Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Divergent 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, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


Wow! I loved Divergent! I really recommend it. It was so full of action, easy to read and follow, and held my attention.

In theory the government of this book should run smoothly, having been set up with the purpose of preventing war. Corruption isn't something so easy to stamp out though. 

I can't get enough of books with strong female characters, and Tris is strong, choosing to leave her family to join another fraction, Dauntless. The Dauntless are kind of crazy, jumping from trains, jumping from roofs, and learning to fight and kill. 

Things aren't all peachy though, Tris is Divergent, which just means that her brain can't be manipulated like others, and because of that it puts her in danger. Along with being Divergent, Tris also struggles with living away from her family and adjusting to learning that she's Dauntless and trying to figure out what being Dauntless really implies. 

I loved the characters, especially Tris and Four. I also really loved Tris's mom, who I think was the strongest and most honorable person in the book. She kind of reminded me of Sarah Conner from The Terminator movies haha just more polite.

I really just can't wait to read the 2nd book in the trilogy, Insurgent. I just hope that it's as amazing as this book was. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Both Sides Now by Shawn & Dawn Inmon

* Received via Netgalley and Pertime Publishing* 

You never forget your first love. 

Just as she was flowering into her teens, life uprooted Dawn from the tanned crowds and sunny beaches of southern California. It transplanted her into rainy, rural Washington, where she strove to adjust, mature and thrive. Love came to Dawn--and was ripped from her by events and manipulations she could not control. 

But Dawn had a core of steel. An emotional castaway, she battled grimly through life's trials and sorrows, safeguarding her heart against further ravages. Then love reached out to Dawn once more--if she could find the courage and spirit to grab it with both hands, and this time, never let go. This is her story.


I don't know why, but learning that this book is based off the authors own life changed how I felt about it. According to Shawn Inmon's website he started writing this book after he wrote his first book, Feels Like the First Time. His first book chronicles his point of view of his first love in high school. In  Both Sides Now, it's told in the point of view of his wife Dawn and shows their romance through her young eyes, starting when she was just 14 years old. 

Shawn also wrote on his website that he didn't want to label this new work as a sequel, even though it tells many of the same events as his first book. He felt this book could and would stand on its own as a solitary piece. I have to agree, I haven't read his first book, and I wouldn't have even thought that this was a sequel. 

It's been hard for me to write this review, since I'm not usually one to read non-fiction, just for the reason that I hate reviewing it. It's easy to have opinions about characters in fiction works, because they aren't real and I don't have to worry about hurting someone's feelings. 

With that being said, I really did enjoy this book, even more so once I learned it was based off real events (which was about 3/4ths of the way through the book...I'm slow to catch on apparently). I liked Dawn, she was easy for me to like and connect with and by the end of the book I felt like I really knew her. 

I liked Shawn as well, he was nice, funny, and quirky (and hey, I married a quirky man myself!)

I think the main thing that this book shows is Shawn and Dawn's immaturity, which she herself even makes note to toward the end of the book. Dawn let her mom dictate everything about her life and have complete control over her. I feel so sorry for her, no one should be made to feel the way she felt by someone who is suppose to give them unconditional love. 

It was also stated within the book that Shawn and Dawn wanted to write this book as a cautionary tale, at first I felt like this was the part where the reader (me) is going to be lectured on premarital sex and teen pregnancy. When I finished the book though, I didn't feel like that was the message at all. Personally I felt like the authors were trying to tell me to be true to myself, never to let people force you into decisions you don't want, and never to just let true love walk away. 

I usually don't tell how books end because of spoilers and such, but I feel like the ending is pretty obvious by the last name of the authors. I'm glad that this real life story had a happy ending, even if it took them so many years of being apart to finally come back together. 

I really do recommend checking out Shawn's website http://www.shawninmon.com/ it's worth it just for the photos!