Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review - The Improper Life Of Bezellia Grove by Susan Gilmore

Why did I read this book?
This was the second book I received as part of my postal book club! (See this post about what that is). The only requirement for these book are that they be less than 250 pages. We have about 2 months to read them and write our comments before sending it off again. Aside from that we can pick whatever book we want so I’m excited to see what the others have chose. This was the first one from someone else!

What is it about?
This is the story of the upbringing of a girl in Tennessee in the 60s. She is part of a rich family that has their fair share of problems. The book follows her through middle school, high school, and a bit beyond that. There are many issues with her family and as Bezellia grows she starts to learn why people end up the way they do and who she can truly count on as members of her family.

Why you should read it!

I rarely read books set in the south in this time period, and I’m not sure why because I usually love them. Similar setting to The Help but more of a coming of age story. I think anyone who is interested (and slightly fascinated) by that era and the south would enjoy this, maybe it just seems so foreign to me that I really enjoy reading about it. The other benefit is that it is pretty short and easy to get through, and you are satisfied by the time you get through it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Book Review - Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

How did I come into possession of this book?
I bought this book at a cute bookstore in Ann Arbor called Literati. We just happened to walk in when we were in town for a football game, and after seeing a lot of the staff picks being books I really enjoy, I found one by an author I knew but hadn’t read. The fact that it was a staff pick really sold me and that this was Rainbow Rowell’s adult book (I’ve read Eleanor and Park by her as well, but that is classified as young adult). I bought the book and have since used it as part of a postal book club*!

What is it about?
The book takes place in 1999, just before the millenium and one of the main characters is an IT guy who is preparing his company for Y2K. Along with that his job is also to monitor employees emails for anything inappropriate. He gets probably a bit too involved in conversations between a couple of women at the company, but can’t seem to pull himself away from reading about their lives that are so much more interesting than his.

What did I think?
I thought this was a fun quick read. There was nothing too in depth about it but it left you happy in the end. Although that brings me to one of my complaints about the book, I didn’t find the ending to be very believable. And with how Rowell’s book Eleanor and Park ended (very realistic) I thought this one might end in a realistic fashion. Unfortunately, I was let down and I just didn’t think it should’ve ended the way it did.  My other complaint about the book was how formal all the emails looked, if I’m writing an email it is not that formal especially if it is a personal email. I enjoyed the writing, as I knew I would.

Who would I recommend it to?
Anyone who wants a fun quick love-story type of read should pick up this book. I really liked how quick it was and how complete the story felt after being so short. If cute-sy love stories aren’t your thing, I’d steer clear!

*A postal book club is something I heard about on the podcast “Books on the Night Stand” and connected to one through their goodreads group! You are in a group of 6 and each person picks a book and reads it. You then write down your thoughts in a small journal and ship your book and the journal off to the next person! This happens every two months and by the end of the year, you get your book back with everyone’s thoughts in the journal!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review - Last Hope by Drew Brown (Kindle)

Why did I read this book?
I got this for free on kindle when there was some promotion for it.  I think I read a quick synopsis and thought it sounded good enough and if it’s free on kindle I don’t feel bad if I hate it!  

What is it about?
Budd is on business in London and wakes up one night to realize something isn’t right.  He soon finds out that almost everyone in the hotel (and city) are dead and the few still alive get together to figure out what to do next.  In the creepiest way ever, the dead bodies start to return to life and the living soon realize they aren’t human anymore!

Why you should read it!
I’ll be honest; I didn’t realize this was a zombie book when I started it.  Maybe that was why some of the shock factor hit me so hard and totally creeped me out (in a well written way).  As soon as those bodies started moved I couldn’t stop picturing them, and when the zombies that moved quickly started showing up, the way they were portrayed was also quite terrifying.  I very much enjoyed this book, as believable as zombie books go, this is up there.  I felt like I could’ve been with the group at the hotel trying to figure out what to do.  It also turned out to be quite a page turner.  My only disappointment was that it was book 1 of a trilogy and I didn’t realize that when I started.  What started as a free “maybe I’ll read this” kindle book has turned into a “I must buy the next one now” kind of book.

Book Review - Altered, Revelations of the Evolved by Shawnda Currie

Why did I read this book?
I was contacted directly by the author.  The book sounded very similar to books I would enjoy since it’s a young adult, science fiction/fantasy book.  I also enjoy being contacted by the author directly, this usually results in me agreeing to read and review a book :)

What is it about?
Lacey is involved in a wrong place/wrong time type of crime and end up at a center for teenagers who have found themselves in trouble.  Immediately the place is not what it seems. She befriends an interesting person who she soon realizes has special abilities.  She learns that she has special abilities as well and the next thing she knows she finds herself as one of the people to help save the world from a disaster.

Why you should read it!
I enjoyed parts of this book, but not all of it.  The adventure parts of it felt very disconnected from the underlying love story.  They just didn’t blend well together, but separately they were fine.  I liked how this book got you hooked right away; I was immediately drawn in and interested in what would happen.  It will be interesting to see how this trilogy turns out, but I wasn’t left desperate for the next one.  My final critique is the cover, I highly dislike it.  It makes it look like a self-help book or a religious book.  I’m not sure what should be on the cover, but a washed out landscape doesn’t seem right to me.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Review - My True Love Gave to Me, Twelve Holiday Stories by Various Authors

Why did I read this book?
This was chosen as our book club book for the month of December. I was the one who suggested it since it sounded right up my alley. I'm a big sucker for holiday stories and this collection was all written by current young adult authors, most of which I'd heard of.  Since it is somewhat hard to find good current holiday stories I was happy this one was published this year. Although I do think some of the other members of my book club may not be interested there were enough that said yes to it that it was a go!

What is it about?
It is a fun collection of holiday stories. Some having to do with christmas, new years, or general wintry things. They were all quick reads and left you feeling happy. Some of my favorites were the one that takes place in Christmas, CA and the one about the boy who works in the tree lot next door. They are all a bit lovey-dovey, but cute none the less!

Why you should read it!
If you like holiday stories (at this point it would make more sense for next holiday season) and enjoy heart warming stories, you would like this. If you think young adult stories can be cheesy and superficial I'd steer clear. I will be discussing this with my book club at the end of the month so we'll see what everyone else thought, I'll try and update this post after that!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Series Review - The Maze Runner, The Scortch Trials, & The Death Cure by James Dashner

Why did I read this series?
I had heard a lot of talk about the first book in the series, The Maze Runner, and it was one of the daily deals on amazon (like a year ago, haha) for kindle. After reading and thoroughly enjoying the first one, I figured I should complete the series. I bought a physical copy of the second book and listened to the third one on audio while we drove to California for Christmas.

What is it about?
It takes place in a futuristic society when much has gone wrong with the world, including global warming and government issues. The series starts off very simply and you slowly start to learn more about the state of the world as the series continues. You learn as the main character learns what is in store for him in the world. What starts off simply turns into the main characters realizing that they needs to save the human race, even though they aren't quite sure how or who to trust.

Why you should read it!
I really liked the first book in this series and was curious to see where it would go next. The second book was just ok, it gave you more of a look into the world they lived in and why they were there. The third book was very unimpressive, I didn't like they way the author tied up all the storylines and it just felt like a long journey to get no where. Also, as the series went on I got very annoyed with the main male characters. These books are told from the point of view of a boy and the more the story went on, the worse the decisions made by the main characters were. It all just felt very male dominated and not logical which really got on my nerves. They obviously need more help from the women in their lives, but maybe that is just my views on life taking over my views on a very male dominated book. 

The movie The Maze Runner was very well done, and I think portrayed the book very well (which is very rare for me to say). However, I think one of the reasons for this is because it was a simple start to the series. I'm not sure how easy it will be to pull of the following movies.