SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this if you want Allegiant to remain spoiler-free.
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Personal Collection
I’m going to skip this since , if you’re reading this review of a series finale, you’re familiar with the premise. Also, I’m lazy.
My Brief, Random, and Spoilerific Thoughts:
- I eagerly hurried to pick up my copy on release day. Read about 100 pages. Then got bored. So it took me a few weeks to actually finish the book. I felt the pacing was off. The beginning is bam…bam…bam and then they just wait around at the Bureau FOREVER.
- These characters need to think for like 30 seconds before going full force into some crazy plan.
- The genetically modified problem/solution makes no sense to me. I tried to suspend disbelief but it really made no sense. If you are trying to heal the genetically damaged by putting them in the experiments, the existence of other genetically damaged people outside of the city ruins that goal. Right? My solution? Make the genetically damaged infertile. Boom.
- Couldn’t there have been a better nickname than GD?
- I don’t like the title. The Allegiant was such a small part of the book. They spent most of their time at the Bureau.
- I wanted a happily ever after. But I’m okay with the ending. Mostly.
Now, I waited to long to finish and missed most of the responses. So what did you think of Allegiant?
For awhile, Ben would read out loud while I was nursing Evan before Bed. We made our way through The World of Pooh, Harry Potter, The Little Prince, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I had planned on doing cute little family reviews for each of them, but they just sat there in my drafts for months and months. So here are my quick thoughts on The Little Prince and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (I’ve reviewed Harry Potter plenty already):
The Little Prince was weird. Like really weird. I don’t think I understood it. Jen? Can you explain it to me?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is just as I remember it. Maybe funnier. Definitely a book I hope to revisit with E when he’s older.
I haven’t nursed Evan before bed in months, so we haven’t started anything new in awhile, but I am looking forward to reading as a family again when E is a little older (readaloud time with an active toddler lasts approximately 45 seconds so we stick to board books).
What books have you enjoyed or do you hope to enjoy with your children?
So here is what I am going to do. Despite the fact that I barely read these days, I am crazy behind on writing reviews. So I am going to do some mini-reviews. I’ll be using publisher’s summaries instead of writing my own and probably keeping my thoughts to a few sentences. But at least I’ll be catching up and you’ll finally get some long overdue reviews.
Author: Polly Shulman
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, YA
Audio: 6.5 hours
Publisher: Recorded Books
Book Rating: 3.5/5
Audio Rating: 4/5
Best friends Julia and Ashleigh are looking for some romance, but Ashleigh’s ways make Julia a little uncomfortable. While crashing a fall dance, they are befriended by two boys, one of whom being the mysterious male that Julia had seen at the mall. Unfortunately, Ashleigh has laid claim to her mysterious boy first. Julia is totally confused about high school love.
This book was a fun read for any Jane Austen fans out there. It’s light and funny and is really a very sweet story of friendship. It’s not going to change your world. It’s not going to make you think. But it will entertain you. It was just what I needed after a long, less-entertaining audiobook.
When I first started listening, I thought there were some weird pauses but they either went away or I got used to them. Ikeda did a good job capturing the feel of this book.
Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Narrator: Christine Lakin
Genre: Paranormal YA
Audio: 12.1 hours
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Source: Review copy from publisher
Book Rating: 3/5
Audio Rating: 5/5
When Tana was a child, the world faced an epidemic of vampirism, which spreads like a disease. Several years later, Tana wakes up after a party and discovers everyone else is dead except her ex-boyfriend (who is now infected) and a captive vampire. So they head to the nearest Coldtown – a quarantine for vampires, infected humans, and humans looking to turn, where Tana is in for a bit more adventure than she plans for.
So I think I can officially declare that I am over vampires. This was supposed to be the book that even those of us burnt out on vampires would love, which is why I picked it up after initially passing it over. And I get why – it was a good book. It was dark and gritty – none of that sparkly vampires at your high school stuff. People die, people turn into vampires, people betray each other, yet Tana hangs on to her humanity (and her bravery) through it all. Tana is a strong teenager forced into extraordinary circumstances and she never loses her cool. I should have loved this book. But my feelings toward vampires (sometimes “meh,” sometimes full on aversion*) unfortunately took away from my enjoyment.
So, bottom line: I think you will like this one if you (a) still like vampires or (b) don’t have strong feelings either way about vampires. As for me, I am going to move on to something else. Zombies? Angels? Unicorns?
I don’t have to qualify anything here. Christine Lakin did an excellent job. She was a perfect voice for Tana yet handled all of the other characters with ease. If you plan on reading this one, definitely check out the audio version.
*So I read The Radleys when I was in the puking-every-day stage of pregnancy (two years ago!) and I think it’s stayed with me. References to drinking blood now give me nausea. Isn’t that weird?
Look guys, I finally read and reviewed a Bloggers Recommend book. Look at me, participating in my own challenge.
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Contemporary young adult (new adult?)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: Personal Collection
As Cath and Wren head off to college, Cath feels like her twin sister is leaving her behind. The two used to be inseparable, even writing really successful Harry Potter-esque fanfiction. Now Cath is left on her own to navigate classes, friendships, writing, family, and boys.
Okay, personal story time.
I don’t know if I’ve ever shared that I had a really hard time my first semester at college. I was really good at high school, but college overwhelmed me. I was only ten miles from home, but I was homesick all the time and felt like all of my friends were fitting in so much easier than I was. I went through the motions – the classes, the parties, the drinking – but it was really hard for me and I wasn’t happy. (Ben actually helped me through it the best even though he was 100 miles away in Kalamazoo – my rough semester is probably why we’re together now).
So I connected to Cath immediately. I am not quite as nerdy (though I probably would have done better with an internet full of friends back then) and definitely not as socially awkward, but I really did connect to her.
It certainly helps that Rowell knows how to capture feelings like she practices magic herself. Fangirl is heartwarming, real, and funny. It examines family, friendship, romance and how these things change as life changes. If you haven’t picked up one of her books yet, you really must.
Title: The Preservationist
Author: Justin Kramon
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Source: Review copy from author
Last year, Julia lost her brother, her passion, and possibly her emotional-stability. This year, she is a freshman in college, attracted to two different men, neither of whom want to let her go. But someone is taking things too far and Julia is quickly in over her head.
When Justin asked me if I wanted a copy of his latest book, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Remember, I LOVED Finny. ADORED it. So even though psychological thrillers aren’t normally in my reading wheelhouse, I happily gave The Preservationist a shot.
It started a little slow for me. And a little creepy – I really couldn’t figure out why 18-year-old Julia would be attracted to 40-year-old Sam. But around 100 pages in, I really needed to know who was good and who was bad and just what was going to happen.
Told alternately by Julia, Sam, and Marcus, this book kept me guessing. So, while it wasn’t particularly realistic for me, it was certainly kept me on the edge of my seat, and I thought the ending was just perfect.
(But I am not-so-secretly hoping Justin’s next book less Julia, more Finny).
Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Narrator: Noah Galvin
Genre: Contemporary YA
Pages: 288 pages
Audio: 6.3 hours
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Book Rating: 4.5/5
Audio Rating: 5/5
Leonard Peacock is going to kill himself today. It’s his 18th birthday, but no one has remembered. His mom is hours away in New York City, leaving him to fend for himself. His best friend is his geriatric neighbor who watches Bogie films all day. So he’s just going to end it all now, after he passes out some parting gifts. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock novel details this last day.
I’d heard a lot of positive reviews of this book, but I didn’t actually know much about it when I started reading it. And I got to the first Letter from the Future and thought I had somehow gotten myself into another paranormal/dystopian/YA novel. But I can assure you that Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is worth reading and very unique.
Leonard is a little whiny and self-involved. But he’s a teenager with a pretty crappy life, so that’s expected. He’s also very observant and very smart. He knows high school isn’t the be all end all but he’s still stuck there.
You’d think a whole novel focused on one day might grow tedious, but I was always engaged as a reader and always anxiously awaiting Leonard’s next move.
One thing that I personally loved about this story was the portrayal of just how influential a good teacher can be. Teachers aren’t valued in our society the way they should be (I know, I see the paycheck my husband brings home every week compared with the tremendous amount of time he works) and it is nice to see a teacher like Herr Silverman. I suspect Matthew Quick had one of those teachers in his past.
I highly recommend this (and I think fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower will especially love it).
Galvin was excellent. He has a strong voice, but still sounded age appropriate and captured the sarcastic, angry, and scared voice of Leonard Peacock.
So…I read this book in April. And it is now September. 30th. I just never felt inspired to write this review.
My book club read this book (still not sure exactly why…I missed that day). I have no real interest in John Lithgow. I don’t really like or dislike him as an actor. He just is.
Lithgow had a unique upbringing – his dad was always starting local Shakespeare troupes (and ultimately failing at them), so he grew up with theater. But I’m not sure it was interesting enough for a whole book.
John Lithgow narrates this one and he does just as you’d expect.
My recommendation? If you love John Lithgow, pick this one up. Otherwise, there are better books out there to spend your time on.
Title: The Registry
Author: Shannon Stoker
Narrator: Kate Reinders
Audio: 9.5 hours
Source: A Friend
Book Rating: 3/5
Audio Rating: 3.5/5
After a great war, the United States implemented The Registry. At 18, women are placed on the Registry where men place bids to find a wife. Women are raised to cook and clean and are not allowed out without their husbands. Women who are not married, go into government service.
As Mia’s 18th birthday approaches, she is giddy with excitement over becoming a wife. But when her older sister shows up, beaten and scared, Mia realizes that marriage may not be the perfect life she’s imagined. And she’s going to do something about it.
The action started on this one right away. No time wasted in Fake Utopia Land. Mia just RUNS. Which I appreciated.
But I think I might be getting Dystopian-ed out. I had a hard time bringing myself to care about this one. It was fine and I didn’t dislike it. I just never really connected to Mia. She was so sheltered that I found her a bit annoying.
The Registry is a little Handmaid’s Tale and a little Wither. Although it share’s world-building characteristics with other books, the story is its own.
Kate Reinders has a good voice for YA. She was innocent enough as Mia but could still tackle the rougher male characters.
Title: Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
Genre: Contemporary Fiction; New Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Book Rating: 4.5/5
When Travis returns from Afghanistan on leave, without his best friend, he finds it hard to adjust to his old life. His brother stole his girlfriend and his car, his old friends are still drinking at the same old house, and his dad still resents the promising football career Travis abandoned. But then he runs into Harper and normal starts be a little less painful.
After trudging my way through many, many Russian winters with my last book, it was refreshing to be back in Florida with this contemporary story. No snow in sight. And familiar settings in books are always so…familiar. When I learned that Trish Doller’s books take place around here, I knew I had to give them a try.
There are a few things that make this book interesting. One, it is at least 50 percent a love story, but the protagonist is male. Second, the characters are 18/19, so they’re adults but they’re also teenagers (I actually haven’t read much “New Adult” even though I know it’s all the rage right now). Third, the main conflicts are due to the fact that Travis is returning from Afghanistan where he has experienced so much more than the family and friends he left behind.
I had a hard time putting this one down. Which means it is definitely worth picking up.