Thursday, February 23, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth, published 2011

Young Adult, dytopian, romance

Read, February 2012

4 Stars

My Review:
I have read several young adult dystopian romances. After awhile, they seem to run together. Some elements are just the same, it is dystopian and the characters are fighting for something. So when I start a new book of this genre, I wonder what this author is going to bring to the table. What is Veronica Roth going to write that I haven't read in some way before?
I was concerned as I started reading Divergent that the book didn't draw me right in. I had a couple of false starts. I must have read the first chapter 3 times before I went any further. I just couldn't get into it. I wasn't seeing the world that Roth created. At this point, having finished the book, I blame it on being dystopianed out (I have recently read 2 other novels of that genre, see old posts). So, if you have a hard time with the first few chapters, KEEP GOING!
Once Roth got through the set up and put the main character, Beatrice, on her path, this was a wild ride. There was action, romance, heart break, friendships, bullying, familial relationships, suicide, self sacrifice, facing fears, death, etc. This book has it all. I couldn't put the book down.

Warnings: This book has violence that at times was hard for me to read. (I haven't read it in a while, but I would say that the violence is on par with the Hunger Games Trilogy).

I would NOT let my 14 year old read this at this point. She has read the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and was upset by some of the violence and death that happened in the final book, Mockingjay. With that knowledge, I would say there is no reason for her to read this book at this time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Midnight in Austenland, by Shannon Hale, published 2012

Mystery, romance

Read, February 2012

4 Stars

My Review:
If you liked Austenland, then I think you will like Midnight in Austenland. I was thinking this was going to be an Austenland romance for a new character, but essentially the same story. Yes, this has a woman going to Austenland for a vacation, and yes, she is looking for romance, but this book was much different than Austenland. This book is a mystery! I had no idea when I started it that it was going to have a mystery involved with the romance. It was a nice little twist.
One of the things I liked about the book was the main character Charlotte. I identified with her insecurities. I may not have the same situation as her, but her "inner thoughts" were thoughts I would have as well.
There were a couple of points in the book where I thought, "this could end now, why isn't it ending?" I have come across many books that end when the gentleman declares himself to the lady. This book continued to work on tie ups with the mystery and other characters in the book. And, I liked that it gave a bit of closure. Part of me wishes it would even go on further to tell us how everything worked out, maybe a year later, but alas, I'll have to dream that part up for myself.
I love Shannon Hale's writing. She is so witty. I found myself laughing out loud and then turning a page with heart pounding suspense. And of course there is romance. I love the way Shannon Hale describes the feelings within Charlotte, her confusion, excitement, and just letting go.

Warnings: Marital infidelity and homosexuality (mentioned in a neutral way)

My daughter turned 14 this weekend. I would let my 14 year old daughter read this book. Like many books that would be ok for her to read, I don't think she would understand some of the feelings and situations discussed because of her age and experience.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, by Ally Carter, Book 2 in Gallagher Girls series, published 2007

Young Adult, spy/action/romance fiction

Read, February 2012

4 Stars

My Review:
I read the first book in this series, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, last year sometime. That book was a little slow in parts for me. It was definitely a "set up" book. Therefore, as I started reading this one, I was a little nervous. Was it going to have slow parts too? It did start off a little slow and I had to remind myself within the first few chapters what had happened in the last book (it had been a while since I read it). But then the action and romantic tension accelerated and I finished the book within just over a day. This book is clean, has fun relationships with roommates as well as boys, has action and suspense. It has it all. NOW, I am looking forward to reading the next book, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover.

Warnings: None

I would let my 13 year old daughter read it. In fact, she has read this whole series a couple of times and recommended it to me.