Friday, June 29, 2012

Book review: Sisterhood Everlasting

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends,Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

I read all the previous Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants books a long time ago, probably through high school. I don't think you need to reread them to be able to understand and enjoy this final book. It'll be a little hard to discuss this one without spoilers, so I'll be brief.


1. Sisterhood Everlasting is a bit heavier than the other Sisterhood books. The girls are all approaching 30 years old, so the storyline deals with adult plotlines: jobs, marriages, etc. But the story is also very much about grief. So I think you need to be in the right mood to read this one. It's heavy, and parts make you feel heavy, too. But there is love and joy and growth, as well. And you get to feel them too!

2. Carmen is very unlikeable through most of the book. I didn't really like reading her parts. But it's all worth it in the end.

3. I love Bridget. I want to be Bridget.

4. It took me a while to get into this one, but it's so worth the read. If you're a lover of the series, push through. Soon enough the personalities of the characters we love will appear enough to hook you.

That's all, I think. I highly recommend anyone who has read the Sisterhood stories so far read this final book. I ended up loving it.

Have any of you read the Sisterhood series? Have you, or will you, read Sisterhood Everlasting?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book review: Seriously... I'm Kidding

Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

"Sometimes the greatest things are the most embarrassing." Ellen Degeneres' winning, upbeat candor has made her show one of the most popular, resilient and honored daytime shows on the air. (To date, it has won no fewer than 31 Emmys.) Seriously... I'm Kidding, Degeneres' first book in eight years, brings us up to date about the life of a kindhearted woman who bowed out of American Idol because she didn't want to be mean. Lively; hilarious; often sweetly poignant.

Like many of the books I review, I listened to this one on audio. While I think audiobooks often add to the reading experience, this one both added to it, and I think some things were lost in translation. So where I usually don't think it changes how I feel about the book, I might have had a completely different experience had I read the book instead of listening to it.

But I did listen to it. And here's what I thought.

1. Ellen herself reads it. Which is awesome. I love Ellen. So much. It was like hanging out with her for my whole commute. Like I said, awesome.

2. There are a couple chapters she says just don't work for audio. One was about text talk. I don't remember what the other was. But audio listeners miss out on those. Booooo. But! She does have a chapter in there where she just makes funny noises. So I think this one evens out. :)

I laughed. A lot.

But I don't think it's Ellen at her funniest. This, however, may be.

Skip to the end, about 7:16, for my favorite part!

Have any of you read Ellen's books? I'll probably end up checking out her others, just because I love her so. much. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book review: Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Oh man, did I love this book. I rated it four stars, but I might eventually go back and give it five. Really, you should read it.

So I was talking with Amy recently about how a lot of these futuristic, distopian (utopian? I'm never sure what the difference is) books are starting to be similar. And I think books definitely hit trends (vampires, amnesia, and zombies, recently).

This one is not like any I've ever read.

There were constant surprises, and I was sucked into the story the whole time. I loved the characters and found myself rooting for them, which is so important in a book, for you to want the characters to succeed.

I have no list. Just, go read it.

So excited for the next book, Insurgent. Now I just have to wait out the 20-some people who have holds at the library before me...

Have any of you read Divergent? Did you love it too?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Book review: Pandemonium

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2)

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. My review of the first book is here. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Because this is a sequel, my review will automatically involve some spoilers for the first book, Delirium. Read ahead with caution! Or, you know. Throw caution to the wind.

I enjoyed this book a lot while I was reading it. I was entertained the whole time and never wished to be reading something else. But. I liked it way less than I liked Delirium. I don't think Pandemonium is as well thought out or as cohesive as Delirium.


1. Like Delirium, I listened to this one on audiobook. Also like Delirium, it's read by Sarah Drew. Yesss. That's a good thing.

2. This book alternates between "now" and "then." Sometimes, really exciting things were happening and I hated to switch between the now and the then. Actually, that was true a lot of times. I'm not sure I liked that. But sometimes Oliver did a really good job of using one time frame to inform the other one. So that was good. Overall, I'm not sure if I liked the technique. While useful, I think it disrupted the flow of the story.

3. There are a lot of new characters in this book. A girl named Raven stands out the most. She's the first person Lena meets when she's in the wilds and she saves Lena's life, so she becomes a big part of Lena's life. But I wish Raven was more fleshed out. In the "now" parts of the book, which deal with Lena's life about six months after her escape to the wilds, she seems to trust Raven whole heartedly and love Raven. But in the "then" parts, the parts that take place immediately after Lena's escape to the wilds, I never really see Raven earning that trust or affection. She also does something maybe out of character, maybe in character at the end, in a very important part of the book, and I wish we got to learn more about her so we could understand her motivation.

4. The two huge "surprises" of the book? Yeah, saw them coming a mile away. Some of the smaller things still surprised me, but I wasn't in shock like I thought I would be.

All in all, I don't think I'm very happy with how/where this book ended. But that makes me even more eager to read the third book. I do love the characters, and I'm sucked into the story enough to want to read them. But I think this book could have been better.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Book review: Chime

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

Guys. Guuuuuyyyys. I was so excited to read this book. I have a shelf on Goodreads specifically for books that sound really, really good and/or different and/or wonderful and/or intense and this book was living on that shelf. So I checked out the audiobook and popped in the first disc...

and was confused. Really, really confused. For like, all of the first disc and some of the second.

This is my major dislike with the book. I'm not quite sure it's fair--maybe it's just me, maybe I was distracted, whatever. But I remember being confused and wanting to post things on Goodreads with lots of cusswords because I was frustrated with not understanding. (Like "Wtf, idk wtf this book is about." because, you know, I'm super eloquent.)

But. BUT! in the end, I loved this book. Or maybe I lurved it. Since it was read by a British woman.

Things I loved:

1. Rose, Briony's twin sister. We learn very early on that Rose is different. In the book, they phrase it that "She lost her wits." And I freaking loved her. She is very blunt and likes things a certain way and has funny ways of phrasing things. She's always saying things like "My hand prefers to be occupied," or "I prefer that you guess the secret." And the woman who reads the audiobook did a great job with her voice. I'm not sure if Rose is supposed to be funny, but I thought she was hilarious and endearing.

2. The Fraternitus. This was what finally brought me through the confusion. Briony begins to bond with Eldric, the male hero of the story and they create a Bad Boys Fraternity, and I loved it. Billingsley created great natural chemistry, and it was one of the most fun relationships I think I've ever read. There's also a constant Ross-and-Rachel will they or won't they thing going on.

3. The big surprises. Ok, so I figured out one of the surprises waaay before I was supposed to. But! There was another one that I had no idea about!

4. The world Briony lives in is really cool. I like the old ones and Briony's relationship with them. I like that I know it's in the past in England, but I'm not sure exactly when. I like the language Billingsley uses.

5. Billingsley wrote the most convincing drunk character I've ever read. Ever.

Well, there you have it. I tend to give up on books I don't like within the first hundred pages or so (ahem, Fifty Shades of Grey...), but I was mad that I was so confused and so I pushed through. And I'm so glad I did! (I just said "so" four times in two sentences. But I'm leaving it.)

I recommend this book!

Have any of you read Chime? Were you as confused as I was in the beginning?

PS. I went back and re-listened to some of the first disc and I don't really know why I was so confused. So maybe it was just me.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...