of the meal rather than during. The cultural differences were amazing.

And not that anyone asked me, but since it is my review . . . .  I prefer the following cover over the one above. A small bummer when purchasing an ebook, they don't let me choose the cover I like.

Summary -
 They were young, brilliant, and bold. They set out to conquer the world. But the world had other plans for them.
Bestselling author Susan Jane Gilman's new memoir is a hilarious and harrowing journey, a modern heart of darkness filled with Communist operatives, backpackers, and pancakes.
In 1986, fresh out of college, Gilman and her friend Claire yearned to do something daring and original that did not involve getting a job. Inspired by a place mat at the International House of Pancakes, they decided to embark on an ambitious trip around the globe, starting in the People's Republic of China. At that point, China had been open to independent travelers for roughly ten minutes.
Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche, an astrological love guide, and an arsenal of bravado, the two friends plunged into the dusty streets of Shanghai. Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads. As they ventured off the map deep into Chinese territory, they were stripped of everything familiar and forced to confront their limitations amid culture shock and government surveillance. What began as a journey full of humor, eroticism, and enlightenment grew increasingly sinister-becoming a real-life international thriller that transformed them forever.
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a flat-out page-turner, an astonishing true story of hubris and redemption told with Gilman's trademark compassion, lyricism, and wit.