Wednesday, December 4, 2013

October and November Book Reviews

I've been plugging away trying hard to meet my goal of reading 75 books this year. I'm so close I can taste it! I'm going to have to be picky about my last few books to make sure I don't select a long, boring book that takes me extra time to read. Here's a short summary of what I read in October and November:

1. The Cuckoo's Calling - J.K. Rowling: I have a hard time describing this one to people. I enjoyed the story about a hard-luck detective asked to look into the death of a famous model. The writing was well done, and the characters were interesting but I felt the book was too long. I think if she could have taken a few scenes out she could have taken out 100 pages which would have made the story move a little more quickly.

2. The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater: This was a YA book selected as one of our book club selections for the year. I found aspects to this book to be refreshing and different that many, many other YA books. I like that the author steered away from the traps I feel many YA authors fall into. Unfortunately I can't get into great detail as I will spoil the plot but it was a good read. My only beef with it was that I had no idea it was going to carry on into a second book so I was disappointed I didn't have any closure, yet!

3. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods - Suzanne Collins: This series just does not get old! I am really enjoying each book and the new missions Gregor ends up on. Suzanne does a great job coming up with interesting settings and new characters. This journey has Gregor in search of a cure to a deadly virus. Read the series, it's a great one!

4. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood: I have always wanted to read this book ever since seeing part of the movie back in the 90's. This is the first book of Margaret's I've ever read and all I can say is that I can't wait to read more of her work. Her story of a future America where women are used essentially as concubines to reproduce is bleak and yet moving. I can see why it's considered a classic work of literature and made it onto the 501 Must Read List.

5. Coraline - Neil Gaiman: With every book I read of Neil's the more I fall in love with his work. The tale of Coraline is so wonderfully creepy!! I can't imagine reading it to my kids as it's a little too scary for little ones but I sure enjoyed it. Coraline discovers a new door in her house which leads to another home very similar, and yet very different to her own. Her other mother and other father want her to stay in their version of her house but Coraline soon realizes this is not a good idea. Original and creepy, a great mix!

6. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card: I'm on a roll with books that I've enjoyed! Again I felt this story had many original concepts and honestly an ending I didn't see coming until very close to the end. This story is about humans training children to help fight a race of bug-like aliens that attacked Earth in the past. I haven't had a chance to see the movie yet but hear it's a good adaptation to the book. The only thing I had trouble with in this book was the racism.

7. Journey to the Centre of the Earth - Jules Verne: Annnnnd here my streak of great, enjoyable books ends. I really struggled to get through this book. I know it's a classic but I found it to be very difficult to get through at times. While the idea had merit, Verne got so bogged down with the initial trip details that when they finally got there the centre didn't seem like a very interesting place to go. I'd have to say if you're going to read about the centre of the Earth go read the above mentioned series in #3.


1. Divergent - Veronica Roth: Finally! I waited over a year for this book to come out! Sadly there were so many details I didn't remember about the ending of Insurgent that I was baffled by a few things. I really did myself a disservice by not reading the last few chapters of Insurgent before picking this one up. Of the trilogy I have to say this was the slowest moving one but I think the ending fit the series so well done Veronica!

2. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn: This is the story of a young girl who had her family murdered when she was 7 and she was the key witness in getting her teen aged brother charged with the murders. As an adult Libby is paid to go back and talk to some of the people from her past to see if she really saw what she thought she saw. Gillian does a good job moving back and forth in the story from the sequence of events from the past to how Libby is discovering new facts in the present. Interesting and easy read.

3. When did you see her last? - Lemony Snickey: This is the second book in the series that follows Lemony as a preteen as an apprentice in secret society. In this story he's searching for a missing young promising scientist. It's  a super enjoyable series!

4. Beatrice & virgil: Yann Martel: What a weird book! Generally it's about a successful writer named Henry who has suffered a writing setback and floats through a series of jobs and hobbies. The weird part is he stumbles upon a fan who requests Henry's help with his own writing about Beatrice and virgil, a story about a monkey and donkey who are friends. The story takes a turn I didn't expect and leaves you feeling a little creeped out. It's an odd book for sure!

5. Gregor and the Marks of Secret - Suzanne Collins: Book 4 in the Underland series and just as good as the previous books. I can't really say much about it without spoiling parts of the book so I'll just say it's really good!

6. The Fantastic Mr. Fox - Roald Dahl. Roald is another author I like who comes up with the most unique stories to tell. I enjoyed reading this one with my 5 year old son. I like how ingenuitive Mr. Fox was to keep his family and friends alive. Cute book.   

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