Tuesday, July 3, 2012

book butterfly reviews - june

Holy Toledo, it's July.

No surprise, Summer is flying by.

We've been really busy lately--and that doesn't even include trips to Wet n' Wild or library activities, etc.

Dan finished his class, and unfortunately he didn't pass.  SO close.  We learned a class set up as this one was (teach yourself, basically, and come in every 2 weeks for a test) is not an effective way to learn.  Tack on the fact that he was still working full-time, and, well, you get the picture.  He's already enrolled in PVCC's bridge program to start in August, and fortunately, it's actual lecture in class, and only one morning a week.  He won't have to redo the clinical hours because he passed that portion of the class with flying colors.  In the end it all means he'll have more time for work and study and family with this new schedule.  Onward!

My sister-in-law and her family were hit by an elk as they were driving home to Taylor in the middle of the night.  Amazingly, my brother-in-law and nieces came out without a scratch, but Kelly was life-flighted to Scottsdale Osborne for emergency treatment.  She broke many bones in her face including her upper jaw, nose, and bones around her eyes (like Cameron did in 07), lost a tooth, got some big time cuts and lacerations.  She's been through surgery and come out like a champ.  The family has been taking care of the girls; it will be our turn later in the week.  It will be so different having 1 and 2 yr old little ladies around here!  Prayers to Kelly and her family for a speedy recovery.

I've slowed down on the reading because we discovered Netflix (thanks Becky) and am on my last season of Angel.  It's probably the best season of the bunch.  After that I plan to start Doctor Who. 

But I still read till I can't read no mo'.

Here's what I finished in June:

Matched (Matched, #1)

"Matched (#1)" by Ally Condie

liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating)

I never read book jackets, so I had no idea what this was about. I found that I really liked it, and would go so far as to give it 3 1/2 stars. :)

It actually reminded me a lot of the Hunger Games. Premise is similar: Dystopian society in which government has complete and total control. Every single part of the peoples' lives is regulated, from what they wear to what they eat, what books and music are allowed in society (only 100 poems, because otherwise, life was too cluttered), when they are allowed to have children, when they die, and of course, who they get to marry/Match with. The gyst of the story is that she is matched to one person, but accidentally given a second person's face/info on her Microchip. She comes to learn more and more about him--they work together--and develops a relationship with him, which defies the government. Piece by piece, their freedoms are taken away and their lives are changed forever.

The story is left on a cliff-hanger of course, because there are three books to this series. I'm excited to read the rest.


Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)

"Bitterblue (Graceline Realm #3)" by Kristin Cashore

liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating) liked it (my current rating)

It's pretty hard to sum up the story line of this one because it's 540 pages of twists and turns and names and cities and characters and WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION. The book should have been around 200 pages. It could have been done. So many conversations and situations that take place had absolutely no purpose.

I liked the main story--Bitterblue is the third book of a series (of sorts, #2 seemed to have nothing to do with #1, but the last 30 pages of #3 tie them all together). She is an 18 year old queen who just wants to be a better leader. She goes into her city under disguise, meets a charming man, doesn't tell him who she is, yadda yadda yadda. Of course he finds out, he feels betrayed, and she spends the rest of the book trying to make it up to him. Also going on is treason and treachery, double/triple crosses and perjurers. She can't trust anyone, and in fact even after she finds she can't trust someone, she forgives them, trusts them again, and is burned again. Over and over. That just seemed like poor writing to me.

Honestly, I felt like the author was trying too hard. It's a nice tale, but she tried to make way too much out of it. I THINK the series is done, but even if it's not, I wouldn't pick up the next book. 2 1/2 stars.


The Dressmaker: A Novel

"The Dressmaker" by Kate Alcott

didn't like it didn't like it didn't like it didn't like it

It was really refreshing to read this book, after reading so many paranormal/fantasy/YA books (8 out of my last 10). This is an historical fiction, and I forget how much I love these.

The first quarter of the book is set on the Titanic. Tess, a poor seamstress/maid bargains her way into a maid position with the ultra snobby (and historically real) Lucille Duff Gordon, a real-life designer. We see the true character of many as the ship goes down and the lifeboats fill (or don't fill) up. The rest of the book is about the aftermath. I guess I'd never really thought of the stresses and inquiries and guilt the survivors would go through. The courtroom scenes were very interesting.

This has a light love story and some wonderful historical scenes that always make books better, in my opinion. I strongly recommend this one.


Crossed (Matched, #2)

"Crossed (Matched #2)" by Ally Condie

it was ok (my current rating) it was ok (my current rating)

There seems to be a trend in trilogies of late that Book #2 is a whole lot of nothing, searching, hiding, running away, traveling, just in general Going. I could rewrite this book in about 20 pages to be honest.


Cassia searches half the book for Ky, both trekking through some giant cavern/cave/desert/river/canyon until they meet up. In the meantime, they meet some new characters, some who make it out, some who don't. In the end, they are inevitably separated again, Cassie back to the Society to work undercover for the Rising, and Ky as a pilot for the rising.


I found the every-other-chapter switch of narrator from Cassia to Ky distracting. I think if an author really wants that much of a switch in POV, then s/he needs to make the narrator omniscient. I had to keep reminding myself who's POV each chapter was in. Annoying, really.

Not sure if I'll read the next.


Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3)

"Spellbound (Hex Hall #3)" by Rachel Hawkins

it was ok (my current rating) it was ok (my current rating)

This took me forever to get into (like 150 pages), but being that it was the third (and I think finale) of the series, I really wanted to get through it. It did get better, but not enough to get beyond the 2 star rating.

One of the reasons it was difficult to like initially is that for the third time Sophie ends up in a completely new place with completely new characters. I don't know about you, but I like a bit more consistency in books--it's kind of work having to learn all new people each time around.

Sophie's story is wrapped up nicely--she and cohorts actually have to gather some demon glass from hell, which is a really interesting chapter. The light love story was a plus as well.


You can tell I have a pretty juvenile taste in books.  I enjoy the light fun stuff, not having to think or ponder my existence or posticulate on existentialism et al while reading.  I do it for the fun of it and I'm ok with that.  Maybe some day my tastes will mature.

But I doubt it.  :)

What have you been reading?


laurie said...

so, so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. i hope she heals quickly and feels better soon. i love reading your book reviews. told my step-daughter (who loved the hunger game trilogy) about matched. i just read house of sand and fog and am now reading contents may have shifted. i am enjoying having time to read this summer.

Anonymous said...

You have to try the Wheel of time series. Super good. The final book #14? #15 maybe comes out in Feb, so you wouldn't have to wait decades like the rest of us. If you aren't hooked after book one, give it up.