Book Crook Confessions

Where books steal the show

First ARC :)

So I have been out of commission from my blog for a long while now, my apologies as life got a little crazy and I was not prepared for the time my blog would take. While I am still stocking up on posts before resuming my weekly postings, I hope to get the blog back underway in the next month. Also, the main reason I am posting iiiiiiiiiiis……

I RECEIVED MY FIRST ARC TODAY!!!!!!!!!

Which sounds weird following my comment that my blog has been out of commission. I got the book, Alone Yet Not Alone by Tracy Leininger Craven, through Goodreads Firstreads program and thought it was a great way to kick-start my blogs rebirth. I just got it in the mail today so I haven’t read it yet, but I felt the need to come squeal to the cyber world.

Thanks again for your patience as I learn how to properly book blog.

Your Book Crook,

Hunter

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Not a Typical 5 Star Review- Series Part 1: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Published: Oct 31, 2008 by Scholastic Inc.
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

Blurb from Goodreads.com “In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, the shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before–and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love

Stars 4.999999999999999/5

Perfection! That is how I feel after reading Suzanne Collins first novel. A feeling that little if anything could be done to improve this novel. The sentence structure flows nicely, sweeping me hurriedly along toward the end which I find satisfying enough I don’t want to rip my hair out and yet suspenseful enough I quickly go to search for the sequel. A rare find at all and an especially strong start from a debut novel. The great mix of secondary characters from the Districts to the capitol are relatively well fleshed out given the time spent with them and each and every one evokes a surprising amount of emotion for the lovable Madge Undersee who was a true friend after all to the oblivious but sincere Prep Team who readers along with  Katniss want to strangle and hug simultaneously. The action is exciting and driving enough for older reads without becoming overly graphic, making this a book to excite parents and one thats acceptable for their youngsters.

And yada yada so on and so on blah blah blah, because I am sure I am NOT the first person to love the Hunger Games nor would it be even moderately original of me to write to wonderful aspects of this novel. So how about instead I discuss those “few if any” problems found in this novel that most seem to overlook in ratings, including myself, because as a whole this novel is spectacular.
So lets look at the problems in overall realism in this novel. Note some spoilers will ensue.

Top 5 Things Wrong with a 5 Star Novel

  1. The lack of realism in the rules of the games, society, and the unofficial rules Katniss sets up for her survival in the arena. Somehow we are expected to believe that after 74 years of tradition in the Games, the rules are now changed, but just this once, simply because Peeta and Katniss are so in luuuurve? Then when they openly defy the Capitol, the President is mad but everyone is allowed to live? No real consequence of their actions occurs? Now Haymitch family was killed because a force field threw and ax he dodged at an opponent but nothing happens to Katniss. Finally while in the arena Katniss is tree’d by a girl with a freaking bow, but the girl doesn’t shoot her? Doesn’t wait for her to sleep then shoot her? Something!!! Of course not. When Rue has been killed Katniss has the time to put down her bow and do flower time with the corpse, of course nobody would try and kill her while she’s defenseless. No one would happen upon her in a clearing. Realistic? No.
  2. So its commonly understood that when a tribute isn’t getting bloody enough, the Gamemakers step in. Just because Katniss is getting kinda far from the other tributes, they set the forest on fire. So they aren’t afraid to get messy. Yet somehow both of the victors, to our knowledge, hardly ever kill anyone. Katniss kills come down to dropping a bee hive on some girls, killing in vengeance of Rue (actual kill yes, but bloody and violent? No. It actually makes Katniss more likable in her grief. Not the gladiator style goal) and a mercy killing of Cato, who would’ve died anyway and she was once again just being a good person. And as for Peeta, well he paints himself pretty and makes one kill, confidently, by a girl stealing his poisoned berries. O yeah, these victors are some awesome bloodthirsty killers all right. Definitely a Hunger Games battle to the death.
  3. KATNISS FLIP-FLOPPING ON RELATIONSHIPS. Sorry, this one bugs me in particular with her Bella as of New Moon complex. So Katniss is a teenage girl, she 16 and pretty and goes to school. Yes she lives in a horrible world and has to fight for food (but actually is better off with her hunting than a lot of people). But even with her District 12 world, she is a teenager. So when this teenage girl gets to spend lots of alone time in the woods with super hot, popular guy in the Seam that all the girls dream over Gale, Katniss never once thinks “this guys hot. I like this guy.” Nope. Never once, even after he kisses her and offers to run away with her does Katniss fully realize, hey maybe this super hot guy that can hunt and provide for me may actually like me, we are teenagers after all with hormones and such. No, she doesn’t. Because what kind of weird, crazy 16 year old girl would like an attractive guy or notice he liked her. Then you have Peeta. Peeta loved her for like 10 years now, has suffered a beating for her, gives he longing looks at school but does Katniss notice. Nope. Peeta professes his love for her on national television when he has no idea how she feels (because teenage guys would do that) and what does Katniss think? No of course she doesn’t think Peeta likes her, she thinks its a ploy to make her seem weak. Really Suzanne Collins? You where a teenage girl right? So now shes in the arena she is forced to pretend to like the attractive boy in love with her, who also coincidentally would die to protect her and is a baker that could give her a great life if she liked him back. He life sucks right. She’ll just pretend to like him, because she doesn’t, then she might, then she doesn’t, well maybe. No, how would Gale, the guy who she doesn’t really accept likes her and she doesn’t like feel about her and Peeta. She best not like Peeta, because now that she can’t have Gale, she decides to consider him, maybe. So in conclusion, shes a 16 year old girl with two hot guys that love her and could provide for her, but she doesn’t like either of them. Realistic? No.
  4. While it does flesh out a little in the coming books, a beef I have with Hunger Games is the lack of explanation for how this world of came to be. Why did the war that led to the Hunger Games start in the first place? How did they come up with the Hunger Games? What about the 12/13 Districts, how did they come to be? Really, how did we get from America today to the world Katniss lives in. We are given little background and expected to hate their government based on the fact that the citizens we meet hate the government, even though throughout history plenty of government have dominated those they defeat in a war. While the Hunger Games itself is an atrocity, even in modern day soldiers rape and beat women and children as they conquer towns in the hostile African regions (not condoning it, just saying it happens), so I find it a stretch to be expected to declare the Capitol so evil it must be overthrown based solely on the Games. Everything is a little to black and white and is that realistic? Not really.
  5. Finally, a small opinion on my part but I lost some respect for the book based on the introduction of the love triangle. This is a novel and series that would have survived well and been possibly better without the focus place on the unnecessary conflict of to chose Peeta or Gale. It frightens me that now and action/dystopian novel has to get a unnecessary love triangle thrown in simply so we can have Team Gale vs Team Peeta shirts made. A problem with realism, not really. A problem I have with the direction of YA and one I wanted to voice, yes.
Despite all of this, my suspension of disbelief kicks in every time I crack the cover of this book and I feel great about it each time I finish. I get that roller coaster feeling of not caring why you can turn in circles upside down, because your having so much fun with the experience you don’t care. The same is true with the roller coaster that is the Hunger Games, its an amazing thrill ride you will enjoy, and you wont care about the plot holes and lack of realism because the story is just so much fun. Its just my opinion, but I say everyone should try this book, give it a shot and you  wont be disappointed.

Til next time,
Your Book Crook
Hunter

Disagree with me? Think nothing mars the wonder of this book? Or maybe number whatever on the list is exactly what you thought. Or maybe you think my reviewing skills in general need a touch up. Leave me a comment down below and let me know what you think. And as always please share with your friends.

Feature & Follow Friday 4/20

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted on Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Click here and visit their site to check out the featured blog, others to follow, and to see the guidelines for the meme.

Now for this weeks question:

Q: Fight! Fight! If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win?

Such a hard one with all the crazy characters out there, I wanted to find a good match up that wouldn’t be overly biased toward one character. I would actually like to see Jacob Black (Twilight series) battle it out against Iorek Byrnison (The Golden Compass). Both of them are supersized, intelligent animals (or have an animal form in Jacob’s case) and would pose an interesting and fair battle. In the end though I think Jacob would win mainly due to the increased healing speed the Twilight werewolves have.

And now that the question is done, if your willing please follow me. You can do so by:
RSS-at the top of the sidebar——>
By email (prefered) right there——–>
or on Twitter and Facebook

What do you think? Polar bear or super wolf? Feel free to comment with your thoughts on who would win! Also, please let me know if you are a new follower so I can return the favor in the comments below.

Til next time
Your Book Crook (Hunter)

Waiting On….Wednesday: Insurgent

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the folks at Breaking the Spine. This highlights the books that keep us all waiting up til midnight so we can rush to the stores for their release.

This weeks Waiting On entry is……..

Insurgent (Divergent #2)
By: Veronica Roth
Publication Date: May 1, 2012 (wont be waiting much longer)

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

Blurb via Goodreads “One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.” 

So I have to admit I hate to be waiting on this one because it means admitting I was very wrong when it comes to Miss Roth’s series of books. For almost a year I rebelled against reading Divergent. I felt like it was another author jumped on the dystopian bandwagon and pumped up along the publicity train until I felt like I was seeing the cover everywhere. I read the blurb with an overly biased mind and contempt in my heart, thinking “what kind of world splits into factions with only one trait, who would do that”, “why just Chicago, that doesnt have any merit on the story, that’s stupid” and even going so far in my misguided anger as to honestly question the main character’s name. Yes I was a petty 3 year old whining because I didnt like how everyone got excited about someone else’s toy, but at least I came around. Because come around I did, finally reading and LOVING Divergent (review to come). The only bright side of this misguided anger at the media machine is that I only came to love this series about a month ago, making my Waiting Wednesdays much fewer on the rode to Insurgent than some. So  reminder to all who may have overlooked the publication date and advice that this book is worth waiting on to all who still fear this is a product of hype, this once skeptic will be searching for a midnight release.

Til next time,
Your Book Crook (Hunter)

Agree? Disagree? Share your opinion with me!
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So click that comment box, cuz a reader who comments ROCKS!!!!!

Top 10 Tuesday-April 17th

And the Spring Break season comes to a close. Now all eyes turn towards summer for those long days of catching up on the TBR pile by a pool or at the beach. Any good spring break stories? I got the new Fear by Michael Grant (eeeeek) on mine! But enough of that an on to this weeks Top 10 Tuesday hosted by the folks at The Broke & Bookish. Today’s theme, Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers. Since I am a new blogger myself, I decided to chose a previous weeks topic since I don’t have experiance to give advice and go with:

Top 10 Books That Were Totally Deceiving 

  1. Three Cups of Tea: I thought this book was going to be amazing. Not necessarily in the way of its-so-exciting-I-MUST-stay-up-all-night kind of way but in the OMG-this-is-real??? kind of way. I felt like it would be as impacting as Kite Runner but was deceived. I tried my best and only made it half way through before giving up to the less than interesting voice of the narrator
  2. Gone by Michael Grant: I actually was deceived in a good way for this book. Skimming the blurb it seemed relatively interesting though looking at the covers front and back I was sure this was going to be a romance first, action later novel featuring the cute couple on the front. Boy was I wrong!!! Not only was Gone action packed and a thriller, it also   became one of my favorite books even though it was thrown in with my pile of I might-get-around-to-it reads when I picked it up while all subsequent books in the series have been bought the day they came out as this is in my top ten favorite series now.
  3. The Kite Runner: I first watched the movie which, though moving, with its subtitles and such bored me quite frankly. I get books to read, movies to watch and all. But after watching the dismal movie I had low expectations for the book but picked it up in a “how could this be turned into a movie” way and ended up being impressed by the story, finding the setting engaging and the author both childhood and adult someone I could connect with emotionally.
  4. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: I dove into this book with average expectations of a teenage angst novel about the oppression of government and instead got a pretty realistic and fearful dystopia that also had some educational value about the hacker community and computers in general that i know recommend to friends based on the tech knowledge alone.
  5. Whale Talk: I entered into this novel expecting to hate it. This was one of those required reading books for a class and rarely if ever have I found an actual plot in these much less enjoyed them. So grudgingly I took this book out and while I didn’t fall in love, I also found it to be much more interesting than I would have expected and a entertaining way to bring awareness to racism presence today.
  6. Firestar by Chris D’Lacy: After reading this first two novels in this entertaining YA series I though I had a handle on the characters, the rules of their world, and the direction the author was going. I was deceived. In this book D’Lacy threw in some polar bears, some reawakening ancient dragons, a whole new host of magic and creatures and changed what I knew about the ones he had already introduced & not in a good way. This book I expected to enjoy as much as it’s predecessors but in the end found myself feeling confused and unsatisfied with the jarring turn of events midway into a series.
  7. The Help: I happened upon this book as what i call a LOP read or lack of patience. My good friend was reading this book, and though it was not in my usual genre of interest, I still wanted to know what happened. I figured she could tell me about the book and if it was worth a read. Sadly, the friend reading this was an immensely slow reader so after almost a month during which she had gotten roughly half way through the novel I finally decided my recommendation would never come and picked it up myself expecting another product of marketing hype but was blown away by the love i had for this book. It made me fear for what was happening only 40/50 years ago while also enjoying a well spun tale.
  8. The Book Thief: An assignment for my history class to read a novel set in the Book Thief time period faced me with a few choices of dry historical accounts or facing the evil I often lampoon called historical-fiction however Book Thief changed my mind about the entire genre. I LOVED this book. Not top 10 favorite books loved, but still loved it. The characters where actual people, they weren’t educational lessons with names or cut-outs of a political statement, they were actual characters with feelings and adventures and stories. This book deceived me big time.
  9. Obsidian (Lux #1): I shot into this book fearing a total lack of plot besides the love story of the two drool worth cover models. Deceived I was when in actuality I received a pretty impressive syfi story with action and adventure as well as a surprising lack of overly romantic and unrealistic teen love garbage.
  10. Mockingjay: Oooo Mockingjay. I awaited you, expected a gift from god, an impressive jaw dropping ending to what had been a spectacular series of ground breaking dystopian novels. Instead I was let down with a plot that took place mainly in a hospital and had a rushed, poorly explained, and unsatisfying ending. Shame to the Mockingjay, for it deceived me.

 

 

Agree? Disagree? Think if I just read __________ then it would take the number one spot? Let me know in your comments below and as always, please tell your friends to stop by. Thanks for reading!

Til Next Time
Your Book Crook (Hunter)

Super Sunday’s First Review!!!! Nightlife by Rob Thurman

Nightlife
Author: Rob Thurman
Series: Cal Leandros #1
Published: March 7, 2006 by ROC

Nightlife (Cal Leandros, #1)

Blurb from Goodreads: “Welcome to the Big Apple. There’s a troll under the Brooklyn Bridge, a boggle in Central Park, and a beautiful vampire in a penthouse on the Upper East Side – and that’s only the beginning. Of course, most humans are oblivious to the preternatural nightlife around them, but Cal Leandros is only half human.

His father’s dark lineage is the stuff of nightmares – and he and his entire otherworldly race are after Cal. Why? Cal hasn’t exactly wanted to stick around long enough to find out.

He and his half brother, Niko, have managed to stay a step ahead for four years, but now Cal’s dad has found them again. And Cal is about to learn why they want him, why they’ve always wanted him: He is the key to unleashing their hell on earth. The fate of the human world will be decided in the fight of Cal’s life . . 

Stars: 2/5
This book had a good premise, I was impressed with the idea of the book and its potential because who doesnt love a good ass kicking antihero on the run right? Wrong.
The potential of this book falls flat right as you finish the prologue and never redeems itself past that point. The writing from a male perspective is wonderful and refreshing in a world were most fantasy books follow a heroine. The male perspective is actually one reason Nightlife rushed up my to-read list but the dialogue seems to constantly beat you over the head with the fact its written by a male, as if the author wants to make sure you appreciate the different perspective. You cant go more than a few lines without the characters cursing, making an innuendo of some kind, or feeling the need to reference their dicks. We get it, the narrator is a guy.
Next comes the relationship between the two brothers. On one hand you have self loathing main character Cal. He’s a monster and he has a tough life, it endears you to him, sets up the story well for him to be a lovably scrappy character as readers pull for his happy ending. Sadly, this isn’t made a positive but a negative because Cal doesn’t stop complaining about how sad and unnormal and monstrous he is until the last sentance of the novel. He has difficulty coming to terms with who he is  and that personal journey can at some times be entertaining, but no one enjoys a novel long pity party which is what I feel the overall message of Cal’s self loathing becomes.
You then have all around perfect brother Niko who falls just as short in the characterization department as his brother Cal. Niko is perfect in every way, he is kind, unconditionally loves his brother, gets all the ladies (and even humorously some men), is a rare human in the magic filled world but yet has almost supernatural skills with weapons. Niko is amazingly attractive, smart and witty and all around perfect. If you thought that was a bit overzealous on the praise then read the book and you’ll find thats what comes out of Cals mouth every time he mentions Niko. He is a foil so some exaggeration is acceptable but at some point you have to make a sibling relationship realistic and the complete drooling adoration Cal has for Niko falls short of realism.
 
Golden Boy Niko…of sorts 
Finally, I found the writing itself is clunky and awkward, especially in the dialogue. The plot structure had some major holes, that is to be expected somewhat in a new series and I hope will be fleshed out in future novels.Despite that hope however, I found this novel as a stand alone lacking in terms of explanation for the antagonist and reasoning for how the plot proceeds. Its almost as though the author got midway through and had 3 great ideas of how to proceed to ending the book, so instead of picking one and having an impressive first novel, he decided to go for all 3 antagonist.  They felt shoved together into one big jumbled barely coherent plot line that left me unsatisfied with the quick resolution of all antagonist. All in all I give it a two if not but that fact it is bearable enough you could suffer through it in hopes that the great potential will be fleshed out in later novels with better dialogue, characterization, and a centralized plot for the serise to come. The characters had promise, the fact that this features a strong male cast rather than two cut outs in a love triangle gives the novel major points.
     If your not in the mood to struggle through this clunky first novel to find a diamond in the rough of a series, I would leave this book be and find another of the many excellent paranormal YA books out there. If your interested in the less than stereotypical cast of monsters, a male cast of ass kicking heroes, and some promise down the road I say pick Nightlife up, it can be finished rarely quickly at less than 400 pages and it would not be a regrettable way to spend an afternoon.
Til Next Time,
Your Book Crook
Hunter 

Welcome to my Blog

Thanks for Stopping By!!!!!

Hopefully you know that this site is for books. Really, everything books. YA books, adult books, books that turn into movies even movies that turn into books. Here you can find:

  • REVIEWS-my take on books to help you find the gems and the crooks
  • Discussion about books, series, and genres
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  • Author Interviews (hopefully)
  • ARC reviews (also a hopefully)
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But seriously, I do hope to make this an amazing site, with some amazing reviews and hopefully build a home on the web for all the book lovers out there. Please help spread the word via all social media as the site gets up and running and don’t hesatate to give me feedback, I loves me some feedback (just check out the contact page above)

Sincerely,

Your Book Crook

Hunter

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