Books I’ve Read: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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As I continue to look through my old book journal, I’m posting about books I read a number of years ago. This week, I’ll be posting my initial “review”, on Divergent by Veronica Roth. It isn’t so much a review as my opinion of the book, and boy was it opinionated. See below:

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This write-up is pretty harsh. It sounds like I hated the book yet I gave it 4.5 stars. I guess that says a lot about a books ambiance, which to me means the general feeling the book generates and my ability to ‘suspend disbelief’. Divergent was a book that I really had to not try to reason out. I mean, the entire population of the city is forced into four groups—FOUR! People are so much more diverse than that. And there are so many more job functions than that. Anyway… Even if I had a difficult time falling for the premise and the choices some of the characters made, I liked the FEELING of the book. The tone. I guess that’s what won me over.

Come back later in the week to see what I thought about Insurgent.

JEH

Under Jupiter Plans For World Domination (on attempting Kindle Scout)

Okay, maybe that title is a bit extreme, but I like it! I’m working away through the fourth or so revision of Under Jupiter, and making pretty good progress. But once it’s ready, I’m not going to release it right away, as I did with the Black Depths titles. Instead, I’m going to try Kindle Scout.

What is Kindle Scout? you ask. Good question. Kindle Scout is Amazon’s on-going “competition”, where you mostly compete against yourself. Under Jupiter will be up for a 30 day compaign. During which readers can review the blurb, and the first 5,000 words of the book (around 3 chapters). Then, you can nominate the book, and if I ‘win’, (if Amazon selects to publish Under Jupiter with Kindle Press), then you get a free copy of the ebook.

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I want to try this to do something different. I think it will be a fun way to let more people know about Under Jupiter, and a good way to share part of the book. I’ll let you know when Under Jupiter is up, but until then, here’s a link to the Kindle Scout website in case you want to check out other books that are currently up for nomination.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/

JEH

What I’m Reading: What Light by Jay Asher

Young Adult Book Review: What Light by Jay Asher

When I heard that Jay Asher had a long awaited second book coming, I was excited. Then I began to read it… The premise of What Light is very different than 13 Reasons Why, which I loved. What Light is really just a Christmas Romance, and I use the word ‘just’ heavily.

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The real problem with this book for me was that it had potential (I mean a Christmas Tree Farm and a Bad Boy sounds like fun…), but nothing happened. Like ever. The story, while it may have been well written, lacked tension. And I really hate to say that just because I loved 13 Reasons Why so much. (Though I haven’t had time to check out the Netflix series yet).

Sierra (cool name), goes to California every winter to sell trees with her parents for the month before Christmas… and that’s about it. The entire time I read this book I expected something to happen. But it never arrived. I imagined at least ten different twists that never came to light. And the result was that it took me a long time to read this book. I also had a problem with the dialogue, which at times felt pretty forced. I would recommend this book if you really love Christmas and sappy romance, but otherwise, I’d give it a pass (but I still love 13 Reasons Why).

2/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Hunted (Spirit Animals #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Audiobook Review: Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater

The first book I listened to on my long road trip was Hunted, Spirit Animals #2 by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a middle grade fantasy series, and a bit of change of pace from my regular Young Adult readings. I really enjoyed the first audiobook in this series, read by Nicola Barber. Hunted was also read by Barber, and again she did a fantastic job.

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The Spirit Animals is a great light read, and the audiobooks would be great listening for a family road trip. The second book felt a bit formulaic (different events happened in much the same pattern as the first book), but they were paced well and still kept me alert. The four main characters (Conor, Rollan, Meilin, and Abeke). Each book in the series is written by a different author, but Hunted had much the same feel as Wild Born, which was written by Brandon Mull.

I really enjoy these books on audio, as they are only around 5 hours each (opposed to YA books which tend to be around 10-15 hours). That means I can listen to a full Spirit Animals book on one road trip, or one week at the gym. (I haven’t been going to the gym much lately but that is kind of beside the point). I don’t think I would get the same enjoyment out the books if I read them, but I might pick one up in order to compare the audio experience to the print one.

If you’re a fantasy lover who needs something to listen to during a long drive, or a bit of action to get you moving at the gym, then you might want to check out this audiobook series.

4/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Young Adult Book Review: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

This week I was pretty obsessed with finishing the last book in Brandon Sanderson’s Young Adult Reckoners Trilogy. If you haven’t read the review of the first book, Steelheart, you can find it here. Now that I’ve finished the trilogy, I can admit a few things: Steelheart was my favourite book of the Reckoners, I wish I could write as well as Brandon Sanderson, and I’m sad that I never got to go back to Newcago. While the setting of every book was unique and interesting, Newcago was my favourite by far. I would definitely go visit it if I could, if the Reckoners wasn’t a dystopian-Marvel-esque- Fantasy.

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Brandon Sanderson has already announced that his next Young Adult series will be called the Apocolypse Guard and will be set in the same world as Reckoners. I will definitely pick it up. The ending of Calamity definitely left me thinking, and there are still a couple things I’m trying to figure out (like most of Sanderson’s books, I’m not sure I’m supposed to understand everything). You can read more about his next series on his blog if you’re interested.

Calamity of course was  full of action, fairly quick paced (though I thought it dragged slightly more than the other two books, though I would hardly call it dragging). There were lots of laughs and lots of tension.

A solid 4.5/5 Stars.

NOTE: Finishing this book puts me at 16/60 books on my Goodreads goal, 2 books ahead of  schedule!

JEH

What I’m Reading: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

The second book in the Young Adult Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson moves the action from a futuristic Chicago (Newcago) to a futuristic, dystopian Manhattan (New Babylon). I loved this second book and I found New Babylon (also called Babilar) to be very interesting, but part of what I loved about the first book, Steelheart, was the setting: a city that had been completely morphed into steel, and I missed that setting in Firefight. Not that I didn’t love Babilar, I just love Newcago more.

The action of the second book, Firefight, is just as fast and heart-pounding as in the first book. The stakes get higher, and we discover more about the world and Epics (the bad guys), in general.

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Like the first book, Firefight is 75% action, 20% romance, and 5% bad metaphors (which are often hilarious). That isn’t an exact breakdown, so don’t quote me on it. The main point is that this book is mostly the kind of action you would see in a Marvel movie.

Loved it.

5/5 Stars

JEH