Monday, August 29, 2011

What I've Been Reading

I've been reading so many books lately that I thought I'd talk about a few of them in one post rather than reviewing each one individually. All of these books were good in different ways as you can see by their ratings.

1. Married with Zombies (Living with the Dead #1) by Jesse Petersen
A heartwarming tale of terror in the middle of the zombie apocalypse.

Meet Sarah and David.

Once upon a time they met and fell in love. But now they're on the verge of divorce and going to couples' counseling. On a routine trip to their counselor, they notice a few odd things - the lack of cars on the highway, the missing security guard, and the fact that their counselor, Dr. Kelly, is ripping out her previous client's throat.

Meet the Zombies.

Now, Sarah and David are fighting for survival in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. But, just because there are zombies, doesn't mean your other problems go away. If the zombies don't eat their brains, they might just kill each other.
This is the type of book people love to hate, but I really enjoyed it. I like the way it was written and found it to be quite funny. I also really enjoyed Sarah and David's relationship. I don't know if I'll read any of the other books, but this is a prime example of how to write a humorous zombie book without being trite.

Rating: 6. Good, but might not be for everyone

2. Bumped (Bumped #1) by Megan McCafferty
When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.
This book had everything that Wither was missing. The biggest and most obvious being a reasonable explanation for why young people are so obsessed with having children (the biggest problem with Wither for me). McCafferty did a good job with world building and creating something I could easily imagine myself. I also thought she did a good job of giving both sisters different voices. Too often books with multiple POVs sound too alike, but this book handled it well. For me Melody's story was actually the most interesting of the two sisters. Even though it may seem like the less...flashy of the two journeys, it felt more authentic. Harmony was really hard for me to connect to and I have to admit I was happy when she was suffering. My biggest complaint is was the ending. I thought the story could be better tied together and I'm not sure I'm sold on what McCafferty seems to be planning for Harmony. Still, Bumped is one of the more interesting YA dystopias I've read lately.

Rating: 7. Very good

3. Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan
Judy and Kyle Renneker are sixteen-year-old fraternal twins in a rambling family of nine. They have a prickly history with each other and are, at least from Judy's perspective, constantly in fierce competition. Kyle has recently come out of the closet to his family and feels he might never know what it's like to date a guy. Judy, who has a history of pretending to be something she isn't in order to get what she wants, is pretending to be born-again in order to land a boyfriend who heads his own bible study.

When their parents announce that the family is going to be taking in a fellow student for a month so that he can finish the school year before moving away, both Kyle and Judy can't help but sit up and take notice. Garret Johnson, who is taking temporary residence in the newly finished attic, is a young man who moved into town less than a year ago and who is a mysterious, goth loner . . . and claims to be a vampire. He's not an easy person to get to know by any means, but the twins find him (to varying degrees) both strange and alluring.

Gemini Bites explores what it means to pretend to be something you aren't, what happens when that backfires, and how in-your-face honesty is almost always the best course of action.
I just HAD to check out this book after reading The Book Smuggler's review. I'm always on the lookout for books with LGBT protagonists and even though I don't generally like contemporary fiction, this book seemed quirky enough for me. And boy did Ryan deliver. Though this book was fairly short and straightforward, Ryan's writing was wonderful to read. Kyle was by far my favorite twin and I found him surprisingly funny and honest. While Judy is the one who really shows the most growth, Kyle stole my heart. This is the kind of book you can turn to when other books let you down or you just need something enjoyable to read.

Rating: 8. Excellent – some laughing and/or crying involved

4. In The Forests of Serre by Patricia A. McKillip
In the tales of World Fantasy Award-winning author Patricia McKillip, nothing is ever as it seems. A mirror is never just a mirror; a forest is never just a forest. Here, it is a place where a witch can hide in her house of bones and a prince can bargain with his heart...where good and evil entwine and wear each others' faces... and where a bird with feathers of fire can quench the fiercest longing...
If you're looking for a book that's straightforward then this is not the book for you. I always get the impression when reading McKillip that she's weaving a story just for me. This isn't to say that this book is tailored to me likes, it's just that her books have a singular quality about them. While her books won't be for everyone, anyone who wants to get lost in a fantasy book that reads like an old fairy tale will enjoy this book.

Rating: 6. Good, but might not be for everyone

5. Tomorrow, When the War Began (Tomorrow #1) by John Marsden
When Ellie and her friends go camping, they have no idea they're leaving their old lives behind forever. Despite a less-than-tragic food shortage and a secret crush or two, everything goes as planned. But a week later, they return home to find their houses empty and their pets starving. Something has gone wrong--horribly wrong. Before long, they realize the country has been invaded, and the entire town has been captured--including their families and all their friends. Ellie and the other survivors face an impossible decision: They can flee for the mountains or surrender. Or they can fight.
Can you believe it took me this long to get around to reading this book? This book is often mentioned as one of the better YA dystopia books and I can see why now. The story was interesting without being moralizing and it was easy to sympathize with the characters. My only real complaint is that Marsden didn't explain things nearly as clearly as he should have. And after discovering there are seven books in this series I understand why he held so much back. But rather then making me want to read the next book, I've decided one is quite enough. I mean seven books? Harry Potter you are not.

Rating: 6. Good, but might not be for everyone

2 comments:

  1. You would think with all the college reading I have to do, I'd be less enthusiastic about recreational reading. It's working opposite though and I've been wanting to read so many books. I just read Something Borrowed yesterday afternoon and loved it. Bumped sounds really good. I need to see if I can find a copy of it at the library.

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  2. I'm exactly the same. I think it's cause reading gets you in the mood for more reading. Lol that sounds silly but I'm sure you know what I mean.

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