Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bunch of Mini Reviews 4: Another Library Edition

I have another round of mini reviews for you! Once again, this features three library books...and they couldn't be more different. I've got a dystopian YA, a women's fiction, and a mystery that turns out to have been written by J.K. Rowling. It's always good to have a little variety in life, right? And happily, all three of these novels were really good reads!

Divergent - Veronica Roth (synopsis)
This is another one of those YA novels that's been on my radar for ages but I just didn't feel like picking it up. I didn't really think I'd enjoy it and I had all sorts of other (adult) books to read. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started reading it because I couldn't remember what it was about (I don't reread the synopsis before starting a book), I just knew that I wanted to see what all the excitement was about. Plus, the fact that it's being made into a movie helped make me finally read it.
The world we see in Divergent is similar to one that we've seen in other novels - a sort of post-apocalyptic/dystopian America that has found a new way to govern themselves, usually by separating the citizens into groups. In this book, we find ourselves in what used to be Chicago. I mention this because I enjoyed the little references that gave away the location. But we don't really know what the rest of the world (aka the US) is up to and how they're managing.
I really liked Tris. I don't know if I'd say she's a great female character (she's a little hard on herself when it comes to her looks, which I think is ridiculous and is a trend with these types of books) but she's definitely not the worst. She discovers a strength in herself that she didn't realize she had but she struggles with it too.
Was I completely obsessed with this book like so many others are? Not really. I didn't want to put it down, though, and I'm eager to read the next two books. I think it's probably best to go into reading this one without comparing it to any of the other, similar, series out there. Enjoy it for it what it is on its own. Divergent was a really enjoyable read and a great book to pick up if you're looking to start a new series.

Big Girl Panties - Stephanie Evanovich (synopsis)
I was looking forward to reading this novel because I wanted a good, sort of light, funny read. I was worried though because a fellow blogger tried to read this book and couldn't get past the first few chapters. Happily, I found that Evanovich delivered what I was looking for and I really enjoyed reading this book.
I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that Logan's friend Chase played baseball for the New York Kings. Not the Yankees but the Yankees. Confused? I know baseball and I know the AL East well since I live in Canada and that's the division our only team is in. What I can't understand is why the author named the Blue Jays and the Red Sox but decided to rename the Yankees. My first thought was that there's some sort of copyright situation and she'd have to pay a bazillion dollars to use the name. If so, naming them the Kings? Is that because she truly believes the team to be the King of the MLB? Because if it is, I feel like I should dislike her and her book on principle! ;) Or is it because she was writing about a fictional player she thought she should rename the team? All I know is that I'm way too interested in this aspect of the novel. I NEED TO KNOW!
Thinking back on it, there were some aspects of the novel (mostly characteristics of Holly and Logan) that were a tad...irksome, let's say. It frustrated me that Logan was being so stupidly shallow and I thought she deserved better than that. She was doing so well and moving on with her life and I was worried Logan would end up being a world class jerk and hurt her. I could see that they had chemistry, though, and they were good when they were together so I was rooting for them to figure out their problems.
I think you'll enjoy this novel if you go in expecting exactly what it is - a humorous women's fiction novel. It's so much more than the romance between Holly and Logan. It's about being good to yourself and figuring out what you want in life. It was sweet, not too heavy, and quite funny at times. In fact, I was reminded of Jennifer Weiner at times while reading this book. Mostly because Weiner has written about heroines who have weight issues but also because of the tone of the novel itself. Big Girl Panties should be on your end of summer reading list!

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith (synopsis)
Once the news broke that this novel was actually written by J.K. Rowling I hopped on over to my library's site and reserved it. I was lucky as I was twelfth in line. A few days later the requests were up past 80! They only had one copy though so I had to wait patiently for my turn with this book.
I had no idea what to expect with this novel. I don't read a lot of  mystery/detective stories but I told myself that since I enjoy movies like that every once and awhile, I would probably like the book. Turns out I was right. The novel was fabulous.
I think the best part was the mystery itself. If you've read Harry Potter you know that Rowling gave tons of little hints throughout the series that you didn't realize were hints until you finished the last book. This novel was like that too. I had no idea who could be the murderer and I was anxious to figure it out. I, for one, was surprised to find out the truth at the end. It was great! Er, as great as things could be when there are possible murderers hanging around...
I must say that it did take me a little while to read this book. It's not slow, exactly, but there's a lot of investigating that needs to be done that I think slows things down. All the info that's uncovered is interesting but you have no idea how it fits into the overall story.
If you're at all interested in the story pick up The Cuckoo's Calling. It was a really well told and interesting detective story and I hope Rowling continues with the series. I'd like to see what Strike and Robin get up to next!

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