Sunday, March 16, 2014

Classic Double Challenge Link-Up for March

Sign up for the Classic Double Challenge.

Link up with any reviews/thought posts you've done (or will do) in March!  Sorry I'm slacking on remembering to post about the challenge.  I know Jessica of Books: A True Story is doing great with the challenge so far!  Check out her comparisons of The Scarlet Pimpernell with Across a Star-Swept Sea and Life After Theft.  I finally started Adventures of Tom Sawyer to pair with The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher that the lovely Jessica Lawson was so kind as to send to me!  So there's that :)  How are you all doing?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Mini Reviews 11: The Last of the Pre-Baby Books!

So, I'm FINALLY finishing up the reviews for books I read before I had the baby.  That's stuff I read last spring pretty much.  Ugh, I will probably never catch up, but hey, one step at a time. Also, gratuitous photo of my adorable baby.  You're welcome!

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication date: January 2012
Length: 7 hrs, 15 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun
Series: Fallen World, Book 1

Kaelyn's world is turned upside down when a new deadly virus hits her island home.  As people all around her fall prey to its effects, the government closes the borders of the island in an attempt to contain the infection.  As supplies dwindle and hope seems to fade with it, Kaelyn must fight for supplies and her life as she desperately tries to find a cure.

My Thoughts:
I thought the book shows a fairly balanced view of what an epidemic might look like.  I think we see a lot of this in the real world - people who help out after natural disasters, but also the violence and looting.  I thought it was a bit unrealistic that they ended up with zero communication from outside their island.  Also it seemed like the research of the virus was brushed over lightly.  I would have liked to see more of that.  And the ending left a lot of things ambivalent.  I wanted to have a few more answers.  (I just found out it's a series, of course.)  However, a lot of futuristic books tend to look at only the bleak and horrible.  It was kind of a nicer, lighter look at it.  Also, I thought it was interesting to watch it unfold in such an isolated area.  It would have been a much different book if it took place in an urban setting.  I enjoyed the audiobook, with narrator Sisi Aisha Johnson doing a decent job of the teen girl voice.

Will Sparrow's Road by Karen Cushman
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication date: November 2012
Length: 5 hrs, 9 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun

When Will runs away, he must survive on his thieving skills to get him by.  But after a series of cons in which he is the loser, he becomes more wary of trusting anyone.  When he falls in with a traveling troupe filled with unusual characters, he must decide if he can trust true friends.

My Thoughts:
I adore Cushman's historical novels.  They are always so well-researched and realistic.  The details!  The Quirky characters!  Didn't hurt that I listened to the audio narrated by my favorite, Katherine Kellgren.  The story was a bit hard to follow as it seemed to meander a lot.  It made it harder for me to care about Will.  But when he hooks up with the oddities and prodigies, it gets much better.  It was so interesting to see what life might have been like for people who were different back then.

The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication date: 2004 (audio version)
Length: 6 hrs, 10 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun
Series: Artemis Fowl, Book 2
When Artemis receives an urgent message from his father, who's been kidnapped by the Russian Mafiya, he sets off to rescue him.  But he must enlist the aid of the fairy folk, including Captain Holly Short, if he wants to return alive.

My Thoughts:
These books are so entertaining!  I adore the audio versions too, because the narrator, Nathaniel Parker, is fantastic with voices and characterization.  Although sometimes because it was on audio, I felt like I got lost when they'd use weird terms, especially for their technology.  However, I love the quirky and completely off the wall stuff that happens.  Artemis is sufficiently genius and annoying, as well as endearing.  I just love the fun plots, the great characters, and the fabulous fantasy elements.  It totally reminds me of a tech-oriented Harry Potter, but less dark and more entertaining.

The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication date: 2004 (audio version)
Length: 6 hrs, 58 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun
Series: Artemis Fowl, Book 3
When Artemis creates a supercomputer with the aid of some illegal fairy technology, he finds himself at the mercy of a ruthless business man, determined to gain access to this technology.  In order to save himself and the fairies, Artemis must once again enlist the aid of Holly Short and her friends.

My Thoughts:
I love the quirky characters and the world that Eoin Colfer has created for these characters.  I was entertained by Artemis' schemes and by how he and the fairy people had to work together.  I love the sarcasm and the wit, particularly from Holly.  Butler and his sister are also fun to listen to with fantastic accents (I love the audio, thanks again Nathaniel Parker).  It was a clever plot too, with plenty of twists I never saw coming, though at times it seemed to be trying a bit too hard to be clever or surprising.  There were a few places where I thought some things lacked a good explanation.  Overall, though, lots of fun and it captured my attention, which is a huge bonus while I'm driving.

Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Publication date: June 2013
Pages: 304
Source: ARC from publisher
For: Review

Berry Fields is busy being a PI and accumulating evidence of affairs that seem the norm for all men.  But when Tanner Halston storms her life, at once being uninterested and then seeming to show up all the time, she's a bit thrown.  Until all of them are drawn into a deadly investigation that may leave more questions than answers.

My Thoughts:
While I was not completely enamoured of this book, I have to admit I kind of got sucked into it.  I wanted to know what happened to Berry's mom and what role each of the boys played in it. Honestly, I thought there wasn't much point to adding in the Pride and Prejudice story line.  It didn't fit quite right, though I did enjoy some nods to the original.  I thought it would have been stronger if it was just more of a spy/espionage/mystery than trying to be a retelling too.  I'm not that clever at figuring things out, but I did actually guess a part of what happened to her mom. Despite some boring parts and a few ridiculous mistakes on Berry's part, not to mention the implausibility of the entire story, it was quick and entertaining.

Any thoughts on any of these books?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt

Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication date: March 2013
Pages: 320
Source: Library
For: Fun

Summary from goodreads:
When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

Things I Liked:
This was just the right book for me at the time.  I really loved getting a change from serious, dramatic, and rather depressing dystopias and fantasies.  It was a fun, laughable, but also serious at times story.  I adored our main character, probably because she reminded me of high school me.  I love that she wanted to be a certain kind of person, but sometimes she would slip up and make mistakes and be a shallow/needy kind of person.  That felt real.  I hate those perfect main characters that are always so tough and so exactly the way they should be as teenagers.  Sometimes she just wanted to go back to the guy, even if he was a jerk.  That was realistic to me.  I also really loved the idea that she wanted to get to know more about her family, her grandmother.  Her relationships with her family were the most interesting thing for me.  Good fun and lots of laughs.  I was especially happy with the way things ended.

Things I Didn't Like:
I don't think I had any problems with it while I was reading.  Looking back, sometimes it seemed a little over dramatic, but that's exactly how many teenagers are, so it was authentic.  Also, it does kind of seem impossible to give up technology.  Just sayin'.

Can't think of anything...

s-factor: !
one or two
mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: *****

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage
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