Saturday, March 29, 2014

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?- Goodreads

*Received via NetGalley, Scholastic, and Elizabeth Eulberg for an honest review*

I enjoyed this book, but I have to admit that I'd been waiting so long to read this that I had my expectations really high. It didn't meet all of my expectations, but I liked it well enough and enjoyed it. 

This is a simple read that starts out with the characters meeting for the first time in Middle School and follows them through High School. 

I enjoyed "growing up" with the characters and watching as their relationship changed and evolved and new feelings began to emerge. 

This does seem like it would be better for the younger YA audience, but if you're just looking for a simple read, then it's enjoyable. 

The only part I didn't really like is that the point-of-view switches between the two main characters, Levi and Macallen. I'm really not a fan of that, although it did work for this book. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rambling Daze of Memories by Rowena Patti Young

This is a book about memories, 70 years of them. Some people have similar memories, but others have never experienced such things and may learn from these. Some parts have sadness, depressiveness, obnoxiousness, and darkness, but this can disappear behind the clouds when the quirky, funny, descriptive, and sunny ones overpower them. I have included some of this in my poetry. My life has been full of challenges and I have written about most of them in this book. My hope is that those reading it will find something to help them in their lives and/or be entertained.

My husband's Grandma Young wrote a book! How cool is that? Even better is that the book is really good! 

In this she tells of her life, and some of it was quite humorous, while other parts were really sad. She talks about her first marriage ending in her husband's suicide and her son's ongoing problems with mental illness. 

I loved reading this for several reasons. 

It was a fun way to learn more about my husband's side of the family. I mean this is ancestry tracking gold! haha I have a few small story collections written by a couple of my great-grandmas, but nothing as detailed and entertaining as this. 

I felt like I could relate to this, not only because of my family ties, but because this book reminded me of my own grand (and great) grandparents and the stories of their own childhoods. I always love hearing about how things used to be compared to now. 

This is a wonderful look into the past and what Grandma Young's life has been like and how she's gotten through it. She is a woman who is strong, kind, and quick to joke and I'm so happy to be lucky enough to marry into this family. 

Here is a link if you would like to buy a copy and enjoy this book for yourself- 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fort Stevens Camping Trip

We just got back from a small camping trip down to the Oregon Coast @ Fort Stevens. It was our puppy Thor's first camping trip and we found out that he's a fair weather only type of dog. It rained while we were fishing and he wanted nothing to do with that. (Isn't he so cute with his sweater!)

There is also an old shipwreck on the beach. I love going to see this every time we go to this part of the Oregon Coast. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Liebster Award

I'd like to shout out a big thank you to Emily @ Follow The Yellow Book Road for nominating me for The Liebster Award! Thank you so much for thinking of me!

The Liebster Award was created to help bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers, and now it is my chance to recognize some of the smaller blogs that I follow and enjoy. 

The Rules
1. Make sure to link back and thank the person who nominated you
2. List 11 facts about yourself
3. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you
4. Ask 11 new questions to 9 new bloggers (with fewer than 200 followers, and you can't nominate the person that nominated you).
5. Let them know they've been nominated by posting a link on their blog

11 Facts About Myself

1. My middle name is Ann
2. I have a dog named Thor (Thunder-Buns is his nickname)
3. I got engaged to my husband after only 5 months of dating (Most people thought I was crazy, but I just knew what I wanted! haha).
4. My nickname growing up was Cookie Bear (apparently I named myself this when I was 2 and it's never left me, my family still calls me either Cookie Bear, Cookie, or just Cooks). 
5. I have a 20 pound rabbit named Bear, and two cats, Bella and Zoe. 
6. I've lived my whole life in Oregon and the farthest from home I've gone is to Yellowstone National Park. 
7. I love the outdoors. Fishing and hunting are just as fun to me as reading a good book. 
8. I have 2 brothers, an older brother who is 3 years old than me and a younger one who's almost exactly a year younger than me. 
9. I had back surgery when I was 11. (This was a huge turning point in my life, especially for my falling in love with reading. For the year or so leading up to my surgery I couldn't do a lot, so I just read lots and lots of books to pass the time). 
10. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 19. (Honestly, I was just too scared that I was going to fail the test, so I never took it. I did fail the first time I took the drive test, but it really motivated me to get better and pass it the next time cause it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be). 
11. I'm a horrible artist. I can't even draw stick figures. 

Emily's Questions
1.If you could meet one book character who would it be and why?
Hagrid, besides the obvious fact that he's amazing. I'd like to meet him because I feel like he'd be a good friend to have, not only to help you out when times are bad, but to enjoy the good times swapping stories.

2. How did you pick you blog's name?
The Elysian Fields, or Elysium, was the Ancient Greek's version of afterlife for the virtuous and heroic. I'm not really sure what I was thinking when I chose this as my blog name. I love Homer and Virgil and Greek and Roman mythology really interests me. If I had to find a deep meaning for it though, I cause it would be that The Elysian Fields were a paradise, and I want this blog to flourish and be enjoyed. 

3. What is your favorite social media website?
I am hopelessly addicted to Facebook. 

4. What is the first book that you remember reading?
The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss. My dad taught me how to read using this book, so it's always meant a lot to me. As far as the first I read all by myself, that probably would have been one of the Frog and Toad books, cause I was in love with those as a kid, although to be honest, I could probably spend hours reading them today. haha

5. Who is your favorite villain?
I'm not sure if he's really considered a villain but Draco Malfoy. I love his character because I feel like he was so conflicted and had so many different layers, and that his story could have been completely different if even a few aspects of his life were changed. 

As far as super evil villains, Voldemort is going to win every time, cause he's just plain scary. 

6. What language(s) do you speak? 
English and very horrible,and probably barely understandable French. 

7. What language(s) do you wish you could speak?
I've always been fascinated by dead languages, so I'd love to learn any of them, such as Sanskrit or Latin. 

8. How long have you been blogging for?
This is my first blog and I started it about a year ago. I was horrible at updating at first and couldn't think of how I wanted to write, but it's gotten easier and funner as times gone on. 

9. How do you decide what to read next?
I have a to-read stack of books, and I tend to put the books I want to read at the top of the stack. I try to read books in series or trilogy's close together. If I really can't make up my mind though, then my husband picks one for me. He's actually gotten very good at picking out the perfect book for the mood I'm in at that moment. 

10. If you could only recommend one book to people for the rest of your life, which book would it be?
This one's hard, because I recommend different books to different people based on what their likes and dislikes are. A book that I've been recommending a lot lately though is Windwalker by Natasha Mostert. I loved it so much and it's so deep and I just really really enjoyed reading it. 

11. If you were an animal, what would you be?
A bear, because no one messes with a bear. haha. No, really I love bears, and to me I'd want to be one because they're so free and powerful, (and they get to sleep through the crappy months of the year!)

My Questions:
1. Where is your favorite place to read?
2. If you could meet any author who would it be and why?
3. Besides reading, what do you like to do with your spare time?
4. What is your favorite fictional world?
5. What is your favorite animal? Why
6. What is your favorite season? Why?
7. If you had a superpower, what would yours be?
8. Is the book always better than that movie?
9. How'd you first get into books and reading?
10. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
11. Do you prefer ebook or physical book? 

My Nominations:
Emily @ Mrs B's Books
Samantha @ Beyond My Bookshelf
Ashley @ Book 'n' Go

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hidden like Anne Frank by Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis

Fourteen unforgettable true stories of children hidden away during World War II

Jaap Sitters was only eight years old when his mother cut the yellow stars off his clothes and sent him, alone, on a fifteen-mile walk to hide with relatives. It was a terrifying night, one he would never forget. Before the end of the war, Jaap would hide in secret rooms and behind walls. He would suffer from hunger, sickness, and the looming threat of Nazi raids. But he would live.

This is just one of the incredible stories told in HIDDEN LIKE ANNE FRANK, a collection of eye-opening first-person accounts that share what it was like to go into hiding during World War II. Some children were only three or four years old when they were hidden; some were teenagers. Some hid with neighbors or family, while many were with complete strangers. But all know the pain of losing their homes, their families, even their own names. They describe the secret network of brave people who kept them safe. And they share the coincidences and close escapes that made all the difference.

*Received for review via NetGalley, Scholastic, and Marcel Prins & Peter Henk Steenhuis*

This book was powerful, and definitely not for those looking for a light and carefree read. Each chapter starts out with a photo of the person before the war, most of them are small, happy children. 

It's hard to describe reading these true stories. I felt intrigued, because I wanted to know how the person survived. I also felt deeply saddened, because I know that so many people didn't survive. And it's clear in these accounts that many of these children and teenagers didn't have much of a family after the war. 

The Holocaust is hard for me to wrap my head around. I don't understand how any one person could be so cruel, let alone a group of people. I can understand why people wouldn't believe that it happened, because it's so horrific. I'm glad that there are books like this though, so that we can remember what really happened and make sure nothing like it ever happens again. 

I do recommend this book, but be warned about how heart-wrenching some of these stories are. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Book I really need to finish/start reading!

Okay, I'm bored and wanted to do a blog post, but since I've been spending way too much time playing video games instead of reading, I haven't finished the book I'm working on. So that led me to thinking about what other books I haven't finished/haven't even started that I have no excuse for not reading!

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins-Catching Fire & Mockingjay- Everyone kept telling me how great and amazing The Hunger Games were, but I honestly didn't pick up the first book until after I saw the movie. Now I think I'm just being lazy, like why read it when I can just wait and watch it? haha which is completely the opposite of how I usually am with movies and books. 

2. Allegiant by Veronica Roth- I read Divergent and Insurgent like crazy fast, but for some reason I keep picking up and putting back down Allegiant. It's not that the book isn't good, and I don't know why I can't focus on it, but I really do need to just finish it, otherwise I'm afraid I'll have to just restart it. 

3. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld- I'm so far behind the bandwagon on this one! I loved the author's other series, The Midnighter's, but when I tried reading Uglies years ago it just didn't hold my attention. I'm vowing to try again though cause it's always annoyed me that I didn't finish this one! haha Hopefully this time I'll have better luck....or maybe the book does just suck...idk?

4. The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton- I'm putting the whole series down, cause I am so far behind that I don't even know how many books behind I really am! Also, it's been so long since I've read this series that I feel like I need to re-read it to re-antiquate myself with the characters. There are SO many books though...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

*Received via NetGalley, Macmillian Children's Pub., and Alyssa B. Sheinmel*

I didn't think it was possible to equally love and hate a book this much!!!!

On the one hand, I loved this book, it was amazingly written and the characters were awesome. Pete and Jas are both cool and smokin hot, and have loads of drama, but so does Wendy.  

This Peter Pan remix was nice, new, and fresh. It makes me really want to learn how to surf now, even though I'm sure I'd drown or get eaten by a shark on my first voyage out! 

I hated the way this book ended. It left me feeling like, what's next? and that's it? I want more to this story, it doesn't feel finished! Or maybe it's just that it didn't end in any way like I wanted. 

I would highly recommend this book though! It was an amazing read, even if the story didn't go where I wanted it to. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. 

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

*Received via NetGalley, Random House Children's Pub., and Ann Brashares for review*

This book caught my attention from the very beginning. It's an interesting idea, fleeing a horrible future to live in the past because there is just no where else left to go. 

As far as the characters go, I really liked Ethan, he's like the perfect guy, sweet, funny, attractive, and smart! I liked Prenna too, although she had moments where I really just didn't understand her.

I hated Prenna's mom though. She's a horrible mom, and yet Prenna is all forgiving and makes excuses for why she acts the way she does. Her mom and all the other adults are cowards in my opinion. 

There is so much tension between Prenna and Ethan. And it's sweet and sad at the same time. 

I really wonder if this is going to be a stand alone book or if there's another one? I would read a sequel to this, cause I feel there are still so many questions not answered. 

My only complaint is that I really don't like the cover. I find it kind of bland and not very eye-catching. Although, I know I should judge a book based on it's cover!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down. -Goodreads

*Received via NetGalley, Macmillan Children's Publishing, and Jennifer Mathieu for honest review*

This book was a little bit darker and more deep than what I expected, but it was a good read. It showed just how much and how quickly rumors can spread out of control. Also, that words do hurt, sometimes even more than something physical would have. This book was also a good reminder to me of how much I don't miss high school! haha Not that my high school experience was anything like this. 

Throughout this book, in the perspective of these other four high schoolers, we learn who Alice Franklin is, the real Alice. I enjoyed switching between the characters, which I usually don't, but it just felt right with this book. 

I especially loved Kurt, since I can't help but love nerds. haha He also is the only character that is honest, and someone who I would want to have as a friend. 

I was also really happy with how this book ended, it felt almost bitter sweet in the ending, and was just perfect for me, and the mood I'm in now. I would definitely recommend checking it out. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Windwalker by Natasha Mostert

*Received via NetGalley, Portable Magic Ltd., and Natasha Mostert for review*

From the award-winning author of Season of the Witch, comes a highly original story of murder, redemption, eternal love and destiny. WINDWALKER will keep you on the edge of your seat. And break your heart.

When photographer, Justine Callaway, walks into the deserted English mansion, Paradine Park, she doesn’t suspect that she is opening the door to the greatest mystery–and magic–of her life.

Justine becomes obsessed by the family who used to live in the house, especially the oldest son, Adam Buchanan. But why is she so drawn to a man who had killed his brother nine years before? And why, as she photographs the house, does she discover ghostly images she knows she did not record?

Even more unsettling, she senses someone is stalking her, watching her...

- Goodreads

I loved this! It's beautiful, strange, exotic, and just plain addictive to read. I couldn't wait to pick this back up and immerse myself in these people's lives. It was so interesting and heartbreaking at the same time!

This book focuses heavily on reincarnation and not only having a life path that is predestined for us, but also having a soul-mate that we're searching for throughout all our joined lives. 

Adam and Justine are living a world apart from each other, but they still sense each other and it's only a matter of time before their paths must cross. 

The whole concept on this story intrigued me and I really enjoyed it, especially how it was written. I love the way Natasha Mostert writes, it's almost like poetry, it just speaks to me so deeply and makes me feel! 

At first I really didn't understand what the point of having The Watcher, who likes to watch Justin and is pretty much stalking her, but I felt it added a good bit of suspense to the story. 

I loved the characters in this, and even though this isn't a romance in the traditional sense, I felt that overall this book was very romantic, especially toward the end. 

I think I would have liked this better without the epilogue, but I'm not really complaining because I loved everything else so much. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Shadowhunters Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis

The Clave is pleased to announce the newest edition of the Nephilim’s oldest and most famous training manual: the Shadowhunter’s Codex. Since the thirteenth century, the Codex has been the young Shadowhunter’s best friend. When you’re being swarmed by demons it can be easy to forget the finer points of obscure demon languages or the fastest way to stop an attack of Raum demons. With the Codex by your side, you never have to worry. 

Now in its twenty-seventh edition, the Codex covers it all: the history and the laws of our world; how to identify, interact with, and if necessary, kill that world’s many colorful denizens; which end of the stele is the end you write with. No more will your attempt to fight off rogue vampires and warlocks be slowed by the need to answer endless questions from your new recruits: What is a Pyxis? Why don’t we use guns? If I can’t see a warlock’s mark, is there a polite way to ask him where it is? Where do we get all our holy water? Geography, History, Magic, and Zoology textbook all rolled into one, the Codex is here to help new Shadowhunters navigate the beautiful, often brutal world that we inhabit. 


I was so disappointed by this companion book. I didn't expect it to be way better than Cassandra Clare's other books, but I did expect it to have more new information into The Mortal Instruments series. There was nothing new in this. If you've read the books, including The Infernal Devices trilogy, then none of this supposedly secret and heavily guarded information is new. 

I absolutely hated the way this was written also. I was thinking that since it's an ancient codex that the writing would be different, more "smart" and textbook like maybe. This felt really rushed, stupid, and sloppy. I think the only way I would have enjoyed this is if I'd read it when I was way younger, and before I'd finished the majority of the books. (I only have the sixth TMI book left, City of Heavenly Fire, which won't be released until the end of this upcoming May). 

Overall, my vote is just to skip this book and read Clare's other works. This was just a waste of time for me.