January 2017 Book Reviews

A goal this year is to only read about 12 books.  One book per month or around there.  I’ve really reduced it because I want to focus more on writing than reading.  I know I’ll probably end up reading more than 12 books but if I do, that’s okay.  I don’t want to stress out over trying to hit my numbers.  So far, I’ve read two books this month.  It wasn’t expected but once I learned Veronica Roth’s book, “Carve the Mark,” was out, I had to buy and read it.  Below are the reviews for the books I’ve read this month.

Behind Closed Doors
Author: B.A. Paris
Genre: Fiction, Psychological Thriller

behindcloseddoors_350This story is about a couple whom everyone thinks has the perfect relationship but deep down there are secrets.

Although the pacing is fast, the story starts out a bit slow.  There is a tenseness in the beginning especially when one of the supporting characters, Esther, questions their “perfect” marriage.

The characters were well developed and stayed true to themselves. The back stories to the main characters really helped in shaping them. The setting was clear and done well. The story line was interesting and kept me in suspense and intrigue, which was what kept me reading.

What bothered me most about the story was the protagonist and the main antagonist. Grace didn’t seem very smart or wise and Jack wasn’t as evil as he could be. I felt that Grace could have easily gotten away from Jack and even reported him but she let it go on for too long, doubting herself all the time, and not trusting her own intuition. She was so strong and determined at taking care of her little sister, I didn’t get why she suddenly gave in to Jack and put her sister on the sideline. As for Jack, I wanted him to be even more evil than he was but he seemed to also give in. There was no explanation why he gave in to Grace so much since his back story made him to be this person who enjoyed torture/pain, etc. If it was because he was afraid he’d get caught, then that fear should have somehow made it into the story or the back story.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. The suspense stretched out further than I had anticipated which almost led me to stop reading because it got to the point where I almost just didn’t care what happened (because as mentioned, Grace wasn’t very smart) but Esther got me hooked. She was the person who made the story interesting. I was annoyed by her at first but I was also curious as to why she was always prying. I was surprised by her at the end, and have to admit, I cried. She was amazing.

Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Fiction, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Young Adult

carvethemark_350This story is about…I’m not even sure exactly what it’s about, to be honest, but I’ll do my best to describe it.  I believe it’s about two families who are enemies, where the evil family gains rulership and tortures the other family in hopes to continue ruling.

The story was interesting and the powers the characters had were unique. I liked the idea that it took place in outer space and other planets.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as I had expected. It was pretty fast paced. Too many characters were introduced so I couldn’t feel for the main characters. Some characters were introduced and then only had small, almost irrelevant, parts. I tried to visualized the world they lived in and found it difficult because I felt as though there were pieces of Dune by Frank Herbert and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Every time I came across the word “Benesit, ” (the name/title of one of the families) I kept wanting to say “Bene Gesserit” from Dune.

As for the relationship between the two main characters, I felt very little for them. As mentioned, because it was so fast paced and so much information was being thrown in, I really couldn’t relate to the relationship or to their situation.

What was very obvious was the pain the protagonist felt and how she learned to deal with it. I think if the focus was solely on this as the story, how she was chosen to have this type of power that would cause herself pain, and how she learned to control or manage it, would have been a great story on its own.

I really wanted to like this story. I love sci-fi and fantasy combined and I love Veronica Roth’s style. The scenes merge seamlessly and the transition from first to third person was well done.  I’m just a bit bummed that there was so much thrown into it and it felt rushed.

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Book Reviews

I finished 5 books within the last half of the month:

Title: Drop Dead Gorgeous
Author: Elizabeth Lenhard
Genre: Children, fantasy, paranormal

DropDeadGorgeousThis book is about a girl, Rachel, who becomes friends with a girl who just moved into her town.  The girl who moved in is a zombie.  Rachel learns to accept the zombie girl as they go through trials and tribulations.

Read this with my 8-year-old.  I found the story line a bit boring.  My daughter wasn’t too into it as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Zeroes
Author: Chuck Wendig
Genre: Sci-fi, suspense, thriller, paranormal

ZeroesThis book is about the government kidnapping some hackers to eventually overtake a computer-human liquid robot who tried to overtake them.

It started out promising but then went all over the place about halfway.  Too many characters were thrown in in the beginning.  Each with their semi-detailed specialty.  I didn’t mind that so much because I liked how a chapter was given to a character.  Eventually though it just became a big mess of people.  I believe there was supposed to be a transition from computer hackers to paranormal computer activity but it didn’t happen the right way.  I was set on believing that it had something to do with hackers hacking some huge powerful database, and that if they didn’t hack into it, the data would fall into the hands of someone who would use it to destroy the world or something.  But it turned out that whatever they were supposed to hack into was obsolete and that some lady (she entered the story about halfway in) who was a very intelligent person decided to hook herself up to some strange machine that allowed her to upload data and become this liquid human machine thingy.  Her reason for it was because she had heart problems and the only way to keep her going completely dead was to hook up to a machine.  Aside from not wanting to be dead, it was quite unclear what her motives were.  Yeah, very confusing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Genre: Historical Fiction

TheNightingaleThis book is about two sisters who survived the Nazi invasion of France during WWII.  The sisters are a decade apart in age and very different in personality.  This is a story about war and everything that war creates.

This was a well written story.  It was a truly amazing experience reading this.  I had no idea that the Nazi’s invaded France and that the French leader surrendered.  And, it made me wonder if there were really good and kind Nazi soldiers who only did their job because they had no choice or that they didn’t realize what they were doing until it was too late.  The ending got me good.  There was a twist that I had no idea was coming.  I guess if I paid closer attention I would have caught it.

This is a story everyone should read.  It really pulls at your heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Zombie Dog
Author: Clare Hutton
Genre: Children, fantasy, paranormal

ZombieDogThis book is about a family who moved next door to a vacant home.  The family’s daughter learns that there is a zombie dog living in the vacant home and sets out to figure out why.  In the process she learns the story of the family who lived in the home and finds a way to send the zombie away.

This was a cute story I read with my 8-year-old daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Author: Philip K. Dick
Genre: Sci-fi, Post-apocalyptic, paranormal

DoAndroidsThe movie, “Blade Runner,” was based on this book.  I haven’t seen the movie yet but I will soon.

This book is about a bounty hunter who’s job is to track down and destroy human-like androids.  For each android he kills he gets a good sum of money.  For three androids he’d get enough money to buy a real animal.  In that post-apocalyptic time, it is rare to see a real animal, or own one.  To own one is a status symbol.  The androids are supposed to only live on Mars with their human owner and work for them but some find their way back to earth.  They are hunted down because they are harmful to humans.  There is really no way to differentiate a human from an android except for an empathy test because androids apparently have no empathy.

This was a very intriguing story.  I’m amazed that this book was written in 1966 about the far future…aka, January 3, 2021.  A lot of things were outdated but overall I got the feel for that bleak and dusty radioactive world they lived in.  There were parts of the story that didn’t make a lot of sense to me like the godly-like man, Mercer, Mercerism if you believe in him.  Or the double world in which the bounty hunter found himself in.  Overall though, I enjoyed it.

Completed 100 Books in 2014

GR100BooksComplete2014_800

This was beautiful to see.  I think I’m going to celebrate and rest this brain for a couple of days.  I’m kidding myself about that.  There’s no rest.  I’ve got 8 books waiting to be read yet.  I am glad to be done with this challenge though.  Now I can continue to read for pure enjoyment.  At the beginning of the challenge, I tried to tell myself that I was reading for enjoyment but as the year got closer to the end and I was behind (by about 16 books!), I felt the stress.  Took a break in July and August and that did it.  I quickly caught up though.

Not every book was chosen by me.  Some were recommendations and a couple were books the authors asked me to review.  Most books were researched by me via Goodreads.com, Amazon, and my local libraries.  Most the books were read on a Kindle my husband got me about three years ago.  Reading so many books makes it hard to remember what really happened in each book, especially that most the books are of the genre, Fantasy and Science Fiction, but there were a few that I truly fell in love with:

1. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon.  This is a post apocalyptic paranormal sci-fi that has what might be a romance blooming.  I loved it so much I actually started to re-read it a couple of months back.  I wanted to finish it again before getting the next book in the trilogy (or series).  I thought the next book was going to be released a couple of months back but it’s actually going to be released in January so I’ve stopped reading (I’m halfway) and will pick up again once it gets closer to the new release.

2. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.  This is one great sci-fi.  It’s set mostly in outer space.  I’m pretty sure all sci-fi fans have either read it or watched the movie.  They are both fabulous.

3. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley.  The writing is beautiful and poetic.  It’s a paranormal historical romance that touched my heart.

Here’s the full list in photos.  If you want to read the author’s synopsis and see my reviews of the books, go here: Pretty Peony’s 100 Books Read in 2014.

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