Wednesday, March 12, 2014

book reviews

After a long "To Read" list, I'm happy to have completed some of the books on that list and I'd love to share which ones were worth reading. More of my "To Read" list can be found on 

5. The Da Vinci Code  - Dan Brown

I love Dan Brown's work and I thought I saved the best for last, but I was mistaken. (My favorites are Angels and Demons and The Lost Symbol) I have grown so accustomed to his writing that I think I liked this book the least because I could predict most of how it would end. To those unfamiliar with Brown's writing, he does an amazing job incorporating real artwork, places, and secret societies and writes about conspiracies and theories that threaten the church or the global political systems. Your mind must always be "on." I find myself Googling artwork constantly to get a better vision. 

With Brown it's hard to separate fact and fiction. As you may already know, the main character Langdon finds himself following the tracks for the holy grail which is not what is traditionally seen as the holy grail. If you haven't read Brown's books, read them!

4.  The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer

I was long awaiting to get my hands on this New York times best-selling book for a while. It had excellent reviews and was a nominee for reader's choice of best fiction book of 2013. In addition, Oprah recommends. The book follows the lives of a group of teens who met in the 70s at a summer camp. The story tells the real-life dramas that face the friends as they grow into adults. Romances, death, crime, careers, kids, disease and ends to some of the friendships are all well depicted in the novel. Although it was a "good read," it seemed long in some parts and wasn't my all-time favorite book. 

3. Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers

I read this book at the suggestions of a few friends and I am very glad that  Idid. This novel makes your "heart hurt" many times. The story follows a girl who was taken to be a child whore and many years later she meets a man who attempts to redeem the idea of love to her and show her God's love. God tells Michael that he is meant to marry this woman and lover her unconditionally, which isn't an easy task. The story warms and breaks your heart over and over again, but it also reminds you of the love that God intends for husbands and wives.

2. Divergent (Insurgent and Allegient as well) - Veronica Roth

This series has had a lot of hype lately (the movie Divergent will be released this month) and it is well deserved. The three novels together tell a captivating story about a girl born in a world where children must choose a "faction" to spend the rest of their lives in. The factions are communities that are centered around an ideal such as knowledge, honesty, bravery, or selflessness. The main character struggles with her intesne initiation into her faction, falls in love, and struggles with a unique trait about her called "divergence." Meanwhile, her family has tensions, the factions struggle to remain in tact and she winds up right in the middle of everything. 

The main complaint I have about this story is the ending. Some can argue that the ending is what makes this story awesome but, I disagree. The ending is the opposite of what the readers want - and maybe when you think about it that's what makes it good. But as for me, I tossed the last book, Allegiant, aside when I finished it and frowned. 

Although I'm uneasy about the main character being played by Amy from "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," I'm anxious to see the movie.

1. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl is a real page-turner. It's addicting and manipulative and you won't be able to put it down. I finished it in a day. The book is about a woman who disappears, and investigation ensues and we discover the wife is framing the husband for murder. There are way too many "secrets" that this book offers that I will not give away. The book chapters alternate between the husband's point of view and the wife's. They tell the story and troubles of their marriage and the scary part is, is that you will identify with both the husband and the wife and you can't decide which one is worse (or better?). While reading this, I recapped each chapter to Jake afterwards because it was so unbelievable and exciting.

 The ending is fabulous, I highly recommend this book. 

The movie comes up this year as well.

In addition, I've also read Sharp Objects by Flynn, (it's a great read - but a bit darker than Gone Girl) and I can't wait to read her third novel,  Dark Places. Sharp Objects will also be released as a movie in 2013. 

Current books that I'm reading:

This book was selected by Amazon as the 2nd place Book of the Year and won the title of Reader's Choice of 2013. I'm anxious to read it because The Kite Runner was amazing. I never find any good NEW books at the Lincoln City library because they have waiting lists of 200 people, but whenever the bookmobile comes to the daycare I always stumble upon a great book on the best-sellers list like this one. I snagged it as soon as I walked into the RV of books!

This book was selected by Amazon as book of the year, and the was 3rd as the Reader's Choice for books of 2013. It was sold out of my local Target and Walmart, and since I was too lazy to drive to Barnes and Noble (and the book was expensive there), I bought it on the Kindle. 

Book I don't recommend:

J. K. Rowling wrote some of the best books ever. This one was not one of them . Using the name "Robert Galbraith" Rowling's work in this detective book was so boring I quit 1/3 of the way through. Usually I finish books because they may pull through in the end - but this book just made me so sleepy. It was boring, and it's long. I don't recommend this - even though it was on the best-sellers list for a long time. Feel free to let me know if I was missing out on the rest of the book.

COMING SOON - Jake's review of the books he's been reading all year. (yes they have taken him that long - get excited) He's preparing for oral exams now so he said he has to "make time" to write a review.  

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