Bared To You – This one is advertised as being a book read for people who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey. In my humble opinion the main couple isn’t as captivating. Both parties have issues, and there are some steamy scenes, but there is too much back and forth and I never felt truly attached to the leads. On a positive note it is a fast read and the secondary characters are interesting and not nearly as cut and dry as those in Fifty Shades. C+
Divergent – The latest in the YA novel craze and I can see why. I read this book in two and half days. It is fast paced and is about more than just a love triangle. In fact, there isn’t one. That’s not to say there isn’t a love interest, but this book is about more than that. The beginning needs some explaining since it is set in a world different than our own, but bear with it and keep reading. You will not be disappointed. (It will make for a good movie.) A
Insurgent –The story continues in this follow-up to Divergent and it too is full of action. I found myself becoming annoyed with the main character at times and I had to remind myself that she is 16. This is a very intense trilogy that is not afraid to kill key players and spill a little blood. This one didn’t move quite as quickly as Divergent, but the ending made me crazy to read the final installment. I have no idea how I am going to stand waiting until next fall. A-
A Discovery of Witches – This one is not considered a YA novel, but it is crazy popular. (Bestseller and all that jazz.) The author is a good storyteller. The plot is full of details and history lessons, but not in a text book way. It is a long book, so it should last you more than a day. My only complaint is that the main couple gets together a little too easily. One day they are both smitten and the next day they are borderline married. I like stories that have a little more angst, but l liked it enough to read the second in the All Souls trilogy and see where it takes me, plus the ending was intriguing. B
Shades of Grey
If you are looking for a fast read that is sure to get your blood pumping than pick up a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. I had a lull after finishing my book for book club this month and decided to try it out after hearing it mentioned at a few playgroups and reading about it on numerous websites. I was trying to figure out what all the fuss was about. How is it so different than the Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel and all the other romance novels that I have read?
For starters I generally don’t read things that make me blush behind my book. Secondly, there is some S&M involved. And thirdly I read that the movie rights have been sold after a bidding war in Hollywood and I am trying to figure out how this is going to be made into a regular movie. It might do better as a mini-series on HBO (and will have to come on after 11pm). It is hot, erotic, racy and insanely descriptive. Now all that being said you might be wondering how the book is apart from all the freak nasty that is going on, well I’ll tell you.
The author, E. L. James, got started by writing Twilight fan fiction so there are definitely some similarities in the stories. West coast, clumsy girl but that’s about it. This novel can stand on its own. Ana and Christian make for interesting characters and after finishing Fifty Shades of Grey in two days I have ordered my copies of Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed so I can get to the bottom of what makes Christian tick. I need to know!
Anastasia’s roommate Katherine and Christian’s brother Elliot make for fun supporting characters, but James wastes no time on the side characters, it’s all about Christian and Ana. The emails between the two main characters are fun to read and make sure you pay attention to the subject lines of the emails. Now before you pick up this book you need to make sure that you understand that it would be considered NC-17 if it were a movie. If you are easily offended by the ‘F’ word it is not for you and if you have issues with S&M you should probably go a different route. That being said start making your book cover now or fire up your Kindle and get reading.
Crossed by Alle Condie 1/12/12
Summary - In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision
of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit
of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he
has escaped. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future
with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise
visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to
Cassia's heart - change the game once again.
This is the second installment in the Matched trilogy and it is a decent read. I enjoyed Matched, but felt that it moved a little slowly in some parts and Crossed proved to be about the same in that respect. Even though both books are fairly short it is hard to escape the feeling that you are waiting for something to happen. There is a since of urgency that isn’t there even when it should be.
On a positive note, Crossed, did propel us toward what should be an entertaining end to the trilogy. With all the main characters in different places and yet fueled by the same goal, there should be plenty going on in the final chapter. There is also a nice love triangle in place. Conde has done well to keep us equally attached to Xander and Ky and after this book Cassia seems to be right there with us. In the third installment I feel that Cassia will become even more torn between the two, but hopefully Conde won’t take the easy way out and make all the couples line up perfectly too early in the story. Give us a little drama if you will. It’s no Hunger Games, but it’s fun nonetheless. B
Review: Matched by Allie Condie 5/2/11
decided to pick up Matched after reading a good review from a trusted source.
I was in the market for a new book and it has been said that Matched is
the first book in what is going to be a trilogy. I like trilogies because
it gives me a chance to spend more time with characters that I get to know.
Matched is a story told from the perspective of Cassia. A normal teenage girl who has always gone along with what the Society has chosen for her and her family including everything from dinner to her future husband. After discovering a glitch in the Society’s matching system (where people find out who they are going to marry) Cassia begins to question everything in her life, but at what cost?
Condie paints an interesting picture, but her book falls short in comparison to its predecessors. Think one part Twilight and one part Hunger Games and then subtract what it is that makes you blow through those and you have Matched. It’s a good story, but the ‘it’ is lacking. It moves a little too slow. What could be a promising love story falls a little flat in its lack of passion, and the oppressive Society doesn’t come close to making you want to rebel the way the Capital does in The Hunger Games.
I’m sure that I will read the rest of the trilogy, after all I’m already invested in the story, but I won’t have to be at the book store at midnight to get my copy. B-
Review: Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson 4/18/11
I’ve ventured into the fantasy realm on several occasions with Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series, “The Hobbit”, The Twilight Series (to some extent – fantasy), and “Harry Potter”. But, my first venture into true fantasy was with the “Mistborn” series by Brandon Sanderson. I finished the three book series about a month ago, and not a day has gone by where I haven’t thought in some way about it.
The series is broken into three fairly large sized books (around 700 pages each). The first book, “Mistborn: Final Empire” is inspired by Mr. Sanderson’s love for heist movies. The story follows a band of thieves who are in the underclass of society, called Skaa, and their motivations and plans to overthrow the current governmental system and its tyrant human-god leader, the Lord Ruler. The story is great, but even better are its characters. They are all well defined and can be loveable, hateable, or somewhere between the two. While all of the characters are fantastic and unforgettable, the main characters, Vin and Kelsier, are the focal point.
Vin is a sixteen year old Skaa-girl who has grown up on the streets working in thieving crews. She has a defensive nature due to her role in a male dominated crew. She has an unexplained “Luck” which allows her to influence the emotions of others.
Kelsier is the leader of the thieving crew who has their sights set on overthrowing the nobility and the Lord Ruler. He is a larger than life born leader who makes no wrong decisions. He’s got a whimsical sarcastic nature at some times and a harsh serious nature at others. He’s one of the more exciting characters you’ll run across in a book. Kelsier and Vin cross paths, and Kelsier shows her that her “Luck” is more than just that.
One of the prominent aspects of the series is its magic system. It is so well thought out by Mr. Sanderson, that I have seriously thought on several occasions that I should be able to do what the main characters can do. It’s fun, it’s logical, and it allows for some incredible feats.
The second book “The Well of Ascension” and the third “The Hero of Ages” take a higher level look at the world and problems within it. In order not to spoil book one, I won’t get into these too much other than to say that the whole series was outlined by Mr. Sanderson over the course of a year before the first book was written. So, there are many aspects of the first which tie in with the later books.
Along with the series’ magical system and incredible characters, it dives heavily into war, strategy, politics, religion, friendship, love, and betrayal. It has a dark outlook at times, and a whimsical fun outlook at others. It will make you laugh and cry, and through it all you will be thoroughly in awe.
Best of all, a fourth book is due out in November which is supposed to take place 300 years in the future. Mr. Sanderson has said he is interested in making this series a “trilogy of trilogies”. Whether or not six more books are released, the first trilogy will leave you very satisfied. If you’ve ever been interested in exploring the realm of fantasy books, this series is a perfect start. A