Friday, July 26, 2013

What I’ve (been) Reading, July 26, 2013

It’s been a slow week of reading for me (you try reading when you’re only a month away from your wedding…it’s difficult), but fortunately, while the numbers were low the quality was exceptionally high. So, here’s my brief, but rich list of reads this week.

Cress by Marissa Meyer (releases 2/4/14)
Don’t you just hate me for starting with a book that isn’t going to be released until next year?! Yeah, I know, I kind of hate me too, especially since I’m itching to read the next book in the series…so there, I have to wait even longer than you dear reader. But, I digress; Cress, which is the third book in the stellar Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer (behind Cinder and Scarlet), is a brilliant and action filled twist on the Rapunzel story. As with the first two books, Meyer cleverly works pieces of the popular fairy tale into her science fiction/fantasy series. Cress, who has spent the formative years of her life imprisoned on a satellite floating above Earth teams up with Cinder and her fellow rebels to save the world from the manipulative and sociopathic Lunar Queen Levana. This third installment is edge of your seat fun, a perfect lead-in for the fifth and final book Winter. I literally cannot wait to finish this series; it’s deceptively fantastic, and sure to appeal to genre fans young and old. It’s my hope that people will go out now, pick up Cinder and Scarlet, and then swarm to their local independent book store to pick-up Cress come February.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (releases 10/1/13)
The Rosie Project, already an international sensation, comes to the US in October and you should be ready. A novel that takes the romantic comedy and spins it on its head, The Rosie Project is a book that I dare you to not fall in love with. I loved this book so much that there will be a full review of it on this blog come Sept. 26th, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my own brief description of the plot (a sneak from my full review):

 Genetics professor Don Tillman is a remarkable man. He’s a master martial artist, wonderful cook, an associate professor at a prestigious university, and can literally accomplish anything he programs his mind to do. So, when this paper perfect man sets out to find the perfect wife, success is inevitable—right? The thing about Don is, that well, he’s a bit different. He lives according to a rigid schedule, has a brain like a computer, and doesn’t quite see the world like the rest of us do. In fact, though it’s never outright stated, Don most likely has undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome. So when Don, a man who thinks a computer survey, aka The Wife Project, can produce for him the perfect match, things are bound to go a bit awry, especially when your throw in a girl like Rosie. Rosie is everything Don is not looking for—she smokes, is a vegetarian, arrives late, and completely throws out Don’s schedules. She upheaves his entire life, drawing him into a search for her biological father using genetic testing, and showing him things he’s never taken the time to process before. In short, Rosie is nothing that Don wants, but everything he needs. Thus begins The Rosie Project.

How to Love by Katie Cotugno (releases 10/1/13)
My fall release teasers continue with debut author Katie Cotugno’s How to Love. This teen love story is compulsively readable. With each chapter switching back and forth from present day to 2 years prior, How to Love follows the story of Reena and Sawyer, two teens inextricably tied together, first through their parents’ friendship/business partnership, and then through a mess of a relationship. When Sawyer suddenly disappears he leaves 16-year-old Reena pregnant and alone, only to resurface 2 years later, ready to make amends and rekindle their tenuous romance. Maybe I was in a mood, but I just blew through this book. It’s an easy and absorbing book, perfect for cozy read in bed. I enjoyed it like one enjoys an Adam Sandler comedy, it turns your brain off and entertains, but once I put it down I was able to let it sit, and came to the realization that really, this was just a glorified Harlequin Super Romance, albeit published by HarperCollins and aimed at teens. I do have a slight issue with the ages they put on this book—14 & up—maybe I’m a prude, but the writing and the way the plot is laid out is a bit mature, more of an adult chick-lit that appeals to college age women than young high schoolers/8th graders. It just doesn’t read as a teen or “young adult” novel for me. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to a 14-year-old, but that’s just me. Overall, this is eminently readable brain candy, with just enough of an emotional stake to get you a little weepy. Nothing literary here, and the writing is just so-so, but if you want a little break from reality, take it with How to Love.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (out now)
I’m a little late to this game. It’s an international bestseller and soon to be a film, but hey—unless I’m on it first, I just hate to read the book that everyone is talking about. Seriously, it took me until well after book four was out to read Harry Potter; I even started it and put it down for a year. The Hunger Games—yeah, I had Advanced Reading Copies of both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, but didn’t start them until Mockingjay came out. Thank God I started reading Twilight well before anyone knew who Stephenie Meyer was, and Divergent—I read that months before it was released; otherwise I never would have touched those books (please, no Twilight jokes…yes the movies sucked, but I liked the books a lot, they were fun). So, it’s with no real surprise that I have only just finished John Green’s much touted YA novel The Fault in Our Stars. Green is a capable writer, and main character Hazel’s voice is fresh and invigorating. Yet, it’s not the book as a whole that captured my attention, it’s the moments, much like our lives are made of moments, coming together to create a narrative that in the end, had my attention, and my appreciation. I could go on, fumbling about with my own psychoanalysis on life, and how it’s made up, not of grand gestures, but small, seemingly unimportant actions (and I actually did that, but deleted it—who needs my pseudointellectual ramblings?), but I think we all know that already. Instead I will say, read The Fault in Our Stars, not because it will be the best book you have ever read—it is not—but because there are enough of those quietly poignant moments to make it a time well spent..

Happy reading everyone.

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