Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: August 2010

One Word Review: Unexpected

Author Website: www.suzannecollinsbooks.com

First Line: “I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.”


GoodReads Synopsis: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

Kathy’s Review ****SPOILER WARNING****: Well I’m not really sure where to begin with this one. I read it yesterday and knew I had to sleep on it before I wrote my review. First, it must be hard being an author and writing a final book in a trilogy. You’d want to write a book that lives up to the first two, and that ends in a way that would make fans want to re-read the series. For me, I will definitely re-read the series. I loved the first book and I admit, I think I loved the first so much it has influenced what I’ve thought of books two and three.

Anyway, on to the review…I enjoyed this one, like the first two I had a hard time putting it down. I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen. If you liked the first two books then you will of course want to read this one and will probably end up liking this one, despite some of the drawbacks. I think what drew me in to the first two books; besides the original story and action was the love-triangle. As much as love-triangles frustrate me, it really was a big part in the story, especially the relationship between Peeta and Katniss (in my opinion). This installment focused more on the revolution and way less on the love-triangle. For me, an important element was left out and it made me like the story a little less. Peeta and Katniss had always had great chemistry, they balanced each other out and were so loyal to each other. Gale and Katniss also had a little something, for me it felt less romantic, but there was always enough there to make me a little torn. In this last installment I almost didn’t care who she ended up with, at times thinking it might be better if Katniss were to choose neither. There were some good opportunities for some romantic tension, but they were overshadowed by the revolution and drama going on. For me, that was a big miss.

As for Katniss, she didn’t seem like herself (actually, neither did Peeta or Gale, they all seemed really out of character). She spent a lot of time in the hospital or recovering from some ailment, and most people around her thought she was mentally ill. There would be a great scene and then BAM, she wakes up in the hospital and we miss out on what happened. At one point Katniss finally realizes the power she has, how the Rebels really look up to her. I was hoping from that point on she would step into the leadership roll, but she doesn’t. I know war is awful and she had experienced some horrible things, BUT I was hoping she would rise above and show courage, strength and be more aggressive. Instead it felt like she was still a puppet.

I was a little disappointed in the ending, it was wrapped up rather quickly and Katniss played a really small role in how everything turns out. I again was hoping that with all the experiences she’s had she would want to play a more influential role in the building up of the new country, or at least played a bigger role in deciding what happens with her life, instead of having it chosen for her and becoming kind of a recluse. And even when one of the guys shows up at the end, it felt rushed and unsatisfactory. The romance part had been left out so much, that I just didn’t feel that much by the end. I was also disappointed in how things ended with the other guy, it just didn’t feel right and I didn’t get the closure I was hoping for.

Having said that, I was not mad at how the book ended, in fact I was pleased with everything. It wasn’t perfect, or exactly what I wanted, but it was still a good read (a little slow in parts), and definitely one of my favorite series!

Bookworm Rating: 4
Reading Order:
Book One: Hunger Games
Book Two: Catching Fire (Jess's review)
Book Three: Mockingjay

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daydreams by Marcia Lynn McClure

Genre: Romance

Publication Date: 2007

One Word Review: Cute

Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com


Kathy’s Review
: This may be my favorite McClure book so far. I thought the plot was so cute. Sayler is a candy striper at her Grandfathers hospital, she doesn’t get along well with two of her coworkers, who are constantly playing pranks and putting her down. The nurses decide to embarrass Sayler by having her put chapstick on a new coma victim. Turns out he isn’t in a coma and when he wakes up to find Sayler hovering over him the fun really begins. The book is done in two parts, I really enjoyed each section and thought the story was a lot of fun. It has its cheesy parts, but overall it was a cute, clean romance.


Bookworm Rating: 4.5

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To Echo the Past by Marcia Lynn McClure

Genre: Western Romance

Publication Date: 2005

One Word Review: Cute

Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com

GoodReads Synopsis: As her family abandoned the excitement of the city for the uneventful lifestyle of a small, western town, Brynn Clarkston's worst fears were realized. Stripped of her heart's hopes and dreams, Brynn knew true loneliness. Until an ordinary day revealed a heavenly oasis in the desert . . . Michael McCall. Handsome and irresistibly charming, Michael McCall (the son of legendary horse breeder Jackson McCall) seemed to offer wild distraction and sincere friendship to Brynn. But could Brynn be content with mere friendship when her dreams of Michael involved so much more?

Kathy’s Review: This was the sequel (kind of) to Desert Fire. It follows the son from Jackson & Annie. I thought it was a cute story, kind of uneventful and a little cookie-cutter. Brynn seemed really similar to a lot of other heroines in McClure books, I kind of wish she had more of a backbone and wasn’t so bashful around Michael. Michael was also a lot like other heroes from McClure books. I did like that they had normal names, and even though it was predictable it was still enjoyable. The “drama” at the end seemed a little random, not enough build up and was over pretty quickly. Not my favorite McClure book, but still cute.


Bookworm Rating: 3

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Desert Fire by Marcia Lynn McClure

Genre: Western Romance

Publication Date: 2005

One Word Review: Cute

Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com

First Line: She felt something on her face.

Kathy’s Review: The book starts with our main character waking up with amnesia with a very handsome man rescuing her from dying in the desert. He takes her back to his family and slowly her memories begin to come back. As her memories return she realizes that she is in danger and on the run.

I really enjoyed this story, it was a quick, fun read. I liked Annie (I prefer to call her Annie rather than her real name…Malania), she was spunky and held her own. While she does fall for Jackson quickly, its believable and their relationship progress at a nice pace. I liked Jackson, he was a good leading man and even though he was rough around the edges he was a softy at heart. There were quite a few close calls for Jackson, six times saving Annie may have been a bit too much. It also seemed to be a little less cheesy then some of the other McClure books I've read. The story really reminded me of Marcia’s other book Weathered Too Young; the storylines seemed a little too similar. Overall, a cute western romance.


Bookworm Rating: 4

A Most Unusual Governess by Amanda Grange

Genre: Regency

Publication Date: 2001

One Word Review: Forgettable

Author Website: www.amandagrange.com

First Line: Out with it, Constance!

GoodReads Synopsis: The death of her parents has more thanthe usual devastating consequences for Sarah Davenport. She swiftly answers Lady Templeton's advertisement for a companion, and, deemed too young for the role, finds herself instead the governess to Lady Templeton's great-niece. But trouble looms with the return of the children's guardian, Lord Randall, who is furious to find the children are having fun under the outspoken rule of their feisty governess. Discovering that she is the unwilling target of tutor Mr Haversage's lecherous attentions is bad enough, but, worse still, Sarah realizes that she is irresisitibly drawn to Lord Randall, who has made it perfectly clear that he desires a quite, biddable girl for a wife.

Kathy’s Review: I was actually underwhelmed with this one, not sure how I pushed myself through it. The plot was okay and I did want to like it. I got a little tired of the POV changes so frequently and without any smooth transitions. I personally don’t mind a couple different POV if it’s rotating chapters, but when it’s done multiple times during a chapter it drives me crazy. I also felt like there were too many explanations, like James and Sarah would be having a conversation and then the conversation would be explained. It was just an okay read, but forgettable.


Bookworm Rating: 2

The Whispered Kiss by Marcia Lynn McCure

Genre: Fairytale Retelling/Romance

Publication Date: January 2008

One Word Review: Good

Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com

First Line: Antoine de Bellamont sat trembling in the prescence of the dark Lord of Roanan.

GoodReads Synopsis: With the sea at its side, the beautiful township of Bostchelan was home to many-including the lovely Coquette de Bellamont, her three sisters, and beloved father. In Bostchelan, Coquette knew happiness, and as much contentment as a young woman whose heart had been broken years before could know. Thus, Coquette dwelt in gladness until the day her father returned from his travels with an astonishing tale to tell. Antoine de Bellamont returned from his travels by way of Roanan bearing a tale of such great adventure to hardly be believed. Further, at the center of Antoine's story loomed a man-the dark Lord of Roanan. Known for his cruel nature, heartlessness, and tendency to violence, the Lord of Roanan had accused Antoine de Bellamont of wrong doing and demanded recompense. Antoine had promised recompense would be paid-with the hand of his youngest daughter in marriage. Thus, Coquette found herself lost-thrust onto a dark journey of her own. This journey would find her carried away to Roanan Manor-delivered into the hands of the dark and mysterious Lord of Roanan who dominated it.

Kathy’s Review: This was a fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It followed a lot of the same original plot, with some added tweaks. I liked Coquette’s character, and thought her relationship with the Lord of Roanan was fun to read. I was sad about her relationship with her family, especially her father, but I guess that was kind of the point. I read this awhile ago and cant rememeber the things that bothered me about the book; overall I did really enjoy it. If you like retellings then I think you would enjoy this!
Bookworm Rating: 4

Similar Reads:
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Belle by Cameron Dokey
Beauty by Robin McKinley

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Highwayman of Tanglewood by Marcia Lynn McClure

Genre: Romance

Publication Date: August 2008

One Word Review: Good

Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com

GoodReads Synopsis: A chambermaid in the house of Tremeshton, Faris Shayhan well knew torment, despair and trepidation. To Faris it seemed the future stretched long and desolate before herbleak and as dark as a lonesome midnight path. Still, the moon oft casts hopeful luminosity to light ones way. So it was that Lady Maranda Rockrimmon cast hope upon Farisset Faris upon a different patha path of happiness, serenity and love. Faris abandoned the tainted air of Tremeshton in favor of the amethyst sunsets of Loch Loland Castle and her new mistress Lady Rockrimmon. Further, it was on the very night of her emancipation that Faris first met the man of her dreamsthe man of every womans dreams the rogue Highwayman of Tanglewood. Dressed in black and astride his mighty steed, the brave, heroic and dashing rogue Highwayman of Tanglewood stole Faris heart as easily as he stole her kiss. Yet, the Highwayman of Tanglewood was encircled in mysterymystery as thick and as secretive as time itself. Could Faris truly own the heart of a man so entirely enveloped in twilight shadows and dangerous secrets

Kathy’s Review: I actually finished this one earlier in the week and have finally found a second to sit down and write a review. I think this may have been my favorite McClure book so far. I really enjoyed the story; it has a Robin Hood/Zorro feel to it. It has adventure, mystery, and of course romance. I guess I’ve gotten used to the “cheese factor” in McClure’s books, to the point I hardly notice it anymore. The characters still have odd names, but their personalities are very likable. I thought our leading lady Faris was a great heroine. I liked her from the beginning, I also liked that she addresses the issues of how fast she falls for the Highwayman of Tanglewood. It drives me crazy in stories when couple meet once or twice and are then declaring their undying love. At least in this story they talked about it and it was believable. As for our mystery man, I figure it out right away, but it was still fun reading about him. I liked him in his “true” character as well as the Highwayman. Overall, a very enjoyable read and would recommend it to anyone. McClure’s are a little addicting, they have fun stories, good romances and I find myself wanting to read more and more.
Bookworm Rating: 4.5
 
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