Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

The Hunger Games and Matched | Dystopian Book Comparison

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

If you've been around my blog for awhile, you can probably see the correlation between light content here and my reading consumption. After my last book reviews for Explosive Eighteen and If You Were Here, I decided I needed to read The Hunger Games again*. The timing worked out well because, while finishing the last few chapters, I got the email notification that another Dystopian book, Matched, was ready for me to download from the library.

Aside: Colleen of Classy Mommy told me about Matched over dinner at the Big Miracle press trip. I believe six of us went out that night. The conversation turned to books and all of us had our phones out, tapping away with each new title mentioned. It was wonderfully nerdy.

Reading the two series back to back was interesting. Both are young adult fiction, set in the future and have a ruling class system but that's about it for similarities. At least for the first books. There are hints of unrest in Matched so maybe the story will heat up. The Hunger Games is such a page turner. It's gripping and hard to put down. I think it's because the action starts off so quickly. The first book sets everything in motion and second two are the aftermath of Katniss' actions.

Matched was smooth and more of a story. I feel like this trilogy is going to be the reverse of The Hunger Games where it starts off slowly and then builds to a final climax. I haven't read any of the reviews or synopses of the other two books (Crossed and Reached) so I can't say for sure. In fact, I had no idea what Matched was about before I read it. I checked it out because it seems Colleen and I love the same books so I trusted her recommendation.

Imagine this society: people are classified by the skills they have and jobs they can do. Food is fuel. Your movements are tracked and recorded. Illness has been eradicated. Marriages are arranged. Days are structured and scheduled. Knowledge is limited and controlled by the government. Negativity is discouraged. Death is predetermined. This is the world Cassia, the heroine, lives in. And she's perfectly happy, until her grandfather shares a secret in the form of forbidden poetry. 

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas

Again, with the way Matched ends (and the book cover images) hints at events to come, I smell a revolution. Or at least an uprising. I've already put Crossed on hold at the library. Review to come, of course.

Are you reading young adult fiction and/or Dystopian fiction? What other titles should I look into (please don't say Twilight)? Other books Colleen suggested are Divergent by Veronica Roth and Delirium by Lauren Oliver.

*I'm glad I read The Hunger Games again. Now the details are really fresh in my mind for the movie! *affiliate links used*

Explosive Eighteen, If You Were Here: Book Reviews

Monday, March 12, 2012

When I go to my local library, right off the bat I do two things: cruise through the used book store and check out the new releases section. Occasionally I get lucky and a book I've been wanting to read is on the New Releases shelf. I love it when I don't have to put a book on hold and wait for it to be available. Last week fate smiled and I was able to grab two titles on my Want To Read list; Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich and If You Were Here by Jenn Lancaster.

I think I said before I'm worried that the Stephanie Plum series is heading for Jump the Sharkville. The last few books felt as though they had lost their spark. Explosive Eighteen brought the spark back (see how I did that?). The plot wasn't vastly different than any of the previous books, (Stephanie, bad guys, Vinnie, Grandma Mazur and viewings and Ranger vs Morelli) though I liked the little twist in the beginning. I didn't see it coming and when it was explained, it definitely left room for more stuff to happen between the characters.

What won me over was the conversation Stephanie and Lula had about social media. Here's where my husband calls me a dork. Yes, having the characters talk about Facebook and Twitter brought me back to liking the series again. I would love to see Lula's Twitter stream. I'm hoping that the 18th book in the series is the start of a turn around and the books will be good again. It's hard to get that far in a series and not feel really invested. There's a bit of a cliffhanger so there is definitely room for things to get juicy.

If you've read any of Jenn Lancaster's memoirs, you know she's hilarious. I had no idea what If You Were Here was about and I didn't even bother to read to read the jacket. If Lancaster was ready to try fiction, I was ready to read it. It did not disappoint. The book started off well and chapter five pushed me over the edge in love with it. Her characters have my kind of sarcasm and humor and I laughed out loud in a few parts.

I don't want to reveal too much because I want everyone else to have the same combination "Yay!" and swoon moment that I did in the first pages of chapter five. But, the book is essentially about first time homebuyers Mia and Mac and their decision to completely remodel rather then buy a move in ready home. Anyone who has remodeled will sympathize with everything they go through.

I will say one thing: If you are in a book club, If You Were Here would make for a great theme-night book discussion. That's all I can say. I know it's cryptic, you'll just have to trust me.

Both of these books are my typical light, fast reads. If you have read either of these titles, what did you think?

*If someone starts Tweeting as Lula, you heard it here first. Affiliate links used.

A Soft Place to Land, Crunch Time | Book Reviews

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I haven't done a book review for 2012, but that's not because I haven't been reading. Back in late November, I started (re)reading the Outlander series because it was finally chosen as our book club selection. So I read the first and then couldn't resist continuing on with the next three*. Since the beginning of the year, I've also read A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White and Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson.

I've said before I like books that deal with the relationship between sisters. I'm sure it's because I've always wanted to have a sister. This book follows two sisters from childhood to adulthood as they deal with the after effects of a tragedy. It's not a sad or depressing book, which is good because it really could have been.

Ruthie and Julia are young when their parents die in plane crash (not a spoiler, this is on the back of the book). After their parents' will is read, the girls' lives go in two totally different directions. It sounds weird to say, but one thing I liked about this book is that it wasn't too long or too short. some books zip through the conflict and resolution and others drag it out for way too long.

Crunch Time is the 16th book featuring the murder mystery solving caterer, Goldy. I've been starting to worry that this series is jumping the shark. It's kind of to be expected since it has to be hard writing the same characters year after year and coming up with new situations. I continue to read them because I feel so invested, kind of like the 'number' and 'alphabet' books by Evanovich and Grafton, respectively.

I wanted to like this book more. I didn't dislike it, but I was hoping there might be a new spark to the series. It did end in a way that future books could make me enjoy the series the same way I did in its beginning. Let's hope. If you need some 'I don't want to think about what I'm reading' fluff, this is a series for you.

I started Dreams of Joy by Lisa See right after Crunch Time. Night Circus is next for book club so look for reviews of both soon.

What's on your bookshelf? 

You can talk books with me on Pinterest and Goodreads.

*My love for this series is almost fanatical. This was my ninth (maybe tenth) reading of Outlander. When we met to discuss the book, many members didn't enjoy it. My talking about the other books in the series swayed some to keep going. 

There are affiliate links in this post.

What She Wants, Backseat Saints, Discovery of Witches: Book Reviews

Monday, September 19, 2011

'Book Addiction' photo (c) 2010, Emily Carlin - license: When my blog suffers, it's either because A) I'm so busy I'm overwhelmed, B) I'm on a break or C) I've been lucky enough to find some really good books. Last week's hiatus was due to B and C. I've read one good and two great books recently.

The Good: What She Wants by Cathy Kelly

I've read several of Kelly's books. I've enjoyed them all and this one was no exception. All her stories are about Ireland, family and relationships. This one came at a weird time because one of the characters is 'the other woman' and some people in my life are going through this. It was hard not to read the book from a place of anger and think of Izzie as 'that stupid, cheating beyotch.' Overall, I liked the book. Kelly's stories are always easy reads.

The Great: Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I have said before that Joshilyn Jackson is at the top of my Authors I Will Always Read list. I need to read her books with a highlighter because some of her sentences blow me away. Knowing that I was going to tell you about the book, you'd think I'd do exactly that. But I didn't so you'll have to take my word for it. I love the plot of this book and all the characters.

The main character, Rose, made an appearance in an earlier work, so of course I want to go back and read Gods in Alabama again with a fresh perspective on the character. I need to see a therapist to figure out why I have such a fascination with books set in the south. Maybe I need to go to the south. It must be some kind of sign. If you haven't read anything by Jackson, these two titles are a good place to start. I stayed up until the wee hours finishing Backyard Saints.

Entertainment Weekly is one of my favorite magazines. I was at the library and A Discovery of Witches was in the 'new' section. I remembered reading a great review in EW so I picked it up. LOVE. It has witches, vampires and demons but it's nothing like the Sookie Stackhouse books. For starters, this book is 500+ pages. It reads more like historical fiction or historical romance. I like the explanations of how demons, vampires and witches came to be in this book better than the Stackhouse books. It's not entirely fair to compare them, but I can't think of any other books recent books with witches and vampires. To say the ending is a cliffhanger is a bit of an understatement. I'm really happy it's part of a trilogy. I think I spent most of a Saturday reading this.

I'm always looking for suggestions, especially now that I'm enjoying digital books. What book kept you up all night recently?

Sookie Stackhouse and Star Island | What I've Been Reading

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm one tired chick, but it's my own fault. I've been staying up way too late reading. In preparation for the new season of True Blood, I decided to start the series by Charlaine Harris that the TV show is based on. 


In the past two weeks I've read through the first three books (Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas and Club Dead). I checked out the fourth, Dead to the World, yesterday and I think I'll be finished with it tonight. The fifth, Dead as a Doornail, is reserved at the library and I should have it in a few days. I've heard the books and the series referred to as Twilight for grown ups. Since I didn't read the Twilight series, I can't confirm, but based on what Twilight haters have said, the comparison makes me laugh. 

While I was waiting for book four, I read the new one from Carl Hiaasen, Star Island. A former co-worker turned me on to his books and I've really enjoyed going through his body of work. If you saw the Demi Moore move Strip Tease, it's based off his book (which I have a feeling is way better than the movie). I like that he has the same character pop up in different books. Hiassen also writes young adult books. I've read both Hoot (which was a movie, too) and Flush. They're cute. Tyler didn't get through Hoot, but I think if he tried again and saw the movie he'd like it. 

I've already read the June book for my book club (Something Borrowed, loved it) and I have Breathing Lessons in my library queue (Anne Tyler, I really enjoy her work). 


What's on your nightstand?

The Hunger Games Trilogy, Very Valentine | Book Reviews

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The amount of books I'm reading is directly proportionate to how much I ignore my site. As you can probably tell, I've been reading A LOT. I seem to have really good reading juju because it's been awhile since I've picked up a book that sucked. (and with that, I just jinxed myself)

These are the books I've read over the last three weeks:

Brava, Valentine: A NovelThe Hunger Games
Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)

I loved all of them!

I've read all of Adriana Trigiani's books except for her essays and young adult titles. I love her writing style, her characters and how all her books are about the importance of family. Brava, Valentine is the second book with Valentine Roncalli as the main character. The Roncalli family business is custom made shoes. How could I not like the books?

If you have not heard of the Hunger Games series, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore. I take that back. If you say you did not enjoy the Hunger Game, *then* we can't be friends. I know the premise of the books sounds bad; kids from a futuristic dystopian society forced to fight to the death; but that part of the series kind of takes a backseat to the love story, political unrest, family and friendship. At least it did for me. I cannot wait for the movie!

What are you reading? What should I add to my shelf on GoodReads?

*Amazon affiliate links used

Holly's Inbox, Scandal in the City : Book Review

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City

I checked out both books in the Holly's Inbox series at the same time. I finished the first book last week and the second, Scandal in the City, over the weekend.

The second book is just as cute as the first. The characters are the same but some of the relationships are explained a bit more. 

I didn't love the ending. It was a little too pie in the sky, but that's chick lit for you. This book is slightly shorter than the first book at 544 pages. I've heard rumors of a third but couldn't find confirmation anywhere. It makes sense, given where this one left off.

What have you finished recently? Anything I should know about?

2011 Reading List

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm not always good at updating these lists, but for the most part they're pretty complete. I have lists for 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Holly's Inbox and Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City - (Holly Denham) Both of these are true chick lit. They are told entirely through the email exchanges between Holly, her friends and family. Every book set in Britain is compared to Bridget Jones in some way and this series is no exception. But I liked them both and they're totally quick reads.

Bloodroot - (Amy Greene) This was great! I don't know where I get my fascination with books set in the South. The characters are great and the setting is perfect.

I wrote more about Denham and Greene's books here.

Brava, Valentine - (Adriana Trigiani) I've said before how much I love her books and this was no exception. Just as good, if not better, than Very Valentine.

The Hunger GamesCatching FireMockingjay - (Suzanne Collins) Holy wow, I loved this series! There are very few books I will race out and buy in hardback but I did for the second two books. I read all three within a week. Now I'm getting caught up in all the movie news too. I can't wait until next year when it comes out! The series is marketed young adult but, like Harry Potter, adults are reading it too. So good!

The Kitchen House Another love. It's hard reading books about slavery and the south but it's enlightening as well. This one definitely had parts that were hard to read, but the story wouldn't ring true if those elements were left out. I heard criticism of The Help because it didn't "go there." The Kitchen House definitely does. This was for book club.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - (Rebecca Skloot) I almost don't know what to say other than I loved it. I can't call it a 'story' because it's all fact. Skloot does an excellent job telling the Lacks family history, what happened to Henrietta and how Henrietta's cancer cells have become one of the most important aspects of modern medicine. It's a fascinating read.

While I'm Falling The Rest of Her Life- (Laura Moriarty) The first book I read by Moriarty was The Center of Everything. I love her writing style. Some of her sentences are so beautiful. I finished Falling and went straight to the library for Life. I rarely read an author back to back unless I'm totally captivated. Both these books are really good.

Star Island - (Carl Hiaasen) I really like his books. His agenda is pretty obvious (conservation, protecting wildlife) but it's such a subplot it's not obnoxious. His books are funny and silly. This one is about an actress who is hired as a stand in for a pop star. There's kidnapping and paparazzi. Hiaasen has great one liners. All his books are fast reads.

I love the HBO series True Blood so it seemed obvious I should start reading the books the series is based on. They are just different enough from the series to keep both interesting. In the past two weeks I've read the first three books: Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas and Club Dead and last night I almost finished Dead to the World. So far I love them all. (Charlaine Harris)

Room - (Emma Donoghue) Oh man, I loved this book! I read it in two days. I had only heard good things about the book and skipped reading a synopsis or review. The way it was written, I had no idea what was happening until it was revealed. Once the twist of the book was revealed, it seemed even more brilliant. I don't want to say too much and spoil it. You won't regret this one.

The rest of the Sookie Stackhouse series - I'm currently reading book 10, Dead in the Family, I have A Touch of Dead in the wings and book 11 on hold at the library. These are the literary equivalent of eye candy.

What She Wants - (Kathy Kelly) So far, all the books I've read from Kelly I have liked and this one followed the same path.

Backseat Saints - (Joshilyn Jackson) Oh how I love Jackson! I've read all of her books and each one was fantastic. She's one of the few authors I recommend to everyone.

A Discovery of Witches - (Deborah Harkness) Wow. I picked this up because I remember seeing a great review in Entertainment Weekly. It did not disappoint. It's a big book, but it was an easy read. If you like historical fiction, this is for you.

I wrote a little more about these three books here

I Know This Much is True - (Wally Lamb) ZZZzzzzz. I put this down. I said in my review I might pick it up again to see how some plot lines evolved, but I never did.

Freedom - (Johnathan Franzen) Another dull, boring book. For something that hefty, it was a complete let down.

Lessons in Heartbreak - (Cathy Kelly) I liked this book, but I didn't like the subject matter. Extramarital affairs are a touchy subject. I think Kelly handled it well, but I was angry with the main character for the whole book. Still, it was a good read.

The Secret of Joy - (Melissa Senate) I really liked this. This is the first book of hers I've read. The main character finds out she has a half sister at the same time she starts a new relationship.

Greetings from Somewhere Else - (Monica McInerney) In the same way Cathy Kelly sets her books in Ireland, all of McInerney's books are set in Australia (I hear my friend Tonya's voice when I'm reading them). I liked this book. I've always wanted a sister, so books about the relationship between female siblings interest me. I've read four others of her books and this was just as good.

Bossypants -  (Tina Fey) If I could only use one word to describe this book it would be hysterical. I'm so glad I chose Bossypants as my first audio book. It's read by Fey herself and she does an excellent job. Had I chosen the print version, this would be the book that would have had me spitting coffee out of my nose in Starbucks. I hope she writes more.
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