Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Q1 2014 Readings

Here is the first quarter readings, almost in time for second quarter! ha ha.

Pride & Prejudice,
 Jane Austen - completed January 6, 2014

I FINALLY finished this book! It only took me two years to finish!

I first picked this up trying to read it on my kindle, and I YAWNED almost the whole time. Seriously. SOOOOOO many people told me it was their favorite classic and that I should read it. BUT, most people also read this while they were in high school. I on the other hand, did not.

SO, what did I think. It was meh. I didn't LOOOOOVE it like so many of you did (I assume you did), but I didn't hate it either. It was just so-so. And I think I confused myself because I definitely thought Jane was going to be the main character. Well that's what I get for thinking.
You have sisters whose mother wants them all married off (as is normal for this time period). A father who is kind of cheeky, and a cousin(?) who is pushy and jerk. Then enter two men from a different part of the countryside and that's where I got my story confused because first it was Jane then it was all Lizzy (I think). AND I don't even know what to think about the officer that stole one of them away.
Anyways, glad it's over. Rated 3/5 stars on goodreads.

24770Uglies, Scott Westerfeld - completed January 22, 2014

I had read this book previously while my mother was an elementary teacher at a small school here in Oklahoma. I remember reading it and thinking it was pretty good, but not all that great. I attempted to read the second in the series (Pretties), but didn't make it too far before losing interest.

Throw in a couple years and many dystopian novels later, and I decided to go ahead and borrow them again from my mom and attempt to finish out the series. These are also set in a dystopian society, but I believe this books were a little ahead of their time. Dystopian novels definitely were not yet as popular as they are now.

These are interesting novels. In this first novel, we're introduced to Tally Youngblood, and a society that is obsessed with the idea of ugly vs pretty. Once the young people of the society come of age, each go through a surgery to make them pretty. Seems fair enough right? Then comes Shay. She turns Tally's thoughts upside down about "the surge." Soon Tally begins to question all things within her society thanks to Shay. The ending was a definite plot twist and cliffhanger, setting you up for Pretties perfectly.

Pretty easy read. 4/5 stars on goodreads.

24768Pretties, Scott Westerfeld - completed January 28, 2014

Book 2 of the series. I actually liked this book much better than Uglies upon completion. In this book, we learn that Tally has had the operation to become pretty. She is fitting along well into Prettyville until someone from her past arrives and turns her new world upside down (seems to be a common theme).

Once this happens, Tally is in constant struggle with trying to find herself, and trying to remember everything she learned in Uglies pertaining to the operation and the changes it makes to a person. You can definitely start to understand her inner struggle with finding herself.

The relationship between her and Zane is wonderful, and he is immensely supportive of everything crazy she thinks needs to be done in order to make them normal again. However, all these actions bring in Special Circumstances, a government agency that is thought to be only a rumor. Special Circumstances is headed by crazy Dr. Cable. But Tally's determination to find the truth behind the operations causes them to have Tally-and her friends-on their radar. Again, Westerfeld leaves this one on a cliffhanger, setting you up for Specials, book 3.
My issue with this is that these books require Tally to have a man around in order to "find herself." Can't we have a heroine be strong on her own? 5/5 stars on goodreads.

24765Specials, Scott Westerfeld - completed February 3, 2014

I liked this one least of the original trilogy. I just felt like Westerfeld put too much things for speculation between each book. Not much time passed between book 2 and book 3, but it was very confusing. We learn that Shay has banded together a group of people in trying to be more and more like Tally, but she is going about it all the wrong ways.

Because Dr. Cable likes this new power group, she has made them into a special group of Special Circumstances, headed by Shay. Shay is crazy about making sure that Tally knows she is in charge and though of more highly than Tally. They have made themselves kind of protectors over the town as well. 
Shay goes stupid crazy in the whole book. No wonder why Tally gets sick of her and ditches her.
Not the best of the original 3. The fourth book was written as a kind of after thought. Rated 3/5 stars on goodreads.

493456Extras, Scott Westerfeld - completed March 4, 2014

This one was just meh. It wasn't part of the author's original series, and it takes place quite some time after the end of the 3rd book, Specials. The way things work in this other Prettytown is that everything you do is based on your fame. Everyone has a personal camera attached and everyone is trying to earn more merits. This might be why I didn't find it near as interesting. The whole story is about a character named Aya. (It took me over half the book to realize that this world was either in China or Japan.) Enter Aya craving to be one of the most popular people in the world, where she stumbles across a secret that is bigger than she ever realized would be. Once she exposes this truth, she is put on the radar of all of the officials...including Tally Youngblood.

Tally then takes Aya and friends on the ride of their life to try to fix the problem. It was a good twist on a similar story, but I just felt like the storyline had been beaten like a dead horse--Tally tries to save humanity, someone or something gets in the way, then the whole world corrects itself just before it implodes. I was definitely glad to finish the series and move on to the next book. Rated 2/5 stars on goodreads.

18819296Hidden, Catherine McKenzie - completed March 6, 2014

I picked up this book from either February's or March's amazon first list. If you haven't subscribed to this yet, you should definitely look into it. Each month, amazon sends you an email of four books that you can buy for your kindle at a reduced price. These books are pre-releases, they won't be released to the public until the next month. It's an AWESOME deal if you have a kindle or the kindle app!

Anyways, I picked up this book, and honestly it shattered my soul JUST a little bit. The book starts off with Jeff getting tragically hit by a car on the way home from work one Friday. Two women in his life are completely devastated, his wife Claire and a coworker named Tish.

The book is told through three different points of view-Claire, Tish, and Jeff. Claire and Tish tell their story post-accident: how Jeff's death has affected both of these women. Jeff's point of view is told as more of a flashback of things that went on in each of their three's past. It was interjected just enough into the story that it provided great history to the story to where it made everything flow so much better.

The entire story made you wonder "did they or didn't they?" in regards to Jeff and Tish. They had great chemistry but it never really revealed whether or not they had an affair until the epilogue. And I will just let you decide if you want to read it or not. I hate spoiling endings. But it is definitely hard to put down. I WILL give you that. Rated 5/5 on goodreads.

17673271Si-Cology 101: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty's Favorite Uncle, Si Robertson with Mark Schlabach - completed March 29

If you are a fan of Duck Dynasty, this one is a fun semi-autobiography. Uncle Si is my favorite character, so it was great to read more about his personal life, his family, and his faith. He talked about his early life-the trouble he and Phil used to get into as kids and what it was like growing up in Louisiana.

You can definitely tell that he is a man of faith, as he also talks about how he found Christ and how he tries to live a life living for Him. He does admit that it hasn't always been easy (like any Christian would), but he still tries to do his best to serve.

He also talks about his children and how it was raising them, and the difficulties he and his wife had while he was in the military. It's also told in a language that is just like the way Si talks on the show. It's definitely a good read if you're a fan of the show. RAted 4/5 stars on goodreads.

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