Tuesday, June 29, 2010

i prefer book butterfly to book worm

Once again, this summer has proven to be a big one as far as my family and books. And this time around, it's not just me. All the kids are reading like crazy--Cameron literally is in the middle of four at the moment. . . Sean just finished the first two Percy Jackson books in about 3 days. . . Ethan will sit and listen (if you can get him to sit long enough to draw interest in said book). . . and even Dan has found time to read a few this month.

As for me, I'm on my 12th book this month. I know there's still a few more days to go in June, but I think I'll be lucky to finish my current project as it's been slow-going up to this point. I thought it might be fun to share what books I've read, the star rating I gave them, and a little review of each. I mentioned the website GoodReads the other day--this is all taken from that. I absolutely love reading my friends' reviews of books (once I've read them. . .I hate getting spoilered) and I must admit I tend to get a bit wordy and opinionated in my own reviews. However, just to give you a sample of the website, here are my reviews of the books I read in June. :)

As Long As I Have You (Book 5 in the Children of the Promise series) by Dean Hughes 4 stars

Oooh I really want to give this 3.5 stars, but clicking on that 3rd star seems too harsh. I definitely didn't like it as much as the others for this main reason: this book happens after WWII is over and details all the reunions <---- which are WONDERFUL and each brought me to tears. But after all of the reuniting is done and over with...it seems that there is just 100-200 pages of filler with very little plot. The first four books were full of plot development and struggle in the various branches of the military, year after year of the war and The Duration back home in the states, so there was plenty to write about.

So even though I love the series and love the first half of this book, the last half was kind of boring. I understand the next generation is written about in a series all on its own, so that will be interesting to pick up. I definitely recommend the series; very well written and taught me a lot about WWII.

When The Soul Mends (Book 3 in the
Sisters of the Quilt Series) by Cindy Woodsmall 3 stars

Nice sweet (if predictable) resolution to this series.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini 3 stars

I liked it...it definitely was not what I was expecting, and after the first 50-100 pages or so I was worried that I wouldn't like it at all. But it definitely taught the lesson that you need to stand up for what's right and if you do commit a wrong, you need to fix it, lest it haunt you the rest of your life.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (an Eclipse Novella) by Stephenie Meyer 3 stars

I didn't have terribly high hopes or expectations coming into this book--I knew it was written kind of on the heels of all the popularity of the movies, etc, so in a way, you could assume that Stephenie Meyer was just taking advantage of the hype. She claims though, that she wrote a lot of this WHILE writing Eclipse years ago. And what can I say, I trust her.

On that note, I was curious enough to pick it up (bought it even), to add to my collection. It was ok...there were a couple of parts that grabbed me--like when Bree and Diego are dispelling vampire myths AS vampires--but then nothing else until the end which I already knew from Bella's perspective.

I like that $1 of each book sale goes to benefit the Red Cross. It was a light simple companion story about Bree's life the 3 months after she'd become a vampire until her death. There was even a touch of romance in there, which I wasn't expecting, but should not be surprised about.

I wouldn't suggest you necessarily go out and buy it, but if you can get it from the library or take advantage of its free existence on line through July 2010, go for it.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett 5 stars

Excellent book! I really enjoyed the three different narrators and their unique perspectives (though my favorite, by far, is Minny and Celia's story) on being a black maid for a white family in Mississippi in the 60s.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini 2 stars

I've been unintentionally reading some really heavy books lately -- figuratively and literally -- this is the third book about Afghanistan/Pakistan, etc in a row. Again, unintentionally.

Khaled Hosseini is a really good author, very descriptive, and very knowledgable about his home land. The subject matter is always intense though. First Kite Runner and now this one, that mostly had to do with oppressed women in Kabul. Oh how it makes me hate that land and its customs, the taliban and al-queda, and most of all, the husband Rasheed. I hate hate hate him.

It was educational for me, and I was satisfied with the ending, but I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say I'd recommend this to anyone. It's too disturbing; yet I know things like this really do happen and are still happening to middle eastern women today.

Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse book #2) by Charlaine Harris 2 stars

I like the premise of these books, and I like the characters, but man are they raunchy. I don't remember the first one being as bad. It'll probably be a while before I pick up the next one.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 3 stars

This book, narrated by Death himself, is hard to describe and rate. The writing is good, very original, very clever, and I found the short short chapters refreshing. The subject matter is very sad--I'm not sure what's going on with my book choices of late, but I keep reading these very serious topics. This one was about Nazi Germany and is, among other things, about a family who hides a Jew in their basement. The main character is a 10-14 girl who is taught to read by her foster father, who then becomes a collector/stealer of books and lover/hater of words and how Hitler's words changed the world, her country, her family, and her life.

The book is sad sad sad, but there are no surprises, because for some reason, the author chose to have the narrator give away pretty much every end plot chapters before they'd happen. It's an interesting way to write a book I suppose. It is beautifully, but sadly written.

I'm not sure if I'd recommend it or not?

The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1) by Meg Cabot 3 stars

Very light read...it was cute. I might pick up some of the sequels in the future.

Eragon (Inheritance #1) by Christopher Paolini 1 star

When I think about the fact that I spent 2 1/2 lovely nothing-filled days in the quiet forest camping, and all I read was this awful book, I am disgusted with myself.

This really is not my type of book, but I'd heard about it for quite some time and thought my tastes for fantasy had changed over the years. This is way too Lord-of-the-Rings-ish, in many many ways, one being that of course it doesn't end. There's several more books to come. Too many characters, too many city and kingdom names, too many rulers, too many bad guys, the poor kid goes off on this quest and of course, doesn't even accomplish that by the end of the book.

I gave it a fighting chance for about 200 pages because I hate quitting on books. The final 300 I finished just because I was so vested at that point (is it vested or invested?) and wanted to finish, but really, I was just skimming for important scenes and conversation.

Blah. Hated it.

Darkest Hour (The Mediator, #4) by Meg Cabot 3 stars

Ohhhh I've never been so glad to read one of these books. In the past, I've read them but been annoyed by the heroine and the way the author makes her talk, which is kinda smart alecky and obnoxious.

But after reading a bunch of heavy, long, boring books in a row (Eragon? Seriously? Don't read it) I was soooo happy to pick this up and just mindlessly read about Suze and her ghostly encounters. And yay, finally a plot around Jesse, who is of course, my favorite character. This has been my favorite so far.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I am currently reading this; am up to around page 100 and am finally getting interested in it. After Eragon I promised myself I wouldn't push my self to finish books if I wasn't interested by page 100. This one is squeaking by.

So what are you reading? What's been on your book list this summer? Any suggestions? Any reviews of your own? Leave your picks in the comments. :)


The Bluths said...

I'm always looking at your reviews (and there have been a lot lately) :)

I just finished Spells. Did you ever read Wings? Cute Fairy-type books.

BTW This is my new favorite song at the moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM7Hlg75Mlo&feature=PlayList&p=CDA8E13B3E9E1AC2&playnext_from=PL&index=30

leaner said...

I am struggling to read "Eat, Pray, Love" everyone has glowing reviews of it, but I have to say I really dislike the author. She whines too much. But I want to finish it.

I have been reading the Harper Connely series by Charlaine Harris. Its.. ok. Actually there is less sex in it than the Sookie books but well... predictable stuff keeps happening to the main character. I wouldn't recommend it at all.

Gwennie and I are 3/4 of the way through Mary Poppins. Its cute, I'd never read it before.

As of this moment that is the extent of my reading. (Oh, I've read a lot more than that this summer, I just can't remember what.)

Dahlene said...

I am reading a biography of Gandhi for Book Club. He was a very interesting man. I'm learning things about him that would amaze you. When he was younger he had stage fright so badly he would have dry mouth and shake so much he'd have to leave the stage after a few minutes of standing there saying nothing. I hope to read something lighter and fictional when I get done with it though. It's summer--I love reading fun books in the summer!

Amanda said...

I am impressed with how many books you are able to get through! I'm excited to be reading again after such a long time but I'm a slow reader. I'll have to check out that website.

I am almost done with Book 2 in the Children of the Promise series. I cried for an hour last night reading the part of Gene's memorial service.

Ally just borrowed Eragon from my sis-in-law Tracy who said she loved it. We'll see how it goes for her.

Ally, Tracy and another sis-in-law Shanne all LOVED Goosegirl by Shannon Hale. Ally's read several more by her and really liked them all. Princess Academy is another good one.

I accidntally read the Hearts of the Children series first a few years ago. LOVED THEM! I had found books 1,2,4,& 5 on a bargain shelf at Deseret Book. You are welcome to them anytime.

Wouldn't it be great to have a Deseret Book Library?

laurie b said...

you are quite the reader - i read three books in june and thought i was flying through them! i will have to check out some of the ones you recommend... thanks.

hairball said...

Eragon stinks! Do not bother with the other books. I read them just to find out what happens. Read number 3 thinking it was over and the guy decides to write a 4th book. Bleh....

Delfina said...

A lot of the books that you have read sound pretty intresting. Right now I'm reading Fern Micheals and J.D. Roberts .. books. There both books in suspence/mystery and have a little romance.

wittygal said...

Thanks for the book reviews! I am reading Amy and Isabelle, pretty intense disfunctional family book. I am enjoying it and wish I had more time to read it.

jinxi~ aka angi said...

Awesome reviews! Im going to look for and read The Help.. it looks like it would grab my attention! And you gave it rave reviews. hehee :)

right now, Im reading a couple books, I need to get on it and just finish them.. Id be happier I think!