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Thirty-Two Going on Spinster Blog Tour

32-going-on-spinster-book-cover

By: Becky Monson

Blurb:

Julia Dorning is a spinster, or at least on the road to becoming one. She has no social life, hates her job, and lives in her parent’s basement with her cat, Charlie.

With the arrival of Jared Moody, the new hire at work, Julia’s mundane life is suddenly turned upside down. Her instant (and totally ridiculous) crush on the new guy causes Julia to finally make some long-overdue changes, in hopes to find a life that includes more than baking and hanging out with Charlie.

But when the biggest and most unexpected change comes, will the new and improved Julia be able to overcome it? Or will she go back to her spinster ways?

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Review of Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent-smallSynopsis

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. Continue reading

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Review of Another Year or Two by Robin Stephen!

cover-webSYNOPSIS:

Lara lives in the small town of Turnpost, South Dakota. She’s not sure why she started writing a blog. In 2002, it’s just the thing to do. She’s not the only one blogging. Follow five characters in different walks of life as their paths overlap (or just miss each other) in a variety of ways. A story about unexpected connections and the difficulty of change, “Another Year or Two” is a charming, multilayered glimpse into the thoughts of people who have no idea who is reading what they post.

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Review of Ascendant by Rebecca Taylor

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SYNOPSIS:

When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her.

I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead. I’m not the girl I should have been.

When Charlotte Stevens, bright but failing, is sent to stay at her mother’s childhood home in Somerset England her life is changed forever. While exploring the lavish family manor, Gaersum Aern, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains apentagram necklace and a note from her mother-clues to her family’s strange past and her mother’s disappearance. Charlotte must try to solve the puzzle box, decipher her mother’s old journals, and figure out who is working to derail her efforts-and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her. Continue reading

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The Fault In Our Stars

AKA FORGET YOU JOHN GREEN

I decided to read this book for several reasons:

  1. John Green seems hilarious.
  2. Everybody is talking about it and I’m a sucker for literary peer pressure.
  3. I liked reading books before seeing movies.
  4. John Green is MOTHER FLIPPIN’ HILARIOUS.

Note: If he should see and reply to this review, I may die of starstruck wonder, so please remember to love me everybody for who I was and not the weakness that is my love for authors.

So. How did it hold up?


Magnificently. This book is raw and real. Green doesn’t shy away for one second from portraying teenagers as they really are: people. There is no attempt to sugarcoat or infantilize the brains or morals of his characters (and yes, I may have just made up the word “infantilize” but it I really couldn’t think of a better description, so bear with me). He acknowledges that, whether we want them to or not, teenagers think about some very adult situations. Sex happens. Death happens. Green doesn’t treat his readers like children needing happy endings with a bow and pretty ribbon. Essentially, he raises the bar on the emotional expectations of his teenage readers that most adults are afraid of touching, and I have seen them rise wonderfully to the challenge set forth by him.

*WARNING: THE REST OF THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. CONTINUE READING AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION!*


But, as to be expected, reality is painful. There is very real hurt as the reader empathizes with the wailing and blinded Isaac. We lose a friend along with Hazel when charming Augustus Waters becomes part of the unfair 20% statistic. And who hasn’t been disappointed by a childhood hero we placed on a pedestal? Though, one has to wonder whether Green intentionally broke the fourth wall here. An author of a fictional book about cancer inside of a fictional book about cancer (I know, I know, the cancer isn’t the main aspect of the story, the characters are, and trust me it is impossible not to understand that). Are you warning your fans not to idolize you, Mr. Green?

The Pros:

  • It’s honest.
  • Hazel is easy to latch onto and relate to whether you are ill or not.
  • It’s gruesome enough to keep from glorifying and dehumanizing cancer.
  • It’s heartbreaking in the best way.
  • The character voice is strong, and each character is unique.

The Cons:

  • IT’S HEARTBREAKING.


The conclusion is simple: The Fault in Our Stars is worth the read. It’s groundbreaking, emotional, and honest. But most of all, keep tissues handy. Rumor has it even the most stoic will cry.

Rating:
imageimageimageimageimage 5/5

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Warm Bodies

 Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I’m a sucker for a good retelling of classic literature. 10 Things I Hate About You is a fabulous revival of The Taming of the ShrewThe Lion King is the best Hamlet this side of Shakespeare. Now we can add Warm Bodies to the wonderful list of Shakespearean remakes, because—for those of you in the dark?—that’s exactly what this is. It’s Romeo and Juliet….with zombies.

Meet R! He’s our narrator, and also a zombie. Oh yeah. In this world? Zombies can think. Or maybe just R at first. They aren’t very clear on that point, so it gets a little confusing. Do all zombies have this oddly articulate inner monologue, or is it just R because he’s special? Whatever the case, R has a lot of complex thoughts that he finds almost impossible to articulate. Apparently the tissue connecting brain to vocal chords and mouth has disintegrated and rotted away or something. Who knows? The result is a lot of elipses in his speech as he tries his best to speak more than three syllables, and quite a few hilarious moments. I like R, and I’m glad it’s told from his point-of-view. He has just enough sarcasm and self-deprecation to keep the story interesting, and a zombie narrator is very different from the usual zombie story molds.

Then there’s Julie, his foul-mouthed, hostage-turned-love-interest who is the human side of this volatile change-the-world cocktail. Long story short? Their doomed love might save the world. Dun dun dun duuuuuuun!

The Pros:

  • Some great allusions to Romeo and Juliet. His best friend is M (Mercutio anybody?), they’re from opposite sides of the battle, her dead boyfriend is Perry… The list goes on and on.
  • Marion doesn’t shy away from gore. It’s a zombie story. People are going to die, and they’re going to die bloody. That’s common sense, right? I mean zombies are eating people. But it’s surprising how often the gore is glossed over. Not here. I mean, it’s not detail to the point that the reader wants to vomit, but it’s realistic enough to ground an unrealistic world.
  • The creative setting. An airport for zombie HQ? How often do you feel like a zombie at those terminals? And what’s more conducive to plague transfer than zombies and airports? Not to mention a football stadium housing people.

The Cons:

  • It gets cheesy at parts. “Love conquers all” is a strange message for the story warning against fickleness and pointless feuds. It’s more the retelling of the high school version of Romeo and Juliet than the in-depth actual version that speaks for women’s rights and against nonsensical feuds and blindly following allegiances.
  • There’s a part in the middle of the story where I got bored and just stopped reading. Eventually I forced myself to pick it up again, and eventually I finished and enjoyed it, but man. That middle section was hard to get past.
  • It’s more unrealistic how easily everybody—including Perry himself (don’t ask, just go with it)—forgives R for eating Perry. In fact, the only one mad at R for this vile and grotesque murder is R himself. As everybody else continues to find out they’re like “Yeaaah I figured. OH well.” They even justify it as him wanting to die. It’s a little too neatly wrapped up to be interesting.

All in all a good story with some awkward moments that would probably make a better movie. OH WAIT.

Rating:imageimageimage 3/5

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The Hunger Games

 

At last, I, Tracy, am tapping into the blog that I’ve had on reserve for eons in order to bring to light the reviews I always write in my head but never on paper.

 

This guy gives it two thumbs up! I just don't know who he is.

 

In light of the movie coming out and the buzz circulating about it (both good and bad, but you can view my full feelings on the controversy surrounding the fans of the series on my personal blog), I’ve decided that the first book I review is going to be…

 

 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

 

For those of you who don’t know—and I have to admit, if there are any of you out there who don’t know about this series I’d like to meet you to find out how you stay away from the media/under a rock—The Hunger Games is a book that takes place in the futuristic setting of Panem, which is the civilization that rose out of the destruction of what we know as North America. Due to depletion of resources, natural disasters, and pretty much every awful thing that you would see in a Will Smith disaster movie, the futuristic Panem is a poor country, save for the rich and lavish Capitol. At one point the districts (there are twelve of them, one for each good the Capitol needs, and at one point there were thirteen but more on that later) rebelled against the oppressive Capitol because they were starving, poor, and unfairly treated, but the Capitol moved in like a bunch of BAMFS and squashed the rebellion—and the aforementioned District Thirteen as a punishment for the rebellion. Now, as a constant reminder of their deeds, Panem hosts the annual Hunger Games. Sound like a fun ol’ board game involving hippos and balls? Yeah. No.

 

 

See that? It is not. Unless you change balls for children, and hippos for… Know what? It’s not even close. What it actually is is a gladiator-style battle royale. Each district must offer in tribute one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to fight in an arena that’s tricked out and mechanically controlled by gamemakers so that it’s different every year. If you win you bring food to your district for an entire year, get to live in a mansion, and never go hungry again. If you lose? You’re dead. Because in order to win you have to be the only one still alive after everybody else is killed. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

 

The book is heartwrenching, deep, and conveys a message about unjust societies and the exploitation/oppression of the lower classes. There are issues of race hinted at in here (the poorer outlying districts of 11 and 12, for instance, both have characters that are specifically described as being non-white), and it is definitely a political satire masked in a young adult novel. While there are plot aspects that people can point out share common plots with other works, part of the charm of The Hunger Games is the characters in it. Each character is diverse with flaws and endearments. Even those who are expected to be the antagonists (such as “brutal, bloody Cato”) have aspects and moments in the book that redeem them as human and remind us, the readers, that the children in the games are not the real enemy.

 

I could give you more, such as an in-depth discussion as to why I don’t believe Peeta Mellark is a Gary Stu or even remotely perfect, my feelings on Gale Hawthorne, and even why I absolutely believe that had Prim entered those games she would have died no matter if Peeta helped her or not, but for now I’ll just leave you with my rating. Because, my friends, I want you to read and find out for yourselves. And read you should.

 

PLOT: 5/5

 

CHARACTERS: 5/5

 

WRITING STYLE: 5/5

 

OVERALL: 5/5

 

Have a book you want me to review? Leave it in the ask box. I’m always looking for new reads. Until next time!

 

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