Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review: Lauren Holbrook Series

Title: Miss Match
              Match Point
Author: Erynn Mangum
Published: 2007, 2007, and 2008 by TH1NK Books
Version: Paperbacks
Obtained: Library


Miss Match Summary:

Lauren Holbrook has found her life's calling: matchmaking for the romantically challenged. And with the eclectic cast of characters in her world, there's tons of potential to play "connect the friends."
Lauren sets out to introduce Nick, her carefree singles' pastor, to Ruby, her neurotic coworker who plans every second of every day. What could possibly go wrong? Just about everything.


Rematch Summary:

Lauren's dad may be getting remarried--and Lauren is still looking for the love of her life! Join Lauren on her adventure of caffeine, chocolate, girl talk, and spiritual insights as she continues to search for the right match.


Match Point Summary:

Matchmaker Lauren Holbrook is happy after putting together four successful couples. That is, until the tables are turned and she’s on the receiving end of the matchmaking!
Lauren and her boyfriend, Ryan, devise a plan to make it look as if they’ve broken up so people will get off their backs about marriage. No problem, right? That’s of course until Lauren realizes she’s in love.

I completely adored this series. This is Contemporary Christian fiction at it’s best. Funny, relatable, inspirational, romantic, and HILARIOUS.

Lauren (Laurie, Laur, Nutsy, etc.) Holbrook loves to play matchmaker. She obsesses over getting couples together, and thinks it’s her special gift. Throughout the series, she puts together a few couples, tries to tear apart others, and overall loves watching all her schemes work out.

Hilarious, chocoholic, caffeine-addicted Lauren is a treat to read about. She made me laugh so very hard, and I loved reading about her escapades. I completely thought she would end up with someone else, but I love who she did end up with. The author takes a lot of inspiration from Jane Austen, and the Emma themes are obviously prevalent here.

All three of these books are equally great and I’m so very glad I saw these on Amazon. I’m a big fan of Christian fiction done right, and these are.

I would definitely recommend these to anyone who loves Christian fiction, or even just contemporary fiction. The hilarity of Lauren will probably appeal to everyone.

Content Warnings: Kissing. I mean, it’s Christian fiction…come on.


4 Pigs

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: Unwind

Author: Neal Shusterman
Published: 2007 by Simon & Schuster
Version: Paperback
Obtained: Bought

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

First Sentence:
'There are places you can go.' Ariana tells him, 'and a guy as smart as you has a decent chance of surviving to eighteen.'


I’d heard amazing things about this book, but I never knew it would be AMAZING-SPECTACULAR-WONDERFUL-AWESOME!!!

After a second civil war over abortion, a compromise is reached. Parents could not abort their babies, but anytime between thirteen and eighteen, the parents could decide to have their child unwound. The authorities keep pro-lifes under control by saying that “unwinding” doesn’t REALLY kill the child. Instead it’s a complicated organ donation/transplant process, by which every part of the child is used for other people who need the parts. This is a story of Connor, Risa, and Lev. They all have different opinions, feelings, and reasons about/for being unwound. Connor’s parents can’t control him, and so they decide to have him unwound. Risa is an orphan and isn’t talented enough to “waste” resources on. Lev is being unwound as a tithe, someone born TO BE unwound, a sort of religious sacrifice.

I know this sounds completely crazy and horrible and demented and scary.
It is.
That’s what makes it so good. The concepts, the originality, the themes, everything in this book just screams at you to decide how you feel about abortion and death and organ transplants. Just everything is so controversial.

I have never been so engrossed in a book (except maybe Mockingjay). I couldn’t stop reading.

Neal Shusterman is a literary genius. Not only is his concept creative in itself, but he presents it with stark realism and talented writing.

I’m not sure what else to say to make you read this.
For the romantics, know that there is romance, but not too much, so it still appeals to guys.

If you HAVE read this, I would love to know what you think! Comment and tell me what you think about this book! :)
If you HAVE NOT read this book, JUST GO READ IT.

I could not more highly recommend a book.

Content Warnings: The topic is tough and often discussed blatantly. Kissing, attempted “rape” (not sure if that truly was the intent…but he manhandles her), and violence.


 5 Pigs

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review: Entwined

Title: Entwined
Author: Heather Dixon
Published: 2011 by Greenwillow Books
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Library

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

First Sentence:
"An hour before Azalea’s first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz."

Having recently read and reviewed Jessica Day George’s Princess of the Midnight Ball, I already had some expectations for this adaption. While, yes, the main plot ideas are the same, I was pleasantly surprised to see great differences.

After the twelve princesses’ mother dies, they have to go into a period of mourning, wearing dark clothes, having no visitors, and (worst) no dancing. Soon though, the girls discover a secret door that leads down into a silver forest and to a magnificent pavilion. Down there lives a man known as The Keeper, who is trapped in this underground world. He lets the girls dance, and they eagerly come down every night, in complete secrecy, to dance the whole night through. However, soon it becomes apparent that The Keeper had other plans all along. He becomes more and more determined to leave his world, and get back to the real one. Azalea and her sisters must stop him, but that’s hard since they have sworn not to tell anyone about the door.

The Keeper was a complete creeper, and I have no idea why the girls didn’t pick up on his weirdness quicker. They did eventually decide he was up to no good, and I think they knew before that, but they just loved being able to dance, so they convinced themselves they were misreading him. He’s plotting the whole time to get back to the real world and to take power, but he needs help. So with the (false) promise of getting their mother back, he makes them help him.

All the different settings: the castle, the garden, the underground world, and even the glimpses of the world outside the castle grounds, were fantastically descriptive. I could easily picture the world created by Heather Dixon.

My only complaint is the dancing. I know, I know. “The dancing the whole point of the novel!” And I get that. I understand the love of dancing the girls possessed. But couldn’t the descriptions of the dancing have been less lengthy? I felt like a lot of “book time” was taken up with the girls’ many different dances at night.

The whole “Keeper wants to take back control in the real world” plot aspect was completely unexpected, and I found the whole ending action-y moments confusing, but overall I enjoyed the darker tones, the beautiful romances of the three eldest girls, and the vivid setting descriptions.

Heather Dixon has created a wonderful adaption, one with a truly sinister antagonist, and also with adorable romance. (and a super beautiful cover!!)

Content Warnings: Mister Keeper is creepy, and gets quite forward with Azalea, but other than that, I saw nothing objectionable.


4 Pigs

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly (or however sporadically you feel like it) meme in which bloggers list the books they’ve recently received to review. This was instigated by
The Story Siren.

Hey guys!
I’m terribly sorry about being so slow and absent. Reviews will be posted this coming week! I promise!! :)

Books Mentioned:
Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith
Scored – Lauren McLaughlin
I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend – Cora Harrison
Warped – Maurissa Guibord
Princess of Glass – Jessica Day George
Halo – Alexandra Adornetto
Secret Society – Tom Dolby
The Boy Book – E. Lockhart
Prom and Prejudice – Elizabeth Eulberg

Not Mentioned in Video:
Forgiven – Janet Fox

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