Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first John Green novel and I can't wait to read more of his work. I really enjoyed this novel. I thought the story was great, the characters were fantastic and the dialogue alone was some of the best I've read in awhile. John Green definitely has writing chops! I don't know many teenagers who actually speak like the characters in this book but I like the idea that there could be teenagers like this out there somewhere! The intelligence and wit of these two characters was so fun to read. The story isn't all roses and sunshine which I also liked. It felt more realistic and had moments of both dark and light (very much like real life). I feel weird saying that I enjoyed a book about kids with cancer but I did. I think it was a great read that kept me interested. My only disappointment was the Amsterdam storyline which felt like it was thrown in there and didn't really connect with the rest of the book. That piece is the sole reason that I'm not giving this one 5 stars - it was so close but didn't quite make it there. Definitely a strong 4 and a half stars! Beyond the odd Amsterdam piece, I really enjoyed this one and plan to seek out more John Green content soon! I definitely recommend checking this one out!

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

The Violets of MarchThe Violets of March by Sarah Jio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a surprise this nice little novel was! It was sweet and utterly readable! Definitely a nice summer read! I loved the characters and the setting - Sarah Jio does a fantastic job creating both great characters and a setting that comes to life.

There were definitely flaws here but I can easily overlook them because I was so swept up into the novel that I barely noticed them until after I was finished reading. I figured out the mystery very early on but that fact didn't detract from the story for me. And I think some of the story elements were pretty unrealistic. BUT, I think its a nice, engaging read that will capture your attention!

I really enjoyed it and definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a light, engaging read!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

Alice BlissAlice Bliss by Laura Harrington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had such potential ... the premise sounded so wonderful. And I understand why so many seem to love it. But, I just didn't love it that way. I liked it. It was a solid read but it didn't capture me the way that I'd imagined it would. I think the story is very contemporary and that it's an important one to be told but the flaws kept what could be great from actually being great.

The characters were very well written. I found them all to be complex, interesting and compelling. The relationships among them is where this novel really shines. There were moment of magic when the characters came together in certain ways. Alice's relationship with her father as well as her relationship with her uncle are two relationships that captured something very real and important. That is such a wonderful part of this novel - the relationships that gave Alice what she needed as she takes her journey.

So what were the things that I didn't love? Well, the pacing seemed off to me so I never really felt compelled to keep reading from chapter to chapter. Although I liked the characters and the story, I just never felt that the story grabbed me in the way you want a story to grab you. The timing/pacing and the story itself felt disjointed ... almost alien from each other in some ways. Sometimes it came together effortlessly and other times it was so disjointed that I wondered why I was continuing to read.

However, this book is worth reading, in my opinion, since the story needs to be told & the relationships are really well written. There are definitely moments of magic in this novel which make up for the flaws, in my opinion. Can't wait to see what Laura Harrington has for us in the future!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

Then Came YouThen Came You by Jennifer Weiner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I keep waiting for Jennifer Weiner to blow me away again in the same way she did that very first time that I read her work. And, I find myself enjoying the books she has written since Good In Bed but none of them have quite captured me the way that one did.

This was a good book. A solid, enjoyable read that kept my interest throughout. I liked the characters and the story itself was fairly compelling. What's disappointing is that it had the bones for a really good novel but never made it past good. It's fine but not one that I will probably remember for the long haul.

I kept waiting for that moment ... that moment that takes a good book to a great one. But, it just never came. And that disappointed me. I hope that Weiner eventually finds the magic again that I found in her earlier couple of novels. This one might be an interesting discussion for a reading group but I have trouble in recommending it wholeheartedly because its not nearly as compelling as so many other books that are out there.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

The Weird SistersThe Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I quite liked this novel but I wasn't as wow'd by it as I'd hoped. It had so many fantastic elements but it just never captured my attention the way I'd hoped it would. Although I appreciate Shakespeare, I'm not a HUGE fan so that component of the book, while clever, wasn't particularly compelling to me, in and of itself.

The first-person-plural narration was was new to me - I think it was the first time I'd read something with that type of narration. It took awhile to get used to but in the end I think it added something interesting to the book & really fit into the focus on the relationships within this group of sisters. I thought the three sisters were very well written and I enjoyed getting to know them throughout the novel.

I think my primary issues with this novel were in the pacing and in the fact that I thought the overall story was fairly predictable. The story didn't really bring anything new ... it didn't take long for me to see where all of the pieces and parts were going to fall. So, it was disappointing to be right about that. And the pacing ... I can't really get my head around exactly what it was about the pacing that bothered me except to say that it did.

Overall, I did like this one but it wasn't as wonderful as I'd hoped. I hope we see more from Eleanor Brown in the future ... based on this novel, I suspect we'll see more and more wonderful work in her future!

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