Tag Archives: book

Book Review: Insurgent

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Yes, yes I did read the second 500-ish page book in this series already.  Yes, yes it was AWESOME. Yes, yes you should read it.

Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off, and continues the story of Tris and her compadres as they navigate the dystopian society in which they live. This story centers around a main “evil” character and Tris and the gang’s strategy to take her down. I won’t tell you what happens or if they succeed, but know that it’s a great read! Sadly, the third in the series doesn’t come out until 2013, so there is going to be a loooooooooong gap between this and the final read. Sad face.

(You may have noticed that this book review is less detailed and exciting than my usual posts – that’s because I got virutally NO sleep and can barely keep my eyes open right now. Sue me.)

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Book Review: Divergent

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In direct opposition to my last book review, Divergent was AWESOME!! If you liked The Hunger Games, you will love this book – they are definitely in the same vein.

Divergent, like THG, is about life in a dystopian, post-apocolyptic society that got there after a big US war. The capitol of this society is present-day Chicago (not Denver), and rather than being separated into Districts by what is locally produced, the people are grouped by personality into Factions (brave, selfless, scholarly, honest and peaceful).

At age 16, every child must choose what Faction they will be a part of. Each is given a test to determine which they are best suited for, but ultimately it is their decision as to which they belong. The main character, Beatrice “Tris” Prior, was born into Abnegation (selfless), but her test results are inconclusive–deeming her “Divergent” (meaning she falls equally between several Factions). This is deemed dangerous in the society, as people are easier to control when their behaviors are controlled and predictable. Ultimately, she chooses Dauntless (the brave Faction) and then endures a grueling initiation process. During it, she finds out a lot about herself, those around her and the nation–and even finds love.

This book is extremely well written and engaging from beginning to end. It’s the first in a trilogy, and the second in the series came out just a few weeks ago. I finished this 500-page book in less than 48 hours, and then immediately went to Barnes and Noble to pick up the second book, Insurgent (no spoilers, but that title should give you a hint about what happens!). I cannot wait to read this book (I’ve read a little bit of it, but yesterday was devoted to spending all day with my man!) – it’s sure to be great. My only sadness is that I don’t know when the last book is going to come out, so there will be a gap between books 2 and 3! Sad!

I highly recommend this book – it’s a great read, perfect for beach and poolside relaxation, great plot and character development, and it really sucks you in. Adventure, love and action – what more could you ask for? READ IT!

(PS – Dear Hollywood: Please make these books into movies!! I will go see them!!!)

Book Review: The Fault in our Stars

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I get a lot of my book recommendations from friends and the Internet. Okay, I get ALL of my book recommendations from friends and the Internet. I heard of this book first on Twitter, and then read a synopsis on Amazon.com before adding it to my reading list.

Everyone had such great things to say about The Fault in our Stars. Twitter raved. Amazon praised. The stars were all aligned (pun intended).

I mean…it was good. I guess? But had I not read it, I would not have been missing anything. It was definitely no Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter or To Kill a Mockingbird (my personal favorites).

First of all, TFIOS is classified as young adult fiction. Not that that has ever deterred me before – Harry Potter and The Hunger Games could be classified in the same genre, and their writing was impeccable. I’m just letting you know. It’s the story of two teenage cancer patients who fall in love at a support group and who have ridiculously impressive vocabularies (kind of like Dawson’s Creek – y’all know what I’m talking about). They bond over her favorite book, and he gets a wish from The Genies (a mirror of Make A Wish), and uses it to take her to Amsterdam to meet the book’s reclusive author. Life and love take their course. The end.

First, the good: It’s a really easy read. It’s a fast read. Now, the not-so-good: The plot is very predictable. I never got really invested in the characters (the author just didn’t make me care about them that much – which I think speaks volumes, as they are teenage cancer patients…I’m not THAT heartless). There are no real highs and lows – it just kind of felt flat the entire time.

In a word: meh.

It’s a good read if you’re just wanting something to pass the time in an airport or on a plane, but I’m sure there’s something you’d enjoy more. Amazon and Twitter – you’ve failed me.

Book Review: Two Kisses for Maddy

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First of all, if you are pregnant, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK!!! Seriously.

Two Kisses for Maddy is one of the most honest, heart wrenching books I have ever read. It’s a true story, told from the perspective of a father whose wife passed away 27 hours after giving birth to their first child. I laughed so hard I cried, and I sobbed alongside the father as he recounted losing his wife before she even got to hold her baby girl.

The book starts out as the love story of Matt and Liz. They met the summer before they both went off to college (he in Minnesota and she in Los Angeles), but decided to give the long distance thing a try. After 4 years of cross-country flights and phone conversations, she accepted a business consulting job in LA while he went to Grad School in Chicago (the LDR continued). After his graduation (and 6 years of LD dating), Matt moved to LA to be with Liz. She stayed in her cushy job (she was a raging over achiever and was quickly climbing the corporate ladder) and he took a job with Yahoo. Both jobs required extensive travel (he was in India for 6 months, she was in Connecticut Monday-Friday), so they STILL weren’t together much (sound familiar??).

During all of this, they are world travelers (my dream!). They got married, honeymooned in Greece, and visited half a dozen countries that I can think of off the top of my head – probably more. And then they bought a house. And they Liz got pregnant. They really were living the dream.

After a few months, Liz’s pregnancy issues caused her to go on bedrest for the duration of her pregnancy. When the baby’s heart rate went dangerously low, the doctors made the decision to perform a C-section, 7 weeks early. Maddy was born a beautiful, healthy girl, but had to spend 24 hours in the NICU for observation. Mom was wheeled into recovery where she slept and rested until it was time to visit Maddy.

Finally, the 24 hours passed (and then 3 more, since mom was still sleeping). Because she’d been on bedrest for months, the nurses made Liz walk three laps around the hospital room before she could be taken to the NICU. She did it and then made her way to the wheelchair – but 1 foot before she got there, she hit the ground, unresponsive. We later learn that a blood clot in Liz’s leg, likely caused from having not stood for months, traveled to her lungs and led to her sudden and unexpected death.

Matt’s account of those moments is so vivid, you feel as if you are there, experiencing it alongside him. His agony and anguish are palpable, as are his fear and anger. He’s now left to be a single father to his newborn daughter (and he describes himself as a hipster – unmotivated, dirty and utterly irresponsible). Maddy was her mother’s biggest dream, and this was Matt’s biggest nightmare.

The book then goes on to show what Matt’s life looked like during his first year with Maddy. Liz’s funerals, trips to see family members, the inability to get out of bed (if it weren’t for Maddy), international trips, holidays and anniversaries (wedding, birth, death) – each are painful, yet make Matt a little bit stronger.

I mean it when I say this was an absolutely AMAZING read. I’m so glad I’m not pregnant, because it would have given me a serious complex about birthing my child. I would definitely recommend this book to any non-pregnant woman out there.

Book Review: Radical

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Remember my last book review, Crazy Love, and how it was one of the books that it seems like everyone in my church has read but me? This is another one of those.

Whenever someone talks about Crazy Love, they usually bring up Radical in the next sentence. These are like the Christian book peas and carrots – they just go together. Like Crazy Love, I have nodded along in agreement when people bring up this book in the past – and now, I’ve read it.

Also like Crazy Love, Radical made me uncomfortable. It’s all about how the “American Dream” goes against God’s design – that we shouldn’t seek comfort and luxury, but live in a way where we give more than we have. If you know me at all, you know that I want a house. Badly. And I want certain nice things in the house – none of which are “necessities.”

Now don’t get me wrong, having nice things is NOT bad. It just shouldn’t be our goal to store up lots of nice things when there are billions of people out there in great need. This is a particular challenge for me, because there is nothing more that I want than the American Dream – house, paid off cars, kids and vacations. I just want to not have to worry about paying bills for crying out loud! But considering billions of people live on less than $2/day, I’d say I have a lot more room for being thankful than for complaining in my life.

I’m still processing this book, and I think I will be for a while. But I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking to challenge and grow your faith!

Book Review: Crazy Love

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This is one of those books that I feel like every Christian has read – except me. Until now.

People talk about it and reference it all the time at church, and I usually nod along solemnly as if I know what in the world they’re referring to. Now, at least I know!

I have to tell you – after reading the first chapter, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read the rest. It was a very challenging premise (and book) for someone trying to strengthen and grow their faith. It really made me question a lot of the decisions and beliefs I have, but ultimately confirmed that I’m moving in the right direction – which was refreshing!

If you’re a Christian, you’ve probably already read this book (I’m 5 years late to the game). But if you haven’t, I’d definitely recommend it – just be prepared to have your faith challenged!

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Kind of a crazy title right? I was intrigued right off the bat.

When I first started reading this book, I was a little concerned that I’d chosen two scary books back-to-back. I like to vary my reading and was like “Ahh geez. This is not what I need right now.” since I was so scared of my last book. Thankfully, that didn’t turn out to be the case – this was more of a sci-fi/thriller type of book, and I really enjoyed it.

The book opens with an introduction to the main character (Jacob) and his grandfather – they have a very special bond. After learning a bit about them and their relationship, Jacob’s grandfather is tragically killed (murdered). Jacob then seeks counseling and winds up visiting the remote Welsh island his grandfather, a holocaust survivor, lived on while in his late teens. Some crazy things start happening on the island and an entire world that Jacob never knew existed – containing the secrets of his grandpa’s past – is opened. Jacob and his band of peculiar friends are left fighting for their lives, and Jacob has to choose between living in this world or in the world he’s always known.

In short, I really liked this book. It wasn’t scary, it kept my attention and it was an easy read. Go for it!