Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Review Catch Up

Life... as it always seems to be, has been insane the last few weeks. We adopted a new cat (Luna, she's super cute) and had a death in the family (the hubs's grandfather), so it's felt a little crazier than usual. I'm WAY behind in my book reviewing, and even my super short reviews have been taking too long and not getting posted. So, I'm going to do one giant marathon post of the entire back log of books I've read, with what will hopefully be ridiculously short reviews. :) BTW- anything labeled Adult is merely market to that audience, not necessarily "adult" content. I think most of the books here would be great for teens as well; just as I think adults would enjoy a lot of the Young Adult books. :) Here we go!

Anthem- Ayn Rand    Fiction- Adult

 Summary- the classic novella about one man's struggle against an oppressive Utopian regime.

 Review- I thought it was decent. Nothing earth shattering for me, but a quick read.

The Glass Castle-Jeanette Walls      Memoir- Adult

Summary- One woman's memoir of a dysfunctional childhood and her crazy, yet loving parents.

Review- Loved it. Made me feel like my own family is normal. Beautiful writing and a very unique story.

Water for Elephants- Sara Gruen      Historical Fiction- Adult

Summary- Love story set in a circus during the Great Depression

Review- Loved it. I thought the writing was great, and loved the back and forth between present day and past. Seemed well researched and was all around great.

The Trophy Hunter- J.M. Zambrano      Suspense- Adult (actually adult)

Summary- Thriller about a lawyer who gets in way over her head with a case of missing women and children. The culprit is up to far more than she'd imagine.

Review- I'm not a huge fan of thrillers, but this book was written by a friend and I think it's pretty good. Definitely worth a read.

Illyria- Elizabeth Hand      Fiction- Young Adult (technically, reads older)

Summary- Two kissing (literally) cousins are the descendants of a famed actress. They create their own world for their talents and odd relationship.

Review- I have to admit, I'm not sure I 'got' this book. It was beautifully written, but there really wasn't much to the story, and I didn't feel like I understood the message. Meh.

Unwind- Neil Shusterman      Dystopian Fiction- Young Adult

Summary- In the near future, abortion is illegal, but parents are given the choice to have their children "unwound" at age 13. Three unwinds escape their immediate fate and go on the run.

Review- Awesome book. It's a really, really interesting take on abortion and the right to life. Well written and quickly paced. Great read!

The Trylle Trilogy: Switched, Torn & Ascend- Amanda Hocking      Paranormal Romance- YA

Summary- Girl finds out she was switched at birth and is a troll princess. She must learn the rules of her new society and help protect against a rival troll faction.

Review- Pretty good overall. Definitely well paced, the characters are interesting and I liked the love story as well. Good, easy reads.

Shiver- Maggie Stiefvater      Paranormal Fiction- Young Adult

Summary- Girl lives next to woods where there is a strange pack of wolves. When a student is believed killed by them, she tries to save the pack and finds out they aren't ordinary wolves.

Review: Good book. The story line is interesting as are the characters. I like the tension that was built and the initial romance.

Linger- Maggie Stiefvater      Paranormal Fiction- Young Adult

Summary- Follow up to Shiver. Follows Grace and Sam as they try to learn more about his condition and have a normal life.

Review- Again, good book. I liked that the love problem wasn't a love triangle like in every other teen book out there, but a fight against Sam's werewolf problem.

Illusions- Aprilynne Pike      Paranormal Fiction- Young Adult

Summary- The third book in this series. Laurel is still torn between Avalon and the real world. She and David are struggling, there's a weird new girl at school. Tamani's at school with her too, and of course, there are still trolls after her. 

Review- Decent book, though it felt a bit like Harry Potter 5, a placeholder that's setting up action for later, which was a bit of a bummer. I still think the series overall is good, but this one was kind of lame.

Paranormalcy- Kiersten White      Paranormal Fiction- Young Adult

Summary- Evie's always worked for an international organization dedicated to tagging and bagging paranormals to keep the general population safe. But, when a cute boy paranormal shows up at the compound, her world completely changes.

Review- I really liked this book. The voice was great. The concept was interesting. The characters were relate-able, and while there was a love interest, it wasn't the tried and true love triangle. A quick read that kept me guessing.

13 Little Blue Envelopes- Maureen Johnson      Fiction- Young Adult

Summary: After her crazy aunt dies, Ginny receives a package from her with 13 blue envelopes in them. These envelopes lead her on a wild adventure through Europe finding out about her aunt, and herself.

Review: I liked this book. I love the idea of some crazy unplanned adventure. Ginny was great, just the right amount of nervous and adventurous. Great read!

The Last Little Blue Envelope- Maureen Johnson   Fiction- Young Adult

Summary- Ginny finds out there is one last blue envelope, which directs her on an even stranger mission than before.

Review- I like this book as much, if not more than the first. I really loved the strained love triangle (quadrangle?) and the fun last mission. Great book!

Curly Girl: The Handbook- Lorraine Massey  Non Fiction- all ages

Summary- All about caring for and styling curly hair, with lots of interviews and personal anecdotes thrown in

Review- Well, I'm revealing my cards here a bit aren't I? I do have naturally curly hair, and for years denied that and straightened it daily. I'm finally ready to embrace my curly self, and this book has been a vital help in that quest. I only recently started their regime, so I can't tell you is it's 100% effective, but, thus far, I'm pleased with my results. I think it's a must read for anyone with curly hair.

On Writing- Stephen King     Non-fiction- Adult

Summary- A witty short autobiography and King's thoughts and advice for writers

Review- I loved this book. King's life story was interesting and humbling without being too full of itself. His writing advice was clear, to the point and very interesting. I felt like I was sitting at coffee with him throughout the book, just chatting with a friend. A must read for any aspiring writer, and an interesting read for everyone else.

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