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The Fault In Our Stars

28 Sep

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

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I just finished The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green. I’m I am by no means a fast reader and I read this in three days. I literally couldn’t put it down. It’s very good, insightful. I’m finding it difficult to express just exactly how I feel after reading this, but I’ll do my best to explain it.

If you’ve ever lost someone you love to a disease then this will hit exceptionally close to home, especially if that disease happens to be cancer and the person you lose was a girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse. I’ve never lost anyone that close to me, but I did lose my dad when I was young so I can understand it in a way.

The way John Green looks at and discusses issues like cancer, love, and death are very touching and very honest.

The book is about Hazel (endearingly referred to as Hazel Grace), a 16 year old girl who has been fighting cancer for several years. She is a recluse, taken out of school, not willing to really do much of anything. Her mother makes her to go a group therapy session with other kids dealing with the same sort of ailments to get her out of the house. There, she meets Augustus (Gus) a 17 year old who has had his leg amputated due to cancer.

To fall in love with someone you know is dying makes for a powerful and wonderful story. The quote above says so much to me, that you fall in love like you fall asleep, slowly and then all at once. I love that quote, because really, isn’t that the truth? I tend to think so. And when someone you love dies, you don’t love them any less. You continue to love and in that love they do live on in a way.

My other favorite quote from the book (which is actually a true quote according to Wikipedia) is from Dom Perignon after he invented Champagne (my favorite drink ever) “Come quickly: I am tasting the stars.” I never knew why I liked champagne so much, but it is like tasting the stars and I will forever think of that when I am drinking champagne!

I don’t want to spoil the book. Honestly, it’s about cancer and love and loss, so you can probably already guess that it is sad. That being said, even knowing that there is no way to really ruin this book. It’s amazing! I recommend you read it while drinking a glass of the stars. Have some kleenex ready, and if you happen to have someone you love nearby this will make you want to love them more and to make sure they know it.

The Cuckoo’s Calling

23 Sep

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Not long ago there was a lot of media hype about the fact that The Cuckoo’s Calling was actually written by J.K. Rowling, not Robert Galbraith. She had attempted to leave behind the Harry Potter stigma in an attempt at a “fair shot” at writing some other genre, and to see if it/she was actually any good in her own right.

I’m here to tell you, after finishing this book, that she needs to stick with Harry Potter! Don’t get me wrong, I loved Harry Potter. And, no, I didn’t expect this to be anything like it. The Cuckoo’s Calling is an adult book (no, not that kind of adult book, just one written towards a grown-up audience; drugs, sex, and a little rock n’ roll), about a private investigator named Cormoran Strike and his temporary secretary Robin. Strike (as he is most often referred to) is hired to investigate the suicide/murder of a famous model named Lula Laundry, by Lula’s brother John.

This book took me FOREVER to finish, right about two months. It’s not an overly huge book, just over 450 pages. The problem is that none of the characters made me love them, hate them, or want to be them. They were so unbelievable and inhuman that you didn’t care for them one way or the other. I seriously only finished reading the book because I had actually paid for a hardback copy. And, if you know me you know I don’t like to waste money, so I finished the book.

The only redeeming quality is the last 100 or so pages. When you realized that Strike knows the real story and you as the reader still have no idea (or at least I had no idea, right up until the very end when it’s blatantly obvious). The ending really is good, not very good, but good.

Overall I’d give this book two and a half stars, maybe three if I just based it on the last few chapters. I’d NEVER bother to read it again. Too bad for me I also purchased The Casual Vacancy at the same time. I’ll read it because I bought it, but I have a really bad feeling I’m not going to like it. None-the-less I will start it with an open mind and hope to be proven wrong.

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear your comments!

The Twelve – Justin Cronin

9 Dec

The Twelve is the sequel to my favorite book of all time, The Passage! This one took me a while to read, in part because it’s fairly long (over 500 pages) but also because when I’m actively going to school I find it hard to read. So, the semester is over, I found myself sick with a cold, and nothing better to do than to finish my book!

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The Twelve was, in my opinion, not as good as The Passage, but it was still an awesome book. I love the style Justin uses when he writes. He reminds me a lot of Stephen King (I suppose the subject matter has a little something to do with that).

Ok, on to my review. For a quick recap on The Passage, the government finds their new “ultimate” weapon…vampires! A breed of vampires (called Virals) unlike any you’ve read about before. Only the project goes all wrong and these creatures are unleashed on the world. The world as we know it comes to an end rather abruptly, with only a few “human” survivors remaining.

The Twelve picks up in the future, some 100 plus years after the Virals took over the world. Amy is once again a large part of the story, as well as Carter and Wolgast (who I was surprised to hear about again). There are some new characters introduced as well, but all have the same agenda, to kill the Virals.

As the book ends there are many things left unanswered. Just what has become of Amy is unclear, although I have no doubt she’ll be back in the third and final book (two years from now). Wolgast has been lead to “heaven” to be with (I’m assuming) Lila and Eva, his family. Wolgast asks Amy if she is in love now that she is a woman, to which she replies yes. Ok, I’m confused on this part. Does she mean Peter? They keep sharing these little finger touching sessions but nothing else. Or does she mean Carter? I don’t think so. Or Zero? Since they are both Virals? I’m confused to say the least, but I suppose that’s what Justin had in mind.

So, do I think you should read this book? Yes, of course! But start with The Passage first otherwise you’ll be completely confused. I already can’t wait for the last book to come out, The City of Mirrors (2014).

The Host

17 Sep

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I don’t make a habit of starting a book at one time and finishing it much later, but this was an exception to the rule. I can’t be certain when I started reading this, but my bookmark was a boarding pass from my flight to/from Philadelphia in May of 2010. So it’s a safe bet that I was reading this on the plane, although I don’t actually remember that. For having a two year gap between starting and finishing the book I think I remember the first half fairly well, not details but the main story anyway.

The Host, by Stephanie Meyer (yes the Stephanie Meyer or the Twilight books), is about a race of parasites that roam from planet to planet, essentially taking over. They aren’t a violent species, in fact they are anti-violence, but somehow they still manage to overpower the human race once they make their way to Earth.

This book focuses around a parasite called Wanderer (who later becomes known as Wanda). Wanda takes over Melanie’s body, but in her case it’s different than with most parasite takeovers. Wanda and Melanie first fight over who is in control. Wanda can hear Melanie talking to her, sometimes yelling at her, inside her head, but mostly it’s Wanda who is in control of their body. They go in search of Jaime and Jared (Melanie’s brother and boyfriend) and somehow end up at a human hideout in the Arizona desert. Melanie/Wanda is beaten and nearly killed by this human clan because she has been infected with the parasite. Over time the humans begin to trust Wanda, some even love her.

Towards the end of the book I was bawling. The story gets very sad when Wanda realizes that she has essentially taken away Melanie’s “normal” life. She decides to tell Doc (the human doctor) how to safely remove souls (parasites) from their human hosts, but only if he makes two promises to her first. He must promise not to kill any souls/parasites (they have to leave for a far away planet, alive), and he must removed the soul Wanda from Melanie’s body, but she doesn’t want to be shipped to another planet, she wants to die and to be buried next to some of her human friends. This was especially sad for me because Ian (a human) professes his love to Wanda, making it all that much harder for her to come to terms with her impending death. She first believes that he only loves Melanie’s body, not Wanda the soul. As you read on and Doc is performing the surgery to remove Wanda it is so sad but then there is a happy twist! Doc didn’t keep his promise (at least not the second half of it), they found a new body for Wanda and they don’t kill her soul. She gets to live with her human friends, and develops a relationship with Ian.

It was a happy ending, and I love a happy ending. But, I love even more that this book could make me cry, that it could make me feel so deeply for these characters who aren’t real. Stephanie has a way of making you care about the characters and for that reason alone this was a good book to me.

I still don’t know why I put this down two years ago and didn’t pick it up again until now, but I’m glad that I did!

Learning To Stand (Alex the Fey Thriller Series #2)

5 Sep

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I finished reading the second of the Alex the Fey Thriller series books, and already bought the third! Actually I started the third last night but couldn’t keep my eyes open for very long.

Needless to say I’m enjoying this story. There are parts where characters get confusing and it does seem to jump around a bit, but overall I really like the plot…there’s always some kind of action going on. I think there was more action in the first book, but this one was pretty good too.

I will have to say that my biggest pet peeve (more-so than being confused about a character or two) is the exclusion of words. You’ll be reading along and all of a sudden there will be a missing word from a sentence. While it’s been easy enough to figure out the missing word, and make sense of what is trying to be said, some simple editing by someone other than the writer could have easily caught these little mistakes. I counted 19 spots where words were missing 😦 In fact, writers, if you’re reading this I’d be more than happy to proof-read for you! I’m not a perfect writer either, but I can spot a damn missing word! lol

Obviously the missing words aren’t enough to deter me from enjoying the rest of the series. I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen and to read about Alex kicking some more ass! On that note though, some of this stuff is awfully far fetched. One minute Alex can barely stand and before you know it she’s flying across the room in a round-house kick knocking someone unconscious….but she is a fey (fairy) so maybe that’s part of it.

Again, if you’re looking for a thriller with some romance and centered around military happenings I do recommend this series, just be wary of some of the downfalls I’ve mentioned. It’s not perfect, but it’s good! Plus I think the first book (The Fey) is still free on Amazon for download on Kindle!

The Fey (Alex the Fey Thriller Series)

23 Aug

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I just finished reading The Fey, which is the first book in a series of four by Claudia Hall Christian. This is another book I downloaded for free for my Kindle through Amazon. I’m finding all these freebies from a web site I “liked” on Facebook called ereaderlove. Like them and check them out at http://www.ereaderlove.com. They post at least 40 books a day, and I’ve seen more than 80 posted many days.

Anyway, on to my actual review. This was a pretty good book. There were some annoying typos, but nothing that I couldn’t see past. I noticed them, corrected it in my head, and moved on. You can still get the story, and there weren’t that many of them. I’d say it was a half-done editing job. There were areas where the sentence would have an extra word, such as “she Alex said” etc. Where one or the other should have been deleted but wasn’t.

The actual story is a good one. Alex “The Fey” (fey means fairy if you didn’t know), is one bad-ass girl! She’s the only female Green Beret on an elite team that goes into other countries and frees people who have been held hostage. The book starts out where her and her team are ambushed and she’s the only survivor. She has a bullet wound to her hip and several other life-threatening injuries, but somehow she manages to make it through. She goes into a deep depression, losing her whole team, her identity, and the job she loves. Somehow she manages to still kick a lot of butt when this crazy guy Elizar is after her. She finds out some crazy things along the way that make her doubt everything she has known, her husband isn’t who he said he was, he father isn’t her real father, the only person that she really knows is her twin brother Max. She also has her best friend Jesse, who was killed in the ambush, who she continues to see as a ghost who helps her out of a bind or two.

The Fey is a good mix of action, romance, paranormal, and thriller. I’m contemplating reading the other three books, which are currently priced at $4.99 on Amazon. But for now I have plenty of other freebies to pick from. Now if only I could decide what I want to read!

UnEnchanted: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale

14 Aug

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UnEnchanted: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale by Chanda Hahn was a pretty cute, easy read. Obviously intended for a younger audience, I still enjoyed it. Sometimes I just don’t want to think too hard about what I’m reading, especially while I’m in school. And, at a Kindle price of free I won’t complain at all. In fact, I’m really wanting to pick up the second book right now. I just checked and it’s only $2.99, very tempting.

This book is all about a teenager named Mina Grime….who finds out that she’s really Mina Grimm, as in related to the Grimm brothers (from the fairy tales). She finds out that in order to stop a century old family curse she has to defeat (outlive) every single fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm. She soon finds out that each tale adapts itself to her life, so it may not be just like the original fairy tale was written.

There was a little romance, some humor, and I found myself rooting for MIna. I really dislike what happens after the one of the stories has been defeated….the world reverts back and any relationships that she may have had with friends, boyfriends, events that happened, they all go away. How sad would that be to be the only one to remember what actually happened and to lose so much time and time again?

If you’re looking for an easy, mindless read, and you can download this for free, I say give it a chance…you just may find yourself caught up in the fairy tale!