Tag Archives: dystopia

Book Review: Rise of Chaos by Griffin Smith

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More 3.5 stars, this season starts out in what appears to be a typical story line for a zombie novel but quickly turns into a unique story of survival.

If I could sum this season up in one word it would be “exciting”. It’s action packed from beginning to end and has all the elements that make a zombie story so much fun. The protagonists are going from one disaster to the next with barely any down time which made this book a breeze to get through.

The unique storyline, pitting world powers against each other, made for an entertaining and well thought out novel. The introduction of “super” zombies was a great addition.

What would have made this story even better for me would have been more character development. I didn’t have any feelings one way or the other for any of the group characters. Their interactions seemed forced and they often said things that seemed off base, especially the main female character. She wasn’t relatable at all. However, the military interaction and dialog was dead on. I actually liked those parts a lot more than I thought I would.

If you’re a zombie fan, this is one worth adding to your TBR list.

I want to thank Griffin Smith for providing me a copy of this book for review – I’m looking forward to what you have in store next!

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A Year of Reading Recap – 2012

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What would the New Year be without a look back at the old one? Here’s a recap of my year of reading 2012.

I’ve had the opportunity to read so many wonderful books this year. I surpassed my reading goal of 75 and reached an all time high of 117. 1Q84 was the longest book I read, 945 pages. I think that made the all-time high also. I gave mostly 3 and 4 stars with only 14 making the 5 star distinction, which makes me think I’m a bit too picky and hard to please. I had two books that were so terrible I couldn’t finish them and I’m still cursing about wasting my time on them.

I read more memoirs this year than ever. People are truly interesting and in some cases their stories are stranger than fiction. I cried more this year than ever too. Some of the stories were just so heartbreaking. I’m pretty sure I blubbered through more of The Art of Racing in the Rain than I’m willing to fess up to. Dogs dying in books seemed to be a common theme this year. I seriously cannot take anymore of that!

I had a zombie run and it was a great one. Zombies are the new vampires. Super cool! If I were giving an award for best cover it would go to My Life as a White Trash Zombie. As Steven Martin said in Father of the Bride, “Bitchin!” That cover earns the Bitchin award. (if there were such a thing) Patrick Ness is my favorite author of 2012. Reading his book has inspired both my children and me.

Historical fiction is still my favorite genre. Mixing fiction in with a history lesson makes learning fun even at my age.

Out of the 117 books I’ve read this year, here’s my top 10 favorites:

1. Wilderness: A Novel by Lance Weller
2. Chaos Walking: A Trilogy by Patrick Ness
3. The Wild Girl by Jim Fergus
4. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
5. Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo
6. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
7. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
9. The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon’s Court by by Michelle Moran
10. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

My goals for 2013 are much the same. I’m upping my reading goal to 100. I think I can manage it without feeling too pressured. I’m going to do my best not to purchase books this year. I have probably 75 on my bookshelf waiting to be read and they deserve my love and attention. “Try” is the main word here.

I’m going to give a State Challenge a go and will be book blogging my way through the US. I hope you’ll join me along the way! Every book is an adventure and it’s so much more fun when you’re along!

I wish each of you a New Year filled with joy, happiness and many, many great books!

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!


The National Book Festival – Experiencing the Author Pavillions

The best thing about the National Book Festival is the opportunity to see and hear authors whose books we all cherish. We weren’t able to enjoy as many authors as I had hoped but next year I’ll plan differently to maximize the number of author I get to see.

The first author we listened to was Walter Isaacson in the History/Biography tent. Mr. Isaacson has written many books about great men who have accomplished great things. His speech at the Festival centered around three great men including Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and of course, his most recent subject, Steve Jobs.

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He told us how these three very different men had some things in common including their love for beauty, simplicity and curiosity and their ability to, as Steve Jobs would put it, “think different”. He told of Franklin’s salient traits of tolerance and common ground. He spoke of Jobs’ determination to make the best product he could make. He explained how they followed their passion and were a part of something larger than themselves.

He was impassioned by his subjects. He was humorous at times, telling some of the stories of his days following around Jobs. He had a good message for the youth of today, or all of us for that matter, that following your passion, being a part of something you truly believe in, can be your greatest gift.

After each author finishes speaking there is a Q & A session where they take a few questions from individuals. The questions asked centered around Steve Jobs. Mr. Isaacson was professional with his answers.

This was a great author to start off our day!

Since my son came with me, we devoted much of our time to authors he enjoyed in his elementary years. We listened in as R. L. Stine entertained little ones at the Family Storytelling Stage. He told them a story encouraging their participation along the way. Mr. Stine has a new Goosebumps series, Goosebumps Most Wanted, coming out. You can read my review of the first book in the series here.

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Our next stop was the Teens & Children tent to see Lois Lowry. When we got there Walter Dean Myers was finishing up his speech and starting the Q & A session. I wasn’t familiar with this author but you could tell he was popular by the sheer number of people crowded into the tent. From the questions that were asked we could tell this author has inspired many youth.

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We thought the crowd was huge for Walter Dean Myers. That crowd swelled for Lois Lowry who is obviously beloved by many. Her new book, a part of The Giver series is due out soon and was actually for sale at the Festival. I found it interesting that she wrote The Giver, which has been put in the sci-fi or dystopian genre, but doesn’t consider herself a reader of that genre.

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The last author we caught for the day was Donna Britt. I was not familiar with her but could quickly see that she is a strong female voice. She told the heartbreaking story of her brother’s death and the impact it had on her. The background behind her actually fell over and almost hit her during the first part of her speech. She was very graceful and didn’t let that incident deter her from delivering her message.

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It was wonderful to see all these great authors converge in one place!


Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

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Action packed and conspiracy filled, Legend is a fun read sure to please YA dystopian fans.

From Goodreads:
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

This book was a lot of fun to read. It’s told from a split perspective between June and Day, two super smart teenagers from different sides of dystopian Los Angeles. Events unfold and their two worlds converge and join them in a common cause, survival.

This book was very entertaining. One great thing about it is the ability to appeal to both male and female readers. It’s the typical theme, extremely smart teenagers (who are treated like adults) raging against the government. With a little romance thrown in, it has some tender moments but doesn’t get too syrupy sweet.

It has the potential to be something different. One thing that would have brought this story outside the box would have been more detail and character depth. It was just too short for all that was going on. I wanted to know more about Day’s background and how he came to be the rebel he is. Many questions were left unanswered. I know this is due to it being the first in a series and the author is spreading it out over the course of a few books, but I really wanted a bit more.

The ending was a great opening for the next book and will hopefully open the story up and make it stand out.

Overall, an entertaining good book for this genre.

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Goodreads Live Video Chat with Ernest Cline

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Goodreads will be hosting a live video chat with Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One, on Tuesday, June 12th at 2 pm eastern. RSVP HERE.

You will love Ready Player One if one of the following applies to you:

– You love video games
– You love the 80’s
– You love anything retro
– You love dystopia themed novels
– You love science fiction
– You are a nerd, a closet nerd, or not a nerd at all
– You are a teenage boy, a 30 something woman or any other age
– You are alive and can read

This book is that awesome. It was one of my rare 5 stars of 2011. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, get to it!


Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Medium: Audiobook

Divergent by it’s very definition means drawing apart from a common point. I only gave this book 3 stars due to the fact that it was anything but divergent from many other popular female character based YA dystopian fiction.

The book centers around a 16 year old girl named Beatrice who lives with her family in 1 of 5 factions. In a coming of age ceremony she has to choose 1 of the factions as her home where she will live and work during her adult life. Of course, all is not as peaceful as it seems and it’s up to Beatrice to save the day.

The book was well written and action packed with most of the chapters spent on her initiation period and the trials and tribulations of fitting in. She deals with friendships, love, bullying and literally faces some of her greatest fears. It was interesting to see her go from weak to empowered. From shying away from intimacy to craving it.

But, it seemed so familiar that at times a felt like tuning out. I felt like I already read parts of it. From all the hype, I was expecting more. There weren’t enough plot twists, no shocking revelations and was fairly predictable.

It was really good. Just not different enough to stand out and make me say “WOW”.


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