Sunday, January 27, 2013


by Colleen Hoover

Pages:  420
Published:  12/18/12 by Colleen Hoover
Format:  ebok

3.5 out of 5 stars

Hopeless is the story of two teens, Sky and Holder, and how they fell in love.  It is more than just a romance, though there is plenty of romance (a little too much for my taste).  As Sky learns more about Holder, she also learns more about her past and uncovers dark secrets that turn her world upside down.

I was intrigued by this book because of the crazy high ratings it has been receiving on Goodreads.  With over 19,000 ratings and an average rating of 4.64, I was expecting this book to be the best book I have ever read.  Okay, maybe I wasn't really expecting that much, but I was expecting it to be pretty amazing.

It was not amazing.  I liked it.  But I just do not get why everyone is raving so much about it.   Granted, romance is not my first genre of choice.  Also, I am not a teen.  So maybe I am not the target audience for a book like this. 

It is a good story.  While it follows the typical story of good girl meets bad boy (who is not really all that bad) and falls in love, there is a twist to this story that makes it different and darker than many other teen romances.  I did enjoy reading it for the most part, even when the subject matter was not always easy to stomach.

But, it just wasn't well-written.  Sometimes it was so cheesy, specifically the whole "I live you" dialogue, which just made me want to gag.  The dialogue in general was dull and lifeless.   I'm not a big fan of detailed makeout/sex scenes, so I found myself skimming through many of those pages.  And, as a reader, I felt like I was smart enough to figure out that "hopeless" is a theme in the book.  I did not need the author to use the word over and over again repeatedly. 

There are some plot twists that are unbelievable. I guess you are just supposed to believe that Sky and Holder were "meant to be" but for me it just felt unrealistic.  Towards the end, I thought both Sky and Holder were very long-winded in their monologues about their feelings. 

If I hadn't read so many rave reviews, I probably wouldn't be so picky about all these things, and I might have even enjoyed the book a bit more.  But this is a book that did not live up to the hype for me.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Lotus Eaters

 The Lotus Eaters
by Tatjana Soli

Pages:  400
Published:  3/30/2010 by St. Martin's Press
Format:  ebook

3 out of 5 stars

The Lotus Eaters tells the story of Helen, a photojournalist who travels across the world to cover the Vietnam War.  While in Vietnam, she becomes obsessed and consumed by the war and the country, all the while making a name for herself as a renowned combat photographer.  Along the way, she develops relationships with two men:  Darrow, a fellow photojournalist and Linh, a Vietnamese man.  With help from Darrow, Linh and the war itself, Helen transforms from a naive young girl into an ambitious woman wrestling with the complexities of a harrowing war.

I gave this book three stars.  At times, I found it captivating and interesting.  At times, I was really bored.  When I put this book down, it was really hard to find the motivation to pick it back up again.  After I started reading this book, I read three other books before I got around to finishing this one.  I enjoyed the story, but the story was never calling my name to come back and read it.  I definitely felt like this book could have been edited and made shorter.  It was just too long.

It was obvious that Soli did her research on Vietnam.  Her descriptions of the people and places, along with attitudes about the war, felt truly authentic.   I also liked the idea of writing about female combat photographer, which I am guessing was (is) not very common.  I just wish this story would have done more to grab my attention and keep it all the way to the end.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Reached (Matched Trilogy #3)
by Ally Condie

Pages:  384
Published:  11/13/12 by Penguin
Format:  ebook

2.5 out of 5 stars

To recap my thoughts on the first two books: I gave Matched 3.5 stars and found it to be fairly entertaining and enjoyable. I gave Crossed 2 stars and didn't really like it much at all. I have an addiction to these young adult dystopian romances, and I can't stop reading them...even when they aren't very good!

That brings us to Reached, the third and final book in the Matched trilogy. This series is about a girl named Cassia who lives in a place called the Society, where everything in her life is controlled by the Society even her future "match." Things get interesting for Cassia when she finds out that she is matched with two boys, Ky and Xander.

This final book returns to the story of Cassia, Ky and Xander. They are all secretly working for the Rising and preparing for a rebellion against the Society. A plague breaks out in the Society, which leads the three of them to search for a cure before it is too late.

I felt that Reached was slightly better than Crossed, but not by much. I just found the story to be boring, and I didn't care what was going to happen next. I easily could have put this book down halfway through and never give a second thought to what was going to happen next.

The love triangle was also dull. It was obvious from the beginning who Cassia was going to pick, so there was no tension at all. I also didn't really like the characters of Ky or Xander much, so it didn't matter to me who she picked.

This book is written in first person and shifts points of views between Cassia, Ky and Xander. One of my biggest problems with the book is that every character sounded exactly the same. Since they were all speaking in first person, I had a hard time remembering whose chapter I was reading. Fortunately, they put the name of the character at the top of each page, and I had to reference that constantly.

So I don't have much good to say about this book. It was an anticlimactic end to a mediocre series.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading in 2013

I have been doing some research about new books coming out this year, trying to decide if I should spend all my Barnes and Noble gift card money now or save some for future new releases.  Here are a few books that I am looking forward to reading this year.

1.  The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult, (February 26, 2013)
I used to be a big fan of Jodi Picoult, but after a while, her books all started to sound the same to me.  I haven't even read her past two books, as they didn't look interesting at all.  But a few early reviews I have read about this one say that it is a return to her earlier form.  So I think I'm going to give it a chance.

2.  The Shining Girls by Lauren Berkus (June 4, 2013)
The description of this book claims it is like The Time Traveler's Wife (one of my all time favorites!) meets The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo (another book I liked).  It is a thriller about a time traveling serial killer.  Intriguing.

3.  Requiem by Lauren Oliver (March 5, 2013)
This is the final book in the Delirium trilogy.  It is a young adult, dystopian romance with a fairly silly premise:  Love is a disease that everyone must be "cured" from when they turn 18.  Don't judge me.  It is addicting to read this kind of stuff.  And I have to find out how the series ends!!

4.  And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (May 21, 2013)
I know nothing about this book, as the description doesn't tell anything about the plot and I can't find any early reviews.  However, I loved Hosseini's first two books (The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns), so even without knowing anything about this one, it is going on my to read list.

5.  Life after Life by Kate Atkinson (April 2, 2013)
I have read a few books by Kate Atkinson, and I enjoyed them.  This new one sounds interesting as it is about a woman who keeps dying again and again in various ways.  Hmm...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Me Before You

Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes

Pages:  384
Published:  12/31/12 by Pamela Dorman Books
Format:  Nook book

5 out of 5 stars

I'm finding it hard to put into words my feelings about this book. I loved it and I hated it all at the same time (though there was much more love than hate). I couldn't put it down while I was reading it, and I couldn't stop thinking about when I finished. There were parts of the story that I did not like or agree with (thus the hate), but at the same time, I have an appreciation for the story and the points of view of the characters that may be different from mine.

I knew very little about the book before I picked it up, and I think that is a good thing. So I won't spoil too much here. Don't read too much about this book; just read the book yourself and let the story unfold for itself!

This is the story of Will, a man suffering serious injuries from a motorcycle accident, and Lou, the woman hired to care for him. And it is a romance, though that term is misleading. It is a love story, but it definitely doesn't read like a traditional romance novel. The cover makes it look like a light and fluffy romance, but this is a book that you shouldn't judge by its cover.

It is a fairly predictable story, and I had a feeling where it was headed early on in the book. But it was still enjoyable and unforgettable to read the story of Will and Lou and about how they ended up where they did. It is a book that I will remember for a very long time.

I really would like to write more about this book, but I can't write any more without spoiling it.  So, go read the book and then come back and talk to me about it!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Jellicoe Road

Jellicoe Road
by Melina Marchetta

Pages:  432
Published: 4/6/10 by Harper Collins
Format:  ebook

5 out of 5 stars

Jellicoe Road (formerly called On the Jellicoe Road) by Melina Marchetta is a story about friendships and family and how those relationships are affected by tragedy.   It is a young adult novel, but I think it is one that transcends the young adult genre and speaks to a wider audience.

Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother as a young girl.  She was picked up by Hannah, who took her to the Jellicoe boarding school and served as the main guardian figure in Taylor's life.  But then one day Hannah disappears, and Taylor finds pages of a manuscript Hannah has been writing.  The manuscript tells the story of five mysterious teens from the past, and Taylor can't help but feel a connection with them.

Meanwhile, Taylor is the leader of her gang in the "territory wars", a long standing rivalry between the Jellicoe school kids, a group of rugged campers called the "Cadets", and the local kids called the "Townies."  This brings her into contact with Jonah Griggs, the leader of the Cadets, who has connections to her past and knows some of her deepest secrets.

This is a story that comes together gradually; piece by piece is put into place as Marchetta weaves back and forth between the stories of the past and present.   It was fairly obvious early on where the story was headed, but it was enjoyable to read how it all unfolded.  The first third of the book was intriguing to me, but I still felt like it was a little slow and disjointed.  However, the book quickly picked up steam, and by the end, I just could not put it down.  

I loved the characters.  I loved the way the stories of the past and the present were woven together.  I loved the idea of the "territory wars" which weren't nearly as warlike as they initially appeared.  Most of all I loved the friendships in this book.   I really enjoyed reading the interactions between Taylor and Jonah and Sanangelo and Rafaella.  I loved how they were all supposed to be enemies, but deep down they were the best of friends.  

Jellicoe Road is a well-written engrossing read that I highly recommend.