Review: Nowhere but Home

nowhere but homeNowhere but Home by Liza Palmer

Publisher: William Morrow

Ratings: 4 stars

Source: Publisher

Queenie Wake, a country girl from North Star, Texas, has just been fired from her job as a chef for not allowing a customer to use ketchup. Again. Now the only place she has to go is home to North Star. She can hope, maybe things will be different. Maybe her family’s reputation as those Wake women will have been forgotten. It’s been years since her mother-notorious for stealing your man, your car, and your rent money-was killed. And her sister, who as a teenager was branded as a gold-digging harlot after having a baby with local golden boy Wes McKay, is now the mother of the captain of the high school football team. It can’t be that bad…

Who knew that people in small town Texas had such long memories? And of course Queenie wishes that her memory were a little spottier when feelings for her high school love, Everett Coburn, resurface. He broke her heart and made her leave town-can she risk her heart again?

At least she has a new job-sure it’s cooking last meals for death row inmates but at least they don’t complain!

But when secrets from the past emerge, will Queenie be able to stick by her family or will she leave home again? A fun-filled, touching story of food, football, and fooling around.

As a native Texan, I love reading books that take place in Texas. So I was really excited to dive into Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer and I wasn’t a bit disappointed by the book.

Nowhere but Home is a heartwarming, moving, and sweet little book that follows Queenie Wake on her misadventures and her ups and downs through life. Queenie is an excellent chef that has bounced around the country being fired from one job and then another not due to her inability to cook, but due to her inability to keep quiet. Queenie is opinionated about the food she cooks and she refuses to compromise her cooking to please the customers.

Having nowhere to go but home, Queenie returns to Texas and finds a job cooking the last meal for inmates on death row. After returning home, she has to learn to deal with her past and reputation while rekindling her relationship with her sister and nephew as well as a former lover.

It was fun and entertaining to read about her as she tries to figure out the next step in her life. I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed this book so much was because it was so easy to relate to Queenie. In one way or another, we’re all trying to find our place in this world and figure out what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives. Queenie is far from perfect, but she was witty, sarcastic, and fun to follow.

Nowhere but Home is the perfect beach read and one I would recommend to anyone looking for a fast and fun read.

[ purchase from amazon ] [ visit the author ]

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The-Fault-In-Our-Stars-by-John-GreenThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Ratings: 4.5 stars

Source: Borrowed

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Do you know how sometimes you read a really great book and then you sit down to write the review and you’re completely at a loss for words. That’s how I feel about this book. I’m not even sure where to begin or how to start telling everyone how incredible this book was.

I absolutely love John Green! And The Fault in Our Stars is another beautifully written book by him. Of course after reading both Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars I have to wonder why all of his books have to be so depressing! I borrowed The Fault in Our Stars from one of my friends and in the meantime I let her borrow Looking for Alaska. When she gave me back my book, she told me she wasn’t reading another book by John Green because she was tired of reading all these depressing books.

Hopefully I haven’t scared you away from reading this book with that kind of introduction because this was really a wonderful book that I just couldn’t put down. Who would have thought a book about a bunch of teenagers with cancer would have me laughing so much? I laughed, fell in love with the characters, and cried right alongside them. It was moving and entertaining, deep yet light hearted, and just pulled me in all sorts of direction as I read it. John Green truly takes you on quite a journey as you follow Hazel around and meet an assortment of wonderful characters.

I’m sure you’ve realized by now that I’m not articulate enough to put into words how much I highly recommend everyone to read The Fault in Our Stars. So I’ll keep this review short and sweet and just say that if you haven’t read this book yet, then you should add it to your TBR pile as soon as possible. It’s one book you don’t want to miss.

[ purchase from amazon ] [ visit the author ]

Review: Ender’s Game

ender's gameEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Publisher: Tor Books

Ratings: 4.5 stars

Source: Purchased

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

I’m probably one of the few people that did not read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card as a teenager. I saw the trailer for the movie that is coming out later this year and just knew I had to read the book before I saw the movie and boy am I happy I did. This was one of those books that as soon as I finished reading it, I wanted to hunt down all the other books in the series and read those books too.

This book was simply incredible and I’m still quite shock I have never picked up this book before. Ender is a delightful and interesting character to follow. I was really surprise to learn that he was only 6 years old at the beginning of the book and he was expected to save the world. Talk about putting pressure on children. It was also shocking to see how mature he was for his age and how quickly he was forced to grow up at the Battle School.

This book had everything you would ever want in a great book. It had incredible characters from Ender to Bean to Petra as well as Peter and Valentine back on earth. I love reading about the camaraderie and friendship that developed between the characters. The plot is interesting and it keeps you on your toes. I was completely caught off guard by what happened in the end.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a book I would highly recommend for all. It has wonderful and well developed characters, adventure, politics, conflict, pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. I absolutely can’t wait for the movie to come out.

[ purchase from amazon ] [ visit the author ]

I’m BACK!

Sorry about that impromptu hiatus I took. I’ve been so busy with school and trips that I just haven’t had the time to update my poor blog. Don’t worry though, I’ve read a ton of books while I’ve been gone and I’m refreshed and ready to review them. I know I say this every year, but can ya’ll believe its already summer? It’s unfortunate, but I have summer school this year. On the bright side though, I’m entering my last year of dental school! I’m still trying to process that. It’s hard to believe that I only have one year left. I’m excited yet nervous and scared.

How have ya’ll been? Any summer plans?

An Evening with Jess Walter

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If you spent any time on my blog at all, you know how much I LOVE Jess Walter and how I can’t get enough of his books. So you can only imagine my excitement when I found out he was coming to Houston. I made sure to keep March 20 clear and I even passed up a trip to Las Vegas during my spring break to stay in Houston because I wasn’t sure if he was ever going to come back and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet him. With that said, it was completely worth it! I’ve actually never been to an author reading/signing event before and I’m really glad it was Jess Walter that inducted me to it and took my author event virginity.

He started the event by reading a short story from his new book, We Live in Water. And while I just recently read that story a few weeks ago, it felt refreshing and hilarious to hear it again coming from him. He followed that up by reading an excerpt from his recent novel, Beautiful Ruins, and a poem from, The Financial Lives of the Poets. Hearing him read the poem made me want to read that book again. It’s been a while since I’ve read it and I honestly forgot how funny it was and how much I enjoyed it.

My favorite part of the evening though was the Q&A part because not only is he as hilarious in real life as he is through his books, but it was also insightful to hear stories about his life. It gave me a new perspective on where he came from and how his work turned out the way they do. Take for example, his latest book, We Live in Water, which is a collection of short stories that to some are stories about scary deadbeats, but to Jess Walter are characters that share resemblances to his cousins. He told us that he wanted to write stories about the people we drive and don’t really look at and as I sat there and mentally went over the stories in We Live in Water, I realized how completely right he was—you have the homeless guy, the convict doing community service on the side of the road, the meth addicts, the gambler, the newspaper editor, etc. They’re all characters that we’ve probably ran into at one point or another in our lives and they’re all characters that have finally managed to hit rock bottom. He’s a great person to talk to and is just simply entertaining. I think I could have sat there and listen to him talk all night with a goofy grin on my face.

I didn’t think I could love the man anymore going into this event, and yet when I was walking out that door I was brimming with excitement and couldn’t believe how amazing and awesome Jess Walter is in real life. If you ever get the chance to attend one of his events I would highly recommend it. Besides, how can you not like a guy that signs your tooth?

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