Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blog hop

Aack!  It's been soooo long since I've posted and I have tons of great books to review too!  First though, go check out the blog hop going on this week!  Ranee Clark has an extra great giveaway - a $20 Amazon gift card!  Hooray!  Go check it out and I'll try to get some reviews posted on here and on Goodreads!  Thanks guys!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dystopia Galore

I'm sure you've all noticed the massive amounts of dystopian literature out there lately.  I for one love it and can't wait to get my hands on some of these books.  Here's the question though - Why do you think we love to read about screwed up societies?  I mean the demand for the books is obviously out there.  Here's a little confession:  The only dystopian novel I've read is the Hunger Games series, which was great, although the ending was a little less than peachy, and I like me some happy endings.  so what is it about these books that make us want to read them?  I have a couple theories.

1. The grass is NOT greener - Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that as crappy and messed up as our world seems at times, at least we haven't enslaved each other or turned to impregnating teenagers in order to propagate the human race.  I think it makes us feel better about our lives.
2. Ghost of Christmas Future - Our world keeps getting a little more crazy every day.  Many people think our world is headed toward something like the worlds portrayed in dystopian novels.  I think we all feel better able to cope with things when we've had a little more time to process them. 

Who knows why we like to read these books!  Plus aren't the covers gorgeous?  All I know, is I can't wait to get my hands on the titles above!  What's your favorite dystopian novel?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Goodreads Summary: Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive 'ship of fools'. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

I was really puzzled by this book. While it was an interesting story, I can't figure out what everyone is raving about! There were some interesting parts of this book. It was interesting to see this side of life during the Great Depression. It was interesting to view it from a 90-something year old man's mind and see that he was still there, he just looked different outside. But the story was not that compelling, and the characters were SO one sided. They were not multi-faceted at all. All of the main characters were either good or evil. It was so straightforward that it didn't seem realistic.
You know how when you go to National Parks and read the little signs about the plants, animals, and history, and think, "Oh, that's interesting?" That's how I felt about this book. The subject was interesting. The time period was interesting - I was a history major, so I love historical fiction. The fact that almost everything in here was based on real events, was interesting, and I really did enjoy the old man's perspective. But not enough to read a whole book on it! I hate stopping in the middle of books but I couldn't bring myself to finish it! It just wasn't well written, and to top it all off, it also had tons of bad language and some sex scenes that were unnecessary. Those haven't even affected this review, it was purely based on the story and characters, which left something to be desired.
  From talking with others who have read this book, it sounds like the story gets moving a lot more in the second half of the book, and it sounds interesting, but any book that takes half of the book to get moving is not a book for me.  I know others have loved it, but it wasn't my style.

1.5 stars
Lots of language and some graphic sexual content

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Goodreads Summary:
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

This was a fun book and it was interesting. Sort of like a Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets but with a girl as the main character. Sophie knows she's a witch, but she sometimes does magic in front of humans and so she gets sent to Juvie for her kind. It lacks a magical atmosphere, it seemed more like a boarding school for freaks. It had a good story that kept moving along, even if it was a little predictable. I'm about to start the sequel, so I definitely liked it enough to keep going, but it wasn't amazing. Also, the cover, although beautiful, flat out confuses me. It doesn't have anything to do with the book, other than she has a school uniform. Good read though, so go check it out!  Has anyone else read this?  What did you think?

3.5 stars
A fair amount of language and some minor kissing

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review: Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

5 Stars

When I first saw this book, I immediately thought it looked like a "boy book" and was not overly interested in it.  While perusing another book blog, I noticed a review that mentioned she had initially thought that as well, so I checked out what she had to say.  Here's the synopsis from goodreads:

According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.
The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.
In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.

After reading that I decided to give it a shot.  I'm SO glad I did because it was fantastic!  It was fun, clean, with a little romance thrown in, but Payton had to work through her own personal struggles too.  Despite being a sucker for happy endings, I was thrilled to find that the ending was happy, but also completely realistic.  This was a wonderful book about first loves, growing up, and figuring yourself out.  I loved it. 

Review: The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

When Conn steals a wizard's magic stone (like a magic wand), he should have been killed, but instead he discovers that he too, is magic.  As he goes from being a pickpocket to a wizard's apprentice, he learns that his magic is necessary to save the city from some of it's darkest inhabitants.

Synopsis from Goodreads: In a city that runs on a dwindling supply of magic, a young boy is drawn into a life of wizardry and adventure. Conn should have dropped dead the day he picked Nevery's pocket and touched the wizard's locus magicalicus, a stone used to focus magic and work spells. But for some reason he did not. Nevery finds that interesting, and he takes Conn as his apprentice on the provision that the boy find a locus stone of his own. But Conn has little time to search for his stone between wizard lessons and helping Nevery discover who or what is stealing the city of Wellmet's magic.

I found this to be an interesting and fun read.  The characters had depth, motive, and mystery.  It was fun to learn more about each of them throughout the book.  I wanted a little more information about Conn right at the beginning, but overall enjoyed the book and when the author chose to reveal information.  Wonderful read, completely clean and very appropriate for middle grade readers (8-12).

My First Post!

I'm starting this book blog because I LOVE reading.  Don't we all?  That's why you're here right?  I hope so.  I'm going to share my thoughts and feelings about books and literature on here.  Maybe you'll find a new book you love.  I stick with clean books, and I love Young Adult (YA) and Middle Grade(MG) books.  Enough about me, let's get to the books!