Wither by Lauren DeStefano

March 23, 2011 1 comment

This book was actually just released yesterday!  (I received an ARC to review, but was not compensated in any way.  All opinions are mine.)

Doesn’t this book have one of the most beautiful covers?  I love it.  I think whoever designed did a gorgeous job.

I wish the story inside was as well done.  But before I get into that, here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

I read a lot of reviews of this book on Goodreads and whatnot where people said they were turned off by 1) the child bride thing, and 2) the polygamy thing.

I have to say that those things didn’t really bother me that much.  After all, this is a dystopian novel– their society’s bound to be messed up.  I understand that, in their society, they have to do certain things to propagate the species.

When I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, I was so hopeful for the story.  The premise is so… promising.  It sounds like a great story, but I really feel like the author didn’t deliver.

The characters were underdeveloped, particularly Linden.  There were so many things that I just couldn’t buy.  I didn’t buy that Rhine wouldn’t tell Linden about how his brides really came to him or her suspicions about his father.  I also didn’t really buy that she would still want to leave after the estate had started to become her home.  Her attempts to escape seemed like the coward’s way out, a little.

I DID like the concept of the society, and the sisterhood between the wives.  But those things couldn’t make up for the rest.

I’m just so bummed about this book!  I really, really wanted to love it.  But I couldn’t even bring myself to like it.

And that’s just a shame.

Two stars for falling short of its potential.  Not a horrible book, but not good either.

Top Ten Tuesday (er, Wednesday)

February 9, 2011 2 comments

Even though this was technically supposed to be put up yesterday, I couldn’t resist participating in this meme over at The Broke and The Bookish.  I love the topic this week!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new top ten list complete with one of their blogger’s answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post and sign Mister Linky at the bottom of their post to share with them and all those who are participating. If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Don’t worry if you can’t come up with ten every time, just post what you can!

The topic this week was: Top Ten Literary Figures You’d Name Your Children After.

(In no particular order…)

  1. Sunny from The Series of Unfortunate Events: Unfortunately, my husband’s family’s dog is named Sunny, so this will never fly.
  2. Jem from Clockwork Angel:I think this is a great nickname for James.  Much better than Jimmer.
  3. Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird: Love it, but my husband would never go for it and it’s too close to my daughter’s name.
  4. Enna from Books of Bayern: I love this!!  I may actually use this if I can get my husband to go for it.  I love how unique it is, yet not hard to pronounce or spell.
  5. Archer from Fire: I love this for a little boy.  My husband would not.
  6. Ginny from Harry Potter: I love Ginny Weasley, and I think the name is really cute.  BUT, I really do NOT like the name Virginia, which Ginny is a nickname for.
  7. Zoey from The House of Night series: No real reason, just a cool name.
  8. Jane from Pride & Prejudice: This name is all over literature, and for a good reason, it’s classic and classy.
  9. Jace from The Mortal Instruments: I totally love this name, but I could never use it because I already have a nephew named Jace!
  10. Lily from Harry Potter: I think this name is lovely and beautiful, but it totally doesn’t work with my last name, so it’ll never happen.

Categories: Meme, Nonsense

Catch-Up (Not Ketchup or Catsup)

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Sorry I’ve been away so long!  In early December I was diagnosed with pregnancy.  Which came with the lovely symptom of morning sickness.  Without verging on TMI, let me just say that I’ve spent the last two months throwing up and laying around on my couch with very little time spent on the computer or even reading. Seriously, I didn’t read a single book for two months.  (Gasp!)

Oh, also, I moved across the country and it was Christmas.

So.

You know.

There’s that.

Anyway, I’m back now, and I have been reading.  So I do have some reviews coming.  But before I get there, I wanted to share a list of books coming out in 2011 that I’m really looking forward to. It’s a long list; be warned.

Whew.  Told ya it was a long list.  But that’s for all of 2011, so…

Categories: Nonsense, Upcoming Release

Friday Favorite: Favorite Memoir

November 12, 2010 1 comment

Let me say one thing about favorites.  I have a lot of them.  My husband always teases me that I don’t know the real meaning of the word “favorite.”  The truth is, I do know the definition, but I perhaps bestow the title of “my favorite” too liberally.  This is something I got from my mom, who never hesitates to call something a “favorite” if she likes it a lot in that moment.

So while something is my favorite whatever this week, it might not be next week or next month or next year.

Anyway.

Okay, it took me a while to come up with a category for this week, but I finally did.

Favorite Memoir.

I’ve chosen The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson.  This book came out a few years ago, and being a big Bill Bryson fan, I read it as soon as it did.

First of all, everything I’ve ever read by Bill Bryson is hilarious.  Laugh out loud funny.  Full of perfectly couched one-liners that I share with my husband.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid was no different.  I laughed and I cried (because I was laughing so hard).

It’s all about growing up in the fifties, and even though I didn’t grow up then, I can still appreciate the time period with all its wackiness and uncertainty.  I also think that no matter when you grew up, there are certain themes and rites in everyone’s childhood that make this book incredibly familiar to anyone who’s ever been a child.  Which is to say, all of us.

I love Bill Bryson.  He is probably one of my top five favorite authors of all time.  And he definitely is my favorite non-fiction writer.  If you haven’t read anything by Bill Bryson, you are totally missing out.  For some reason, I usually end up taking Bill Bryson books on trips, but why that is, I don’t know.  Maybe because he’s mostly a travel writer?

(Disclaimer: Bill Bryson does use occasional foul language in his books for all easily offended friends out there.  Personally, I hardly notice it, but I know that is a big thing for some people.)

Four and a half stars for being awesome.  I would actually probably give all Bill Bryson books a four and a half.  (Except for A Short History of Nearly Everything, which I would give a four only because it’s so dang long.)

Friday Favorite: Persuasion by Jane Austen

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment

This week’s Friday Favorite category is “Favorite Classic.”

I actually like quite a few classics, but I wanted to review one that is less popular or read, I guess.  So I’ve chosen Persuasion by Jane Austen.

I love all of Jane Austen’s novels, but Persuasion is probably my favorite (after Pride & Prejudice, of course).

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

‘She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older – the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.’ Anne Elliot seems to have given up on present happiness and has resigned herself to living off her memories. More than seven years earlier she complied with duty: persuaded to view the match as imprudent and improper, she broke off her engagement to a naval captain with neither fortune, ancestry, nor prospects. However, when peacetime arrives and brings the Navy home, and Anne encounters Captain Wentworth once more, she starts to believe in second chances. Persuasion celebrates romantic constancy in an era of turbulent change. Written as the Napoleonic Wars were ending, the novel examines how a woman can at once remain faithful to her past and still move forward into the future.

It’s a story about second chances, ultimately.  And whether or not to take them.  The power of persuasion is an obvious theme as Anne considers whose advice and feelings she should consider when making decisions.

I have read a lot of so-called “sequels” or spin-offs of Jane Austen, and one of my favorites is a series called Frederick Wentworth, Captain by Susan Kaye.  It’s Persuasion retold from Captain Wentworth’s perspective.  I really enjoyed it because, frankly, it’s nice to hear that men get as caught up in love as women do.  And that they worry about some of the same things.

Give Persuasion a read or a re-read, as the case may be.  You won’t be disappointed.

Love Jane Austen.  Love sweet, dutiful Anne Elliot.  Love totally swoon-worthy Captain Wentworth (check out the 2007 BBC film adaptation to see what I mean!).

Friday Favorite: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

October 29, 2010 1 comment

I’ve decided to start a new meme, so here it is: “Friday Favorite.”  Every week, I will tell you about a favorite from my list.  Maybe sometimes I will tell you about my favorite characters, favorite authors, or even my favorite episode of Modern Family. (Love that show!)

Today, it’s simple: one of my favorite recent-reads.

It’s The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting.  I love this book so much that I’ve added it to my All-Time Favorites list.

Here’s the blurb from Kimberly Derting’s web site:

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world… and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer… and becoming his prey herself.

Here’s what I really loved about this book:  Violet has a really whack-jack kind of ability, but she’s actually pretty normal.  She has a normal high school life, that is actually totally relatable.

(It really bugs me when I read a story and the high school scenes seem far-fetched, too serious, or just unrealistic.)

The high school interaction felt just like my own high school experience.  Not like I had some creepy, weird ability or anything, but just like… it totally could have taken place in my high school.

Anyway, I love Violet and I love her best friend, Jay.  My best friend in high school was a boy, too, so I really love that element.  Their relationship is very natural and easy, despite Violet’s morbid finds.

Another thing I really liked about this book was that the identity of the killer wasn’t totally obvious to me.  I actually had no idea until the very end.

Five stars for this book because I couldn’t stop thinking about it for DAYS afterward.  One more thing to love: a sequel, Desires of the Dead, is scheduled for release in March 2011!

100th Book! Torment by Lauren Kate

October 26, 2010 2 comments

I made it!  I read 100 books this year!  Actually, 101.  (I finished another one today.)

My 100th book was Torment by Lauren Kate, the sequel to Fallen.  I actually liked it a lot.  It was kind of strange, because I didn’t like the first one all that much.  Fallen was just okay for me.

Anyway, here’s the blurb for Torment from the author’s web site:

Lucinda is sure that she and Daniel are meant to be together forever. Now they are forced apart in a desperate bid to save Luce from the Outcasts–immortals who want her dead. As she discovers more about her past lives, Luce starts to suspect that Daniel is hiding something. What if he has lied to her about their shared past? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

I’ve always been really intrigued by the idea of (and mythology of) angels.  I’m just really fascinated by them, and images of them make me really happy.  I think that’s (a small) part of the reason why I like The Mortal Instruments.

I also think that because I like TMI so much, I had a hard time liking Fallen.  But Torment solidified and separated the story for me a little better, and in general, I got to know and like the characters more.

However lame this sounds, Torment was good.  I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Three and a half stars for being good, but not great.  Although I have a feeling the next book, Passion, will be great!