Divergent

So, I tried another dystopian YA after Maze Runner and score! I think Divergent is my favorite read so far this year! It might be a first person present tense book (boooo!) but I really liked it.

The main reason I didn’t like The Hunger Games is I felt like I related to Katiness too much, which is weird you would think that would make me like it more, but it turns out I like characters better when they are not at all like me and make decisions I would never make, therefore surprising me. Tris is nothing like me, but I feel like we would be good friends in real life.

The way this world is set up into five fractions seems kind of stereotypical and puts all those people in box, but sometimes I can see where this is kinda realistic, although I (hope) people are a little more diverse than these “types” and how they are “expected” to act. Maybe that makes me divergent lol. That being said I totally relate to Amity the most even those Tris seems to like them the least of all sans the Erudite who have always been aviaries of her former faction which she leaves.

Spoiler alert (although this happens pretty early on in the book) she ends up choosing to go to the Dauntless faction and this faction makes no sense to me at all. They all seem like adrenaline junkies who egg each other on to do dangerous things. I believe Tris does mention it once in the book, that the factions must have started differently and them morphed into what it is now and I really hope that’s the case or the world building here isn’t very strong.

Ok it might seem like I didn’t like this book much, but I really did (or I just haven’t made good book choices this year IDK) and I really liked Tris and that she is willing to make friends and be loyal to them. I hate these books where the MC feels like she has to be a lone wolf and shuns anyone who tries to get close to her bleh. The teen romance was cliche, but I guess that’s expected in a YA.

I also liked the twists and turns in this book that had me wondering what was going on behind the scenes between the factions and how Tris was going to keep herself safe or those close to her.

I bought the next book in the series Insurgent and can’t wait to start it!

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Maze Runner

Since dystopian is my favorite genre I bought a few from half priced books. Typically, I’ve found that when it comes to dystopian I actually prefer adult over YA, but some times YA surprises me.

Unfortunately, I feel that Maze Runner fell a little short for me. I liked the feeling it gave where we are with Thomas and wondering whats going on. That was the intriguing part…until it wasn’t any more. It turns out each boy’s memory has been wiped. We are trying to figure out what is happening along with Thomas. Why is he here with a group of boys in the “Glades” surrounded by a large maze that opens up during the day and closes at night with weird deadly monsters within?

He keeps wondering if this is some type of punishment? The very few boys who have snippets of their memories come back keep saying terrible things have happened. I kept wondering too if these boy were being punished for some reason.

The most annoying part of this books is that no one is willing to tell Thomas jack squat! He is in the mist of a Lord of the Flies scenario, except this society of boys is much more functional and each one has a specific job and some sense of respect for each other. So you would think to keep up this strong group mentality that the boys would be more than willing to catch him up to speed so he can merge into their culture and become a viable contributing member, but no. They keep him in the dark for as long as they possibly can, which became frustrating quickly. Once in a blue moon there would be a handy tidbit of information, but there was never enough. I understand the boys were all confused as to why they were there and for the most part couldn’t remember their pasts, but not explaining what they did know, just made no sense at all.

I did like Thomas’ character and could relate to him. I thought there were several great characters. He was stubborn, but a good leader.

This book did have enough twists it kept me going until the end.

I watched the movie after I finished the book and I have to say, for once I liked the movie much better. I think I’ll stick to the movies instead of reading the rest of the series. The movies did what the books didn’t and therefore were more enjoyable.

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New Release! Pre-Order

Yes, my fourth book is finally out! I think I like writing them more than other like reading them, but I’m okay with that.

Synopsis:

Serena Johannes is a determined woman. With a father as a drunkard and a mother who is watching after her siblings, Serena takes it upon herself to keep her family off the streets. She had just landed a second job and with her work schedule, she is too busy to be thinking about anything else. It’s not easy being a working woman in 1867.

Everett Peterson is a student at Yale College. The mechanical sciences are what interests him most, but his mother has other plans for him. Mrs. Peterson is invested to find a wife for him when he graduates. Not just any wife though, one who has been brought up properly and fits into their circle flawlessly. 

When Everett sees Serena, sparks fly. When she takes a liking to him too it seems as though everything should fall into place. They don’t. Things become messy, but they will try to find a way to make it work because love is worth fighting for. 

Buy Link: $2.99
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RD4D4DG

Wildcard

Wildcard is the follow up to Warcross. I don’t want to say too much because it might get a little spoily…

Wildcard and Warcoss are cyber punk books. I’m never really sure if the setting is in the future or just an alternate timeline of the present. Anyhow, the setting is our world (in Tokyo) but with huge jump in technology. A set of contact lenses can take you into a whole other cyber world where you can project other peoples faces over your own to protect your identity, or overlay a map over what you are seeing right in front of you, no more constantly looking at your phone or car display for GPS, now there is an arrow line in real time right in front of you. If someone speaks another language letters pop up right in your line of view to translate for you in real time. All very nice and convenient….or is it? With the next step in technology coming out soon is where Emi comes into play… or does she?

The first book is where Emika is introduced and we find out her awesome hacker skills as she is commissioned to find someone who is hacking into Warcross games. These games are like VR, but with lots of people and the worlds are very elaborate. The games are basically capture the flag, but in a very crazy cool way.

Book two is different. Now she is trying to figure out a mystery between her love interest in the first book and his brother (?) in the second book. Which side will she take (you’ll have to read the book).

BUT…even though I loved this book and read it super fast, there were some glaring problems in this book (can I still love a book that has huge problems and even bigger plot holes…YES!!!)

First off of disappointments is Emika. To me she was okay in the first book, a bit naive, making bad decisions, but okay. In this book any personality she had in the first book was stripped away. The only time her character came to life was when she was with the man she loved, other than that she was an empty vessel for us to watch the story unfold though. It was such a huge disappointment and let down.

Not only is she a huge wet noodle her lack of doing anything really annoyed me…so much! She has a huge dilemma in figuring out what is going on, who is telling the truth, and who to trust, but she never seems to be able to make up her mind! She believes everything everyone says to her. Does everything they ask her to and hardly worries what consequences await her. This was so bad!!!! I wanted to punch her through the book a few times and ask her if she even cares about anything or is just amused about the plot without any opinions of her own. WET NOODLE!

Second, the plot holes were glaring!!! Glaring!!! They were so bad!!! If I had those plot holes in my writing I’d be embarrassed. And I might because I don’t have an editor and I’m not a NY Times best seller like Marie Lu did. BUT how in the world did these problems get through so many rounds of editing and not get addressed???? It was awful!

****Possible spoiler ahead****

Here is an example of what I’m talking about. Emi witnesses someone being shot point blank in the head. Well, later come to find out that he was only grazed in the head which sent him to the hospital where he barely made it out alive by a trained assassin, who is supposed to be superior to all the other assassins right in front of the people who wanted her to do it. I don’t care how great this assassin is there is no way this makes any sense.

On top of that she witnesses this from another room (through glass windows) and yet, later on, she says she can still smell the blood of that shot in a memory. How does that even work….at all??? There are other plot holes too, but you’ll have to read it yourself to find them.

Third, there was so, so, so much telling and not enough doing. Emi seemed almost omnipresent knowing exactly what people’s motives were or why they acted the way they did without actually interacting with the people enough to actually know those things. Telling, telling, telling….why God, why?

BUT, the best part of the book is the plot. In fact I’d say this story deviates from the fist book in that this book is completely plot driven. If it wasn’t for the plot this book would have been garbage. But it’s so interesting it kept me going and seeing past all the disappointments of the book and I ended up really liking it.

At one point I felt like it went from cyber to punk to full on sci-fi. It was a twist that really blew my mind and I didn’t see it coming at all!!! AT ALL!!! And it made the story so much better.

So, I recommend reading this book even though it’s not as great as the first. It’s still a fascinating read.

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People of Sparks

People of Sparks is the sequel to City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. After Lina and Doon escape Ember now they are above the surface and they are surprisingly not alone. There is a whole city built on the land they were trapped under. It’s not a city like you’d find today. The war still effected them, but all human civilization did not expire. They are without electricity and modern advancements though.

Now both civilizations have to work together to figure out how to co-exist. It’s not easy and this is what most of the book is about. Both sides accusing each other of mishaps which no one knows for sure what is going on.

I liked this book. It’s a much better sequel than Gathering Blue was for the Giver, but it did lack similar elements that I fell in love with City of Ember for. Lina and Doon split up on different personal missions for some of the book. Which I like them working together more they made a great duo. And it felt like their characters were watered down in this book. I’m not sure if it’s because they weren’t able to bounce ideas and personalities off each other or what, but the characters just weren’t as strong in this one.

With that said it’s still a good book and I enjoyed it. Great middle grade read.

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A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1)

I hate to give this one a three star, but I was so underwhelmed by it. 😦 It was really hard to read Doyle’s writing. Sometimes the writing flowed well, but at other times there was too much detail and I got really bored. 


I was impressed that the first part of the book was similar to the first episode of BBC’s Sherlock. That was probably the best part of the book and a huge reason I did enjoy what I read.


But it went downhill pretty fast. I think the main problem is that it didn’t age well. Nowadays those of us who love watching mysteries and whodunits are pretty good detectives ourselves (in our own rights) and Sherlock comes off as contrived and really reaching for his conclusions. Of course, he is always right, but he doesn’t always convince me of how he got to his conclusions. Again, I think it’s simply because it didn’t age well.


The Mormon part didn’t really bother me as much as it did everyone else, but again it was long winded and could have been cut in half to get back to the actual detective work.

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One Star Classics that Everyone Else Loves

I decided to put them all together since most people have probably read all of them. I hate to hate classics and I don’t hate them all, but I do hate quite a bit of them… 😦 sorry if your favorites are on my list, maybe I just have bad taste.

These are in no particular order

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My husband LOVES this book. He can’t wait to read it again. It makes him feel the childhood excitement of adventure and innocence. And he loves nothing more than floating on a river, although not usually in a self-made raft.

Me though….nope. This was a sloggish read from me. I didn’t really care what Huck was doing or why. He had a rough childhood with an alcoholic dad, but I still didn’t really feel that bad for him. Not sure why though? I should have. I was bored to tears most of the time (Ok that was an exaggeration), but I was just really bored. The language made me realize that when I write my own stories not to write dialect by how people talk because it’s extremely hard to read and pulls you out of a story. The most interesting plot of the book was the Jim the run away slave part. I did feel pretty sorry for him. But overall I kinda wished I skipped this book altogether.

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Actually, I don’t know many people who like this book so I feel slightly better about not liking it. Although, it was easier to read than Twain’s book.

The reason I hated this book so much were the characters. Pip, the main character, probably annoyed me the most! Which was a huge reason I didn’t like this novel. But all the characters seemed equally ridiculous. The entire plot revolves around a huge misunderstanding and an old lady who wants revenge for being stood up at her wedding. Talk about holding a grudge!!! Raising a vixen to torment all men. Does that not seem crazy and far fetched?

If this book was written as a comedy I think I would have liked it a whole lot more. I think it could have been a pretty funny satire, maybe I should have read it as such, I might have enjoyed it more.

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Ok, this book is sending a message, but I still didn’t care for it. I think what I didn’t like was that it used the innocence of children as a plot device. Maybe be it was because my childhood was already crummy enough I didn’t want to read a book where normal kids become monsters because their circumstances were so bad.

I really hated the fact that the kids killed one of the characters. I just couldn’t get over that. So I guess I didn’t like this book because it was too dark for me.

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I think this book probably tops my most hated classic. It was ridiculously hard to read through the prose and he had to give very detail. EVERY DETAIL!!!!! Of plants and the bugs that landed on them. I was so caught up in the scenery at some places I had no clue what the plot was anymore!

In fact this book was so bad ( I had to read it for a college course) that I complained to my husband (then we were just friends) and he suggested PinkMonkey.com to me. I’d never heard of it before, but it saved my life because halfway through the book I was wondering if I just got a lower grade for missing this book assignment just how low my grade would be.

My husband loves the movie Apocalypse Now, he told me it was supposed to be Heart of Darkness. He never read the book btw. I hated that movie too. So it doesn’t matter which medium I see it on or through I just didn’t care for the plot or characters.

Twilight

Unfortunately, I’m not one of the superfans of these novels, but I have mixed feelings about it.

My main problem with the book I have is with Bella. I couldn’t relate to her at all. She’s kind of emo and a Debbie Downer. The people at school try to befriend her and she completely shuts them out. I never felt like she really liked anyone or anything until she met Edward. I know a love interest is supposed to make you a better and complete person once you have met and get to know each other, but it’s like she is no person at all unless she is thinking or obsessing about Edward.

I know a lot of people said that Edward was abusive in the relationship, but I didn’t get that vibe at all. I really liked Edward and besides Jacob he’s my favorite character. The only problem I had with him is that every so many years this man who is over 100 goes back to high school just to fit in….let me just say if you have to go back to school every so many years you probably aren’t fitting in well, not to mention all the moving around you’d have to do because people might freak out if they remember you. A teacher who was a classmate of yours and now your teacher might really be confused and then the jig is up.

Also, to have all that knowledge and to waste it by going back to an inferior time in your life seems meaningless. And not to mention falling in love with a 17 year old when your 100 even in a smokin hot body seems kind of pedophileish to me. I mean wouldn’t you prefer someone with a little more intellect than a 17 year old? Maybe it’s just me…

A redeeming quality was the fact that Edward can read thoughts, but he cannot read hers. That seems to me the one and only reason Edward can be attracted to her.

Even though I have a lot of complaints there were a lot of things I did like about the book. Like I said, I really liked Edward. He is very interesting and it’s fun to unravel his mysteries with Bella. I also liked the vampire world Meyer created. It’s a society of vampires I hadn’t seen yet so it felt very unique, even if these vampires sparkle, that really doesn’t bother me as much as Bella’s co-dependence on a boy she just met. It’s also the first time I’ve read a book where the vampires can freely walk around during daytime with out dying.

Over all, I don’t regret reading this series, but I probably wouldn’t read it again.

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Speaker for the Dead

Speaker for the Dead is in the Ender’s Game series. It is the second book that has Ender as the main character.

I love, love, loved Ender’s Game so I was sooo looking forward to this book! But it is crazy different from Ender’s Game. At times it’s hard to even think this is the same character from the first book in the series, but then again Ender was only a child in the first book and now a man in this book.

One huge difference is that this book takes place solely on the planet Lusitania and not in space at all like in Ender’s Game. It is still heavy on the sic-fi thought so if you are looking for a solid sci-fi with tons of science this is the book for you.

In this story humans have colonized Lusitania and there is a native species living on the planet the humans call Pequeninos because they are small and resemble pig like people. These people are thought to be primitive by the humans and they are highly religious about the planet and plants around them.

The humans have that common theme not to disrupt the life going on in the planet to let it progress on it’s own like so many other sci-fi tropes. So not exchange of technologies or ideas and only limited contact.

This sci-fi turns into a Crichton-isk kind of book in that there is some mysterious disease killing both species and they must figure out this mystery in order to save both. In order to do this each species has to understand the other.

Overall for a sci-fi this book was a good read, but to compare it or the characters to Ender’s Game seems like a stretch. Ender is still brilliant and compassionate, but lacking in the leadership department and strategizing against an equal opponent.

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Unshaken: Ruth

This is another book by Francine Rivers. After I finished Redeeming Love I wanted to read another by her. I have to say I really like the way she writes. I feel pulled into her stories.

This story is the third in her Lineage of Grace series. This series revolves around the women of the Bible, so if you are not religious or dislike Christian teachings this might not be your cup of tea. At the time I read it I was a very zealous Christian. I’m not quite as zealous over the Bible as I used to be, but I still enjoy and appreciate this story now.

This story is not only about Ruth meeting Boaz, but it turns Ruth into a real person with real emotions. I know that might sound silly, but if you read the Bible story of Ruth, or any story in the Bible for that matter the people are there to teach a lesson and not entertain so they almost seem unhuman. Like a stick figure in character as apposed to a Monet. So for someone to take this stale character who is only supposed to tell a moral of some kind and breathe life into was really something for me.

I never really thought about how life was like before any modern inventions were made, even though I’m in love with history. I never really thought about how the people interacted with each other or what they thought about. Even after watching movies like Ben Her or The Ten Commandments there was still a kind of disconnect that can only be made by reading the character. Also those movies all revolved around men not women so I think that made a difference too.

The story of Ruth is one of romance, faith in God, and honoring your mother- in-law even when her son; your former husband has passed away.

So if you are looking for a more realistic and personal woman of the Bible read I suggest this one or any in the series really.

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