Sunday, May 26, 2013

Love in the Time of Cholera

I'm not going to sugar coat this so just an FYI. I hated this. Absolutely and purely hated it. I can't think of anything redeemable about this book.

Let's start with characters. Florentino Ariza. Pervert, man-whore, stalker and all around creep. Besides the fact that I think Fermina Daza is a little young for him, he actually sleeps with a child. She is 14 and he is about 60 years older than her. What the hell? I mean, I really wish I had read the back of the book before I voted for this for book club. If I had, I would have retracted my vote. Florentino has 622 long term liaisons, it never says what qualifies as long term but I don't care because that is just stupid. Who does that? Not to mention that he has the gall to tell Fermina he remained a virgin for her. I can't handle it! He makes me want to punch things. Then there's Fermina. She also drives me crazy!! I don't understand them as a couple or as separate people. I don't want to either. I'm not convinced Florentino is even capable of love. He is in love with the idea of love but he has no clue about the actual concept of love.

Plot. There is none. Well if you count sex then there is a plot. His first sexual encounter that starts the obsession was such a joke. A naked woman grabs him and proceeds to have her way with him. Yeah, because THAT happens. He has weird dreams of this woman with a kid being the one who had her way with him and it's just weird.

Oh! Stalking. That is the plot. Florentino basically stalks her until they begin to write letters to each other. Then after the letters she sees him and blows him off. He proceeds to pine for her. *gags* No. I can't take it. I just can not take him seriously. Ugh. *cue the affairs worth mentioning* I can't root for a pervert. It will never happen.

The ending. THE ENDING!!! If everyone in this book died then I might like it. But then again probably not. The author didn't convince me that the characters even like each other as people in the slightest. I can't even explain how rage filled I was at the ending.


"I wish we could just sail off into the sunset." "Let's do it." "Ok!" *sails off into sunset*

Seriously? That's what happens? We're just going to sail forever? If the boat sank and everyone died that would be an ending. The captain murders them, that's an ending!

I plan on watching the movie because I have this morbid curiosity to see what it's like. I can't see it being worse than the book but I am open to the possibility.

Final point I will bring up. Opera's book club really strikes out for me. I should start avoiding them. I've only read 2 now but this was horrible and A Million Little Pieces was great but then she went all crazy on the author. She has terrible taste. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars

Warning: This review contains spoilers. If you haven't read The Fault in Our Stars, proceed at your own risk!

Even though The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is centered around two teens with cancer, it does not end up cliched or seem as if the author were trying too hard to make this story about cancer. This isn't a perfect book, but it doesn't disappoint.

Sixteen-year-old Hazel started off with thyroid cancer, but now it has moved to her lungs. Her and her oxygen tank go to a support group for teens with cancer every week, and it is there that she meets sweet, suave Augustus Waters. She is instantly attracted to him because he's hot and because he is of course smart, witty and sweet. Augustus or Gus had osteosarcoma and lost half of his leg due to the disease, but it seems that he is in remission. Hazel tries to resist falling in love with him because she knows she is going to die soon and doesn't want to hurt him, but it is inevitable (I mean he's gorgeous, intelligent, and sweet, so how couldn't she?!). The two lovebirds bond over Hazel's favorite book entitled An Imperial Affliction, and they travel to Amsterdam to visit the author, and it is there that they truly fall in love. It is only when they get back that Gus tells Hazel that his cancer has returned in full force. So, instead of Hazel dying and breaking Gus' heart, the opposite happens.

This book was well-written, and was very honest about what it means to have cancer and cope with all that comes with it. However, I didn't like how predictable it was in terms of Gus having cancer and dying instead of Hazel. I saw that coming right away. Even so, their love story is so real and believable. Green has done a wonderful job making these two teenagers come to life despite their bouts with cancer. I don't like some of the name-dropping of bands and movies and such in the dialogue but the story and characters were so great that I didn't mind too much.

Because I knew that someone was going to die, it was difficult to let myself love the characters because it was going to be a heartbreaking ending. I did not want to spend an evening sobbing on the couch. In consequence, I distanced myself from the characters so I wouldn't be so devastated when one of them died. I think this made the book less enjoyable since I wouldn't let myself become too caught up in the story and emotions.

I had heard so many good things about this book before reading it, that I had pretty high expectations. The Fault in Our Stars was all I expected it to be, but I wish I could have discovered it without having any preconceived notions about what kind of a book it would be.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Spy Camp

I love this series. Absolutely love it. Ben Ripley makes me so happy. Who knew I could love this one just as much as this first book? I enjoyed the adventures they went on in this one since they left the school and ventured into the wilderness to learn new spy tactics.

I was a bit annoyed time to time with how stupid they portrayed Hale. I know he is dumb and that is the point but at times it was a bit much. This did not detract for my overall enjoyment of the story.

This book is perfect for girls, boys or adults. It is quite fluffy and just frankly a lot of fun to read. I mean c'mon, spy school is such a great idea!! There is so much you can do and I just love the way the story flows so effortlessly.

Erica is such a badass. She is just so effortlessly cool. I can't get enough of her in these books. Ben has his little crush on her but I enjoy that the crush isn't such a big focus. It's there and you are reminded of it at times but it isn't overdone.

Let me also plug the author website right here. I went there to see on the off chance if he knew what book would come after Spy Camp and he has some really good places on there. You can print off his signature so you instantly have a signed copy of his books! There are also shirts available which I thought was pretty funny.

All in all, I am so happy that I've read these books. Can't wait for more from Ben Ripley!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Faithful Place

Tana French is great. Her writing is so engaging even if that book is a bit predictable I still really enjoy it. The Likeness is by far the best so far but this one was really quite good.
Frank Mackey is one of my favorite characters in her books. There is something about him that just leaves you wanting more and more. It might have something to do with how real he feels since he is just so believable as a character. 

I am quite excited to read Broken Harbor but I still don't think it will surpass my favorite Tana French novel The Likeness.

There wasn't much I was unhappy with but she does use a lot of the same lingo in all her books. I can predict when someone with use the phrase "sweet f*ck all" which kind of makes me laugh.

I enjoyed the back story on Frank and I thought she did a really good job creating a previous world for him after being introduced to him in The Likeness.

I can't help but picture this guy playing Frank.

This might be entirely related to the Disney tv movie Luck of the Irish with Ryan Merriman. I said it MIGHT be related...yeah it is...but I still think he would do a good job!
Well I will wrap this up because if I go any further I will tell you what happens! I will just say that I love Tana French and you should read her books too!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Life After Life (After Life After Life...)

Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? If you were me, you would start a story and three steps in, you'd die or suffer some other horrible fate. So, you'd go back to the beginning, start again, but make a different decision when you died, only to die again two choices later. You'd start again, over and over, trying to get to a happy, satisfying ending, preferably one where you found a treasure chest of gold. Reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson was a bit like listening to someone read aloud a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but with fewer ninjas, ant people, and abominable snowmen, and more twentieth century fates and well-developed characters. And much better writing.

Life After Life tells the story/stories of Ursula Todd. The book opens with a brief scene in 1930s Germany, when a young woman (Ursula) attempts to kill Hitler. From there, we jump back to February 11, 1910--the day Ursula is born in the middle of a snowstorm. The doctor isn't able to reach her mother in time, and she dies. We jump back to February 11th, this time the doctor makes it, and saves Ursula. Five years later, she drowns at the beach. The circle repeats, and this time a gentleman painting the beach scene sees Ursula and saves her. And Ursula slowly grows up, we see different versions of her life, with flashes back to very slightly different versions of February 11, 1910. Ursula doesn't completely remember her past lives, but she grows up with a disturbing sense of déjà vu that guides her (Spanish Flu turns out to be a particularly hard death to avoid).

Throughout the book, the opening scene with Hitler was in the back of my mind. Could she do it? Knowing what had happened, could she prevent the second world war--the war, the bombings, the genocide? The second half of the book really turns into a World War II novel (one of my favorite types of book), including one version of her life where Ursula ends up befriending Eva Braun, Hitler's longtime companion, prior to the war while living in Germany, giving her an unwelcome front row seat to everything.

While the premise and story were fascinating, what I really loved about this book were the well-written characters, especially her father, who calls her Little Bear, her very believable siblings (who range from the very likeable Pamela and Teddy to the rather repulsive Maurice), and her slightly crazy aunt, Izzie. Even Ursula is fascinating. She's always Ursula, but she is also slightly different each time according to her life experiences. I felt like I knew these characters by the end.

Speaking of the end of the book, the way to book wrapped up was my only real quarrel with it. I won't spoil anything, but I felt like I was missing something. The few chapters on the end seemed very random. I don't know why they were chosen to end the book. Did I miss the whole point of the book? What exactly was Atkinson trying to do? What did they mean? I have one other question about the end, but I need to find someone else who has read it to discuss it, because I don't want to spoil it for all of you!

In the end, this was a wonderful book--from the premise, to the writing, to the characters. It kept me interested and thinking the entire time. 5 stars.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mystic City

Well let me start off with saying I loved this. It didn't feel like it was written by a guy for most of the book which is kind of cool. I found Aria pretty believable if not predictable. 

There were some things that did bother me. Her constant need to be saved and how naive she was. I know, I know. It is the norm but WHY? She did step up her game the last 1/4 of the book so that was neat. The other thing that bothered me was why are the villains so predictable all the time? I was only slightly surprised by one of the characters but the rest were so obvious.

Let's talk about the romance. It was pretty awesome. I won't lie, I enjoyed the Romeo and Juliet thing that was going on. This was fluffy and sort of exactly what I needed for a Sunday afternoon spent reading in bed.

I was a little miffed when I got to the end of the book and it says Renegade Heart Summer 2013. Yet the internet seems to be telling me this is not the case, try April of 2014! I am a little tired of series but this was really addicting! I didn't want to stop reading until I had finished this.

Even though this is kind of a dystopian book it is way more urban fantasy/science fiction so I wouldn't really compare it much to the Hunger Games. I think publishers are really trying to push that series way too much on other books of the genre when they only think they have in common is they are both considered dystopian.

I am also started to get annoyed with the main characters falling in love right away. You think he is hot? Awesome, he is. You love him? Not yet. I get where the author was going with it and the memories being erased and the insta feelings but c'mon. C'mon. Thankfully there wasn't really a love triangle. There was a sort of love triangle but it makes sense versus her debating the whole book of "I love him!" "But I can't hurt him!" "Oh but I really like both of them!" Blech. I am so over that.

Can we also just take a moment to look at that cover? I loved it. I like the font and the pretty background and the blues and the silvers mixing together. So lovely.

Ok so to wrap this up I will just say I am quite excited to read the next book. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint. The jury is out on that one since most series have been a bit of a let down lately. :)

Friday, May 3, 2013


About time I finally write a blog post!

Amped is a wonderful book written by Daniel H Wilson. I must say I was quite impressed to read in his author bio that he has a PhD in Robotics. I didn't know that was a thing, but I approve.

I have to start off by saying that I wasn't sure what to expect with this story. Amped takes you on a journey through the lives of those with medical implants that completely alter the brain. The main character, Owen, is an Amp. Owen has epilepsy but the implant prevents him from having seizures. Have a kid with ADD? No problem! Give them an implant and they will have improved m
ental focus. The implant can make you smarter, faster, and most of all, an apparent threat to the unaltered people of the world.

I was immediately hooked into this technology thriller. I couldn't wait to find out what happened to Owen. It took me a while to even figure out the main character and his personality which would usually turn me off from a story but this was so intriguing I couldn't wait to get on with the story.

The view we see from Owen's life begins when the Supreme Court has begun to pass laws that basically state that amps don't count as people. The "normal" community can't enter in contracts with the amps, which basically means they are left homeless, jobless and in a whole new class of undesirable status. Why would anyone want to do that? We all know that is going to be a bad idea. Who let them vote that in?!

Joseph Vaughn (the nemesis of the amp communities) and fear let them vote that in. That is the scariest part of this story. I could actually see something awful happening in the book that could be real. Fear and lack of understanding create a lot of the problems we currently have in our world and sometimes it seems as though technology is only hurting us. I love technology but that doesn't mean I don't worry about it running our lives. Hell, it kind of does already.

I can't wait to read others by this author. His writing is fast paced and so refreshingly honest. I loved this.