Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Legend: Book Review

Most of my reviews up to this point have been positive, which is why I thought it would be fun to post a negative one. Here's a review of a book that had/has a lot of hype. I really can't see why anyone is into it though. Honestly, the book was one of the most boring 300-ish page books I have ever read. Here's my review:

Description: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Review: Here's the problem with a book that is supposed to have an incredibly intelligent main character (in this case two genius main characters), either the author needs to be that smart, or they need to be able to get in the mindset of someone that smart. This author failed on both those counts. Miserably.

If I, the average (okay, maybe above average if you're counting the mindless teenage fangirls who drool over anything with a makeout sesh) reader can figure out every major plot point within the first 38 pages, whereas the main "genius" characters can't figure anything out foooooooorever . . . then I don't think your little smarty pants characters are really that smart. Sounds like they're about as sharp as a rubber ball. I had to slog through the book after those first 38 pages waiting for the two little dimwits to understand all of the incredibly obvious plot "twists" (twists is in quotes like that because it's not a twist if it's shoved down your throat in the first few chapters). That's right, I slogged through a 300 page book. Normally I would have finished this book in a few hours. As it was, it took me a few days because the book made me want to put it down. It screamed at me, "You already know everything! Why are you still reading?!"

I also found Day (main guy) and June (main girl) to be utterly boring. They were soooo smart. No flaws. Blah blah blah. Yet they're stupid enough to get duped by people of lower intelligence than them over and over and over again. June seriously never ever questions the government, the people in authority, the system, or anything about the world presented to her? Day doesn't question June? Even when she is the cause of something horrendous, all Day cares about is making out with her face. Also, the characters are both described as very attractive, but I pictured them in my head as little 15 year old ragamuffins running around playing adult.

In the end the book was utterly predictable. The main characters were dull and practically interchangeable (seriously, just have one. Don't split one main character into a boy and a girl for the sake of a love interest), and the world wasn't logically unique and interesting enough to keep me going. Will I read the second one? No I will not. 38 page books are a little too short for me. I do not recommend.

1.5 Stars

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Angelfall: Book Review

I grabbed this book knowing nothing about it but the title: Angelfall. Which kind of told me that it was going to be about angels. I thought I was in for a fun little read about some chick falling madly in love with a babe-a-licious angel. I was incorrect . . . sort of.

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Description: It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.
Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.
Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.
Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Review: So, yeah, dystopian ya angel book. Did not see that coming until I started reading and I was like, hey, this world is gross and scary. Even more surprising, the angels are the bad guys! Go figure (I guess I could have avoided this by reading the book description, but I often go into reading my books blind, makes it more fun to unravel the story). The book was really well done in my opinion though.

I really liked the main character. She was conflicted, she was brave, she was loyal, and, most importantly, she kicked butt! And it wasn't like in some books where the chick suddenly gets mad fighting skills for no good reason. Nope, she earned the mad fighting skills. So interesting, determined, and likable main character? Check. The main guy (angel) was a little bit more of an enigma, but overall I liked him and thought the author did a good job of building up something between them that was believable.

The world was like most dystopian worlds, somewhat gross, totally terrifying, but overall pretty well done. There were some things here and there that didn't make total sense to me, but I don't mind that too much as long as it isn't glaringly big plot holes.

Overall it was a book that kept me reading, had interesting characters, a unique plot, and was well written. What more can you ask for? There were even a few things that happened at the end that surprised me a little, which I like since I can often predict endings. I recommend this book.

4 Stars

Unearthly: Book Review

I picked up this book because one of the books in the series was in Sarah's top ten books that she wants to read next year. So, I thought, hey, I oughta see what those books are all about.
Description from Goodreads:
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees...
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the main character, which doesn't usually happen with YA books because YA authors seem to think main character girls need to be needy and weak and whiny and lame and dependent. But, the main character in this book, Clara, is strong and independent and interesting and actually likeable.

The idea of being part angel is not a new thing; I've read a few books that pose this idea. But, I liked the author's take on angels. Just like I read a lot of different vampire books even though I have read the concept before. One thing that I thought was interesting that I haven't seen before is the author had all the characters who have angel blood have wings. Every other demi angel book I have read, the character has supernatural powers, but no wings.

This author knows how to write romance. I loved how she described Clara's first kiss. She describes all the little things in the moment leading up to the kiss and all the emotions running through Clara so well that I feel like I'm there in the moment with her.

The author is just so good at describing things without getting too wordy that the book is a fast read. Which I love. I hate when a book drags and it takes me forever to finish just because I have reached a boring part in the book. This book didn't have any boring parts.

The only thing that I slightly didn't like was that the book was cliffhangery. Things were left unfinished. But, I suppose that just means that I need to read the next book. Which I definitely will. I love reading books that are easy to read and make me feel, but don't make me think too much.

Rating: 4 stars

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hana: Book Review

I read Hana as an eBook that I checked out from the library. Can I just say how much I love that I can check out eBooks? It is awesome. Hana is a companion chapter to the Delirium book; you know, that book that depicts love as a disease. I recommend reading Delirium before you read this one... or this one won't make any sense at all.

Hana by Lauren Oliver

Goodreads Description:
The summer before they're supposed to be cured of the ability to love, best friends Lena and Hana begin to drift apart. While Lena shies away from underground music and parties with boys, Hana jumps at her last chance to experience the forbidden. For her, the summer is full of wild music, dancing—and even her first kiss.

Review:  I thought that this was an interesting chapter in the Delirium story. Getting to see Hana's side of the story and figuring out a bit of her back story was satisfying. Originally, I wondered why Hana had that bit of rebellion in her and what motivated her to go to the secret parties in the first place. So, it was great to see her point of view.

It was an easy read, just as easy as Delirium. I would kinda like to see the end of Hana's story. Does she marry the mayor's son? Do Hana and Lena ever reunite? I hope that we see more of Hana in the final book in the series. If we don't... then what was the point of this book? 

Rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reading to My Kids

I love reading. I have loved reading since a young age when my Dad used to read to me. He read me Charlotte's Web when I was five, that is the first book I remember him reading to me. After Charlotte, he read more books to me. I always loved when my Dad read to me because he would make up voices for all the characters and would make them come alive for me, even when the book had no pictures. My favorite picture book he read to me was, "There's a Monster at the End of this Book." He always did the best Grover voice.

So, I always knew that I would read to my kids, and I secretly hoped that they would love books as much as I do. So, when Nicole was a baby, I tried to read to her often and take her to story time at the library and buy her books. Nicole really did take to books quite quickly.

She loves going to the library and picking out books and then taking them home to read. She will have me read the same books again and again and again.

At first, Dan was not interested in reading. He would sit for a couple of seconds while I was reading books and then he would go wild and start running around. But then, he started getting older and was able to say words and he started becoming more interested in books.

He has this one book. The book of 100 words, that has flaps in it that reveal words associated with a picture. He loves this book. Every time I get home from work, he brings this book to me to read. This was his gateway book. Now, he wants to read books every time he sees one lying on the ground. He is not that interested in paper books, but he loves board books. Dan even loves to bring a couple of books in his crib with him at night. A little light reading at bedtime.

I will continue to read to my children and hopefully, in not too long, they will be able to read for themselves. But, even when they begin to read for themselves, I will still read to them. Some of my fondest memories of my Dad were when he was reading me Harry Potter, Shel Sylverstein, or Judy Bloom books (the Judy Bloom books were hilarious to listen to him read). He would take us to used bookstores and buy us books and then read them with us and I want my kids to have those types of experiences too.

For now, it is board and picture books, but in the not too distant future, I will start Nicole on chapter books.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shark vs. Train

I got this clever picture book from the library and the book was totally hashed; ripped pages all over the place, but it was still a fun read.

Description (from Goodreads): If you think Superman vs. Batman would be an exciting matchup, wait until you see Shark vs. Train. In this hilarious and wacky picture book, Shark and Train egg each other on for one competition after another, including burping, bowling, Ping Pong, piano playing, pie eating, and many more! Who do YOU think will win, Shark or Train?

Review: This book is just so clever. Each page has Shark and Train competing in a different and silly competition. It is entertaining for me to read, but Nicole and Dan love it too. Nicole loves that Shark, Train, and Caboose each have speech bubbles on each page. She loves when I do a Shark and Train voice. I think that she is more entertained with Shark and Train's comments then she is with the clever competitions themselves. Dan loves it because he can knows the sound effects for the both the Shark (Rar!) and Train (Choo Choo). He just loves to make the noises for each. 

So, I recommend this book for boys, girls, and parents. It is clever all around. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Passion: Book Review

I read Lauren Kate's first book in this series, "Fallen," and I was not very impressed with it. The mystery of the fallen angels was annoying to me, not mysterious and the love story seemed rushed and completely awkward. I know that characters fall in love in books upon first meeting, inexplicably, but this book made the love seem childish and naive.

But, despite the fact that I wasn't in love with the first book, I got the second book on CD to listen to in my car on the way to work. I figured that even though I didn't want to give the book my spare time, I could give it time that I was already wasting driving around. And the second book was a lot better than the first book. The second book had the time to develop the characters a little more, give motive to the main character, Luce, and to actually make me like some of the fallen angels.

So, that brings us to the third book, Passion. I also listened to this book while in my car.
Passion by Lauren Kate

Description: Luce is lost in time as she travels to her past lives. Luce is determined to find out why she loves Daniel, and why Daniel loves her. So, she has traveled back in time to see their past lives together and see her untimely death again and again. Every time Luce gets close to Daniel, in any of her lives, she dies a fiery death. Luce wants to discover why she and Daniel are cursed to fall in love in every life and why she dies in every life. And she will continue to travel back in time to the very beginning, their first life together and the time when the angels first fell.

Review: Is it just me, or is Lauren Kate's writing getting better the more books that she writes? I didn't really like the first book in this series, kinda liked the second, and actually enjoyed the third. Either she is getting better at writing or the actor on the CD is getting better at reading it.

It is a strange addition to the series as it takes Luce back in time to visit her past lives all the way back to the fall of the angels. At first, I didn't think that this book was going to work as it contained like 10 different vignettes of Luce's past lives and I had to be introduced to a new life multiple times. Luce would travel to an old life, the past Luce was introduced, the past Daniel was introduced, then just when I get a handle on the past life, the past Luce dies and then it starts all over again. But, Kate really handled it quite well. She was able to describe each past life well enough that I cared about the characters before she killed them.

Additionally, this book answers a lot of the questions that have been looming for Luce, and for me the reader, through these last few books. I like a mystery as much as the next person, but it is a little tortuous to make a reader wade through 3 books to get answers.

Now, the book ends in kind of a cliff hanger so I suppose that I will just have to check out the next book and see if Lauren Kate keeps it going.

Rating: 3 stars

The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman: Book Review

So the Christmas season is upon us. I have been filling some of my hours with really corny, cheesy, and sometimes just plain amazing Christmas movies. I feel like there are a few things that really get me in the spirit of Christmas: a tree, decorations, wonderful Christmas music, good and bad Christmas movies, and now I'm going to add a good Christmas book to that list. I read this book a few months ago, but now I'm thinking about rereading it because it's the perfect little YA, romance, Christmassy book. Read it, squeel with delight, and feel the spirit of Christmas.

The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer

Description: Hi, I'm Kate Bjorkman. What do you do if you've lived a real romance with a great guy and he loves you as much as you love him? Simple, I wrote a romance novel with help from THE ROMANCE WRITER'S PHRASE BOOK. Nothing is made up. I want truth and conflict even in romance. I'm betting you'll want the same.

 It's a fairly fluffy book (or...super fluffy), but it definitely made me laugh. I can forgive a book many faults if it gets me to genuinely laugh. In the out loud sense. Then Mark hears me laugh and says, "What's up?" and I awkwardly try to give enough background information to tell him the joke from the book, but then he just ends up grunting, "Funny." Anyhoo, this was a cute little book. I recommend.

3.5 Stars

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bossypants: Book Review

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Description: Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.
She has seen both these dreams come true.
At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy. (Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)

I knew I wanted to read this book because I had heard all the buzz about it. That's right, the buzz. If you don't know what the buzz is, then I can't tell you because I don't know either. But I heard the buzz and so I checked this book out from my library because it wasn't available for my Kindle and I hate listening to audio books.

This book had me leaning one of a few ways at various points. Sometimes I was thinking, "Ha ha, that's terribly funny. I enjoy the funniness thereof of this." Other times I thought, "Yuck. I don't agree with that. But whatevs, to each their own." And at other times, "How interesting!" Mostly it was a mixture of these feelings. Something along the lines of, "Oh, that's funny, but I totally disagree, how interesting!" Essentially, what I'm trying to say is that I really enjoyed this book but that I wouldn't call it one of my favorite books.

Fey does a great job of leading us through her life and highlighting what she thinks are the most pertinent or interesting things without leaving us feeling lost, confused, or frustrated with her sometimes non linear progression. I thought that each chapter could in some ways stand alone while still adding to the overall portrait of her life beautifully. It made me laugh out loud at times (especially the breast feeding chapter. What can I say? Breast feeding is apparently a hoot) and I even read some passages aloud to Mark because I enjoyed them so much. She's a very liberal woman, so her opinions didn't always/usually coincide with mine, but she presented them in such a comical way that I wasn't bothered by it.

Overall, I felt that the book was a good, quick, enjoyable read. I recommend.

3.5 Stars.

Grave Mercy: Book Review

I read this book because I thought it had a cool cover and a cool premise.
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Description: Ismae is the result of an affair between her mother and Death. Ismae, despised by her mortal father, is put into an abusive arranged marriage, but then saved by a convent of nuns who are also daughters of Death. The nuns train her to be an assassin who serves the purposes of saint Mortain (Death). Now, she is a hand maiden of Death, killing those who threaten Death's plans for the throne.

Review: Sounds like a great thesis right? Handmaiden of death; awesome. Except, this book was hard to get through. The first part of the book seemed intriguing when Ismae got to the convent and I found out she was going to be trained to kill and poison. And then, the author skipped over what could have been one of the most interesting parts of the story, assassin school and jumped right to post training. Ismae has a conflicting personality and her motives are not always clear. She thinks one thing, but does another and it is confusing. Additionally, many of the characters that are presented are not fully developed so it was hard to care about any of the characters because they just don't get enough scene time. The whole thing seemed rushed, as if the author was trying to get this giant plot line into one book when it really should have been split into three books. It felt like I was cheated out of important scenes and character development because it was forced into one book. It was a good idea, but poorly executed.

Rating: 2 Stars

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dusty Book Challenge

Jessica at Books: A True Story is hosting the 2013 Dusty Bookshelf Challenge. I've never done a book challenge before, but this seemed like one that I could get on board with. It is a challenge to read books that have been living on your book shelf, collecting dust. Earlier this year, I actually cleaned out my bookshelf because I had collected so many books over the years (a lot of them from college) and I knew that I would never read some of those books again. So, I gave away like 30 books at my neighborhood swap. But, even after my book purge, I still have quite a few books on my shelf that either I haven't read yet or haven't read in years. In my opinion, there is no reason to own a book unless you intend to read it multiple times. It is like a movie. Why buy a movie if you are only going to watch it once?

I am going to try and read a Pixie Dust level of dust off my shelf, which is equivalent to 1-5 books. Here are the books that I'm hoping to read off my existing shelf.

1.  I, Robot by Isaac Asomov. I have had this book since I was 17 and still haven't read it, so it has been sitting on my shelf for 11 years now; it is time.

2.  Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan. I've read this book before, but I need to read it again to get caught up and ready for the release of the final book in the series.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin. A friend gave me the complete works of Jane Austin 4 years ago and I have not yet finished a single book in it, though I have started it many times. It is finally time to read this thing.

I'm going to start with this short list and then hopefully, if I am able to read these three, then I can try and read more off my shelf.

If you want to join the challenge, you can sign up for it by posting a blog post, posting a comment on the original post at Books: A True Story, or joining the Goodreads group.

LMNO Peas: Book Review

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker

Description: This picture book follows these Alphabet Peas that do all sorts of things. It is an alphabet book depicting the peas in occupations for each letter of the alphabet.

Review: This book is so cute! I love seeing the little peas doing all sorts of occupations and activities. My one year old boy loves this book too. When he sees it, he brings it to me and attempts to sing the ABCs. But since he can't actually make all the sounds to say the letters, it is more like the ABCs comprised completely of vowel sounds. My three year old loves this book to. She loves to repeat every page after I read it.

Rating: Recommend! I'm not going to give star ratings to children's books because the way I figure it, I either recommend a children's book or I don't. So this is one I recommend to read to young children... 5 and under.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sarah's Top Ten for 2013

There is some overlap between Becky's top ten and mine . . . but I actually have more than ten books I'm looking forward to, so I'll leave out some of the ones that Becky has already named.

 Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
This is the third (and I believe final) book in the Lumatere series, and I am beyond excited about it. I loved the first two books, in fact, they are some of my favorite fantasy books I have ever read, so I can only imagine the third book will be equally as good.
 Mind Games by Kiersten White
I loved the Paranormalcy series by her, and I think the premise of this book sounds exciting, so I'm ready for this one to come out, and I'm hoping my library will have it.
Boundless by Cynthia Hand
The first two books in this series didn't blow me away, but I liked the premise of these books, and it was refreshing to have a female lead who wasn't utterly pathetic when it came to boys. This supernatural YA will hopefully end the series on a high note.
 Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
I am beyond excited about this book! I introduced this series to Becky, and I'm glad we share sisterly love for it. This author is unique and fresh. Also, her youtube videos are really funny. Check her out, and check out her books.
 Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
This is another keeper of a series. It's written in third person which I find so refreshing for a YA paranormal book. The romance is good, and the characters are non annoying. I'm excited to find out more about the world this author built.
 Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
I read another book by this author that was all things good except for a few plot points that I simply could not wrap my head around. I hoping for a little more refinement out of her second piece.
 School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
If you enjoy laughing at all, go read the Hex Hall series by her. So good. Which is why I'm hopeful for this spin off series. Her writing makes me laugh and laugh, and I love to laugh.
A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson
Like Becky, I'm so ready to read the last book of this series. Becky handed me the first book, The Eye of the World, when I was but an 11 year old lass, and I have been reading voraciously ever since. The anticipation has been killing me for 13 years, people!

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (no cover art yet)
This woman knows how to write an utterly adorable romance. Think about your favorite chick flicks. We're talking the classics like While You Were Sleeping, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and not the trashy, utterly unromantic garbage they've reeled out in the last decade. These books are like those chick flicks. You will want to revisit your favorite scenes and read them over and over again. Thus, I have high expectations for this book.

Rebel Belle by Rackel Hawkins (no cover art yet)
Another by Hawkins. As long as she keeps me laughing I will probably read anything she writes.

Becky's Top Ten for 2013

As the year is coming to a close, I can only think of the many books that I am super excited to read about next year.  Almost all of these are books in series that I have already started and I am excited to see the next installment in the series.

Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

This is the third book in the Bloodlines series, which is a spin-off series of Vampire Academy. What will happen next with Sydney the alchemist?

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

This is the third book in the Infernal Devices series, which is a spin-off series of the Mortal Instrument series. Will Tessa choose Will or Jem? Hopefully, this book will tell.

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

This is the third book in the Delirium series. You know, the series where love is a disease? Sarah doesn't care for these books, but I like them. I'm excited to see what happens next.

Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

This is the third book in the Heist Society series. One of the few non-fantasy books that I read. These books follow Kat, the art thief.

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

This is the 14th, and final book in the Wheel of Time series. I have been following this series since I was 15 years old and it is finally ending. I am excited and sad that this series, one of the first that made me love fantasy, is coming to a close.

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

This is the second book in the Shatter Me series. The first book was so exciting. The writing was unlike anything that I have read before. I'm excited to see what this new author has to offer.

Everbound by Brodi Ashton

This is the second book in the Everneath series. I like the idea of this book and I hope the second book is not disappointing.

Sever by Lauren Destefano

This is the third book in the Chemical Garden series. I really liked the first book, the second book was just okay, so I'm hoping that the third book makes a comeback.

The Elite by Kiera Cass

This is the second book in The Selection series. I loved the first book, devoured it. I sincerely hope the second book is equally awesome.

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

This is the first book in the Age of X series. I don't know much about the series, but I love Richelle Mead, so I'm willing to read what she writes and hopefully it won't disappoint.

On the Jellicoe Road: Book Review

I'll start off my book reviews with a truly amazing book that I read recently--On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

Description: Taylor is the leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs - the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.
And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother - who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

Okay, first of all, pretty much everything Melina Marchetta writes is pure gold. So you can't go wrong reading a book by this wonderful Australian author. 

This book touched on so many different emotions, stories, and simply blew me away. The characters were all complex and engaging. Something that Melina Marchetta excels at is writing characters with connections to their family and friends that are so real and believable that you feel like you're reading about how you feel about the people you know and love. The storyline was compelling and kept me reading the whole way through without wanting to stop (I think I stayed up kind of late reading this one). 

Essentially, I cannot rave enough about this YA book. Get it. Read it. No matter who you are, I think you will like this book. I recommend.

Five Stars.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Hobbit: Book Review

With the upcoming Hobbit movie coming out, I decided to reread The Hobbit in preparation for the film. I hadn't read the book since high school and remembered very little of it as it had been over 10 years since my last read.

Description: The Hobbit follows Bilbo Baggins in his youth (60 years). Bilbo is living comfortably in his hobbit hole in Hobbiton when he is approached by Gandalf the wizard and 12 dwarves to be the burglar addition in a great adventure. The dwarves seek to regain a treasure stolen from their fathers by the great dragon Smaug. Bilbo embraces his Tookish side and goes on the adventure with the dwarves and discovers a side to himself the he never knew that he had.

Review: I had forgotten how much I love Tolkien's writing. His writing has a playfulness, a beauty, and a depth that you just don't see in most authors. His descriptions of Middle Earth are lush and his development of characters is always enjoyable. I don't know how he takes a cast of 14 and makes each of them lovable, but he is just masterful at it.

The Hobbit is not that long a book, but Bilbo seems to go on 12 different adventures in the book and it spans a whole year. How does Tolkien do it? How does he fit so much into so few pages? Now that I have reread the book, I know how they are going to split it into three movies. There is so much in this little book, there is no way they could fit it into one movie.

Normally, I don't like a book unless there is some sort of love story in the book, but Tolkien is the exception. He writes about comradery and friendship in a way that I don't miss the romance of the books. I'm not even sure if the book had a female in it at all, and I just didn't miss it.

I loved this book, it reminded me of why I love fantasy books and I can't wait for the movie. I'm going to an advanced screening of the movie the day before it comes out and I will review it in comparison to the book when it comes out.

Rating: 5 stars (can I give Tolkien anything less?)