Category Archives: 4.5 stars

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The-Fault-In-Our-Stars-by-John-GreenThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Ratings: 4.5 stars

Source: Borrowed

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Do you know how sometimes you read a really great book and then you sit down to write the review and you’re completely at a loss for words. That’s how I feel about this book. I’m not even sure where to begin or how to start telling everyone how incredible this book was.

I absolutely love John Green! And The Fault in Our Stars is another beautifully written book by him. Of course after reading both Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars I have to wonder why all of his books have to be so depressing! I borrowed The Fault in Our Stars from one of my friends and in the meantime I let her borrow Looking for Alaska. When she gave me back my book, she told me she wasn’t reading another book by John Green because she was tired of reading all these depressing books.

Hopefully I haven’t scared you away from reading this book with that kind of introduction because this was really a wonderful book that I just couldn’t put down. Who would have thought a book about a bunch of teenagers with cancer would have me laughing so much? I laughed, fell in love with the characters, and cried right alongside them. It was moving and entertaining, deep yet light hearted, and just pulled me in all sorts of direction as I read it. John Green truly takes you on quite a journey as you follow Hazel around and meet an assortment of wonderful characters.

I’m sure you’ve realized by now that I’m not articulate enough to put into words how much I highly recommend everyone to read The Fault in Our Stars. So I’ll keep this review short and sweet and just say that if you haven’t read this book yet, then you should add it to your TBR pile as soon as possible. It’s one book you don’t want to miss.

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Review: Ender’s Game

ender's gameEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Publisher: Tor Books

Ratings: 4.5 stars

Source: Purchased

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

I’m probably one of the few people that did not read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card as a teenager. I saw the trailer for the movie that is coming out later this year and just knew I had to read the book before I saw the movie and boy am I happy I did. This was one of those books that as soon as I finished reading it, I wanted to hunt down all the other books in the series and read those books too.

This book was simply incredible and I’m still quite shock I have never picked up this book before. Ender is a delightful and interesting character to follow. I was really surprise to learn that he was only 6 years old at the beginning of the book and he was expected to save the world. Talk about putting pressure on children. It was also shocking to see how mature he was for his age and how quickly he was forced to grow up at the Battle School.

This book had everything you would ever want in a great book. It had incredible characters from Ender to Bean to Petra as well as Peter and Valentine back on earth. I love reading about the camaraderie and friendship that developed between the characters. The plot is interesting and it keeps you on your toes. I was completely caught off guard by what happened in the end.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a book I would highly recommend for all. It has wonderful and well developed characters, adventure, politics, conflict, pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. I absolutely can’t wait for the movie to come out.

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Review: A Land More Kind than Home

alandmorekindthanhomeA Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash

Publisher: William Morrow

Ratings: 4.5 stars

Source: Publisher

For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when you get caught spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can’t help sneaking a look at something he’s not supposed to—an act that will have repercussions. It’s a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he’s not prepared. He now knows that a new understanding can bring not only danger and evil—but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance.

A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash has all the makings of a perfect southern novel with its mystery, history, and culture. Cash is a wonderful author and I absolutely fell in love with his writing. I’m excited to read his future works.

The mystery in A Land More Kind than Home isn’t quite a mystery and the readers learn quite quickly what has happened, but despite this, the story actually unfolds quite slowly and this gives the book a bit of southern charm in the slow way everything unfolds and is explained. The characters are given a chance to add great depth to the story by providing their own personal history to it. There are plenty of flashbacks that give the readers insight into the actions of the characters and how the narrators became the person they are today.

One of the reasons I really enjoyed reading this book was because of the journey it took me on. I’m sure every reader knew where the story was going within pages of starting this book, but for once, this book wasn’t about the destination, but rather the ride it took the readers on. I was enchanted by the world that Cash created and I was fully immersed in the lives of the characters. I never wanted to stop turning the pages.

A Land More Kind than Home is a book I would recommend to those who are looking for a good Southern novel to read. The pace is slow, but the story and writing are amazing!

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Review: The Zero

the zeroThe Zero by Jess Walter

Publisher:

Ratings: 4.5 stars

Source: Purchased

What’s left of a place when you take the ground away?

Answer: The Zero.

Brian Remy has no idea how he got here. It’s been only five days since his city was attacked, and Remy is experiencing gaps in his life–as if he were a stone skipping across water. He has a self-inflicted gunshot wound he doesn’t remember inflicting. His son wears a black armband and refuses to acknowledge that Remy is still alive. He seems to be going blind. He has a beautiful new girlfriend whose name he doesn’t know. And his old partner in the police department, who may well be the only person crazier than Remy, has just gotten his picture on a box of First Responder cereal.

And these are the good things in Brian Remy’s life. While smoke still hangs over the city, Remy is recruited by a mysterious government agency that is assigned to gather all of the paper that was scattered in the attacks. As he slowly begins to realize that he’s working for a shadowy operation, Remy stumbles across a dangerous plot, and soon realizes he’s got to track down the most elusive target of them all–himself. And the only way to do that is to return to that place where everything started falling apart.

I’m sure by now you all know how much I absolutely love Jess Walter! I always feel a bit of excitement every time I open up one of his books because I’m always blown away by his writing and his literary skills. The Zero was another one of Jess Walter’s books that I greatly enjoyed reading; however, it was quite different from his other books.

The Zero follows a Brian Remy, a cop in New York, as he tries to put his life back together following the 9-11 attacks. The narrative is jumpy because Remy has black outs or rather lapses in memory where he can’t remember what happens. So the narrative may stop in the middle of an important story to enter another story.

We follow Remy’s scattered life as he’s trying to figure out what’s happening and what he’s involved in. All he knows is that during his memory lapses he’s doing something bad and he wants to stop, but he can’t control it. At times it was a little frustrating following him around because we could never get the complete picture, but after a while I got used to the narrative and the jumpiness of it and just accepted it for what it was.

Although I really enjoyed reading this book, I’ll have to admit that this isn’t a book for everyone. The narrative is not straight forward and it leaves a lot for your own interpretations and forces you to draw your own conclusions.

The Zero is definitely a book that I would recommend, but I do hold some reservations on it because I know it’s not a book for everyone. I guess the main reason why I really enjoyed it is because it’s so different from what I’ve read before and it really makes you think about our society immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center.

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Review: The Whore of Akron

The Whore of Akron by Scott Raab

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Ratings:

Source: Publisher

From the cover:

A native son of Akron, Ohio, LeBron James seemed like a miracle heaven-sent by God to transform Cleveland’s losing ways when he was drafted by the Cavaliers in 2003. But after seven years—and still no parade down Euclid Avenue—he left, announcing his move to South Beach on a nationally televised ESPN production with a sly title that echoed fifty years of misery. The Catch, The Drive, The Shot . . . The Decision.

Out of James’s treachery grew a monster. Scott Raab, a fifty-nine-year-old, 350-pound Jewish Santa Claus with a Chief Wahoo tattoo, would bear witness to LeBron’s every move, and in so doing would act as the eyes and ears of Cleveland itself. Crude but warmhearted, poetic but raving, hilarious, profane (and profound), The Whore of Akron is both a rabid fan’s indictment of a traitorous athlete and the story of Raab’s obsessive quest to reveal the “wee jewel-box” of LeBron James’s soul.

If you’re a sports fan then The Whore of Akron is a must read! One part unauthorized LeBron James biography and one part Scott Raab’s personal memoir, The Whore of Akron is a delightful, funny, truthful, amusing, and absolutely hilarious novel.

When I was first pitched this book, I didn’t think much about it. I love sports so if there’s a book out there about it, just sign me up because I’m down for anything sports related. What I didn’t expect was to laugh so much or sympathize so much with Raab. Raab is a Cleveland fan, where the last time the city took home the championship was the 1964 NFL Championship. Growing up as a Houston fan, I shared the pain that Raab went through as he described the losses suffered as well as the disappoints faced season after season.

You see, Raab was there to experience the 1964 NFL Championship and since then, generations have come and gone without the city bringing home another one. Similarly, I was there the last time a Houston team brought home a championship, and as I read the book, I kept wondering, will I be able to see them bring home another? Will I get the chance to attend another parade down Main St? Or will Houston suffer the same curse as Cleveland?

I’ve tried to get some of my other friends (non readers) to read this and many of them are turned off by the title or they think it’s all about LeBron James. Let me put an end to your fears right now and tell you that it’s not all about LeBron James. At the heart of this book, it’s about being a sports fan. It’s about cheering and rooting for your team despite the disappointments and heartaches. It’s about being filled with hope at the start of every season because you’re told “this is our year”. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve heard that phrased thrown around in regards to a Houston team and what do we have to show for it? A big fat goose egg. Nada. No rings, no championships. Regardless, you go out there and you put on your jersey and you support that team to the end.

And while Raab is traveling around the country to follow LeBron James and the Miami Heat, he shares with us his stories about his past, his addiction to drugs and alcohol, his failed marriage and lost child, and his regrets and redemption. The stories range from ridiculously funny to downright sad, but they add another dimension to the book that I wasn’t expecting.

There’s nothing more I can say about this book other than to say READ IT. It’s definitely worth the ride and the journey. Raab is definitely rough around the edges (he named his book The Whore of Akron, after all), but he’s an incredible writer. Sometimes you read a book and you just think, “This person was meant to write. He or she has a true knack for it.” That’s exactly how I felt as I was reading this book.

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