Monday, April 27, 2015

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

The Next Best ThingThe Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although I did enjoy parts of this novel about a young scriptwriter named Ruth who lives with her Grandma in Hollywood, I found many of the characters flat and hard to relate to. Looking at the cover I was expecting a light beach read, but this was not a light fluffy story at all. Ruth is very insecure due to facial scars from a terrible accident that she was in as a child, which left her parent dead causing her to be raised by her grandmother. Much of the story revolves around Ruth's poor self esteem, leading to some romantic disasters, but Ruth is a smart talented writer who submits a script for a television show that is chosen by network executives. Ruth quickly learns that she must compromise to make the show, but she isn't happy with the artistic direction her show has taken. Throughout much of the book, I felt like the author wanted me to feel sorry for Ruth, but instead I felt like Ruth was being whiney and spoiled. For me this book was not 'the next best thing'

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)Allegiant by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Spoiler alert - Allegiant is the third in the highly popular Divergent series of books, and as with most trilogies that I have read, the third book is usually the weakest. As Veronica Roth tries to wrap up the story of Tris and Four and their attempts to address the power hungry leaders of their isolated society, book three has them joining a group of rebels called Allegiant, to over throw Evelyn and her factionless army, but they do not stay and fight, instead Tris and Four and several of their friends decide to venture outside the safety of the community walls to see who or what is out there, and they find a group of scientists and soldiers who are monitoring their entire community, which was put there intentionally as a scientific experiment. This is where the book starts to loose its focus. The scientists are trying to correct genetic mutations that have created two classes of people; the genetically pure and genetically damaged. This creates an unfair society. Tris learns that her Mom was not from her community, but instead had come from this outside world and chose to go join the experiment. Roth loses the focus that her first two books had. Tris and Four spend most of the book fighting and making up in a severely dysfunctional relationship, and yet another group of rebels, this time the genetically damaged, raid the scientific community due to the unfair conditions they face. The attack is confusing and does nothing for the story. To me this dilutes the original work of the first two books. In Divergent and Insurgent, we see how unfairly the social outcasts or factionless are treated, but this whole new social problem of genetically pure versus genetically damaged just muddies the waters. Roth then focuses a great deal on the death of a minor character. Tris' character doesn’t seem as consistent in this book, she cannot forgive her brother for his betrayal, which is not her usual style, and the ending is just as muddled, Tris eventually winds up going on a suicide mission to spread memory serum, but gets shot by David, the leader of the science community and a former love interest of Tris’s mother. This book did not have the building tension and excitement of the previous two books, it was chaotic and confusing at times and felt like Roth was just throwing words on a page to finish out the story. It’s a shame that this was the ending to the series.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Wild Rose by Betsy Talbot

Wild Rose (The Late Bloomers, #1)Wild Rose by Betsy Talbot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this fun romance. Rose has always been a devoted mother and hard working landscape designer who created her own successful business, but with encouragement form her closest friends, Rose finally decides to visit her daughter, who is in Italy for the summer and she quickly finds out that not only is her daughter not returning to college, she is planning to move to Australia for a job. After adjusting to the news, Rose takes the opportunity to stay in Italy for a little longer and spend some time with her daughter's handsome former boss, and things get pretty spicy. The author does a great job of using rich descriptions of the flavors and sights of Italy, as Rose and handsome Mateo explore their new relationship. This was a really fun read and I am looking forward to the next story in the late bloomers series.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Sliver of Sun by Dianna Dorisi Winget

A Sliver of Sun (The Piper Lee DeLuna Series Book 2)A Sliver of Sun by Dianna Dorisi Winget
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this fun story about Piper Lee and her new step-sister Ginger. Piper Lee has a knack for getting into challenging situations, like keeping her Mama from eating soy beans so she will have a boy baby, and hatching a plan to get back at a class bully who is terrorizing her new step-sister. Piper Lee is a wonderful character for children's stories, she is both lovable and flawed, and her emotions are genuine and sweet. Although this book is a sequel, I did not read the first book in the series and felt that this book works well as a stand alone. I would highly recommend this sweet little children's story for all middle grade readers, especially for children who come from mixed or blended families.

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