Multiple Review

Well, for the Countdown Challenge, I need to review the books in order for them to account and since I have read several books without reviewing, and I don’t want to spam anyone with multiple posts, I will just post most of them here right now. These will be short reviews…

Secret Society by Tom Dolby

This is a book about a group of “special” students who all receive access into a secret group that is found in New York City. At first, they are showered with presents, required to do very little. This is called the time of “Folly”.  Eventually a lot of weird things start happening. In addition, one of the classmates of the three students allowed into the society, starts sneaking around and filming the secret rituals and even going to their special retreat. Overall, I disliked almost all of the characters. They were all whiny and pretty ungrateful. The boy who was sneaking around  was extremely annoying in his “I deserve to know” attitude. I am sorry, but in real life, not everyone gets admitted into everything. Not everyone can be a cheerleader, not everyone gets in the a sorority or fraternity, not everyone gets the part they wanted in the play, and not everyone gets into the secret society. That is just the way life is… get over it. All that said, when the sequel comes out, I will probably read it!

Rating: 2.5

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

This is the story of a really bright girl, Auden, who is an insomniac. The problem all started when her mother and father started fighting, just before they ended up divorcing. Her father goes on to marry another woman and she ends up having a baby.  Her stepmother, Heidi, seems like the complete opposite of Auden. She runs a clothing boutique and her favorite color is pink. After she has the baby, she invites Auden to come down and spend the summer with her. Over the course of the summer, Auden meets another insomniac and makes friends and comes to learn a lot about herself. She becomes disenchanted with her father, and she learns that just because a person looks or acts one way doesn’t mean that they are that way. I started out really disliking the character of Auden. She came off as superior, but eventually her insecurities break down and you come to love her. This is one story that I was not ready to end! I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I had finished it. I will definitely be reading many more books by Sarah Dessen.

Rating: 5

The Shack by William P. Young

This book was just okay to me. I had trouble grasping some of the characters (like The Holy Spirit). It definitely made me thinking about my faith and why I believe what I believe. It also made me think about God and that the image of him that I have in my head isn’t that only way that he is.  However, while reading this book, my mind frequently wondered. It might be because I was listening to it on audio, but it just didn’t grasp me the way I expected it too… the way a lot of people talk about it grabbing ahold of them. There were also several religious ideas that I didn’t agree with, and that was a bit offsetting for me. I will probably try to read this again sometime in the future, but for right now, it was just okay…

Rating: 4

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

This book was actually much better the second time I read it. Perhaps it was because I knew that Edward was going to come back, and because of that I was able to withstand Jacob. I still really despise the character of Jacob. He just rubs me the wrong way (which is annoying, because in the movie, it is Jacob that you want to side with). I cried when Edward left Bella. It was so emotional. And I love the way that Meyer expressed those months of nothingness that Bella went through by having the blank pages with just the month on it. And I really love the scene with the Volturi. They are fascinating. This re-read has made me question my initial review of the book and definitely raise it to a 4.5/5. I can’t wait to continue the story and see where it goes!

Rating: 4.5

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

This was a good, light read. It is about this secret spy school for girls where they are taught to by spies. One night, while out on a mission for one of the classes, Cammie Morgan meets a boy. Now Cammie might be able to speak 14 languages and be able to kill a man with her bare hands, but she is utterly clueless when it comes to boys. Luckily her new roommate, who she initially hates, is totally clued in on the subject of boys. Through a series of unapproved covert missions, Cammie comes to know this boy and start to really like him, but he can never know the truth about who she is. Instead, he is fed the story about her being a homeschooled girl with a really strict mother. When he finds out the truth, it is too much for him to accept. When he realizes that she lied to him about everything, from the tiny details to the large ones, he can not handle it. Whether they end up together in the sequel remains unseen. I look forward to continuing this series. I love stories about boarding school and I love spies so this book is the perfect combo for me.

Rating: 5

Privilege by Kate Brian

This is the first book on the spinoff series of Private, by Kate Brian. I put off reading this book for a couple years because I love the world that surrounds Private. I love the characters and everything. And knowing what I know about Arianna Osgood, I wasn’t sure that I could read this series. However, I am glad that I did. I love Kate Brian’s works. They are full of twists that you never seeing coming, and this series is no different. I look forward to continuing the series. Following the logic and emotions of a bunch of crazy girls is definitely a different reading experience.

Rating: 4.5

Still Standing by Carrie Prejean

This book was better then I expected. In case you didn’t know, Carrie Prejean is the former Miss California who lost the crown by answering her real opinion on gay marriage and then was tornadoed by rumors and lies until she was eventually fired from Miss California. It was interesting to see what she went through and hear everything from her perspective. The Prejean family, as a whole, was brutally attacked by the rumor mill after the Miss America Pageant. I can’t even imagine going through all she went through, and still she stands strong. Carrie is the first person to admit that she isn’t perfect. She explains the sex tape that she made and that it was a mistake and something she regrets now. And lets be honest, who hasn’t made a mistake that they later regret? I know I have. Sure, I might not have made a sex tape, but that doesn’t mean that my sin is any less of a sin then hers. My main critique of this book is that Carrie was over-repeatative. She had some good things to say, but I felt like she said the same thing so many times she was kind of beating a dead horse. I feel for her, and I support her. Whether you believe in gay marriage or not, a person should be allowed to express their opinion. I feel like a lot of times, we say that free speech is allowed, as long as what you’re saying agrees with me, and that is something I don’t support.

Rating: 4

Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don’t Float: Classic Lit signs on to Facebook by Sarah Schmelling

This was a really good book that tells the essential plot points in a lot of classic literature through facebook feeds and group updates. It was really funny. As a whole, I would recommend reading this book in small doses, story by story. Or reading the stories that you know and love. I read the whole thing, and there were a lot of stories that I have never read, and I was kind of left without understanding or knowing the joke. However, I thought the idea for this book was really clever. My favorite one (if you are ever in the bookstore and see this book and want to read just one) is the Pride and Prejudice one. It was so funny. I also liked Jane Austen’s profile page. This is something I will definitely thumb through again. I will also be using this as a sort of reading guide about what books I should read!

Rating: 4.5

Well, that finally concludes the book reviews. I will try to be more faithful in updating this with the reviews of books that I have read. I am currently working on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as well as Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy (sequel to I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You). Thanks for reading, if you got this far!

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Catching Fire

Catching Fire

If you haven’t read THE HUNGER GAMES or CATCHING FIRE, do not read this review… insead go and read the book!

Very rarely do we see books where the sequel is as good as the first book… the same is true with movies. However, CATCHING FIRE was just as good as the HUNGER GAMES. The series was amazing. I can’t review it without spoilers, so I won’t even try.

I will just start by saying that I am Team Peeta… some of the time I don’t even like Gale. Now, I understand that Gale is more of the type that some people go for, but I am a diehard romantic, and Petta’s sacrificial love fore Katniss is so amazing, that I can’t helping loving them. My personal theory is that Katniss wants to love Gale, because he represents freedom and he was there when she was going through a hard time, but in reality she actually loves Peeta. She just can’t admit it because everything about her love for Petta started out from the Games, and that was/is a horrible memory. However, her reaction when she finds out that Petta was taken by the capital just shows me that she loves him, as well as when they both argued about who would live. I felt my heart squeeze when she said that she realized that she would she would be damaged forever if Petta were to die.

But more about Petta later… Let’s start with the games. I have to say that I was not expecting them to have to go back into the arena to have to fight other victors again. The Quarter Quells seem so harsh. I mean, obviously, anything surrounding the hunger games is harsh… I think one of the sad moments for me was when I found out about the death of Cecelia. It wouldn’t have been bad if Suzanne Collins hadn’t described the three children being pealed off of her when her name was called. I can’t imagine being the president when all of the people of the Capital became distressed over the games.

Speaking of the Quarter Quells, I bet the president didn’t really think that one through all of the way (I believe that he made this reaping in an attempt to have Petta and Katniss killed). It might seem like a good idea for the immediate, but when you think about the fact that you are putting the people who started the rebelion (however unknowingly) in front of cameras again. What I don’t understand is why Katniss never thought of keeping both her and Petta alive the whole game. She was so focussed on keeping Petta alive, but how long would the Capital have allowed her and Petta to stay alive by themselves. They would have sent in things to try to kill one of them..

I loved the arena in this book. I thought that the idea of the clock was so ingenious! I wish that we had been told what all of the times had in store. Seeing Katniss and Finnick’s anguish with the jatterjays was painful. I can’t even imagine how insane I would go if I thought that someone was hurting my sisters. I couldn’t bare to hear there screams of anguish and then think that someone was torturing them to get those sounds. It would all be too painful to be bourn. If I thought that someone was hurting my sisters in that way, I would probably want to die… or kill the person hurting them, which again makes me think that the Capital doesn’t realize how counterproductive these games are.

Well, I might update this post a little bit later, once I process it some more. It is hard to believe that there is still like another year until the next book comes out! I want to read it so badly!!! This book gets a five out of five stars from me! Rarely have I ever seen a sequel that is just as good as the first book, but that is certainly the case here!

Rating: 5

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

This review is going to be a bit different then my other book reviews. I can’t review this without spoilers (because here at Kathryn’s Book Nook, we believe in honesty and sharing our try feelings – no I don’t have multiple personality disorder). Anyway, a short preview before I spoiler (don’t worry, there will be a warning).

To start off with, I felt intense apprehension about reading this book. Everyone I talked to who read it said that they loved it. People who didn’t love Young Adult or Science Fiction loved this book. Now, I don’t really know why this worried me – if anything it should have reassured me that I would love this book – but I just couldn’t force myself to read it. I would pick it up in the book store to go to read it and I couldn’t. It isn’t that I am one of those people who can’t read popular books, when I found out that Twilight was popular, I read it. The problem was that I just didn’t think I could like this particular book. So two days ago, I picked up the book and started reading it (like a chore). I couldn’t get into it… the first 12 pages were so boring. I had gotten that far before and then abandoned it. But I pushed through this time, and I am glad I did. All I can say is that if you haven’t read this book, read it.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Okay, now lets get down to the nitty gritty feelings left because of the book… The first thing I want to address is Rue. I was devastated by her death. I cried (just a little bit) and I mourned her death. I know that it was inevitable, given the nature of the games, but I didn’t think it would come so soon. I loved Rue. She reminds me of my younger sisters(when they were younger). I wanted to protect her from everything, including death. I love how her death was written, but I wanted more of her. I wanted there to be some way for her to be able to come out of it. Hearing that she was the oldest of six children only made her death more tragic.

Next to talked about is the proverbial elephant in the room… Peeta. I love Peeta. I wasn’t so sure of him at the beginning, but through Katniss’ distrust, i actually came to trust him. I could see what she could not see from the very beginning, he meant it when he said he liked her. When she explained his looks at her through their school years, I knew that he liked her. My real frustration is with Katniss at the end of the novel. How could she do that? I thought that she had really grown to love him. Some of the things that she did and said only seemed to indicate how much she loved him. The fact that she said that if she was the one who lived she would never really leave the arena… the fact she risked her life to get the medicine at the feast… everything seemed to indicate that she loved him. And Gale, please, she had chance with him and she didn’t take it. He has been in the friend zone too long. She shouldn’t even be thinking about him in any way except “I can’t wait to see my best friend again” way. My heart broke for Peeta as he was walking away from her on the platform of the train station. I hope that she gets her act together (and quickly) and realizes that he is the one for her~

Perhaps that thing I can identify with the most is the love Katniss has for her younger sister, Primrose. I am the oldest of four girls and I know that I would do anything for my sisters. I would die for them, if that is what was called for. I try to picture myself in Katniss’ shoes, when she hears her sisters name be called, and all I can think is that I would have done the exact same thing. In my case, it would have meant certain death (I have no outdoor skills at all) but I would have rather died then spend the rest of my life knowing that I could have saved my sister and I didn’t. The protective love that an older sibling feels for a younger one is expertly portrayed here.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be the parents of any of these characters. To be forced to watch on television while your child gets hunted down and killed. I can’t imagine what it must be like to want your child to win, even then realizing that means that they must murder someone else’s child. You want your child home safely, but when you are celebrating their continued life, some other mother is crying over the death of their child.

Another question I have is why did the guy from District 11 (I can’t remember his name) take the bag belonging to District 2 and why didn’t he kill the C guy (gosh I am forgetting names) while he had the change? It seems to me, and I could be totally wrong about this, that he wanted to draw the guy from District 2 to fight him. He must have known that he would be the target for him after that. My theory, which is probably totally off-base, is that he didn’t favor killing and that he had some feeling in his heart for Katniss. I am not saying that he had a crush or anything like that. But he seems to not really favor killing people. He didn’t go for the goods in the beginning (obvious because he had no weapon except for the huge rock) and he hid out in the area that no one went into. He did kill Clover, but that seemed to be more because he was getting revenge for the death of little Rue, and even before he let Katniss go, he seemed to be hesitating about killing her. Others probably have far more accurate theories, but that is what I think.

Now another thing I observed about these books is the food colors. Off the top of my head there is the purple melon and the blue grapes. that just seems odd to me. I don’t really understand the point of changing the color of common things. Maybe that will come up in the next book.

All in all, I give this book a 5/5 stars. I am now off to go buy Catching Fire. I can’t wait to see where that leads! So, are you a Petta/Katniss fan or a Gale/Katniss fan? Tell me what you think!!!

5

The Poison Apples

The Poison Apples

Who doesn’t love a good story about teenagers overcoming the wicked evil stepmothers of the world? I mean, fairytales tell us that it is our favorite story plot ever! Why not set it in modern times and have the heroines all meet up at a fabulous boarding school?!? That is just what Lily Archer did in her fabulous book The Poison Apples.

Now I have to confess from the start that I have an unhealthy obsession with boarding schools. I love the very idea of boarding schools. I want to send my future kids to boarding schools. I wanted to attend a boarding school, even after my brief unsuccessful stint in boarding school, I wanted to go to another one. I was convinced that my disappointment was entirely due to the fact that I was at a Christian Boarding School.

On to the actual book… Three girls suffer the misfortune of having their fathers marry truly evil women. Alice’s stepmom is a famous Broadway actress who is a total bitch to her. Reena’s stepmom (Reena is an Indian-American) is a white chick who is more Indian then anyone in Reena’s family. Molly’s stepmom has twin girls that she want Molly to stay home and take care of, instead of attending the boarding school where she has a full scholarship and a stipend. Here are the thoughts on each of the cases…

Alice – R. (her stepmom) goes on crazy psycho mood when Alice voices some hesitations she has concerning the fact that her dad got engaged after only three months of dating. The dad just expects her to accept it, like nothing is wrong. And then, to make matters worse, when R is acting her most immature (not talking to Alice), she gets the father to send her to sell their house that she grew up in and move into R’s apartment that doesn’t have a bedroom for Alice.

Reena – Her father proceeds to leave her mom (via email) and immediately marries this psychoatic yoga instructor who thinks she is Indian. The father proceeds to inform his children that the divorce will get messy and they should go to boarding school on the opposite side of the country rather then be around for this. He then proceeds to give in to his new wifes every whim ignoring the needs and wants of his children. He also cuts off his ex-wife even though she put him through medical school. She is forced to sell many of her possession and to live with her sister, meanwhile the father spends millions on the new decorations for the house and building a habitat for the penguin that she just had to have. And the worst part is that every time the older brother starts to complain to the father, he gets angry and threatens them.

Molly – Molly’s father divorces her mother and marries his other lady almost immediately. The mother, shortly after the divorce, realizes that she can’t deal with all of it and so she selfishly decides to check herself into a mental hospital and not have contact with her children. This is shocking considering the fact that Molly tells the readers that her parents fight all the time, almost without ceasing. Then Molly’s stepmom really lays on the guilt about Molly attending the boarding school when she should be at home taking care of the children and helping around the house. The stepmom is so bad that Alice runs away from the house and has no contact with her family for a month. In addition, no one even tells her when her mother moves away.

All together, I was left wondering how parents could honestly be that selfish. It is like, in all of these cases, when the father found someone else, the child ceased to exist. I know if my parents ever got a divorce, my sisters and I would still be top priority, not relegated to the side. I feel like all of the main characters (Molly, Reena, and Alice) all blame everything on the stepmothers when just as much, if not more, blame could be placed on the father’s shoulders. I mean, they are the biological parent and they should be watching out for their kids. They should never allow every whim of the stepmom to take precedence over the happiness of the children. I am not saying that the children should get the run of the house, but to not even let them express their opinion (Reena), or force them to be the unpaid help (Molly), or sit by and watch them get humiliated and verbally abused time and time again by the stepmom (Alice) is just wrong of the father.

And then there is the issue of the end of the book… if the ending had not happened the way it had, I probably would have given this book a 4.5/5 stars, but unfortunately, it is down to 3-3.5 (leaning towards the 3). In the last thirty pages, all of the evil stepmothers have an abrupt 180 (except Reena’s stepmom) and they are totally nice and their for their stepdaughter despite the fact that they had been hideous monsters the whole rest of the book. It was just too unbelievably nauseating. By the time it got to the end story for the third girl I was like “Gosh, I don’t even want to know what cheesefest is about to take place.” Now I like happy endings. I like everything to end perfectly and stuff, but this was not that. It might have been an acceptable ending if it had stretched out longer and slower over another 100-200 pages. It just came out of the blue and I was not willing to accept it. Plus the revelation that the enemy of the group was going through a hard time at home (shocker) and that they should becomes friends with her was too much. I couldn’t handle it. It might make me a bad person, but if the person who had been making my life a living hell the past semester at school admitted to me that she was going through a rough time, I would feel sad for her but I would not let it be my problem.

All in all, this book up to last 50 pages gets a 4.5/5 stars… but with the last 50 pages, it is dragged down to a awful 3.25/5 stars. In the future, when I re-read this book, I will skip the last 50 pages and make up a new ending in my head. Maybe I will write it down, print it out and paste it into the book…

Twilight

Twilight

Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer is an addictive novel. This is my third time through it and even though I know how it ends and everything that happens, I still stayed up till six in the morning to finish it!

I love pretty much everything about this novel. I love Bella and I love Edward… When I say that, I mean I love the characters that were created by the author. I think that the actors portrayal of them in the film is too atrocious for words, and I can not believe that I forced myself to watch that movie three times.  Anyway, as I was saying, I love this novel. The writing wasn’t always the best, but often times, that isn’t what draws you in to the novel. You have to be able to identify with the characters, and I could certainly identify with Bella.

I find myself sitting here wondering, where is my Edward? Now I know the common complaints… Edward is too controlling, he is creepy, he is freakishly possessive… and I have to admit that all of those things that many people find unattractive, I like. Yeah, he always got his way, but everyone always want to get their way… I know I always want my own way. But enough with my desire to be with someone who wears the pants in the relationship.

There are so many moments I go back to in Twilight, even when I am not rereading it, and I feel my heart flutter. There is nothing I want more, in those moments, then to be actually experiencing what is going on. The time Bella see Edward in the sunlight, when she hears him play the piano, the first kiss… I wanted it all.

And then there are the amazing minor characters… I have to say that Emmett and Alice are two of my favorite characters (though maybe that is more in the later books). I love Alice, just for being Alice. She is totally herself. A little crazy, a little hyper… a little amazing. And Emmett, now who wouldn’t want a teddy bear like Emmett? He is like the big brother I never had but always wanted. I love how protective he gets of Bella. I love his desire to hurt James (I don’t approve of murder though…) And I love him! I cannot understand him and Rosalie at all… The Ice Queen and the Teddy Bear… what an odd pairing!

Anyway, all of that said, I love this novel. It gripped me from the start… and then the sequels started coming. I have to be honest and admit that I haven’t finished the series. I read the first half of the third book and the first 400 pages of the last one and then I couldn’t force myself to do it anymore. I hated it! It wasn’t the Twilight that I loved! I HATE, HATE, HATE Jacob Black. I mean, I don’t think I can describe in words how much I hate him. If I could go into book history and erase a character, I would erase Jacob Black…

So, yeah, okay that was too much rambling about things that don’t matter. This is probably my worst review yet (in terms of being written). I am now at a cross roads. Do I try to reread the series now that I have spent a year coming to terms with how this series ends, or do I look it as a one shot? Do I read New Moon next or do I just skip it and read whatever book is next on my TBR pile???  Any thoughts and impute from the maybe non-existent audience?

Rating: 5 (because I love this one too much to take its minor faults -aka Jacob Black – into account!

The Countdown Challenge

I found a wonderful little challenge that says that you have to read a the number of books that was published in that year that corresponds with that year (ex: 2009 – 9 books published in 2009). This has to go all the way to 2001. The challenge end on 10/10/10. As books are read, they will be crossed off of the list here. Ones not crossed off are merely ideas and subject to change… The link to the challenge is http://1morechapter.com/countdown/.

2010:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
(10)

2009:
(1) Suspicion (9/11/09)
(2) The Lost Symbol (10/05/09)
(3) Catching Fire (11/6/09)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)

2008:
(1) Sundays at Tiffany’s (10/8/09)
(2) The Hunger Games (11/1/09)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)

2007:
(1) Poison Apples (10/27/09)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)

2006:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)

2005:
(1) Twilight (10/18/2009)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)

2004:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)

2003:
(1)
(2)
(3)

2002:
(1)
(2)

2001:
(1)

Total Books Read: 7

Total Books Remaining:  48

Last Updated: 11/6/09

Suspicion Review

Suspicion

Suspicion, by Kate Brian, was a wonderful addition to the Private Series. Don’t get me wrong, there were disappointments, but you have to live with it. I feel like ever since she began to write the Privilege series (not my favorites) the Private series have taken a back burner. I wish that she would put more into them. It was in the world of Private that many readers first fell in love with this world.

And then there was the destruction of Billings… Can I just say devastating? I love Billings! It is probably my favorite thing about this whole series, and now it is gone! I really do not know how the series is going to continue without Billings. Where will all of the girls live? How will they still be able to function? Will Reed and Noelle room together? There are still so many questions left to be answered, and yet there is still so much more time till the next book. I wish that Kate Brian would put out the first chapter of the next book… she normally does that and that normally answers a question or two that I still have lingering around.

There is still a lot to happen in the world of Private before Kate Brian can cut the strings and send us all lose into the world… I hope the series will go on forever. Maybe it can be this generations Nancy Drew or Sweet Valley Girls… I know, they should have known when to stop, but this series is seriously too good to stop.

All of that said and done, I give Suspicion a sold 4.8/5 stars (.2 off for the destruction of Billings/my dreams)!

Have you read the Private series? If so, let me know what you think! If not, well ignore my spoilers about Billings and get cracking!