All posts in the Reading category

#BookReview: Unravel Me by @TaherehMafi

Published April 10, 2013 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Unravel Me

“Nothing in this life will ever make sense to me but I can’t help but try to collect the change and hope it’s enough to pay for our mistakes.” –Tahereh Mafi, “Unravel Me”

I don’t even know where to begin. This book is poetry–a constant stream of consciousness. It’s what we think inside our heads, without having the opportunity to put our thoughts into words on paper. The entire book captivated me and I had a difficult time putting it down, even when I absolutely had to.

I discovered the first book, “Shatter Me,” over a year ago. I was hooked immediately. “Shatter Me” was different. Unique. It stuck out like a sore thumb, but in a wonderful way. I embraced Juliette, cheered for her, and wanted nothing more than for her to find acceptance and love.

“Unravel Me,” however, has made me speechless. Adam? Warner? Goodness there is so much revealed…this book is a constant tug of war with your emotions!

The main character, Juliette, is beyond phenomenal. Period. She is a character who is only just discovering who she is, what her abilities are, and how to live with who she is and the life she has been given/thrown into.

Unravel Me” is so clearly fictional, yet the emotions strewn across the pages are un-mistakenly real and raw. There’s hope, heartache, sadness, amazement–constant conflicting.

Juliette’s thoughts and words are like fingers. As I read, they reached into my chest and wrapped themselves around my heart…and at times around my throat. There were moments when I felt like I was gasping for air. My breath was taken away. My emotions were torn between Adam and Warner. Just like Juliette.

I cannot say enough about the written words. Tahereh Mafi has an incredible ability for writing. It is natural, embracing, addictive, honest–shattering, brilliant.

Tahereh Mafi, photo credit- Ransom Riggs via Facebook

Tahereh Mafi, photo credit Ransom Riggs via Facebook.

If you have yet to read the “Shatter Me” series, I suggest you add it your TBR pile. I promise you it will be a quick read–because you will not be able to put it down.

Side note: For those of you who know me, I have long been a proponent of a certain Tiger’s series. For quite some time I  denied myself that this series quickly lost its “pizzazz” after the first book, if not the second.

Well, I have unveiled a new-found love and addiction.  It is all words that is Tahereh Mafi.

Not only is Tahereh an unforgettable and unbelievably talented writer, she has a seriously funny sense of humor :). Every so often she creates videos and posts them–she’ll reveal news about her series and she is so entertaining! I highly suggest you follow her on Facebook and Twitter because sometimes, well, most times, what she has to say is “pee your pants worthy.” Just saying ;).

“Unravel Me” Synopsis via Goodreads:





it’s almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.


#Bookreview Tiger’s Destiny: Wha?

Published February 5, 2013 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Tiger's Destiny by Colleen HouckI started reading Colleen Houck’s “Tiger’s Destiny” in October of last year. I finally finished it a few weeks ago. Two family members of mine also read the book and finished before me.

Both said the exact same thing when they ended the book. I won’t go into detail, because I am NOT one to give away endings ;).

However, the main question floating around is: Where can the story go from here?

Have you read this series? If so, what were you left thinking?

My eyeballs started to drag a bit throughout the vampire scenes…it honestly took A LOT for me to keep reading. I was left feeling OK at the end of the book…wasn’t super excited, wasn’t terribly disappointed. In general, I just “wasn’t” anything.

I recently read on Author Colleen Houck’s Website that she is embarking on a new book, and is still currently writing “Tiger’s Dreams”. Perhaps she has lost some steam for the story and is ready to move on. I for one, am ready to move on.

The series started out great–I was hopeful, excited, eager for more. Then, I became bored and found myself saying,

“Well, no surprise there.”

I want to love it and keep loving it. I’m just not here anymore :(. I love the characters…but feel there could have been more…there SHOULD have been more…specifically more depth.

We are in the 4th book. Has Kelsey grown as a character? Yes. I think she did…but in my opinion, she should have grown A LOT more. There were times I wanted to slap her for her arrogance and whiny mouth.

Did she really deserve either Ren or Kishan? Maybe…maybe not.


#BoutofBooks 6.0 Goals and Updates

Published January 7, 2013 by Jennifer Elizabeth
It’s finally here!  Bout of Books 6.0 Read-A-Thon kicked off today, Monday, Jan. 7th (which made its debut in August 2011).
Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda (On a Book Bender) and Kelly (Reading the Paranormal).  It is a week long read-a-thon that begins at 12:01am on Monday 7 January and runs through to the end of Sunday 13 January in whatever time zone you are in.  Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week.  There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
– From the Bout of Books 6.0 team
My Reading Goals:
Jennifer Wagner
1. Michael Connelly’s “The Black Box”
2. Becca Fitzpatrick’s “Finale”
3. Comment on many of my fellow book blogger’s goals/challenges/updates
4. Participate in at least ONE challenge
Monday Update: I am getting a super late start, as it is currently 9 p.m. on Monday evening. I have done quite a bit of reading today; however, it’s been for my freelance job ;).  I wish I had the motivation to read “for me” right now, but I don’t.  I’m just going to call Monday a “wash” and start fresh tomorrow. Plus, I have 35 minute of Downton Abbey to finish from Season 3’s Episode 1 which aired last night, and I am dddyyyyinggg to finish it!  ;). Best of luck fellow readers!!


The Evolution of Mara Dyer: Holy Freaking Awesome!

Published December 31, 2012 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Reading En Vogue Gives this book 5 Stars!

didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it liked it (my current rating)

First, if you haven’t read “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer,” do so. And do it now. Second, this book is ridiculous! Michelle Hodkin is hands down one of my new favorite authors.

It’s probably safe to say that I read “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” nearly a year ago. I thought that book was fantastic. I honestly didn’t expect to be as impressed with book #2. I’m sure you all can relate. You read #1 and fall in love with the storyline, characters, setting, etc. The you read #2 and something leaves you with that bad taste in your mouth, never fully satisfied and sometimes wishing you didn’t even open #2.

YA Book The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinThis sequel does NOT leave that bad taste in your mouth. This book leaves you craving MORE!! And dang it, Hodkin, I want more. Like NOW! I haven’t even looked into when/if a #3 is coming out. But if I have to wait another year, I think I may start dreaming creepy nightmares about this book!

OK, here is the synopsis for “The Evolution of Mara Dyer“:

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past. She can’t. She used to think her problems were all in her head. They aren’t. She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets. She’s wrong. In this gripping sequel to “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer,” the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

Continuing with the review:

Mara and Noah: This relationship has it all and not enough. Read it. You’ll know exactly what I mean!

Dolls: I will never look at dolls again in the same way…and burning hair…lets not even go there 😉 I am forever creeped out.

Psychologists/psycho-therapy: I have never been comfortable with aspect of medical treatment. And now, even less so!

The storyline flows beautifully and there is never a dull moment. Read it and you won’t want to put it down! If you’ve read Becca Fitzpatrick‘s “Hush, Hush” series and enjoyed the thrill-tastic storyline of Nora and Patch, you WILL love this!

Recommended Reading Level: Ages 15 and Up (language, sexual content, creepiness (ha!))

Emlyn Chand’s ‘Farsighted’ is Simply Sense-ational!

Published July 12, 2012 by Jennifer Elizabeth

                                                         Featured Author: Emlyn Chand, Farsighted

Reading En Vogue’s Rating

didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it it was amazing

Recommended Reading Level: Ages 12 and up

Favorite Quote:  “They say that right before you die your whole life flashes before you – a medley of your own personal greatest hits. Well then, I must be about to live, because events that haven’t happened yet are constantly pushing themselves into my head.”
Emlyn Chand, Farsighted, 2011

Description:  “Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he’s blind. Just when he thinks he’ll never have a shot at a normal life, an enticing new girl comes to their small Midwest town all the way from India. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival–an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they suggest Simmi is in mortal danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex embarks on his journey to change the future.Amazon


This book was wonderfully unexpected and truly one of a kind.  My first introduction to author, Emlyn Chand, was through Twitter.  We followed one another and I placed her novel in my TBR pile.  Then, I stumbled upon the Orangeberry Book Tour, discovered Emlyn was participating, and eagerly scooped up a date to post a feature of Farsighted on my blog.  This book could not have come at a more important time in my aspiring writing career.  I am so thankful to have read Emlyn’s book sooner than later.

First, the sensory descriptions used throughout Farsighted are absolutely fantastic.  I cannot even imagine the difficulty a writer faces when creating a main character that is blind.  It has to be a major undertaking that takes extreme organization, focus, and creativity. While I have never read any other book where the main character was blind, I honestly feel that Emlyn Chand mastered this art of sensory description with the creation of her main character, Alex.  Honestly, as I read, I thought, “WOW. This girl knows what she is doing.”  Major props to Emlyn’s abilities as a writer and herself as a person for undertaking what could have been a terrible flop.

While reading, there was never a time when I thought, “Wait, isn’t Alex supposed to be blind?”  I’m sure it’s easy to ‘slip-up’, especially when the writer, herself, is not blind.  The hearing, smelling, and touching descriptions were consistent throughout the book.

One part that absolutely stood out to me was when Alex’s father informs him that his boots are scuffed and could use a new pair for his birthday.  Alex is clearly bothered by the fact that he isn’t able to see where his boots are scuffed and in what condition they appear.

Second, aspects of this book made me cringe as a human being, a former teen who was once a classmate to kids with disabilities.  I can clearly remember a boy, from my high school, who was blind.  Although I never had a class with him, I can remember him clearly.  I remember wondering what it was like to be in his position and how he managed to survive high school.  I remember him maneuvering through the halls with his walking stick.  However, I never did befriend him or even speak to him for that matter.  In my defense, my graduating class consisted of over 600 kids, so there were many that I didn’t even know.  But, I did notice this boy and sadly never made an effort to speak to him.  I wish I had.  Now that I’ve read Farsighted, and read the thoughts that a blind teen could realistically think, I wish I had made the effort.  I am so sorry that I didn’t once acknowledge Brian, the boy who was blind, the boy who was brave.

Third, this book is written in the present tense.  I loved this.  When I first began writing my young adult novel, I wrote it in the present tense.  For my main character, Samara, everything was happening right then and there and I was experiencing it all right along with her.  And then, I started to second guess myself.  I couldn’t remember reading a novel narrated in the first person, present tense. What was I doing? So, I started to change it to the first person, past tense. I then shelved it for a few weeks because I wasn’t happy with the change.  And then, I read Farsighted and my entire world was turned upside down.  Emlyn had written her novel this way, so what was stopping me?  Nothing.  It was a wonderful and welcoming discovery.  Thank you, Emlyn Chand, for returning my confidence to me.

Finally, the story is very well-paced and super easy to breeze right through.  I was able to read the book in one day.  I loved that aspect about Farsighted. Nothing seemed rushed; every aspect of the story (plot, details, etc.) fell into place perfectly.

In conclusion, this book was an inspiring read for me.  Not only did it force me to reevaluate myself as a writer, it forced me to reevaluate myself as a person and as a parent.  Farsighted tackles the topic of bullying with dignity.  Although I did not bully others in school, and I was often made fun of for being the shortest kid in my class, I still ignored various kids that had disabilities.  Today, I am a mom.  I have two little boys.  I don’t want them to act the way I did as a teen in regards to classmates with disabilities.  I want them to embrace these kids and support them, not ignore them.

**If you are interested in reading this wonderfully written novel, please know that five percent of all proceeds from paperback, hardcover, and eBook sales of books in the Farsighted series is donated to the Seedlings Braille Books for Children, a non-profit organization.  Seedlings is “dedicated to providing high quality, low-cost braille books for blind children in Michigan and around the world”.   Also, a ten-dollar donation will be made to the Seedlings organization every time a braille edition of Farsighted is purchased (braille edition of Farsighted will be available for purchase via Seedlings in fall 2012).**

For further information or to make a donation, please contact the Seedlings organization at:


P.O. Box 51924

Livonia, MI 48151-5924

Monday Book Match-Up: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Published July 8, 2012 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Week 3

1. Pick a book: Choose one that you are reading or one of your favorites.

2. Pick a character/s: Match him/her up with a real actor/s.

3. Pick a song: When you read the book, what song could easily be added if made into a movie?

4. Add a little ‘zing’: What did you eat/drink when you read this book? What did you see the characters wearing? Where could you see this book taking place? (Add some photos. Feed our visual appetites!)  Reflect a bit of you in this one.

My Picks:

The Book: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick–This is absolutely one of my favorite series, ever.  I discovered Nora and Patch last summer, and was instantly sucked into the storyline.  In this series you will find mystery, seduction, romance, humor…once you start reading it is impossible to put down.  If you have yet to read this series, I highly recommend you start!  The final book, Finale, will be released October 23, 2012.

The Character: Nora Grey

Actor: Grace Phips,  Amy on The Nine Lives of Chloe King

The Character: Patch Cipriano

 Actor: Steven R. Mcqueen, Jeremy on Vampire Diaries

The Song: Storm, By Jason Wade, Lifehouse–This is my absolute favorite song from Lifehouse.  In my eyes, this song is incredible, beautiful, haunting, and immortal.  I could listen to this song non-stop.  I love it and intend to add it to the playlist for my ‘one-day’ novel. 🙂

The Zing:

 A Ferris Wheel….If you have read this book, you know exactly why I am posting a picture of a Ferris Wheel ;).  I can’t even imagine the feeling of free-falling off one of these things…Becca Fitzpatrick does a phenomenal job creating the perfect imagery in her story.

Some delicious sour PATCH kids…need I say more?

Black feather earrings…Why yes.  I would choose Team Patch any day ;).

The Friday Factoid: Past vs. Present Tense, Inspired by Emlyn Chand

Published July 6, 2012 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Factoid #2

Today’s topic: Past vs. Present Tense

This week’s post was inspired by a conversation via Twitter that I had with Farsighted author, Emlyn Chand.  I asked Emlyn why she wrote her novel in the present tense, thus her response developed this week’s factoid.

She said,  “The present tense works well if you want to convey a naive narrator.  Past tense implies they’ve already known what’s coming.”

I have been struggling with tense for months now.  I began writing my YA novel in the first person, present tense.  And then, I started to question myself.  Why was I writing this way?  Are there many books out there written like this (ie. The Hunger Games)?   Is it odd for a reader to read this kind of point of view?  How difficult is it to write, continuously, in the first person, present tense?  In my opinion, very.

But, once I read Emlyn’s response, everything made sense. My main character, Samara, is naive to her past and to her future.  Thus, her story has to be told from this perspective.  Everything I learn for the first time, she learns for the first time. It all makes sense now.  This will be a difficult journey, but I am willing to undertake it!

Thank you, Emlyn, for inspiring me this week. 🙂

Do you struggle with verb tense when embarking on a new writing adventure?

How do you overcome it?

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