30 April 2012

Book Review No. 58

















Matched by Ally Condie

Summary:  In the Society, Officials decide.  Who you love.  Where you work.  When you die.  Cassia has always trusted their choices.  It's hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate.  So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one...until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.  Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices:  between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one else has ever dared follow--between perfection and passion.  (taken from book jacket)

First Line:  "Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?"

My Critique:  I told y'all in my last post that this was on my list of books to read.  It's definitely more SciFi than my normal genre but I still really liked it.  It's a distopian (sort of) novel that demonstrates a Society that has perfected...it relies on statistical data to make decisions...meals for each person are perfectly formulated with their exact balance of nutrients and vitamins, cancer has been eradicated, marriages are long and happy because you are matched with someone who statistically meshes with you.  It's a very Stepford type of situation.  And everyone accepts it...except for Cassia.  With a little prompting from her Grandfather to be her own person, to have her own thoughts, to create her own words...paired with the error of seeing Ky on the Matched screen, Cassia starts to question the way things are done.  And together she and Ky envision a new world...a way things could be.  This is a trilogy and I have the second book on hold for me right now.  I'm very intrigued.  It perfectly sets it up for the second book.

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Matched, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my own views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with with afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas------------uh, nevermind...

23 April 2012

Book Review No. 57

I intended to start this blog off by apologizing for it being so long between my previous book review and this one then I noticed it's only been like 2 1/2 weeks!  LOL  I guess to me it has felt like I haven't read much lately.  My last book review was on Switched by Amanda Hocking (which I loved) and I immediately wanted to begin reading the second book in the trilogy.  BUT the problem with that was the book was still being processed in my library and wasn't available for check out yet...also, a book I had been waiting for came in for me to check out and I knew it had holds on it so I needed to read it in my 2-week time frame because I wouldn't be able to renew it.  That book was:


Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.  If you know me, then you know how obsessive I am about Pride & Prejudice.  I thought this would be precisely up my alley...a novel that picks up after Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are married and a murder takes place inside the walls of Pemberley...a who dun it type of deal.  Sounds intriguing right?  WRONG!  I read the first five chapters but could never really get in to it...it was so slow and the author took way too much space to describe every little detail.  I mean, who cares if it took Elizabeth two hours to get ready for the ball right?  I just hate getting bogged down in details that have absolutely nothing to do with advancing the plot in any way.  So I gave up on that one.  







Then another book I had on hold came in, Matched by Ally Condie.  This book is a SciFi type of deal that involves a totalitarian government and I'm very intrigued.  My friend Jennie suggested I read it so I wanted to give it a try.  The only problem is that it came in the day before I knew Torn would be ready for me to read.  So I didn't want to get involved in a new story and confuse the plots in my head so I decided to just skip Matched for now in favor of reading Torn.  No worries though...Matched will be read soon and that review is forthcoming.




Oh yeah...and something just a little bit imporant happened...my best friend had a baby!!!  So I've been a little bit busy.  But Torn came in last week and I read it over the course of this weekend.  (By the way, Blogger has a new formatting situation and I'm not quite sure how I like it...I'll have to play around with it some more).

Without further aideu...

















Torn:  a TRYLLE novel by Amanda Hocking

Summary:  When Wendy Everly first discovered the truth about herself--that she's a changeling switched at birth--she knew her life would never be the same.  Now she's about the learn that there's more to the story...Wendy shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined--and they'll stop at nothing to lure her to their side.  With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers--and marry an equally powerful royal.  But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who's strictly off-limits...and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.  Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate.  If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything--and everybody--she's ever wanted...in both worlds.  (taken from the back of the book)

First Line:  "When Rhyse and I showed up at my 'brother' Matt's house at eight in the morning he was happy...in the sense that he was glad I was alive and hadn't disappeared forever."

My Critique:  You know what I don't like about sequels to books?  I hate how the author feels the need to replay certain facts from the first book so those readers who might pick this book up without having read the first book aren't totally and completely lost.  But I hate that...I messes with the authentic flow of the story/plot.  It feels forced...at that point it feels like I'm reading a novel, not experiencing a story.  Does that makes sense?  I just feel like it breaks the mental connection with the story.  Anyway, I understand it has to be done but I just don't like it...I mean if somebody wants to read book 2 then they should suck it up and read book 1 first.  At any rate, moving on.  I really enjoyed this book.  It wasn't as action packed as the first book but it was still good and I can tell its entire purpose was to set up book 3.  At the end of this book I found myself saying, "Wait...no...there's more to the story...it can't end now!"  Which of course, is the entire purpose so there will be a book three.  It did its job well in setting up the final book of the trilogy and expanding on the first book but it in and of itself wasn't completely enthralling.  However, I really enjoyed it taking in to account its part in the entire trilogy.

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Torn, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my own views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with with afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas------------uh, nevermind...

04 April 2012

Book Review No. 56


I gotta say, I'm pretty excited that I've managed to stick to my goal of reading at least 12 books a year thus far. I mean it's one book a month which I know doesn't sound like much (and it's not) but for too long I just let reading sit on the back burner of things I'd like to do but then I'd get involved in watching tv or some other such nonsense and I'd never actually get around to reading much. So now I have a goal and I'm sticking to it so far. Last week we were on vacation (about which you can read more in my previous blog post) and I selected a book with the goal of reading the entire thing. I was so excited to read an entire book in a matter of days...I'm usually too busy to have enough time to do that but I did it! Here's my review...




Switched: a TRYLLE novel by Amanda Hocking



Summary: When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and stried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She's not the person she's always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel--all because of Finn Holmes. Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken...though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she'd ever admit. But it isn't long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth--and he's come to take her home. Now Wendy's about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that's both beautiful and frightening. and where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she's meant to become... (taken from back of the book).



First Line: "A couple things made that day stand out more than any other: it was my sixth birthday, and my mother was wielding a knife." (Sparks your curiosity doesn't it?)



My Critique: Amanda Hocking is a success story every aspiring writer dreams of. She wrote the Trylle trilogy and self-published them as e-books. After gaining momentum and massive popularity, they were eventually published...and I'm glad they were because I hadn't heard of them before. The books are technically classified as Young Adult and honestly, young adult literature has gotten a bad rep as something less...less entertaining, less intellectual, less literary. But I have to say, young adult literature has some of the most enthralling plots out there (think Twilight or The Hunger Games or Harry Potter). Admittedly some young adult books are a bit juvenile for older readers but once in a while you come across a book (like those just mentioned) that span the generations. I believe this is another book that has mass appeal to all readers...no matter your age. I throughly enjoyed this novel and can't wait to read the next one in the trilogy (though I'll have to because another book I've been waiting a few weeks for finally came in for me at the library and I need to get it read before it's due back). I don't want to say much because I don't want to give away any of the plot details but this book has mystery, an element of fantasy, intrigue, danger, and just a touch of romance. Do yourself a favor and read this...both guys and girls will find this book intriguing. READ IT! Do it! I'm not kidding...



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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Switched, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my own views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with with afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas------------uh, nevermind...



Other books in this trilogy:

03 April 2012

I'm Just Not a Beach Person...

Well I'm back in full swing after our vacation to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The food there was DELICIOUS! Every place and every thing we ate was so good (well, with the exception of Skillets Café). We decided to drive this time. It took 14 hours to get there and we went through Montgomery, Alabama and stopped for the night. It poured down rain the last 200 miles...it was awful trying to drive in that! I'm talking 40mph, can't see the front of your car or the lines of the road rain. On the way back we decided to go South to Jacksonville, Florida and then head West to Louisiana and then North to home so we could stop in Natchitoches to pick up Jax. This was supposed to take about 15 hours. Well as we headed out from Hilton Head we planned to drive for 9 hours and stop in Mobile, Alabama for the night. The 9 hour trip ended up taking almost 12 hours...11 hours and 45 minutes to be exact. This was thanks to some sort of accident that halted traffic to a standstill...it took us about an hour and a half to go 3 miles. Lovely. I can't tell you exactly what happened because there were 5 lanes of traffic and we were in the far left lane. I saw flashing lights but that's it. It was an accident according to the 511 traffic line. After this traffic was heavily congested on the interstate and then it started raining on us again...what fun. By the time I pulled in to Holiday Inn Express in Mobile I was frazzled to say the least. My blood pressure was up, I was shakey, I had a massive headache, my body hurt from being tensed...just exhausting. I also decided I can't go on vacation with my husband again. LOL We are completely incompatible vacation partners. He wants to go, go, go and explore and see and I want to sleep in, relax, read, take a nap. Haha.



I got to see the Atlantic Ocean...it was brown...I was expecting blue/green for some reason. I knew I didn't like the tropical beach but I had somehow decided I would like the East Coast beach with seashells and lighthouses. I was wrong. I'm just not a beach person. I don't like the sand getting into everything and sticking to my skin...at one point I was practically blinded because the sea breeze that blows off the ocean that everyone else finds so charming and refreshing created a sand storm that resulted in sand in my mouth, my teeth, up my nose, and in my eyes...which as a contact-wearer is just no fun. I walked barefoot on the beach once but honestly I kept thinking I was going to step on broken glass buried under the sand at any second that I couldn't enjoy it. My Vibram 5-finger shoes (i.e. toe shoes as I call them) worked GREAT for walking on the beach. There were jellyfish everywhere...lots of them washed up on shore. I wasn't sure if they were dead or not but I wasn't going to be the one to touch them to find out. I wonder if I'm allergic to jellyfish...I'm allergic to insect stings so I don't know...Ragan told me he wouldn't pee on me if I got stung so I was trying to figure out how I was going to pee on myself because I certainly wouldn't let a stranger do it. I walked along the water line as the tide rolled in...the water made my legs itchy. The sun kept shining down and it was HOT. We took a Dolphin Watching cruise but didn't see any dolphins. I did however get a sunburn...even though I was wearing SPF 85+ sunscreen. We had a great view from the balcony of our condo overlooking one of the pools but about 10 GIANT bumblebees also thought it was a pretty view and set up camp out there. Due to the aforementioned allergy this prevented me from enjoying the view or breeze from the balcony as I couldn't go out there or open up the door to let the breeze in. There was a really pretty lighthouse in a section of the island called Harbor Town. We went there and visitors are allowed to go to the top for a gorgeous view of the island. Since it was 144 steps to the top I sat in the shade in a rocking chair while Ragan went up and enjoyed the view by himself. You would think that in a town full of time shares that there wouldn't be too many salesmen trying to sell you a timeshare...I mean it's just not logical. Most people there are already staying in a timeshare right?!?! That's like going to an exclusive club for people who own new cars and trying to sell them a new car... Well if you think that you'd be wrong. These people are worse than the hooker pushers on the streets of Vegas. There's a booth on practically every corner. I tried polietly listening with fake interest, ignoring them, polietly saying no, flat out saying no...nothing worked. They would harrass you. Finally I became a master at dodging and just dodged them the rest of the time. On Sunday, we were in Mobile, AL and decided to do something fun before we came home so we took a tour of the U.S.S. Alabama battleship commissioned in 1942. It was neat but I was hot which means I was grumpy. The tour involved a LOT of stairs and climbing. My legs are still screaming angry things at me every time I move. There is an airplane pavillion there that houses lots of military planes, both old and relatively new. It was really neat. They have a flight simulator that simulates a take off, engaging in a dog fight, and landing. Ragan did it but I didn't...I don't like flying in real life so I don't know why I'd do it for pretend. There was also a submarine there, the U.S.S. Drum, that you can tour so we did that. There was a herd of Boy Scouts there and three of them decided the submarine was a good place to race. I mean it's a freaking submarine...it's cramped...Ragan could barely stand all the way up and my shoulders were brushing both sides of the walkway inside...yet these heathens decided to race through...THREE TIMES. No adult around. I ranted about how they were rude and obnoxious...Ragan was embarrassed. I finally decided that the next time they ran through I was going to trip them to teach them a lesson but they must've sensed my evil plan and didn't come through again.



That about sums it up. All said and done we drove 2,263.7 miles. I like to play this game when I'm on a roadtrip where I look at the license plates on cars (anything but an 18-wheeler...they don't count) and write down all the states/places I see. Here's the list from this trip:



Louisiana

North Carolina

Texas

Georgia

Mississippi (Ragan had never heard the M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-hump back-humb back-I thing and thought I had lost my mind).

Alabama

New York

Illinois

Tennessee

Florida

Arkansas

Virginia

Pennsylvania

Connecticut

Ohio

Arizona

Massachesetts

Quebec, Canada

Maryland

Ontario, Canada

New Jersey

Michigan

Wisconsin

Indiana

Vermont

Nebraska

Washington, DC

Iowa

New Hampshire

Colorado

Washington (state)

Maine

West Virginia

New Mexico

Nova Scotia, Canada

Minnesota

Missouri

Delaware

South Dakota

Oklahoma

Kentucky

California

Oregon

Tamaulipas, Mexico

Kansas

Consul (which I discovered is issued to foreign consulates...had I known this and jotted down the number I could have found out what country they designated for).

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