Books #4 and #5 of 2014

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101 Things You Didn’t Know About Jane Austen by Patrice Hannon
Published on January 19th, 2007
Borrowed from my local library

While I always enjoy biographies, especially biographies about authors like Jane Austen, I wasn’t super impressed with this one.
I did enjoy the fun format, it was quick and intriguing. I also enjoyed learning about Jane’s family.
I don’t think this book delivered on its title, however. There definitely wasn’t 101 new facts, maybe 101 speculations. I also wish that this biography focused more on Jane than on her characters. I understand that her characters are a part of her but that wasn’t what I was hoping to gain from this book; I wanted more about Jane and more about the little things that aren’t constantly talked about.
All in all, this is a fun and quick read, but not for someone who is looking for an in-depth look into Jane Austen’s life.

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Close Quarters by Amy Monticello
Published on February 2012
Borrowed from the Amazon Kindle Library

Close Quarters is a short nonfiction story about the author’s childhood and the relationship of her parents. It’s complicated and beautiful and felt close to home for me. She has a way of turning her short story into something close to the prose of poetry. It’s a short read but it was so good I devoured it in an hour. I’ve read some of Amy’s other projects, most of which have been published online.
I don’t have a lot to say about this EBook. It’s beautifully written and organized and after you’re done you feel like you know this author and her parents in a very personal way. I found myself looking back on my own childhood and my own parents’ complicated relationship and how it has shaped me.
Seriously, if you have even an hour or two, grab this one. It’s FREE to read if you have a Kindle. It’s worth it. Trust.

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Book #3 of 2014

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Shatter Me #1 by Tahereh Mafi
Published on January 1, 2011
Purchased at Books-A-Million

    I know I’m very late to this series. Heck, everyone’s already ranting and raving about Ignite Me and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the first one. 
      I avoided this book for quite a while. I had heard good things, I’d heard bad and I wasn’t sure what to think about it. Turns out, it was pretty fantastic. The characters, especially Juliette, just drag you into this complicated and sad world. And all the while all you want is to see Juliette get out of this somehow, live happily ever after with Adam. 
     But here’s the thing, because I am so late to the game, I KNOW something else is coming. Something that may potentially change my mind about Adam and the creepy Warner. But, I don’t want it to. I like Adam and I don’t know that there is anything that can redeem Warner after this book.
     Needless to say, this book series is definitely going to take me for a ride. And any book series that can make your feelings change over and over again, and make you keep questioning the truth is good. I’m looking forward to continuing this series and my biggest complaint is how ugly and terrible the first book cover is. I prefer hardcover books but, my goodness, Shatter Me’s cover left something to be desired. I’m so hoping that they’ll reprint the hardcover with the better cover. Silly and petty, but still, this is a true feel.

 

 

Book #2 of 2014

 

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About a year ago I picked up the movie Something Borrowed based on the book of the same name by Emily Giffin. I decided that I wouldn’t watch the movie until I had read the book, because nine times out of ten, the book is better, right?

Well, not this time.

I love a little scandal in my books once in a while and I rarely pick up contemporaries, but I really wanted a bit of reality after spending so much time reading fantasy. The plot was interesting but that’s where the good stuff ends.

My number one problem is that, besides Ethan (the random friend that shows up on the phone once in a while) none of the characters were likeable (maybe Hillary but she wasn’t a major part until towards the end). The main two characters, Rachel and Dex, blah blah blah. What terrible people, I mean I was disgusted with them, Rachel especially. Giffin tries to make her the victim but she fails; Rachel is selfish and always throwing herself a pity party. She’s way worse than the best friend she’s screwing over. Darcy, the best friend, is supposed to come off as selfish, conceited, and superficial. But here’s the thing, it becomes obvious to me that the author is trying to make her sound terrible but I’ll bet if the author allowed some depth into her characters we would find Darcy to be a bit more human.

The second major problem is the ending. Besides being totally predictable, it was terrible. I won’t go into specifics, don’t want to be a spoiler, but just now that the author took the easy way out instead of taking the chance of making her characters a bit better.

To be honest, the movie was way better. I think that she should have written it the way the movie portrayed it. Ethan has a much bigger role, Rachel doesn’t come off as victimized, and Darcy becomes a likeable character with a lot more depth than she had in the books. How sad is it that a movie made the characters better?

So, while this book did disappoint, it says something that I managed to read it in two days. The plot is addicting and you while you cringe at some major errors, you can’t help but want to know when they’re going to get caught, how they’re going to get caught, will they get caught? By who? What will they do? What will Darcy do?

In my opinion, if you don’t have the time to read this book, check out the movie. You’re not missing anything.

Book #1 of 2014

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The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
(Fire and Thorns #1)

It’s the eleventh day of January and I finished my first book of 2014! Which is terrible, actually, if I plan to read 50 over the course of this year. Apparently, I need to read like 4 and a little bit of a another each month to make that goal. So…let’s reader MORE and FASTER!

Anyway, the first book I finished with The Girl of FIre and Thorns by Rae Carson and it is the first in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. First, the main protagonist had a weight/eating issue that seemed to center around anxiety and that is very common among women in general. When the princess is kidnapped and forced to another city by traveling in the desert, the weight begins to shed from her. Surprisingly, a lot of people were furious with this; I saw things like “fat-shaming” and “oh, so you made the fat girl thin, so you’re saying that being fat/overweight is bad.”  Well, I mean, it’s not good, is it?  I’m allowed to say this because I am no skinny-minny. I have struggled with weight issues for the last couple of years (a terrible side-effect of quitting smoking).  But, I know that when I look at myself that I’m not healthy. I’m not in shape, my body is not up to par and there is nothing wrong with that being a bad thing.  Because it is a bad thing. It could kill you. So, yeah, be careful of how you word things in YA when it comes to sensitive subjects like weight but don’t tiptoe over it and pretend it’s not a growing issue.

Anyway, let me just step down from my soapbox here.

Another thing I loved about this book was Rae Carson’s bravery. She is not afraid to kill off her characters for the sake of the plot. I’m not going to pretend I enjoy losing character’s I’ve grown fond of, but I understand the purpose (I’m looking at you, Veronica Roth).  

And, as always, I enjoy a good fantasy, especially intermingled with royal families. It’s always a good mix. I am curious to see how the second book goes (the beautiful part of starting a series once it’s already out).  

So, this is my first book of 2014, onto the next.

Peace, Love, & Empathy.