Thursday, November 1, 2012

Books: October Edition

Hey y'all! It's officially November and I am loving it. October was wonderful! Here in Utah, the weather has been a delicious mixture of warm yet cool, that great fall crisp-ness. There was a skiff of snow, but mostly I have been able to fully enjoy the gorgeous fall colors and really nice weather. I got stuck on a book early in the month, so I didn't get too many reading done, but now that I gave up on that one, I have been going strong. Ha ha. So here are my book reviews for October.

The book I got stuck on was The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter. Here's a short summary (thanks to

His powers--inhuman. His passion--beyond immortal.

All her life, Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by voices from the past. To end the nightmare, she has come to Budapest seeking help from men rumored to have supernatural abilities, not knowing she'll be swept into the arms of Maddox, their most dangerous member--a man trapped in a hell of his own.
Neither can resist the instant hunger that calms their torments...and ignites an irresistible passion. But every heated touch and burning kiss will edge them closer to destruction--and a soul-shattering test of love....
Sounds pretty interesting, right? I love a good romance novel, especially when it sounds like there is a great plot behind it (Greek mythology? Count me in). Yeah, this one did not interest me at all. I read the prequel to it (a short novella, I suppose) called The Darkest Fire, and I should have just given up there. It was so cheesy and there was no reason why the characters suddenly fell in love. But I read some reviews that said the full-length novels were much better. And while The Darkest Night was better, it still wasn't something I looked forward to reading. The characters were fairly well developed, but the story-line moved so slowly and it was so cheesy, that I just gave up. Two out of five stars, and that's being nice. 
So I gave up on that, thank goodness, and next I read Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. Here's what this one's about: 
Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.
Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.
First of all, if you haven't read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, I would definitely recommend them. These books are wonderful. I loved this book because although these characters each have their own lives, they have not forgotten their friends. The characters are not super relatable to me, and I often find myself thinking, Why!? Why did you do that?? But I think that is what makes these books and characters great. They make me question life and give a perspective on how different people handle the struggles life throws at all of us. And through it all, these books are about the importance of friendship. This was a wonderful book. Five stars out of five.
Then I read The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Here's a summary:
Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family. Here, books are a passion (there is no problem a library card can't solve) and TV is something other people watch. Their father-a professor of Shakespeare who speaks almost exclusively in verse-named them after the Bard's heroines. It's a lot to live up to.
The sisters have a hard time communicating with their parents and their lovers, but especially with one another. What can the shy homebody eldest sister, the fast-living middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Only that none has found life to be what was expected; and now, faced with their parents' frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them...
I liked this book. Mostly. These characters, the three sisters, were not relatable at all to me. And while I can still enjoy a book if this is not the case (see above), in this instance these characters kind of drove me nuts. I also just cannot wrap my mind around sisters who "love each other" but don't really "like each other". Yes, I know sisters fight or disagree or whatever. But I have never not liked my sisters. So it was kinda weird for me. The plot was slow, but enjoyable, and towards the end of the book I was finally happy with the choices the characters were making. However, there were times when I would be reading and I felt the author was trying way too hard to be a "writer" instead of just writing. That was obnoxious. Overall, I would give this one three out of five stars. It was a good book about discovering yourself and family love.
After that, I read Wither by Lauren DeStefano (isn't that cover so pretty and yet kinda creepy? I love it!). Here's a quick summary: 
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years—leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.
Sorry, that's kind of wordy, but that's basically the book in a nutshell. I want to say, first off, that I read many reviews on Goodreads that were not in favor of this book. On the other hand, I read quite a few blog reviews that raved about this book. I would definitely be leaning more towards the raving side. I flew through this book. I loved the characters, the plot, the way the author writes. I really liked it! I will, however, acknowledge that the dystopian world this author creates is completely improbable. This would never happen. No virus is ever going to kill people at a specific age. If the polar ice caps were vaporized, Manhattan (where Rhine is from) would probably not exist. And if World War III destroyed every continent besides North America, I don't think anyone would still be living on it (besides the fact that that itself would probably not happen so neatly). So that part of the book, I had to look past. If the author had thought that all through, it really could have been even better. I gave this one four out of five stars. I'm curious how the author will continue the series. 
Well, that's all my books for October! Hope you enjoy some of these great reads. 

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