Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: An Abundance Of Katherines

NAME: An Abundance Of Katherines

AUTHOR(S): John Green

SYNOPSIS (AS TOLD BY THE BOOK COVER):

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an over-weight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun, but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship and average Dumpees everywhere, and may finally win him the girl.

CONTENT WARNING (FOR THE BOOK): EXESSIVE CURSING, EXPLICIT CONTENT

Continue reading Book Review: An Abundance Of Katherines

Book Review: Between Shades Of Gray

Name: Between Shades Of Gray

Author(s): Ruta Sepetys

What’s It’s About: In the middle of the night Lina, her brother, and her mother are taken away by the NKVD (Soviet secret police) for no apparent reason. Along with many others they are shuttled to Siberia where they are accused of being criminals with 25 year sentences and forced to work on a beet farm with inhumane conditions. Lina starts to put clues of where they are in her drawings and passes them on in hopes that at least one will reach her father. She also writes (and hides) detailed accounts of the horrors she and those around her face. But as conditions get worse and worse, and everybody close to her starts to die (or gets very, very close), how will she and her family survive?

*Content Warning: mentions of prostitution, suggestive content*

My Review: I actually finished this book a few days ago, but I put off this review because I wasn’t sure what to say. I’m still not. This story may be fictional, but it rings with truth, and the fact that people had to go through things like what happens in this book is heartbreaking. WHY? How could people do this to others? There’s an old Latin proverb that goes “Man is a wolf to man.” I look at what some people have done to each other and I go, “Forget wolf, HURRICANE is more like it.” It just makes me so sad. That aside, I think there’s a moral in this story, faint but always there. It’s never preached on, but I picked it up all the same. ALWAYS HAVE HOPE. I’m pretty sure that’s how Lina survived. She had hope, and that hope turned into determination. The book actually has an open ending, but I didn’t mind. Why? Because I just knew that somehow, someway, in that fictional world Lina was going to survive. And it’s the way that this book makes me think and hope that really makes me like it. So maybe I did have something to say after all.

Blubberworthy seal of approval (final)
Though I didn’t actually cry (because, you know, I’m HEARTLESS) this definitely brought me close to doing so.

Re-Readability: High. I don’t even feel the need to explain.

Quotes

“You traitor! You pathetic old man!” I said. “Pathetic, and yet I survive. Surely, my survival is my punishment. That has to be it. This woman closes her eyes and she is gone. I’ve wished for death since the first day, and yet I survive. Can it really be so hard to die?”

‘The repeater spoke of nothing but America. He tried to draw maps of the United States, discussing details he had heard from friends or relatives. He needed to believe it was possible.”

“A man in group twenty-six got caught stealing wood. They sentenced him to an additional five years. Five years for one log. It could have been fifty. Our sentences were dictated by our survival.”

“You think of nothing but yourself. If you want to kill yourself, what’s keeping you?” I said. Silence sat between our stares. “Fear,” he said.”

“Mrs. Rimas brought her hand to her mouth. “She really intended to return home.” I looked at Papa’s shirt. My mother was freezing. She could worn these clothes. She kept them, to return to Lithuania in a clean set of clothes.”

Find This Book On: Barnes & Noble/Amazon/Goodreads

Book Review: Blackout

Name: Blackout

Author(s): Robison Wells

Series Standing: Book one (Blackout series)

What It’s About: Terrorist attacks are occurring somewhat randomly all over the country, but tucked away in Utah, Jack and Aubrey thought they were safe. They’re not. When the military interrupts the school dance, rounding up the kids to take them to a military base, Audrey thinks they’re looking for her. After all, she has been developing certain… abilities. Invisibility to be exact. As it is, she’s just ONE of the teens they’re looking for. The teenage terrorists everybody’s worried about have been given special powers, and those powers morphed into a virus susceptible only to teens. The government starts gathering teens from around the country, testing them for the virus. Those infected face inhumane conditions or a chance to fight alongside the military. Jack and Aubrey must put aside what tore their friendship apart and work together to discover what’s truly going on.. or they’ll fall apart.

My Review: This book is going to be a little hard to explain… not that I can’t explain the PLOT, It’s just that while I really enjoyed this book, I took a step back and saw holes in it. Interspersed throughout the book are little emails or blog posts or something. I had NO idea what they meant or were doing there until the end. Now I get (sorta) what they mean, but I still don’t understand what they were doing in there. I don’t even think it’s that much of a spoiler so I’ll tell you what they are. (If you hate people telling you anything remotely spoiler-ish about books though, don’t read the following sentences in bold.) Those blog posts are the terrorists’ code for when, where, and what to attack. But the author never gives us the code to decipher them. And you aren’t told it’s a code until the very end, so every time one pops up, your like, “WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?! I’m going back to the story.” Annoying, right? And they’re spread out rather thin, so they come out of nowhere. *Sigh…*  I wish that the book would have touched more upon what gave the terrorists superpowers, or why they’re attacking the U.S. (and later Canada.) Do they just want to watch the world burn? Also, I noticed one thing that might be considered a discrepancy. I hate to pick things apart, but hear me out, because it’s important. Right in the beginning when Audrey’s invisibility is described, we’re told that it’s like her brain simply tricks others into thinking she’s not there. She can, and I quote, “yell, or slap, or punch, and no one would detect it. They’d feel the punch – like Nate had – but they wouldn’t recognize it for what it was. They’d think they’d slipped, or that they got a sudden muscle spasm, or that a wind (or drunkenness) had knocked them over. But they’d never see her, or hear her.” Key phrase: never hear her. But later on in the book, when I was so caught up I nearly forgot that, it became an integral part of the story that Jack and Aubrey are teamed up by the military because Jack can use his super-hearing to track and keep tabs on her. Wait, what? Yeah. Not to mention that this book ended in a cliffhanger (whoops, mentioned it.) But I did enjoy this story very much. One of the interesting things about it is that some of the chapters POV was split not only between Audrey and Jack, but two of the terrorists as well. The author did this well, and it provided much needed perspective. I sped through this book, and would read it again.

cliffhanger

Re-Readability: Medium. I’ll pick it up again in due time and read it just as quickly as before.

Quotes

“Laura sat in the third row of folding chairs – close enough to look engaged but not so close as to be particularly noticeable. She planned everything as she did now, trying to anticipate the officers’ interpretations of her actions.”

“Pain burst through Aubrey’s head and rippled down her body. It was as though she was being beaten with a baseball bat, but couldn’t tell where she was getting hit.”

“She balled her small hand into a fist and punched the cement floor. With no more apparent effort than if she were squashing a bug, the cement splintered and cracked.”

Find This Book On: Barnes & Noble/Amazon/Goodreads


 

Book Review: Timebound

Name: Timebound

Author(s): Rysa Walker

Series Standing: Book one (The CHRONOS Files)

What It’s About: After moving in with her somewhat strange grandmother Katherine, Kate’s life takes a turn for the weirder… and more dangerous. It turns out Katherine is from the future; a time-traveling historian who got stuck in the past after her partner went rouge. Now his meddling with the timeline puts Kate’s family, and her very existence, at stake. In his mad quest for power, he murders Katherine in the past, which should erase any existence of Kate (and her family). But she, Katherine, and Connor (her assistant) have been protected by special medallions that make time travel possible. Now Kate is trained to travel back to the 1890s and correct the timeline. But will she succeed? Or survive?

My Review: FINALLY! I finally found a time travel book that doesn’t confuse or disappoint me! This book was, to put it simply, awesome. Great writing, great story, great romance, and I could actually understand what was going on. I think the way Saul (the bad guy) chose to obtain power was really interesting and unique.The only problem I had with it was how soon Kate and Trey became a couple. It seemed to be meet one day, kiss the next. But Trey was SO loveable I easily cast that complaint aside. There was a hint of a love triangle, but it didn’t overwhelm the book. For once, the whole “complicated romance” thing faded into the background. This book set itself up for a sequel, and there HAS to be one, but it didn’t end in a cliffhanger. In fact, I finished this book with a sense of satisfaction. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a book with a bit of history, but not historical fiction.

But it doesn't take over the story.
But it doesn’t take over the story.

Re-Readability: Very High. Go buy this book now. It’s worth it.

Quotes

“Do you have a lot of books?” I asked. Dad snorted as he slathered some cream cheese on his bagel. “Katherine’s collection puts Amazon to shame.”

“I put the book down by the computer and rubbed my eyes. “This is the world’s most boring version of the Travel Channel. And the History Channel. Combined. And I don’t much care for either of those.”

“I tentatively  bent a corner down and was surprised to see the odd paper pop back up, unwrinkled. I tried to tear a small piece from the edge, to no avail. A few quick experiments later, I had determined that you couldn’t write on the paper with ballpoint pen, pencil, or marker. Water beaded right off, even though it didn’t feel laminated. Chewing gum stuck momentarily, but it peeled up quickly and didn’t leave any residue. Within a few minutes, I had decided that the stuff was just plain indestructible – except for fire, perhaps, but I couldn’t try that on the Metro.”

 Find This Book On: Barnes & Noble/Amazon/Goodreads

Book Review: Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream

Name: Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream

Author(s): Tanya Lee Stone

What It’s About: This book tells the true story of 13 women who shared the dream of becoming astronauts in a time of prejudice, where women were considered basically treated as accessories to the home. And they almost made it. They took the tests, they proved their worth, and got shot down by a bunch of politicians. But not without a fight. This is the story of 13 women who paved the way for others like Sally Ride and Eileen Collins by questioning the “social order” that was widely accepted as the way of life. The “Mercury 13.” The almost astronauts.

My Review: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Okay, I’m goofy. But this is a really great book. It has great writing, lots of pictures, an interesting story, and intriguing information. Books like this make me disgusted at how we used to treat some people. The fact that people used to think that women only exist to play housekeeper is enraging. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought I’m glad I wasn’t alive back then. I would recommend this to anybody who has the slightest bit of interest in history.

Re-Readability: Very High. Go read this book now.

Quotes

“Some of the woman were criticized for taking on “unnatural” roles. Doubters questioned their devotion to their children and husbands. Jane Hart’s husband, a U.S. senator, received bags of mail from constituents who thought it disgraceful that his wife was flying all over creation and told him he should exercise more control over her.”

“Editorial cartoons poked fun. Reporters included her physical measurements alongside her test results. Or they dropped the test results completely, asking her what kind of meals she liked to cook and marveling at how slim, blond, and dimpled a pilot could be. “[That] has nothing to do with flying. I never read about men pilots who had their measurements listed in stories about them,” Cobb later said.”

“Back in New York, where Jerrie Cobb was staying, it was the middle of the night. Her phone started ringing. Her parents’ phone started ringing. Her friends’ and colleagues’ phones started ringing. And they didn’t stop. The world wanted to know who this woman was.”

Find This Book On: Banes & Noble/Amazon/Goodreads

Book Review: SYLO

Name: SYLO Author(s): D.J. MacHale Series Standing: Book one (The SYLO Chronicles) What It’s About: Tucker Pierce was perfectly happy to live a peaceful, uneventful life on Pemberwick Island. That was before people started dying out of the blue, before the military invaded and put them in quarantine. They call themselves SYLO, and are a branch of the U.S. Navy. They tell the people stuck on the island that there is a deadly virus circulating Pemberwick. But as the quarantine goes on, the islanders (including Tucker) star to feel that they’re not getting the full story. Tucker especially, since he was there when the high school running back dropped dead at the top of his game, he was there when a mysterious aircraft exploded right before the quarantine, and he felt the power a mysterious substance called Ruby gave him (which was being pushed by a secretive man named Feit). This knowledge makes him dangerous in the eyes of SYLO’s leader, Captain Granger, and he will not rest till Tucker and his friends are captured. My Review: This book was okay, in my opinion. It had the potential to be a fast paced thriller, but that only happened towards the end. Maybe that’s because I felt Tucker was stayed inactive for too long. I mean, the military puts you in a quarantine, saying there’s a lethal virus, and you go Okay, whatever even when you’ve only heard of two cases? You see said military chasing people down the street and tranquilizing them, and you still try to persuade yourself that everything’s good? It made me want to shake him and say, get up and DO something! I got really excited when he did. In the end, there was “revelation” after “revelation”. I use quotation marks because the book seemed to keep throwing new information and theories at the main characters, casting doubt on previous assumptions. It would have been okay if this was spread throughout the book, but this was at end. All at the end. Before I list the good aspects of this book, I have to mention the cheesy ending. So there’s this big revelation, it is hinted that danger is coming, and then says To Be Continued I’m serious. TO BE CONTINUED?! What kind of ending/cliffhanger is that? Lame. But despite my mini-rant (thank you for suffering through that), I did enjoy this book. I liked Tori and Quinn, which is also kind of sad because I liked them more than Tucker. Though Tucker was hard to relate to, I sympathized after several  events in the book (no spoilers!).

West-Rim[1]

Re-Readability: Medium. I might pick it up again sometime.

Quotes

“The four of us stood stood staring at the TV. I couldn’t even begin to process the information we had just been given, and I’d bet there were a whole lot of people staring at a whole lot of televisions feeling the exact same way.”

“I didn’t quit the team, and not because Quinn had shamed me out of it. The idea of facing the coach to tell him I was quitting was actually more daunting than getting pounded in practice. Maybe Quinn was right. I was even afraid of failing… at failing.”

“Any thought of surrender being a good idea was shattered when the pursuing gunboat opened fire on us. The clatter of a machine gun was unmistakable, even above our roaring engines.”

Find This Book On: Barnes & Noble/Amazon/Goodreads

 

Book Review: Seizure

Name: Seizure

Author(s): Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

Series Standing: Book two (Virals series)

*This review may contain spoilers if you haven’t read the previous book*

What It’s About: Tory and her friends are back, and in deep trouble. Due to monetary issues and a nasty public image problem, LIRI (the facility where all the Virals’ parents work), is shutting down. This threatens to split the group apart and leave them alone in their quest to learn about and control their powers. But Tory has a plan. Solve the financial crisis by finding Anne Bonny’s long lost pirate treasure. She drags the boys into this scheme, which leads them all around the area following the clues Anne left behind. But their search piques the interest of several other treasure hunters. Treasure hunters who will do anything to have the treasure for themselves. Even if it means killing.

My Review: Fast paced, suspense, good writing, humor, I can’t find fault with this book! Kathy and Brendon Reichs have done their writing magic again, and let me tell you, I couldn’t put this book down if I tried. Just one of the many things I loved about this book was the way the authors incorporated science and history, making it part of the main plot. Just because I could, I did some research, and it turns out both Anne Bonny and her buddy Mary Read were real! Lets face it, I’m a complete and utter geek, so the way they seamlessly fitted stuff like that in there makes me smile. Also, Tory and her buds are smart. They do their research. And they figure out treasure maps that nobody else could. But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. Tory may kick butt, but she’s impulsive, and makes mistakes now and then. Just builds her character though. In the end, you’re always going to root for her. All the Virals had me laughing out loud with their sarcasm. The suspense always had me quickly flipping the pages. I would recommend this book to anyone as long as they’ve read the first book in the series.

Re-Readability: Very High. I’ll be visiting this one again for sure!

Quotes

“I got an email from a Nigerian prince.” Shelton kept his face straight. “Apparently I just send him my bank account info, and he deposits a bunch of money. Can’t see how it could go wrong.”

“But we could be rich!” Hi whined. “Super rich! Buy-Ferraris-just-to-wreck-them rich! We could own a freaking NBA team!”

“I turned and whispered to Chance. “Read a book. Bridget Jone’s Diary is on my shelf. You’ll love it.” I shut the door on his groan.”

Find This Book On: Barnes & Noble/Amazon/Goodreads