Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Blood Approves - Amanda Hocking

Title: My Blood Approves
Author: Amanda Hocking
Format: E-Book

Seventeen-year-old Alice Bonham's life feels out of control after she meets Jack. With his fondness for pink Chuck Taylors and New Wave hits aside, Jack's unlike anyone she's ever met.

Then she meets his brother, Peter. His eyes pierce through her, and she can barely breathe when he's around. Even though he can't stand the sight of her, she's drawn to him.

But falling for two very different guys isn't even the worst of her problems. Jack and Peter are vampires, and Alice finds herself caught between love and her own blood.

Amanda Hocking made a note for herself with her e-book sales of My Blood Approves and its successors, as well as a few other self-published books.  After reading My Blood Approves, I can't understand what all the hustle and bustle was about.  The book reads like a five year old wrote it, was poorly edited, and had absolutely no plot or character development.

The main character, Alice Bonham, is flighty, arrogant, believes the whole world loves her, and doesn't care about anyone but herself.  She never shows any personal growth throughout the entire novel, never shows any sign of caring about others, never thinks of her family and what they might want, and genuinely believes that every guy she meets - like both Jack and Peter - are just totally in love with her.

The novel opens with Alice daydreaming about Jack as she gets ready to go out with him again.  Alice spends pretty much the entire novel dreaming about Jack or spending her time with him.  She starts skipping school because she spends all night at Jack's house, then sleeps all day.  Then Alice has the gall to wonder why her mom is so upset.  After all, what mother wouldn't love it when their teenage daughter spends all her time at a boys house while skipping school and neglecting her family?! 

Now, also, let's talk about WHY Jack just can't stay away from Alice.  And why Peter can't stay away from Alice.  And why even their vampire dad is mildly weird about Alice.  Apparently these vampires and Alice have blood that is "meant for each other."  Like, their blood is attracted to Alice's blood.  It's weird, and a little bit twilight like.  I'm guessing Hocking is a Twilight fan.  All in all, their blood being attracted to another person's blood is not a good reason to go all ga-ga for a person.

Now, as far as the plot, let's talk.  Their were no major events really that happened in the story.  The only tension was that both Peter and Jack have crushes on Alice, though Peter keeps trying to deny that fact.  Their were scant moments of tension throughout the book, and little to nothing by way of anything to move the story along.  It started and ended with the same two guys mooning over Alice that had been mooning over her in the beginning with no changes in either one's desire or status with Alice. 

If there were a way to give this book zero stars, I would.  I'll give it one because of all the hard work I know the author tried to put in, but I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Matched - Ally Condie

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Version: Paperback

In the Society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

Matched, by Ally Condie, is like many other dystopian novels.  Weird totalitarian government controlling the lives of its people.  After reading the summary, I thought it sounded pretty familiar.  After reading the actual book, I am convinced that the author was just going along with the plot of The Giver, making only a few changes as necessary.

In The Giver, as in Matched, people have been sort of altered to feel only a small range of emotions.  Matches between two people are made by the government - you don't actually get to choose your spouse.  Your emotions in the Society are altered by pills, or tablets, which each person can take at will.  (Of course, which tablets you are allowed to carry depends on your age.  You get a blue tablet, a green tablet, and a red tablet.  The age at which you are allowed to carry each tablet depends on which tablet it is.  The whole thing seems weird.  Anyway, each tablet does something.  The red one, for example, erases the memory of whatever event happened directly prior to taking the tablet.)  The Society controls how much food each person is given based on their activity level.  The government even chooses which leisure activities you are allowed to do and for how long. 

 As with any book about a dystopian society, this book has the weird government down.  The idea of a government that chooses your love life for you seems slightly appealing, if a little creepy.  Unfortunately, this book kind of fell flat.  The plot was pretty standard as far as dystopian novels go. There wasn't anything I read in Matched that I hadn't read in dozens of other dystopian novels.  The author seemed like she had a hard time creating a story that was wholly unique.

Not only was the story not nearly as well developed as it could have been, but the characters were underdeveloped as well. The personalities of all the characters sort of blended into each other until I almost had to re-read sentences and paragraphs just to see which character was talking, etc.

When all is said and done, this book is not worth the read unless you like copycat books with no plot.  Save your time and energy for a book that's actually worth the effort.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

November Book Club Picks - Knit Fic

Hey y'all - welcome to November!  It's time for me to share my book club picks for the month.  This month, all of my books revolve around another one of my favorite hobbies: knitting.  So get ready for some cozy fall reads about people and yarn!  Enjoy.

Knit Two Together is the Second book in the Chicks with Sticks series.  This is a YA book perfect for teens and young adult book clubs who want a fun, entertaining read.  The book also talks about issues that are common to teens. 

Knitwise, the third book in the Chicks with Sticks series, is another great teen and new adult book club pick.  It discusses issues common to that age group and throws in lots of yarn and knitting as well! 

It's a Purl Thing is the first book in Christina Lenhard's Chicks with Sticks series.  The book is the perfect pick for teen and new adult book clubs.  It has lots of knitting, and like its sequels, it tackles issues that can be common to teens and new adults.

Romance, books, and yarn are all things you'll find in Rachel Herron's How to Knit a Heart Back Home.  The book is deep enough that you're book club will have plenty to talk about, and the ending will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. 

Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LeZebnik, will draw you in with it's quirky characters and the events that happen to them.  The book will keep you hooked and give your book club plenty to talk about.

Kate Jacobs The Friday Night Knitting Club is a wonderful yet heartbreaking novel that I just couldn't put down.  The characters are wonderful, the story is amazing, and the book will keep your book club talking for days!