Saturday, September 13, 2014

August Reads

I'm a little late (okay a lot late) on getting out my books read in August. I've been crazy busy with the whole back to school, starting a new grad school class, running after a toddler, and being pregnant. I'm so tired by the time I get home at night that all I want to do is sit down and eat ice cream. Luckily I had a ton of previously written posts to publish that I wrote before announcing my pregnancy here, so I've had plenty of blog content to keep this bad boy running. That said, I want to share what I read last month! I also surpassed my summer reading goal of reading 20 books. My new goal for this school year is 30 again. I was able to beat that goal last year, but I wasn't as busy as I am this year, so I think 30 is realistic.

19. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
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I hadn't known before this summer that The Giver was the first in a quartet of books. When I found that out, I just had to read them all. In July I reread The Giver, then I moved on to Gathering Blue. This is a great book about a young girl with a crippled leg who lives in a society that doesn't accept any type of physical or mental handicap. Most people in Kira's situation would be taken to "the field" where they were left to be eaten by wild beasts or killed by the elements. Kira's mother managed to save her from this fate as an infant, but at the start of the book she has recently passed away. Her mother's death leaves Kira's life in jeopardy, but she has one thing going for her that may save her; she is an expert weaver. Artistic talent is rare in their village, and Kira has a talent that has not gone unnoticed by the people in charge. Like I said, it's a great book, but there is no connection to The Giver at all in this book. When I finished it, I was truly perplexed as to how they're part of a series.

20. Messenger by Lois Lowry
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Messenger is the third book in The Giver quartet, and it bridges the connection between the previous two books. While I won't go into details, because that would give away huge parts of the plot. The main character in this book, Matty, lives in The Village, but delivers messages to communities all around. He is one of the few people who can travel safely through the ominous Forest. Matty is asked by Seer, a man who is kind of his guardian, to bring Kira safely through the village. Prior to leaving to get Kira, Matty discovers that he has a unique ability to heal others, an ability that becomes important as the Forest starts to turn against him. I know that this is a rather vague synopsis, but there are so many things in Messenger that are connected to Gathering Blue and The Giver, and I didn't want to give away major plot details. Just trust me that if you like either of the first two books, you will love this one. 

21. Son by Lois Lowry
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The final book in The Giver series, Son pulls together characters and plot lines from the other three books. The main character in this book is Claire, the birth mother of Gabe from The Giver. Talk about full circle. This book actually starts off before The Giver and ends after the events in Messenger. It is a fantastic conclusion to the other three books and really answers a lot of unanswered questions while furthering multiple story lines. This book had me up reading late into the night because I just couldn't put it down. 






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22. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
I was loving Delirium, the first book in this series. Pandemonium picks up right where Delirium left off with Lena alone in The Wilds. She becomes a part of the invalid's society and begins working with them to help free the rest of the world from The Cure and give them back their freedom. Things go badly when Lena begins working undercover with the Deliria Free America, but gets kidnapped by another group of invalids during an attack against the DFA leader. This book is written rather differently than Delirium. The first book was written in present tense only, this one goes back and forth between Lena's present (being captured) and her past (when she first came to The Wilds and began adjusting to life outside society. I liked this juxtaposition because it allowed you to see what it was like when Lena first escaped Portland, but also allowed for the action and intensity of her current predicament. Often her actions in the present are a direct result of things she learned and experienced when first getting to The Wilds.  

23. Requiem by Lauren Oliver
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Requiem was the final book in the Delirium series and it ended up bringing a lot from the first two books together. Again, the style changed a bit. Rather than just Lena's perspective, it also includes Hana's perspective. Hana was Lena's best friend back and Portland and she's still there seeing the other side of the invalid's rebellion. This book is where the rebellion, and Lena's part in it, really takes off and begins to get more complicated. What makes things more complicated are the two guys in her life; Julian who she was kidnapped with in book two, and someone else from her past, actually two people from her past, that she thought were long gone.

24. Outlander by Diane Gabaldon
This book is sooooo long, but not long in a bad way. I was a little overwhelmed at first by the sheer size of this book. This is an intense and action-packed book. The book starts in 1946 where Claire is on vacation in the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Frank. Due to the war, the two have been separated for 6 years, and this is their first time being back together. Somehow Claire ends up getting pulled through a bunch of rocks and into 1743. The first person she meets in 1743 is Jack Randall, an ancestor of her husband who looks startlingly like him. Randall ends up being a horrible, sick person, and Claire is relieved when she ends up in the hands of another clan who are trying to get away from Randall. There is a lot that happens in the book once Claire ends up with the clan. She travels all over Scotland, is involved in attacks and battles, and develops new relationships that make it hard for her to decide if she wants to go back to her old life. This book has a great mix of action, romance, and history in it that made it hard to put down. 

25. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I wanted to read this book because I saw the movie trailer and thought it looked great. The book definitely did not fail. It's a quick read and was made quicker by the fact that I couldn't put it down. I think I read it in less than a day while we were up at the lake. In case you don't know, the premise behind this book is that a teenage girl, Mia, is involved in a car crash that kills her family. She's pretty messed up and her body is in ICU at the hospital while doctors are doing everything they can to save her life. Mia is in the unique position of being able to see everything that is going on from outside her body. She is able to see her family, watch the doctors work, and remember the important people in her life and why she loves them. The hard part is the Mia also have the choice about whether she stays, or lets herself die. It's hard choice when the people you love most have died, and the thought of living without them is too painful to bear.

26. All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book. Jennifer Weiner is kind of hit or miss for me. Some of her books I love, and others I'm bored by. This one though, was awesome. It's the story of a middle-aged mom who becomes addiction to prescription painkillers. Throughout the story her "perfect" life unravels as she becomes more and more dependent on the pills and less able to cover up her problem as she desperately searches for her next does. What I loved about this book is that it's told from the addicts perspective. In the beginning she doesn't think she has a problem, but even after she's realized how low she's sunk and how much she's hurting others, she can't make herself stop and find excuses to keep using. I found myself feeling a mixture of frustration towards this woman who kept making things worse for herself and sympathy for her inability to fix things.

27. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I usually love Cinderella adaptations, so this book was right up my alley. However, I didn't love this book. It was interesting, but it was also very strange. This is kind of a dystopian take on the classic tale where Cinder is an cyborg who has bio mechanical adaptations that let her "see" when people are lying and give her access to the internet through her own body. Because she is a cyborg, she is viewed as less of a person than others, especially her stepsisters. Her stepmother resents having custody of her and (of course) uses her. Unlike the typical cleaning demands, her stepmother has her do mechanical work because Cinder excels at it and is able to make money for the family repairing things. As an incurable disease begins to take over the country and an alien queen threatens to take over Earth, Cinder has to decide how she will help Prince Kai and what her role is in society. Like I said; interesting, but weird. 

28. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. In it Henry, a thirteen year old boy, lives with his depressed mother, Adele, who avoids leaving the house. This leaves Henry to feel very alone and bored. On Labor Day weekend, something big changes, while out at the store for some quick back to school shopping, they meet Frank. Frank is a mysterious man with an injured leg and bleeding head. He asks for a ride to their house, which for some reason Henry and Adele give him. Once back at their house, they learn that Frank had escaped from jail after having his appendix out. While in the hospital, Frank jumped out a window and fled to the store where they found them. For some reason (and this is why I'm not sure how I feel about the book) this doesn't really bother Henry or Adele, even when they find out that Frank went to jail for murder. As the weekend continues, Adele and Frank fall in love, Henry starts to view Frank as a father figure, and a strange routine develops. The reactions of Henry and Adele to the situation is what baffles me about this book, but at the same time it also seemed like it made sense in the situation. Like I said, I don't really know how I feel about this book. I enjoyed reading it, but I found it so puzzling and the characters so confusing. 


3 comments:

  1. I read Delerium and now I just cannot get into Pandemonium

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *but I need to just finish it and move on with my life, haha. I also finally read the Selection books and I really liked them!

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