Friday, May 31, 2013

Divergent (Book 1) by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
I feel OK reviewing this now because for quite a while there hasn't been a release date for the final book of the trilogy. Nothing annoys me more than starting a series and having it end with a cliffhanger and not knowing when the next book will come out. But now that I know Allegiant will be out in October (yay!), I can confidently tell you that you can start reading without having too much time to freak out in between Insurgent (book 2) and Allegiant. Also, Divergent the movie will be released next year (March 2014 estimated) so you should definitely read it before the movie comes out! Now on to the actual review!

Society has taken a weird turn, dividing everyone into 4 different groups. There is also a 5th faction, Divergent, who are outcasts because they either didn't fit in any group and did not choose or they failed the "initiation" into the faction they chose and are now without a faction to call home. The book is based in a Chicago that has since fallen apart. The reason for the factions was to make society more peaceful and to stop war.

Tris has to decide which group she will join because the results of the "test" they take to help them decide what to choose wasn't exactly clear... this is an understatement but I don't want to spoil it for you. But it's pretty cool. She also has some special skills in the tests that I also won't mention because spoilers! She wants to not disappoint her parents by picking something outside of the faction she grew up in but she feels like she just doesn't fit in.

This was another book that was hard for me to put down. But I was able to read this without freaking out too much about when the next book would be out because it wasn't too cliffhanger-ey. Book 2 ends with one of those though... just to give you a fair warning. A great series and I can't wait until October!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Zoo by James Patterson



All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the impending violence becomes terrifyingly clear.

With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it's too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide.
This was one of those books that I couldn't put down. It had an interesting plot, action & tension to keep me interested and some scenes that had me a little scared... I was worried, OK?

Animals all over the world are attacking humans. It isn't normal attacking either. It's this crazy coordinated animal mob kind of attack, pets are turning on their owners and the animals are really smart about the attacks. Then of course there is the political aspect of everything. Oz knows something is up and has been trying to warn people for years, but politics blah blah blah and the world is doomed because nobody will listen and politicians are being ignorant. I feel like Patterson was trying to make a point here, making me think he has an issue with politicians and the way things are run; Ignoring the problem until it can't be ignored anymore.

And then there's the obvious undertones: animals aren't the bad guys, we are for ruining the Earth! We brought this on ourselves! (This may be true but still... not a new concept). A different take on why it's happening though, I'll give him that. Something I thought was a little strange was that half way through the book it jumps ahead 5 years in time. Possibly to show that nature won't make that swift of a change overnight? And maybe that's why people don't notice things that happen gradually unless they're paying attention? Just speculating, here.

What I didn't like was the lack of emotion by the main character, Oz. It's (mostly) narrated in the first person and I was getting so angry that he didn't seem to be emotional at all when people around him died. He would be like, oh no! This person I cared about was killed! Death and stuff... whatevs. And then go back to what he was doing, at one point making a really weak joke. Gah!

But, overall, it was an entertaining read for a lazy day. And (added bonus) if you have a kindle and want to sample the book a little bit before you decide if you actually want to buy it or not, you can get a free preview of the first 23 Chapters!

Updated: I also recently (as of June 2013) listened to the audio book. If you choose to listen to the audio book, beware that the guy that reads the book is bad at Chloe's French accent. I considered fast forwarding the parts where she talked because I was so annoyed.

Friday, May 24, 2013

3 Years of Books!

This is the day! 3 years ago today I started this blog. There aren't as many posts as I would like there to be, but the fact that it still exists 3 years later is an accomplishment in itself. I really didn't know what I was doing then (not that I can say I always know what I'm doing now) and the site looked a bit different than it does today. My first post was on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an excellent first choice full of fancy zombie killing action. And Darcy is still swoon worthy so that's a plus. Added bonus? Ninjas.

I don't remember all of the reasons why I decided to start a book blog. It seems like it was forever ago. But I think the main reason was because I loved reading and sometimes I wasn't sure what books would be good or what I wanted to read next. If I had this problem I thought other people might too. So, somehow, here I am now. And that's a small part of my story.

As a part of the Blogiversary, I decided to give away a book. Congrats to Krissy C on winning the Book Blogiversary giveaway! I'll be in contact with you soon! I should warn you that I live in a small town so I'll check a couple of stores for your choices and see what I can actually find. My hopes are not high. I apologize for my lack of local book resources. Maybe someday my town will have something exciting like a bookstore that actually sells books that I'm looking for so I don't have to go online to get what I want. Every. Single. Time. Sorry for the rant. I can't contain my disappointment.

Here's to many more years of books!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to "the Smoke" and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The "Special Circumstances" authority Dr Cable offers Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.
This is another "dystopian" type of young adult novel. I can't help it, I love them! This series is based in a future where everyone gets surgery when they turn 16 to make them "pretty." It gives everyone who has it similar looks- because until you look like everyone else, you're "ugly" and are separated from the "Pretties." Once you become pretty you get to live in Pretty Town and go to parties and your life becomes amazing or whatever.

The setting is around 300 years in the future where the old cities were abandoned and the people who used to live there are called "Rusties'." The Rusties' cities have decayed after a bacteria that infected the oil society had been so dependent on, making it unstable. Society fell apart and everything made of the old metals was abandoned and rusted (hence, Rusties'), including cars, buildings, etc.

Tally and Shay meet 3 months before their 16th birthday (which they share) and become friends. Shay isn't really interested in becoming pretty while Tally wants to be like everyone else. Shay leaves for the smoke before their birthday leaving Tally in a bind because the cruel and scary looking Dr Cable says Tally won't become pretty until she finds the smoke (following the clues Shay left her) and alerts Special Circumstances. Because (for reasons I'm not going to tell you about) the government wants everyone to be pretty and those ugly people in The Smoke living their lives are going to ruin everything. But Tally starts to care for these people causing a dilemma for her.

I really liked the concept and it made me think about society's concept of "pretty" and why it's better to be yourself than to cave to society's pressures. All the feels! Plus they have cool hoverboards... HOVERBOARDS! Definitely worth a read!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Congo by Michael Crichton

Deep in the African rain forest, near the legendary ruins of the Lost City of Zinj, an expedition of eight American geologists are mysteriously and brutally killed in a matter of minutes.

Ten thousand miles away, Karen Ross, the Congo Project Supervisor, watches a gruesome video transmission of the aftermath: a camp destroyed, tents crushed and torn, equipment scattered in the mud alongside dead bodies--all motionless except for one moving image--a grainy, dark, man-shaped blur.

In San Francisco, primatologist Peter Elliot works with Amy, a gorilla with an extraordinary vocabulary of 620 "signs," the most ever learned by a primate, and she likes to finger paint. But recently her behavior has been erratic and her drawings match, with stunning accuracy, the brittle pages of a Portuguese print dating back to 1642 . . . a drawing of an ancient lost city. A new expedition--along with Amy--is sent into the Congo, where they enter a secret world, and the only way out may be through a horrifying death . . .
I liked this novel despite the technical mumbo-jumbo, of which there was a lot. I am easily distracted and there were quite a few times when descriptions of things went on and on and I started to imagine it sounding like the adults in Peanuts cartoons "woh wah wah woh wah wah wah..." I mean, I'm glad Crichton put so much effort into researching things, but could we get back to the gorillas, please?

Now on to the good stuff. I loved Amy the gorilla (but who wouldn't? She's awesome!). The action scenes were what made me keep coming back and not want to put the book down. Karen Ross often goes between someone I liked and disliked, which worked for me because if you have a character in a book you can't stand you just want them to die a horrible death... or is that just me? Overall it's a book I would recommend people read even with the boring over detailed parts.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Jaws by Peter Benchley

"Relentless terror." The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The classic, blockbuster thriller of man-eating terror that inspired the Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beachgoers afraid to go into the water. Experience the thrill of helpless horror again -- or for the first time!
Everybody should know about Jaws by now so I shouldn't have to explain in too much detail. There's a big great white shark off the beaches of Amity. It starts eating people because it's hungry.

And I can't believe it but... I liked the movie better. This has only happened to me 3 times so I feel like the odds are still really good that "the book will be better" in general. But not in this case. Or these books. But, to be fair, Jaws is one of my favorite movies so... seeing as it isn't much like the movie it didn't really have a chance.

I hated just about all of the characters... nope, scratch that, I hated all of the characters at one point or another. There was some suspense when it came to the shark attacks but for the most part it focused on the crappy behavior of the people involved. I suppose it was a study about people's behavior in situations that threaten the livelihood of a small summer town, but I could have skipped it. In fact, I did skip some pages here and there. There was no difference. I didn't have a connection with any of the characters that would make me care about them so when they were eaten I thought that sucks for them, but that was about it.

The shark is just being a shark (though the scene when it attacks the boat... crazy!) and it is hardly the evil villain it's made out to be in the movie. Also, you'll learn a lot about sharks and fish so there's that.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom


In this fable, the first man on earth to count the hours becomes Father Time. The inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world--now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began--and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.
This is one of those books that made me stop and think about life. More specifically, and obviously, about time. Dor was interested in time way back before anyone knew what time was. And, when his wife became ill, wanted to stop time or go back in time in order to be with her. What he got wasn't exactly what he was looking for.

His job later is to find 2 people, one who wants too much time and one who wants too little and to help them. He definitely does that (though it takes until the end of the book to get to it). It's an inspirational read and one that doesn't take very long to get through (always a plus for me).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charlaine Harris

Published May 7, 2013 by Ace Books

There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart...

Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough...
This is the last book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I got to read it early because I've got connections! Well, a connection.

I've been reading the Sookie Stackhouse series since I heard they were making the books into a TV show. I can tell you that if you're just looking for something fun without much literary merit, these are a fun read. However, I'd be lying if I didn't say it had it's issues.But in a series this long mistakes are bound to be made and the writing gets a little tired.

The plot is fairly weak and it felt like the author was just trying to wrap things up. Without spoiling the series I can say that I was glad she ended up with who she was with. It was who I thought was the best fit for her. I would really have liked to see an afterwords letting me know how things turned out for Sookie in the end, but I got the feeling that everything would work out and she was going to have a "happily ever after." Like I said, a fun read... something I could see myself reading at the beach.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

3 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

This blog has been around (though not always used) for the past 3 years this month! I'm shocked I haven't gotten bored with it and deleted it by now but I guess it means that my love of books continues.

In honor of this blog's existence and the changes that have been made over that time (a new look, a couple of domain name changes, the addition of book reviews from my cousin, etc.) I'm going to be giving away a book!

I would like to be able to give more away, but I'm paying for this myself so I have to be reasonable. The good part about this giveaway is that you get to choose which book you would like to receive if you win (from the books I have reviewed on this site)!

To enter:
1. Look through the reviews I've posted since I started the blog and pick your top 3 books (I'll pick from one of those).
2. Comment on this post with those 3 choices. Leave your email so I can contact you if you win.
3. Spread the word! If you post about the giveaway on your twitter with the hashtag #lolaloopgiveaway and tweet me (@Lolaloop) you'll get an extra entry (remember to also leave your twitter handle in your comment).
4. Like my Facebook page! Liking the page gets you another entry! That's 3 ways you can enter!

The winner will be chosen randomly on May 24th, 2013 (the blog's 3rd birthday). The winner will be contacted via email. *Open to US, Canada and any US military base (it counts as US because you're awesome) and maybe another country if you tell me where you're from and ask nicely!

P.S. If you haven't read them yet, The Hobbit, The Fault in Our Stars and The Shining are among some of my favorite books!

Thanks for reading!

Updated: This giveaway has ended. To see who won go here!