Featuring book reviews primarily in the sci-fi/fantasy, YA, and contemporary fiction genres.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stacking the Shelves 07/29/12

Hosted by Tynga's Reviews


The Secret History by Donna Tartt - (from Goodwill) 
This book is amazing. I'm pretty sure I've read it at least 3 times. Anyway, I finally decided to buy this one since I've had my dad's copy of it on my shelves for the last 4 years.... probably time to give it back to him. =)

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy - (from Goodwill) 
Another beautifully written book. I haven't read this in about 7 years, so hopefully it's as good as I remember!

The Club Dumas by Arturo - (from Goodwill) 
I've been wanting to read this for awhile, so I was really excited that I found it. Who doesn't love books about books?? It kinda sounds like The Shadow of the Wind/The Angel's Game, so hopefully it's as good as those.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - (from Amazon)
Oh gosh. I read the excerpt of the first chapter on Goodreads and immediately ordered it. Technically, I got this and the 2 below about 3 weeks ago, but I haven't even cracked any of them open yet because I have so many library books checked out! It's just sitting there on my nightstand... waiting...

The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart - (from Amazon)
I read the first book in this series (The Crystal Cave) earlier this summer, and it was awesome. I love pretty much anything about King Arthur, so I'm surprised it took me this long to get around to this series. 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - (from Amazon)
I NEEDED to buy this book. I got it from the library last month, and I was really hesitant to read it because of the title but... oh my gosh. I found a new favorite! (Probably gonna try to get the boyfriend to read this one soon. I love that he likes YA, it's awesome. Seriously, I borrowed HIS copies of the Twilight series when we first started dating...)


 Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas
Won this from Goodreads First Reads. Woooo for chick lit!

That's about it for this week, but I have a couple more on the way from Amazon that should be here soon! I work full time in the summers, so I actually have money to spend on books for a few months. It's very exciting haha. Also, I don't know how I JUST now realized how great Goodwill is for buying books. Seriously. You'd think I would've known this a lot earlier considering I'm so cheap frugal. The one in my town is $1 for mass market paperbacks, $2 for regular paperbacks, and $3 for hardcovers. It's pretty hit or miss, and there obviously aren't many super new releases, but the prices? You really aren't going to do better than that anywhere else. So for all those books that you've been meaning to buy for the last 5 years, I'd definitely take a look at Goodwill and see what you come up with.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Leviathan Wakes

 Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads: Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach. 

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, "The Scopuli," they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why. 

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to "The Scopuli" and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything. 

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe. 

This book took me longer than it normally would to finish because I have been really busy finishing up summer semester. But every time I picked it up, I went "Oh yeah! Why haven't I been reading more of this? It's awesome!" It had a whole Firefly vibe going on, which I really loved.

The book was narrated by two different characters, which I think was the most interesting aspect to me, mostly because their viewpoints were SO opposite. One is described as "righteous," but interestingly enough, his actions are ultimately responsible for a lot of the war. The other is a world-weary cop whose mission and experiences drive him to do, well... less than "righteous" things.

Also, it did not end the way I expected it to at ALL. Woooo for plot twists! The ending left me wanting to know more about what happened, which is convenient because the next book in the series, Caliban's War, just came out. Overall, I thought this was an exciting, fast-paced read.

I read this book along with The Sword and Laser (which you should definitely check out if you like sci-fi/fantasy!)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Insurgent

Insurgent by Victoria Roth

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads: One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

"New York Times" bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian "Divergent" series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

I did not like this book as much as I liked Divergent. With the first book, I got that frantic, compulsive, "can't go to sleep until I find out what happens!" feeling. Not so much with Insurgent. It seemed like all that happened in the first half of the book was them going around from faction to faction, and there was very little tension at that point. The pages and pages of political discussions between factions got old pretty quickly for me. Luckily, the second half picked back up with the action, and I felt like I was finally getting the book I had expected to read.

Overall, it left me feeling slightly underwhelmed. I'm still looking forward to book number 3, but it looks like middle book syndrome strikes again!

PS: Also... we are supposed to believe that Tris and Four can just put on a different faction's clothes and no one recognizes them? Really?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads: A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

I absolutely loved the first part of this book, which is all about Sam and Jase falling in love. There were many times that Sam's thoughts about their relationship and falling in love for the first time made me stop and go: "Yes! That is exactly how I felt!" It was awesome.

In the second part of the book, I feel like that relationship kind of falls to the wayside, and it focuses more on Sam's relationship with her mother instead. There were also many issues that never got resolved: what happened with her friendship with Nan? What happened to Tim? Or to Mr. Garrett? Was Jase able to go to college? It seems like some storylines were brought up and then just trailed off with no conclusion, which left me wondering what the point of them was. I really wanted more from the ending. Overall though, the wonderful first section was enough to make me overlook the issues I have with the last part.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: Limos, Lattes & My Life on the Fringe

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Blurb from Goodreads: Outcast? Tyler Bonning is used to life on the outskirts and believes she's beyond caring what others, like the popular and wealthy Ruling Class, think of her. Until she's nominated for prom queen as a joke. Unexpectedly hurt, Tyler decides to turn her nomination into a cause and starts a Prom for Everyone campaign that will help make the event affordable. But just as her cause gains momentum, opposition at school and at home forces Tyler to question not only the campaign, but also the way she's perceived by others. As prom approaches, Tyler faces her biggest challenge yet---one her brains alone won't be able to solve. A perplexing leather book might hold the answers, but is Tyler willing to listen?

So... Christian fiction is definitely not my thing. As in there is less than a 1% chance I will actually pick up a book in this genre. I just do not appreciate being preached at. Luckily, this book didn't seem as pushy as some others I've seen, although to be honest, I skipped over most of the sections with the "magic book," so that may be why.

Otherwise, the plot was completely farfetched. Is anyone REALLY dissuaded from going to prom because they can't spend $3000 on it? I'm pretty sure I spent MAYBE $150 on prom, and you know what? No one cared. Why would the so-called "Ruling Class" even worry about what other people are doing? Also, the writing style was pretty awkward. There were sentences here and there that I had to read a few times until I understood what the author was trying to say.

Definitely not the worst book I've ever read, but I don't think I'll be reading it again.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.