Monday, August 20, 2012

What I Read in July (2012)

July was a busy month! Buckle up!

The Divergent Series

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Oh, my, gosh, you guys. If you haven't read this series, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Seriously. Go get it. Rent it, buy it, do what you have to do! This is such a fabulous example of GOOD dystopian YA fiction. This book is smart. It is brilliant, even. Yes, it's very easy to get wrapped up in the love story (oh my gosh, I am so in love with Four), but it's so much more than that. The way people are described in this book, how they are categorized and analyzed and organized is just, brilliant. It's not just a great story - it's a book full of makes-you-think themes. So if you're looking for love, suspense, turmoil, entertainment, inspiration, or fun - this is a series for you. It's allll in there. And it is fabulous. And I'm praying for a movie!

Extra: Free Four by Veronica Roth

This is just a quick little bonus "book" (I think 13 or so pages only!), written from Four's perspective at a pivotal moment in the story. Think a much smaller version of what Midnight Sun is to Twilight.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I get frustrated with relationship angst, until I remind myself that it's the cat & mouse game that makes you even have something to root just has to be. So despite being frustrated with a bit of that in this book, I was still completely in love, and thoroughly enjoyed it. My only complaint, is that I read it so soon after its release, and I have to wait SO VERY LONG for the 3rd book to come out! Gah!

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel BertscheMWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

I admit it - the first thing that attracted me to this book was it's adorable, colorful cover. I absolutely judge a book by its cover, and when something adorable comes at me through one of my monthly book newsletters, I click. Am I the perfect consumer, or what? At any rate. When I saw what this book was about, I was even more excited and intrigued. As a mom, I've been struggling with a lack of friendship in my life. It's hard to keep up outside relationships when you have small children and their nap times and activities to work around, a husband to take care of spend time with, and a house to keep up with. Some people are much better at juggling all of that, plus their friends - but I am just not one of them. Mix in the fact that I am typically shy and awkward when meeting new people, and I just haven't had a whole lotta luck. Despite the author having no clue about the motherhood struggles with friendship - heck, she even originally wanted to avoid mothers for fear of not being able to relate to them - I was still very intrigued by her year-long quest to find the "call at the last minute for Sunday brunch" friend, since that is exactly what I am missing! I found her tales about meeting all of these women fascinating, and while life has slowly crept back in and eaten up the good it's done, I was motivated for weeks to do something about it. I can't really say that I accomplished much, but it's really nice to know that we women aren't alone in the quest for meaningful friendships, and she provided a lot of really great, factual information. I liked this one a lot!

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer WeinerThe Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

Worst. book. of. the. year. Do you know how close I was to giving this ONE star on Goodreads? Close. Like THIS close. Instead, it got two, simply because of who the author is, and for the occasional humor that showed up from time to time. I was really excited to read this - the premise sounded exciting, and I even enjoyed the short story "Swim" that was a prelude to this book. It was just...disappointing. I struggled to finish it - there were a few interesting moments - ones where you could feel a hint of excitement or happiness for the characters - but for the most part, it dragged. I thought the characters were overly stereotypical, the themes weren't original at all (and even worse, done wrong - very boring), and there were a bunch of inconsistencies. It was almost jarring when she was at an event, having described herself as wearing pants, a silk top, and ballet flats, and when she  went to see her boyfriend shortly after (with no mention of her stopping home first or changing at any point), he took a dress off of her. Huh? I also couldn't escape the feeling that this book was just an angsty stab at the people involved in cancelling her own TV show. You would think her experience would lend passion and intrigue to writing about it, but instead, she came off sounding like an angry teenager. I also felt like she tried a little too hard to be 50 Shades of Grey-ish without ever developing that fully. That was really annoying to me! Clearly, that was a sell-out moment. I'm sad that this was so bad - she's usually one of my favorite writers!

Extra: Swim by Jennifer Weiner

This is a short story prelude to the book above. It was good, I enjoyed it - which I think is why I was so utterly disappointed in TNBT!

Something Borrowed by Emily GiffinSomething Borrowed by Emily Giffin

I remember seeing this book on the shelf at B&N, with its cute girlish cover, and it's matching sister-books, circa 2005. I almost bought them handful of times, always opting for something else - assuming that these were just too chickflicky. I ended up getting them from a friend, and in need of something light (after coming down from my Divergent series high, followed by an extreme disappointment), so I picked this up. I was at home, sick, with a really nasty virus, and I had nothing better to do than lie in bed and read. So I flew through it, and had my husband rent me the Redbox on the day I finished it. This type of love story is a guilty pleasure of mine, and it was, ya know...slightly cheesy. But I was also surprised to find that it was a bit smarter than I was expecting. Also, Dex is yummy.

Something Blue by Emily GiffinSomething Blue by Emily Giffin

While good, I didn't love this one quite as much as Something Borrowed. It's written from Darcy's perspective, and while you slowly begin to like her as the book goes on, she comes off as annoying for the first half. Even so, I liked seeing her take on the affairs and such from Something Borrowed. I had to laugh when she mentioned Goldie Hawn, since Darcy is played by Kate Hudson in Something Borrowed - ha! The best thing about this book was how fast it flowed - definitely no slow points.

Extra: The Diary of Darcy J Rhone by Emily Giffin

Another quick "extra", as a prelude, more than a decade in the past. It's written in diary format, and it was quick, cute, and entertaining. I liked it!

Also Re-Read

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling

"We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." - Sirius Black

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