Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Super Summer Reads - Part 2: Free Four by Veronica Roth

UPDATE: As of 7/18/12 Free Four is no longer a free read via Facebook. You can purchase the $0.99 ebook (which you can read on your computer, too) through your usual retailer. It will be available on August 7th. Here is the update from Veronica Roth herself.

In the event that you've been living under a rock the last couple of months, you might not be aware that Veronica Roth released a special Divergent scene from the point of view of Four. (I'm sure you do know this, but hey, sometimes we miss the obvious things). Free Four is short, fun, and worth reading, which makes it the perfect summer read.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Super Summer Reads - Part 1: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

With the upcoming release of Middle Ground in November (and since I haven’t been a good blogger lately) I thought I would share with you my original review of Awaken, one of my favorite reads of 2011. Enjoy!

Just the facts:

Overall: 4 Stars

Addiction Level: I ignored the hubby and puppies until I finished the book.

Believe-ability: It was believable.

Dystopia Factor: The world is starting to disintegrate.


   I picked up Awaken looking for an easy read, something that I wouldn’t have to think too hard about. It ended up being an easy read, but it sucked me in more than I expected. Awaken is part love story and part rebellion. What makes it different, however, is that the rebellion is not against the government so much as it is against the national education system. Kacvinsky, a former educator, makes some interesting points about the real purpose of education and that, in itself, is a good enough reason to read this book. Although some of the ideas in this book are beyond obvious, it is still an exciting read complete with James Bond-type gadgets and car chases. As far as a fun read goes, this book is a sure recommendation from me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Summer & Winter 2012 Books

This is our updated book club list.  We hope you will join us as we read!

·         June – Insurgent (Sequel to Divergent) by Veronica Roth
·         July – Timepiece (Sequel to Hourglass) by Myra McEntire
·         August – Death Cure (Third book in Maze Runner series) by James Dashner
·          September – The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
·         October – Monsters of Men (Third book in the Chaos Walking series) by Patrick Ness
·         November – Article 5 by Kristin Simmons
·         December – Bitterblue (Third book in the Graceling Realm series) by Kristin Cahsore
·         January – Partials by Dan Wells

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Search for Truth: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Just the Facts:

Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Addiction Level:  I ignored the hubby, puppy, and some grading until I finished the book.
Believe-ability:  I daydream about the created world and wonder how I fit in.
Dystopia Factor:  The world has been turned upside down and all hope is lost, but maybe our hero/heroine can save it.


Dear Blog Readers,
It’s confession time.  As a member of the Candor faction, I must speak honestly to you.  I hope you won’t hate me for this or think poorly of me.  It is not easy for me to admit, but I think the time has come.  I’m pretty sure I have a new favorite author and book series.  Blasphemous I know!  Two years ago I discovered The Hunger Games.  (Thanks Esso!)  It changed the course of my history.  Finally a great story of sacrifice and triumph with a kick-butt heroine is published.  The obsession has grown: book club, blog, t-shirts, tattoos (fake), L.A.R.P., etc.  The Hunger Games holds a special place in my heart, but now it is time to move on.  <sniff>
Divergent and I first met casually last summer.  A friend (Cat) recommended it, and I said sure.  Why not?  Mockingjay and Matched were published, consumed, and digested.  I wasn’t really expecting much, and then wham! Divergent hit me!  So many questions and possibilities.  I am betraying my faction.  On to the review of Insurgent

·         The heart-pounding, stomach-wrenching, adrenaline-filled, nonstop action
o   It was difficult to put the book down, because I was afraid the action would continue without me.  It did not; in fact it followed me into my dreams where I fought and ran all night.
·         The stress and strain on Tris and Tobias’ relationship
o   It was agonizing to watch their relationship teeter and stretch.  However, I know that to truly participate in a relationship that one must know and understand oneself.  I enjoyed getting to know other aspects of Tris and Tobias. 
·         The search for truth
o    We know at the end of Divergent that Tris, Tobias, Caleb, and Marcus were on their way to the Amity compound to seek refuge and discover the truth of why the Erudite were controlling the Dauntless.
o   The search continues, and it brings about unlikely alliances and betrayals.

·         The stress and strain on Tris and Tobias’ relationship
o   The wait to see if they would figure themselves and the situation out was agonizing.  I worried about them.  Briefly I thought about counseling and realized they needed to struggle first.
·         The ending
o   I was devouring the book, knowing the end was pages away, and it ended.  Granted that Roth ended in a very logical place does not satisfy my unquenchable desire for more.  I NEED more…NOW!
·         The wait
o   I do not want to cannot wait another year!  Agony!  Defeat! 

Why Divergent is my new favorite series:
  • I am ready for a new adventure. 
    • They search for truth and understanding. 
  • Self-Awareness
    • Characters in Divergent make very deliberate and conscious choices.  They are not victims of the system.  They own the system.  It makes me aware of my choices and non-choices and the effects of both.
  • Writer Presence & Writing
    • Veronica Roth is very present and active in the online community.  I feel like we might be friends if circumstances were right.
    • Her novels are very powerful.  I lose myself in them every time I read. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

(Not So) Great Expectations: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

   Just the Facts:

Overall: 3 Stars

Addiction Level: I read it when I had spare time. (But it was a quick read.)

Believe-ability: It was believable.

Dystopia Factor: Eh! It's "normal" life.


   Sometimes I think I expect too much from a book. Then I think, "No! You're the reader! You have a right to expect greatness from a book! That's why books are published - because they're supposed to be great. Publishers don't go around looking for books that are 'just ok' to publish. They have a stake in it too." Now, I'm not saying that This Dark Endeavor is a bad book - it's not. I just feel that books have been letting me down lately, this one included.

   I saw This Dark Endeavor on the shelf of my favorite book store (check 'em out!) and thought, "Yes! Maybe this book will help fill the void left by Will Henry. Surely it's no replacement and probably not the same level of awesomeness, but maybe it will give me a little taste of the world that I've been missing". ... Obviously it didn't.

   This Dark Endeavor is supposed to be a prequel of sorts to the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It follows Victor Frankenstein's quest for the elixir of life, an elixir that he believes will save his sickly brother Konrad. It promises to have it all - adventure, romance, and life changing decisions. But, for me, it just falls flat. (When writing this I actually had to think what Victor's brother's name was. It starts with a K...?)

   I think my biggest issue is with the "marketing" of this book. I thought it was supposed to be a young adult book, but in reality it was a middle grade book. Let me clarify: I have no problems with middle grade literature. I think it serves an important purpose and there can be great stories contained within. I even have a few favorites. But, had I known that it was more middle grade my expectations would have been different. Just like I don't read adult fiction with young adult expectations, it just doesn't work well.

   I will state that perhaps my indifference towards this book is a result of my expectations and is not necessarily the fault of the author or publisher. Not a bad book at all, but forgettable as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Insurgent Update & June Book Club

Oh my goodness!  I have spent my weekend reading Insurgent!  Yes, it is GOOD!  However, I am not finished!  That’s good and bad, because when it is finished I will have to wait another YEAR for the finale.  Ugh! 
As with Divergent, the story is very intense and draws you in.  There is plenty of running, fighting, and kicking butt!  Relationships are strained, and I’m worried.  I’m so worried that I want to skip to the end of the book to make sure everyone is ok.  Now, before you throw tomatoes at me, stop.  I do not do that kind of thing…yet.   
We have also made Insurgent June’s book club book.  Make sure to pick up your copy and read along with us!  Happy Reading!  May the odds be ever in your favor!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Opposition Rising: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Esso's Review:

Just the facts:

Overall: 5 Stars

Addiction Level: I ignored the hubby and the puppies until I finished the book.

Believe-ability: I daydream about the created world and wonder how I fit in.


     When I first read the cover leaf for Hourglass I wasn’t impressed and thought it sounded like it belonged primarily in the paranormal category. Did I really want to go there? No. No, I did not. However, after a great recommendation and a comforting “don’t judge it by the cover” comment (Thanks Dr. M!) I decided I’d try it out. I am, after all, a huge Doctor Who fan and there is a time travel element. Make that a HUGE time travel element. Needless to say, I was hooked by the first chapter.

     Hourglass is the story of seventeen year old Emerson Cole and her discovery of what her visions from the past mean for her future. It is also a story that examines opportunities to right the wrongs of life, as well as the choices we make and their consequences. Hourglass comes complete with a cute older guy, secret organizations, and a cheeky tone. Heaving with romance, I caught myself blushing and giggling all the way through, which I think might have been more so than my entire teenage life. (Not to worry moms, there is nothing too over the top. Promise.) My only complaint is that the story features another petite heroine who likes to run. Really?! Who in their right mind likes to run?! I keep holding out for an average build, average motivation heroine. That could work, right?

     Hourglass will leave you breathless and wondering what would happen if someone screwed with the space time continuum of your life. The downside is that this obsession, I mean symptom, will probably last until the sequel comes out, maybe longer (Thank goodness we're now only about a month away!). I recommend a healthy dose of Doctor Who to tide you over, preferably featuring David Tennant as the tenth Doctor, the supreme Doctor.

Rebecca's Review:

Just the Facts:

Overall Rating:  3 Stars

Addiction Level:  I ignored the hubby and puppy and stayed up late until I finished the book.

Believe-ability:  The setting is believable.

Dystopia Factor:  The world is starting to disintegrate.


One thing I liked about Hourglass was its ability to draw me into the story.  The first time I read it was over the summer.  I stayed up late and suffered from a book hangover the next day.  Not pretty, but almost worth it.  At the time I was the only one not to LOVE Hourglass.  Let me tell you why.

I have mixed emotions about romance novels.  I like them, but I hate when characters mistake lust for love and 17-year-old girls know who they want to spend the rest of their lives with.  Additionally sometimes I feel like reading too many romance novels is dangerous for my relationship with my husband.  I start to wonder why he doesn’t show affection the same way the characters do.  Does this mean he doesn’t love me?!?!? <gasp!>  No. of. course. not. Don’t. be. ridiculous.

I also get frustrated when the romance overshadows the plot.  I feel this is the case in Hourglass.  The main characters are time traveling.  How cool is that?  Can you imagine what kinds of mischief people could get in to or what kinds of honorable acts could be done?  Imagine if we could change the course of history!  Awesome in a scary way!

The end left with me with more questions.  How does time travel really work?  How have events changed?  Can they be sure of what tomorrow holds?  What is next?


One thing I enjoyed and was intrigued by was Jack.  He makes a scary villain.  He visits Emerson in her bedroom, the most intimate and personal space she owns.  (When I was done reading the second time I also expected to find Jack waiting in my bathroom for me.  Scary!)  He changes her past, so that she “owes” him for her present.  He stole Liam’s wife’s memory which incapacitated her.  He manipulates people and situations to his own end.  He has messed with time, so no one is sure of the consequences. He is mastermind behind the “evil plans.”  I buy most of it, but I feel like McEntire tried too quickly to tie up some of the loose ends leaving the reader unconvinced.