Book Report | January 2014

I have been a reading fool over the past month!  I have six books to share with you today…that’s right SIX!  I owe this to lots of travel in December + lots of vacation time, so I had more time to read than usual and it was awesome. :)

Last month, I promised to take a break from historical fiction.  For the most part, I stuck with that promise…only one of the following six books is a historical fiction, so we’ll start with that one to get it out of the way!

Stella Bain

by Anita Shreve

StellaBainI have loved books by Anita Shreve for years.  They’re usually a favorite, so when I saw she had a new book out, I had to check it out!  Stella Bain did not disappoint.  It’s set in Europe during World War I.  The story begins by introducing you to the main character, Stella Bain, as she awakens from an injury sustained in battle.  While, physically, she’s okay, she quickly realizes she doesn’t remember who she is.  From there, you join her in her search for her identity and take peeks into her past as she recalls bits and pieces along the way.

This story pulls you in and doesn’t let you go!  Amnesia was a relatively new concept in those times, so her quest for assistance is fascinating given our broader knowledge and understanding of head injuries these days.  She’s a strong character and you are pulling for her throughout the story as she learns both who she is and who she was.

Island of Lost Girls

by Jennifer McMahon

IslandofLostGirlsIsland of Lost Girls is a thriller that ropes you in and doesn’t let you go until the last page!  It’s set in the mid-2000s where a little girl is abducted in front of a gas station in rural Vermont.  The abduction is witnessed by the main character, Rhonda Farr, and she struggles with the guilt of freezing in the moment.  The story takes you through the search for the little girl as Rhonda reflects on her life and the various acquaintances and friends.  Some of these appear to be connected to the abduction so she questions her friends and everything she’s known in her life.  I loved that I wasn’t able to figure this one out before all was revealed!  It’s much more fun to be surprised at the end!


The One I Left Behind

by Jennifer McMahon

TheOneILeftBehindI loved Island of Lost Girls so much, that I downloaded another book by Jennifer McMahon (and have a few more of her books in my ‘faves’ list on!).  The One I Left Behind was fantastic!  This is also set in current times and follows a case where a serial killer has resurfaced after 25 years.  The daughter of his last victim is now a grown woman living in another state when she’s summoned back home due to some recent developments in the case.  After returning home, the killings start again.  Like with her other book, I didn’t see the ending coming, so I loved the surprise!

What I love about her books is that it doesn’t focus on police work involved in solving the crime.  That’s not to suggest I don’t also enjoy those kinds of books, but this makes for a refreshing perspective.

The Divergent Series

by Veronica Roth








I only recently heard about these books, so I may be a little late to the party!  I already had these on my radar when I saw a preview for Divergent when I went to see Catching Fire in November.  Once I saw these were being made into movies and the first one is set to come out in March,  I knew I had to check it out.

Similar to Hunger Games, these are teen novels, but they don’t read like young adults books.  They are FANTASTIC!!!  I read Divergent in 24 hours.  No joke…I could not stop reading it.  It’s that good.  And now, I can’t WAIT to see the movie in March!

This series is a little complicated to explain, but I’ll give it a try.  This is set in the future in what used to be Chicago.  The city is divided into five factions.  Each was designed to counteract negative personality characteristics.  Each faction has it’s own set of rules which it’s members must live by, or they’re exiled into a factionless society (which is basically homeless & living on the streets).  You are born into a faction and while in school, you do co-mingle with the other factions, but at 16 years old, everyone is given an aptitude test to see where they naturally align.  The following day, you get to choose which faction you will live in for the rest of your life.  You may choose to go with what the aptitude test revealed, stay with your current faction, or completely change it up and go with whatever you want.  The tricky part is if you opt to leave your faction, you don’t get to see your family and friends again.

The first book starts with the day of the aptitude test and you’re introduced to the main character, Beatrice Prior (a.k.a Tris).  I won’t tell you what she chooses, but in the first book, Divergent, you follow her through her initiation phase.  Every faction has this phase to transition the 16 year olds into adulthood.  I have to be honest, when I first read what this was about, I didn’t think I would like it, but boy was I wrong!  Tris is a very strong and stubborn character and I love her!  She reminds me of Katniss Everdeen (actually, I would LOVE to see the 2 of them together in some weird future cross over between Hunger Games and Divergent!).

I didn’t waste any time in diving into the second and third books in the series, Insurgent and Allegiant, respectively.  I don’t want to reveal too much about their plots since it’ll give a little away about the ending of the first book.  All I’ll say is the joy ride continues and they were just as good.

I highly, highly recommend the Divergent series.  If you’re like me and you like to read a book before seeing a movie, then definitely get on it since the Divergent movie is coming out soon!!

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