Friday, November 29, 2013

The Diamond of Darkhold (Book of Ember #4) by Jeanne DuPrau

Read: November 25-29, 2013
read in 4 days
pages: 285

The Diamond of Darkhold (Book of Ember, #4)

Book blurb:

It's been several months since Lina and Doon escaped the dying city of Ember and, along with the rest of their people, joined the town of Sparks. Lina knows they are lucky to be there, but life aboveground is hard. Instead of opening a can for dinner, they must plant and harvest their food. And while there was no sun or moon in Ember's sky, neither was there rain, sleet, or wind. Now, in the middle of their first winter, Lin finds herself feeling homesick for her old city.

It's during this dark time that Doon finds an unusual book. Torn up and missing most of its pages, it alludes to a mysterious device, a piece of technology from before the Disaster. Doon becomes convinced that the Builders of Ember meant for them to find the device when they left the city, to help them in their new lives. Together, Lina and Doon must go back underground to retrieve what was lost and bring light to a dark world.

In the fourth Book of Ember, bestselling author Jeanne DuPrau juxtaposes yet another action-packed adventure with powerful themes of hope, learning, and the search for truth.

The final book to the series was a nice wrap up of all that had been happening in the series. This was an ending full of hope and shows the wonder of the human spirit and the ability to overcome moments of true darkness. With this final novel we return to Sparks and find Lina and Doon worry once again about the people and their chances of surviving the winter months. They are tired of the struggle and believe there has to be a better way to overcome the hardships they are facing. Once again the two set out to save everyone from disaster and while they bring trouble in their quest they are able to prove they are plenty capable of getting the job done. Overall the series is a nice little escape that proves to be heartwarming as it speaks of hope and of finding the happiness and goodness that is in life. Helps to make you realize that there are hardships in life that are necessary. These are what make life's easy moments so much more happier and special.

The Prophet of Yonwood (Book of Ember #3) by Jeanne DuPrau

Read: November 23-24, 2013
read in two days
pages: 289

The Prophet of Yonwood (Book of Ember, #3)

Book blurb:

It’s 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town’s respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. Her garbled words are taken as prophetic instruction on how to avoid the coming disaster. If only they can be interpreted correctly. . . .

As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman’s mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around town—her great-grandfather’s peculiar journals and papers, a reclusive neighbor who studies the heavens, a strange boy who is fascinated with snakes—all while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Is this vision her chance? Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?

In this prequel to the acclaimed The City of Ember and The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau investigates how, in a world that seems out of control, hope and comfort can be found in the strangest of places.

This along with the first book would have to be my favorite in the series. This was removed from the series by 50 years all prior to the City of Ember and was an attempt to show some of the things that lead up to the need for Ember. Although I really expected to read of the actual events that LEAD to the City of Ember instead this book was a really a sanitized version of what may be happening in one little town that is in the grips of the threat of war. This was a bird's eye view of one town and their way of coping with what could be the end of days. I enjoyed the characters in this story a little more than the characters in the rest of the series, but too it could have been that there was a bit of a change of pace in this book and a change of scenery. I can see the need for this book, but think the placement in the series feels a little awkward as it broke up the continuation of what was happening in Sparks.

The People of Sparks (Book of Ember #2) by Jeanne DuPrau

Read: November 17-23, 2013
read: in a week
pages: 338

The People of Sparks (Book of Ember, #2)

Book blurb:

When Lina and Doon lead their people up from the underground city of Ember, they discover a surface world of color and life. The people of a small village called Sparks agree to help the Emberites, but the villagers have never had to share their world before. Soon differences between the two groups escalate, and it's up to Lina and Doon to find a way to avoid war!

In the riveting sequel to the highly acclaimed The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau explores the nature of conflict and the strength and courage necessary to overcome it.

While the second book did not pull me in quite the same way the first book had, this book was really good as well. It was a nice continuation of the story and really explores the trouble the people of Ember face when they become part of the city of Sparks. With this book there are more characters introduced than just the Doon and Lina. With this installment more people of Ember as well as people of Sparks become more important to the overall story. All of the characters are nice additions to the story and really round things out adding more perspective and views of things as they happen around Sparks.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Four to Score (Stephanie Plum #4) by Janet Evanovich

Read: November 2-17, 2013
read in 15 days
pages: 313

Four to Score (Stephanie Plum, #4)

Book blurb:

Stephanie Plum, Trenton, New Jersey's favorite pistol-packing, condom-carrying bounty hunter, is back - and on the trail of a revenge-seeking waitress who's skipped bail. With the help of 73-year-old Grandma Mazur, ex-hooker Lula, a transvestite musician named Sally Sweet, and the all-too-hospitable, all-too-sexy Joe Morelli, Stephanie might just catch her woman. Then again, with more mishaps than there are exits on the Jersey Turnpike - including murders, firebombs, and Stephanie's arch-rival bounty hunter chasing after the same fugitive - Stephanie better watch her back big-time if she wants to live to crack this case.

These are just humorous little fluffy books that are fun to read when you want something light that requires no brain power whatsoever to really enjoy. I am getting into the series, but admit so far this was not my favorite of the ones I've read. I did like to see Stephanie and Joe have some time together though finally. The wait was long overdue!!

The City of Ember (Book of Ember #1) by Jeanne DuPrau

Read: November 2, 2013
read in a day
pages: 270

The City of Ember (The Ember Series, #1)

Book blurb:

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.

Wow. I can't believe I was so into this book. I really had no idea what to expect, but I was completely blown away and sucked in. The dystopian aspect was a large part of what sucked me in. I love the idea of someone imagining a world different from ours and creating a whole new place. The characters are great. I loved following Lina around and seeing things through her eyes. This is the classic young children/teens taking on the world around them with little help from adults because the adults just don't see the world the same way the young people do. They attempt to get the adults involved, but are turned away and are even hunted as fugitives who are going against the way of Ember. After finishing this book I couldn't wait to start the next book and to get the whole series. I look forward to seeing just what happens to these people as they explore the new world before them. This is highly recommend especially to those who don't really get into science fiction. This is not heavy on the sci-fi but has just enough touches to get you into that world without being overwhelming.

The Testament by John Grisham

Read: October 18- November 1, 2013
read in what felt forever
pages: 535

The Testament

Book blurb:

In a plush Virginia office, a rich, angry old man is furiously rewriting his will. With his death just hours away, Troy Phelan wants to send a message to his children, his ex-wives, and his minions, a message that will touch off a vicious legal battle and transform dozens of lives.

Because Troy Phelan's new will names a sole surprise heir to his elevan-billion-dollar fortune: a mysterious woman named Rachel Lane, a missionary living deep in the jungles of Brazil.

Enter the lawyers. Nate O'Riley is fresh out of rehab, a disgraces corporate attorney handpicked for his last job: to Rachel Lane at any cost. As Phelan's family circles like vultures in D.C., Nate is crashing through Brazilian jungle, entering a world where money means nothing, where death is just one misstep away, and where a woman-- pursued by enemies and friends alike-- holds a stunning surprise of her own....

This was a good read. It was very long, and took me some time to get into. I tried to leave it at work as something to read on my lunch so I wasn't devoting much time to the novel. It was fairly interesting early on though so it held my attention at first. It lost steam and wasn't until I got to the part with Nate on his search in Brazil that I finally took the book home to see what was going on here. I enjoyed the story until I was beat over the head with the importance of Rachel's missionary work and the importance of not being controlled by greed. The family's excessive nature and concerns with Phelan's money was a nice contrast but I just didn't need the overwhelming morality aspect. This was not the ending I was entirely expecting, but it was a good end to the story. Not sure if I'll read more Grisham, I like the law aspect of his writing I could just really do without the strong emphasis on morals.

Touch by Jennifer Snyder

Read: October 6-7, 2013
read in an couple hours
pages: 74

Touch (Reaper, #1)

Book blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Rowan Harper knows her life is forever changed the moment her schizophrenic mother commits suicide. 

What Rowan doesn't realize is how much her mother’s choice altered her own fate. It’s not until after meeting Jet, a sapphire-eyed dead boy, Rowan begins to learn of her new destiny as becoming her mother’s replacement for something she never knew existed. 

I don't really remember too much of this since it has been a while since I read it. I know it was very short and was frustrated that I got tired and stopped at like 85%, stopped and went to bed then when I started reading again I only had a few more pages. Guess I didn't realize there was a bonus story. Either way I didn't read the bonus story because the story I read felt too much like everything else I've been reading lately in the young adult books. Strange boy and slightly out of touch girl fall in love. Nothing new.