It's a good thing we had a 'break' (hehe), as I'd never have gotten any of this done without it :) Hope tomorrow is a blessed day for all of you who celebrate. Regardless, enjoy your family and friends, and know that I'm thankful for every one of you as we go to meet our family and ring in the New Year! :D
The covers link to The Tattered Cover's (our local indie) pages.
If you'd like to see all my year-to-date four-plus- and five-star recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.
These are all five-star reads:
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.
Divergent, by Veronica Roth - Here's what I said right after reading it:
Wow!! Okay, this marks the third book I've read this year which I've loved sooooo much...I'm almost speechless (which wouldn't quite be the point in a book review). To me, this is better than Hunger Games -- and here's why: 1) Tris is much more likable than Catniss (to me), even though she's just as tough (but she's also more vulnerable); 2) the love story is wonderful (and NOT a triangle); 3) the mystery is really well done; 4) the world building is credible and unique and intriguing; 5) although this is clearly the first book in a series (a trilogy?), I didn't feel at all left in the dark; everything was explained for this section of the story, and all that's left is moving on to what's next; 6) did I mention the cool romance??; 7) it's not as brutal (yes, it's still pretty brutal, but to me, it didn't seem as in-your-face as HG. So, yeah, I loved it! The story: Tris and Caleb (her brother) have reached the day when they'll make the choice between the five factions in their city (that which used to be Chicago). They are expected to choose their home faction (Abnegation), but Tris is having doubts. It doesn't help that her testing was inconclusive (very rare -- and Tris is warned not to tell anyone about that). When Tris chooses Dauntless, her life changes in every way -- and soon, it's not only that she's expected to risk her life and put up with brutal fighting, it's all about her own ambition and desire to truly be Dauntless...until she starts to see that the Dauntless have just as many faults as those in Abnegation. Plus, something is stirring in their world, and Tris fears her old faction (where her parents still live) might be the target. And on top of everything, Tris is falling in love, and she wonders if that will be the greatest test of her courage to date. (YA dystopic, released 5/11, publisher: Katherine Tegan)
Why it's stayed with me -- Tris is a great character. I remember her and her courage still, and I can't wait to read the next book to find out what they encounter beyond the factions! I also loved the romance and the familial relationships...there were many things I found well done here. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves dystopia or stories with strong females.
The Pledge, by Kimberly Derting - Here's what I said when I first read it:
I really enjoyed this! I was entranced within the first chapter (so rare, these days), and I not only liked the MC, but the supporting characters were also interesting. I think one of the reasons I got hooked so quickly had to do with the unusual premise. The setting comes across very historical (old European), yet it's not! That mystery right there kept me going, trying to figure out what had happened in this world to bring it to the point of this story. I liked the magical parts (which were woven into the story in almost a magical realism way -- ie, there was no real legend or mythology, it just was), and I liked the intrigue and mysteries. There were a few things that didn't feel completely resolved to me (and I don't know if there's going to be another set in this world or not) and a few inconsistencies in characters, but for the most part, I was quite satisfied when I finished. I would love to read another book set in this world...maybe a book with Angelina as the MC? :) The story: In Charlie's country, it all comes down to class and language. The classes are distinct, even to the point of having their own language -- and no one can speak or understand any language except their own class's...except for Charlie, a member of the vendor class. She understands all languages, and that secret is one she's kept to herself her entire life. But one night at a club, a stranger guesses her secret when Charlie overhears a new language, one never spoken before in her presence. The stranger, a man named Max, takes an interest in Charlie. He's persistent, and she's intrigued since he speaks this before-unheard language, but she knows it's more important to keep her secret -- and her younger sister's secret. Both girls have special gifts, and Angelina doesn't speak and needs Charlie's protection. The country is in turmoil because the Queen grows old and frail and has no female heir -- and both She and the Resistance search for any female descended from royal blood. In the meantime, the Resistance continues to attack, aiming to weaken the Queen even further as she tightens her control with more executions. Charlie wants nothing more than to live her life in her class, safe with her family -- but when Max's attentions continue and Charlie senses he has his own secrets, Charlie's pulled into the limelight, garnering interest from both the Resistance and the Queen. (YA...dystopic? adventure? suspense?, released 11/11, publisher: Margaret K. McElderry)
Why it's stayed with me -- the overall feel of the book was not only unique but very welcoming, if that makes sense. I felt encompassed by that world, and I wanted to be there and to find out how they could make positive changes. I thought the underlying mystery was really well done too. Derting is one of my favorite authors, and I'd recommend this to anyone who likes adventure, mystery, intrigue, historical feel, etc -- just a great read!