Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green
Year: 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books

Hazel has terminal cancer and, although a miracle drug has given her some extra years, Hazel knows she doesn't have long to live. Her mother forces her to attend a cancer support group for teens where Hazel meets Augustus Waters and he changes her life. Augustus is gorgeous, brilliant, funny and he completely changes Hazel's life.

It's been three days since I finished reading this book and I still can't pick it up without crying. But the book wasn't all depressing and tears. It was very funny. This book defines laughing through your tears. The dialogue was sharp and witty and the characters were lovable. The supporting cast even spouted words of wisdom:
"Always was a promise! How can you just break the promise?"
"Sometimes people don't understand the promises they're making when they make them," I said.
Isaac shot  me a look. "Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That's what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway."
If I could, I'd quote the entire book, but I can't so I'll just say read the book. It's great but make sure you have plenty of kleenex with you.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Woman in Black

Author:  Susan Hill
Year:  2006 (audiobook)
Publisher: Long Barn Books
Narrator:  Paul Ansdell

So this book has been gaining a lot of popularity lately due to the release of the movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. Of course, me being me, I had to read the book before I see the movie. I decided to  listen to the audiobook. 

In this story, Arthur Kripps is an associate lawyer with a firm in London and sent to a completely out of the home of a client, Mrs. Drabelow, to settle out her estate. It should be a simple enough assignment but it turns out that her house, Eel Marsh House, is haunted by a lady in black. 

I got pure joy in this book at times from the author's word choice and the way that she described things. I wished that I was reading it so that I could mark up the book in places where where the word choice was exceptionally well. But since it was an audiobook, I can't remember any of them now just that I really liked them. The narrator was very good. I hadn't listened to him before. And, probably because I've been seeing the ads for the movie, he sounded just a bit like Daniel Radcliffe.

The book wasn't as scary as I thought it would be and the actual haunting didn't play near role that I thought it would but it was a compelling story and, to me, the ending was quite unfair.

The Unwritten: Volume 5: On to Genesis

Authors: Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Year: 2012
Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Volume 5 continues Tommy Taylor's search for the answers to his father's mysteries and Tommy's origins. This time Tommy uses his father's journals to travel back to the 1930s in New York and the rise of comic books. 

I continue to love these stories. I love how the authors mingle real life with fiction and the theme that the stories that you read become a part of you and shape the person that you are.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

One Day

Author: David Nicholls
Year: 2009
Publisher:  Vintage Books

Dexter and Emma meet the night of the their college graduation and have a fling. And although they're both mad for each other, they spends years being "just friends." This book follows their lives together and where they're at on the same day each year for twenty years. 

I told one of my friends that this book is like reading British TV. There's smoking, drinking, some drugs and lots of sex. So much time passed in the novel and we saw so much of the character's lives yet it was like little glimpses because each chapter was just one day in one year. I wanted the characters to get on with it already. I liked the characters and wanted them to get together and then at the end I felt a bit cheated. 

Cinder: The Lunar Chronicles, Book 1

Author:  Marissa Meyer
Year: 2011
Publisher:  Feiwel and Friends

Cinder is a mechanical genius in New Beijing. She can fix anything mechanical and her uncanny ability has nothing to at all to do with her being a cyborg. Her reputation brings Prince Kai to her booth in the marketplace. He needs his ancient droid repairs and Cinder is his only hope. Then, Cinder's sister contracts the plague that is killing people all over Earth and dies. Cinder's stepmother volunteers Cinder to be a test subject for the commonwealth - a death sentence. But, it turns out that Cinder has another ability that makes her very unique and valuable to the commonwealth and could lead to her death.

I knew I was going to love this book when I read the author bio on the back flap and saw that she was a Firefly fan. I mean, really, how could a Firefly lover not write an amazing book. And amazing it is. It's a retelling of the Cinderella story but as far from Disney as one could get. Meyer's Cinder is not a meek girl waiting for her prince to come rescue her. Instead, she fights for what she believes in, wants to save her country and tries to rescue her prince. I love this heroine. And Prince Kai wasn't that bad himself. 

I can't wait until the next book comes out and I get to see where Meyer is going with these stories.

The Name of the Star

Author:  Maureen Johnson
Year: 2011
Publisher: Putnam

Louisiana born and raised Rory Deveaux is going to a boarding school in London for her senior of school. But shortly after Rory's arrival, a young girl is murdered in an exact copycat of Jack the Ripper's first murder and there's promises of more to come. Then one night, Rory sees a man that the police believe to be the prime suspect. The problem? She's the only person that sees him. And, because of her unique ability, it appears that Rory is now on his hit list.

I don't know what I was expecting with this book. I had read 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson and thought this book would be light-hearted like that one. I was wrong. This was an intense little ghost story. It seems to be jumping onto the paranormal bandwagon but at least there were no vampires or werewolves or other mysterious creatures. I look forward to the next book in the series as this one ended on a bit of a cliffhanger.

The Goddess Test

Author:  Aimee Carter
Year: 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Kate's mother is dying and the last thing she wants to do is to move back to her childhood home. That's when Kate meets Henry - tall, handsome and brooding. What could possibly be wrong with him? Oh, there's that whole being Hades a/k/a God of the Underworld thing. And, he wants Kate to come and live with him in the Underworld! But, before she can agree to be his bride she must first pass a series of test to prove that she deserves to be a goddess and immortal.

This was a fun, easy, romantic read. A nice way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shatter Me

Author Tahereh Mafi
Year: 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Juliette's touch is fatal. It's been 264 days since she touched someone - and that person died. Now, she's in an insane asylum. Now the government wants to use Juliette as a weapon to torture others. And Juliette doesn't know whether to go along with the plan or to fight back.

I enjoyed this book. It wasn't the most awesome book I've ever read but it was good. Sometimes it was difficult to follow but it was good. I went into expecting a paranormal book but it wasn't. I didn't expect the kind of book it ended up being. 

I'll definitely be reading the sequel.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What I've Been Reading

OK, so I got a bit behind on making my blog posts. So what have I been reading since my last post? Quite a bit actually. This is what I've finished up:

Explosive Eighteen
Author:  Janet Evanovich
Year: 2011
Narrator:  Lorelei King

I listened to this one on audiobook. As always, Lorelei King was a terrific narrator. She ranks right up there with my favorite narrators. The book wasn't as terrific. Yes, it was still good and it was classic Stephanie Plum but that's just it, it was the same old story. I think it's time that Evanovich changed things up for Stephanie.

Sweet Venom
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Year: 2011

Grace, Gretchen and Greer are three teenage triplets who had no idea that the others existed until they run into each other in the streets of San Francisco. What's more, Grace and Greer have no clue that they're descendants of Medusa. I liked this book a lot. It was a fun easy read and it was a new take on some of the Greek myths. OK, so it was a little reminiscent of Percy Jackson but, hey, Childs is shining a good light on Medusa.

World War Z: An Oral History of the  Zombie War
Author: Max Brooks
Year:  2006

This book is a collection of the stories, or histories, of the survivors of the Zombie War that are collected by an unknown reporter and put together in the book. Each chapter is a different story with a different person or historian telling their story. Some of the stories are absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking. And the book is very well written but there's no driving force or story line. It's really just a bunch of short stories with a common thread put together in one book. And while I thought it was well written and some of the stories were very beautiful, I had a hard time reading it - or finishing it. 

We the Animals
Author: Justine Torres
Year: 2011

This is the story of three brothers growing up poor in a family of mixed race (they have a Puerto Rican father and a white mother). It's very interesting because for the most part it's told in a plural first person narrative but Torres pulls it off. He tells the story in a collection of short stories with each chapter being a defining moment or part of the brothers' lives. It's odd, harsh and beautiful all at the same time. It's a quick read and I recommend it.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Year: 2011

This is by far my favorite book of the year. The writing was beautiful. I could feel myself in the streets of Prague. I could see everything the author was writing about. I could feel the main character's feelings. It was just terrific. There were places in this book where I was laughing out loud and my family thought I was losing my mind. I sat in the bathtub so long one night reading it that I was past the prune stage. I'm not going to say anything about the actual storyline because it's best to go into this book blind. But it's a definite read.