Time for some book reviews…

I’m the first person to admit I don’t like to write book reviews. It feels a little too much like writing a book report, and I hated doing those for school, so I’m sure as heck not going to do one for fun.

But I love hearing what other people thought of books, and I routinely buy books based on other people’s opinions, so I thought I’d share a few of mine.

Standard disclaimers apply: I bought these books with my own money, no one made me write this, I find calling these actual “reviews” hilarious, if it burns, see a doctor.

The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I downloaded it to my Kindle at 7pm last night, and I finished before 8am this morning. I couldn’t put it down. My husband says I have a brother fetish, but that’s not true. I will say I’m intrigued by the brotherly dynamic, mostly because I’ve never been around brothers at all. I had one brother, my husband only has sisters, and really, the only brothers I’ve ever seen interrelate are my stepson and my son. They’re 13 and 3, so I have a ways to go before I can get any novel fodder from their relationship.

But I’m also intrigued by people who serve in the military, people who have the guts to put aside everything that’s important to them personally to serve their community as a whole. I admire that a great deal, and this book explores what it costs them. The book opens when Boaz, a marine, returns from spending 3 years at war, and his family isn’t sure how to relate to him — and he’s not sure how to relate to them either. It’s told entirely from the point of view of his younger brother, Levi, who, at 17, is struggling to find out what it means to be a man, and misses the brother he once looked up to. The book is gripping on many levels, and I highly recommend it. There’s a tiny bit of language in the book, but I think it’s appropriate for anyone over 12.

Right Behind You by Gail Giles
This book intrigued me right from the premise. A young boy struggling with his mother’s breast cancer diagnosis is helping his dad in the garage, when his snotty neighbor stops by to heckle him. He snaps, throws gasoline on the other kid, and flicks a lighter. The snotty neighbor dies, and the main character goes to a juvenile detention center.

That’s just the first chapter. The book goes on to explore his detention and eventual release, and his attempt to assimilate into society after such a horrific act at such a young age. The voice was right on in this one. Right on. I wanted to find this kid and give him a hug.

The subject matter seems heavy, but you’ll feel for this kid from the first page, I promise you. Probably better for 14 and up.

Matched by Allie Condie
Yes, I’ll admit it. I bought this book because of all the hype. (I mean, seriously, wasn’t that the whole point?)

It wasn’t bad. I know there are a lot of people out there saying, “What’s all the hype about?” and that’s not fair. The book is a good, solid read, and it kept me thinking long after I put it down. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the romance, but I was intrigued by the society, and I was especially impressed by seeing different “stations” of life, from official to menial laborer, from daughter to grandparent to brother to friend. The last 30% of this book was the best, but if you’re picking it up to find the next Twilight, this ain’t it.

It will definitely make you think. I can tell you that.

Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
I loved this book.

I’m going to be up front and say I was so over vampires it wasn’t even funny. I never wanted to read another vampire book, I never wanted to see another fang, I was just done done DONE with the frigging angst and bloodlust already.

But I loved this book.

I’m living proof that Twitter sells books, because I bought this book after a random stranger was raving about it on Twitter. And the praise was deserved. The heroines (yes, there are two) are clever and funny, and I loved them both. The romance and action received equal attention, and the story definitely moved. The story slowed down the teensiest bit when we learned a bit of the family history, but it was kind of like slowing down for a sharp curve on the highway — as soon as you straighten out the wheel, you can pound the accelerator.

The vampire mythology at work here is clever (they’re born but go through the “bloodchange” in their teens), there’s a whole cadre of brothers (hello, Brigid’s obsession), and the dialogue is so smart it made me laugh out loud in several places.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. It’s on bargain at Amazon right now. (I love that I can link right from a post like this now.)

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Holy crap. And I mean that in a good way.

The writing is incredible. Another one I finished in less than 12 hours.

I can’t imagine the emotional trauma the author must have felt to write this. It’s not for the faint of heart: it’s written from the point of view of a 15 year old girl who was kidnapped at age 10 by a pedophile, and she’s been held prisoner by him ever since. I don’t know that I’d recommend this book for anyone under 16, but now I’m thinking back to the girl I was at 14, and I would have torn through this book. Use your judgment.

This book will haunt you. It will sit with you. You will put it down and you won’t be able to stop thinking about it. You will look at other people and wonder. You will look at other children and wonder.

You will look at your children and you will guard them like a hawk.

How about you guys? Any good recommendations for me?

7 thoughts on “Time for some book reviews…

  1. I’ve got Matched on request at the library. Condie’s a local for us, and I’m sure the Utah religious climate helped with the background in this book. Can’t wait to read it.
    You know I frequently have book reviews up on my blog, but a really good one that I never got around to reviewing was Dark Life by Kat Falls. Excellent.
    Plain Kate is superb, too, but you can read reviews of that anywhere.

  2. I’m a late-comer to your reading habits, so forgive me if I’m behind. Have you read any Octavia Butler? Definitely one of my favorite writers. Kindred is one of the best books I’ve ever read, dealing with gender/race/power issues from a unique perspective. Although you’re sick of vampires, Fledgling is worth a read.

  3. I just got Matched in the mail yesterday and I’ve been dying to read it because of the hype. Thanks for the other book reviews. I now can’t wait to read Living Dead Girl.

    I bought Anna and the French Kiss yesterday and I was so sucked in that I read it half a day. It’s sweet and adorable and I’d definitely recommend it.

  4. Hi! Thanks for the reviews, I’m definitely going to look for them. You should read The Shifters series by Rachel Vincent. Its got Stray, Rogue, Pride, Prey, Shift, and Alpha in it. This is a fantastic series about werecats (you know, humans that turn into big black cats). Its a fantastic series that follows a young sassy -at times, vicious- woman as she has to deal with things like love triangles, stray cats (no they are not sad, but cute cats that you would feel sorry for, they are nasty) and clan wars. This is a really good (not that teenish) series that deals with adultish issues and I think you would really, really enjoy it. READ IT, READ IT, READ IT! 🙂

  5. Sorry, same anonymous. I forgot to mention that the Shifters series has a whole heap of brothers in it, just because you seem to like stories with brothers in them. 🙂

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