Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Night Like This

by Julia Quinn

This book was scheduled to be released yesterday (5/29), so imagine my excitement when my sister came home with a copy for me last Saturday! Thank you, stores that pay no attention to release dates.

My review for this book will be very simple and to the point, mainly because reading it directly after Fifty Shade of Gray has probably influenced my opinion: Thank goodness for Julia Quinn. Really. It was like a breath of fresh air. Her writing is so witty, emotional, adventurous.... everything I hope for from an excellent romance writer. I thoroughly enjoyed the second installment of the Smythe-Smith family (centered around Daniel & Miss Wynter), and am already anticipating the next one.

Fifty Shades of Gray

by E.L. James

Well, since this book has overtaken the radio, general conversation AND my workplace.... I thought it was time to read it for myself. I am not sure exactly what I expected from this work that started as Twilight fan-fiction, although I had heard many obsessive reviews. And that's what this book seems to be about... obsession. If you have seen my reading list, you know I am a romance reader. I didn't think this book would be anything shocking to me... despite the twisted moments of intimacy. However (and call me crazy), I like a little bit more plot and relationship development in my romances. In this 500 page story, the first 100 pages are set up, and the last 400 are pretty much all physical. By the end, I was honestly just skimming some of the pages looking for dialogue. Somehow though, as the reader, you still manage to become as obsessed by the story as the main character Ana is for bad boy Christian. This did make me feel like a horrible person at times, as their relationship consists of primarily unhealthy interactions; dominated by emotional fear (on both of their parts), and even physical harm to Ana. I have heard positive things regarding the sequels, in terms of character development and story line. So while I am fully aware of the negative aspects of this novel, I am still anxious (for some reason), to pick up the next book and see where James takes our characters.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pillars of the Earth

by Ken Follett

After four and a half months (MONTHS), I can officially say that I have read all 970+ pages of the epic Pillars of the Earth. I don't believe this book needs much of an introduction, as it was one of Follett's most highly publicized and the inspiration for a TV mini series.... which I will admit my family and I watched every episode of.

It did take me a long time to get through this book. That is not a statement regarding the quality of the novel, but rather of its' structure. The book tells the story of several individuals (specifically that of Tom Builder and his associates), over the time of several generations. It is broken up into different sections, following different characters in each time period... which made it too easy to put down and not pick up until a week later. Luckily, I am a reading multi-tasker and did not find myself lost in between readings. Follett's writing is very engaging, and the characters are easy to relate to (despite the fact that the story takes place in medieval England). Ultimately, Follett's tale is about good, evil, and the gray areas between. He clearly writes heroes you love, villains you hate, and people who are more difficult to decipher. The next time I'm up to reading a really fat book an EPIC novel, I'll be picking up one of his newer releases... or the sequel, World Without End.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


by Veronica Roth

Summer book releases are HERE. Finally. I have been waiting for these books to come out for about a year now. I am that crazy girl who goes to the book store, and when I don't see a new release on the shelf yet (where it is SUPPOSED to be), demands that they comb through the boxes in the back so that I can get my fix. I might be a book addict... And a little extreme. But it's all for your benefit, dear reader!

The first of the four books released this past Tuesday that I want to bring to your attention is... Insurgent. This is the sequel to Divergent which I reviewed last year (Need a refresher? This follow up starts right where we left off, with Tris, Four & the others escaping on a train... without any recapping of the prior events. The lack of reminders was a little difficult since I read the last book a year ago now, but once you get into the rhythm of the story, the details come back to you. I can't give away any plot points here, without spoiling Divergent for those of you who haven't cracked it open yet. But Roth expertly sweeps us away into the world where society has divided everyone into factions based upon their personality and strengths. In Divergent, we see the cracks in that society form, and in Insurgent, what seems to be the beginning of complete destruction.

I appreciate the relationship building and character development that Roth accomplishes, especially between Tris and Four (Tobias). The author doesn't rely at all on the too common young adult (YA) fiction love triangle. Instead, she builds a strong relationship between the two lead characters, who have to overcome their own struggles with communication and trust, in a world that seems to be built on lies. The book also continues upon a believable path, with the main characters recovering from the fallout of the first book. Her characters do not simply sweep the events of the last book "under the rug", but struggle with the guilt and grief that is left behind. For Tris, the events of the previous installment become a part of who she is, seemingly making her more vulnerable to the audience, and more believable. Roth also manages to create a unique YA world, that does not completely follow the formula that so many YA books do. And she expertly leaves you with a revelation on the final page that leaves you wishing there was more. Now I find myself, again, waiting on the edge of my seat to find out what happens next.... only approximately 365 more days to go...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I've Got Your Number

by Sophie Kinsella

Kinsella is a master at writing novels that make you feel like you should be reading them on a beach somewhere, without a care in the world. Her most recent work, I've Got Your Number, is no exception. Her main character Poppy is lighthearted and the "footnotes" she adds in throughout the book often brought out a giggle. Although the plot line is totally and completely  a little implausible (two people sharing a cell phone & their e-mails), it makes for interesting relationship development. When you're not sitting face to face, is it possible for one to be more open & brave, while getting to know a total stranger? That is the concept that Kinsella explores, with plenty of humor and winning characters in Poppy & Sam. The one negative is that I have a difficult time reading when I feel like characters make ridiculous decisions (e.g. sending a company e-mail under someone else's name, in an effort to "help" them at work). All in all, an enjoyable, and light, read.