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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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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The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

The first time I read this book was in middle school and I loved it as much then as I do now. The world is different than any other I had ever heard of before and it was the best. I related so much to Lucy and her optimistic outlook on life. Only seeing the good in people (or talking animals).

As a child, I wanted to jump into this book and experience this new world. What child wouldn’t want to find a new world at the back of a closet during a game of hide and seek? As an adult, it brought back that nostalgia of imagination and wonder. Sometimes I was shocked how brave Lucy was talking to strange creatures and not running away.

Not only was Lewis great at creating a unique universe his characters are very dynamic. All the sisters and brothers are so different from each other. Even each creature is so fleshed out that you feel like you have met that type of person in your everyday life. And to top it off and intriguing plot.

One thing I was surprised about as a child was that my mother told me this story was a Christian allegory where Aslan was like God. I didn’t see the connection when I was younger. Although, the fight against good and evil is certainly there. And honestly, I might have missed it as an adult as well if it wasn’t pointed out. Both times I was so immersed into the story it really felt like a different world with a different set of rules and where religion was kind of far off and not as important as the task at hand.

The best part of this book is that my daughter also loves it! Something we can talk about and discuss. Now I just need to get her to read the next one!

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A Clash of Kings

Did I mention before that I love the way Martin writes? Well, I do. His writing is just so gripping and pulls you right into the story. Love it.

A Clash of Kings is the second of The Song of Ice and Fire series. I think I liked it even better than Game of Thrones. In Game of Thrones, it introduced a lot of main characters and the main problem that will run through the series. In A Clash of Kings, we get to know the characters more in depth. They all over the map in Westeros going their own way with their own stories.

My favorite character is still Daenerys even though she makes bad decisions from time to time. She is strong and a good leader. The fact that she is still barely a teen making such grown up decisions just goes to show how much she has to grow and become that much stronger.

The characters either become more endearing or more hated in this book. I think the connection between the Stark children and their direwolves are interesting and I keep wondering if there is a deeper connection or meaning that hasn’t been revealed yet.

Still so many people die. The next in the series is A Storm of Swords 🙂


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A Monk’s Tail

This was an amusing story. I don’t normally read this kind of book, but I’m glad I did. The world building and descriptions really brought me into another world filled with humanoid animals. I believe the only other book I’ve read with talking animal characters was The Chronicles of Narnia and that was ages ago. This is very different from Lewis’ novel…very different in a good way and there are no people at all, which really makes it that much better. 


I think the main character Bow is a great MC, certainly intertaining. He is sarcastic and kind of an ass, but a loveable ass. He really makes the book great and he cracks me up. The great thing about a character like Bow is that even though he is crass and speaks his mind whether he should or not is that he is loyal and he really would die for any of his friends, a true hero. 


In fact, I really loved all the characters. They are all a bit cheeky in their own ways and some of them have pretty cool magical abilities. 
If you are looking for an adult book with a humorous tone and talking animals this would be a good book for you. It is also good at setting a medieval-ish tone and sucking you into another world. 

Gathering Blue

Gathering Blue is the sequel to The Giver. If you have read my review of The Giver or many of my book tags you will know up until I read Eleanor and Park this year The Giver had been my favorite book since sixth grade. So, my husband bought me the sequel when he found out there was one.

Unfortunately, this book was really absolutely nothing like The Giver. In fact after reading it it seems like these two books aren’t even in the same universe.

This book is about a remote village in a forest and the way the elders make the rules. It felt more like The Village by M. Night Shyamalan than The Giver.

The main character is Kira, who is physically disabled and usually the disabled in this village are shunned, but because of who her mother was (who died) she isn’t abandoned by the village. She also has a talent in weaving and the book focuses a lot on her weaving, which I found very boring.

The title of this book is about Kira gathering a blue color she uses in her weaving. Her friend Matty is a messenger and one of the only people who will talk to her with her disability. He was way more interesting than Kira and the sequel is about him, which is a good idea because there is really not any interesting thing going on with Kira. This book was sadly very boring to me.

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The Little Prince

The little Prince or Le Petite Prince since I got to read it in French class when I was in French four in high school. I’m really glad I got to read it in it’s original language, although I’m not so sure now I could still read it in it’s original language. 

I absolutely love this children’s chapter book. And although it’s a children’s chapter book, there is so much simile and metaphor there I wonder if the children reading it would understand what is going on? Of course, that’s when good parenting comes in and you have discussions with your children about what they read. 

The first time I read this book I thought, “Just a kids book to help us learn French,” but the class discussions were great. 

The Little Prince is about a young boy traveling to several planets by birds and opens with a crashed pilot in the the desert who discovers him. Each in counter the young boy makes teaches him something about adults and sets him apart from them in their thinking. 

The relationship that sticks out the most of all his ‘adult’ encounters though is that of the rose on his own asteroid. The rose is self-centered, rude, and very hard to get a long with. Even so, the Little Prince shows her love and kindness, eventually getting her a glass globe to live in so she can stay safe. She often times feigns illness or other lesser problems to get his attention. Like any relationship such as this, the Prince learns he is being taken advantage of and finally decideds to travel to other planets. 

There is so much packed into this short novella and will be one I read over and over again.