31 December 2011

Remembering 2011

We know that we've only been around for a few months and that's not much to look back on but what posts were your favourite? Which book did we review that you liked the most? What was your favourite thing that we did this year? Care to share? :D

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! Thanks for following us as we move into the new year. All of us here love what we get to do, what you give us the chance to do. It wouldn't be the same without you all.
We love books and we love reading but for us, most of our experience with this blog ends there. That means that we need your help to improve. This is your chance to help us get better. Tell us what you think. What kinds of books interest you? What do you want from us this year? Let us know! We want this blog to be the best that it can be and you're the readers so let us know.
Thanks for following and we hope to continue for longer than just the new year!

Love the Back to Books team!

28 December 2011

My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's KeeperReviewer: Kristen
Author: Jodi Picoult
Format: Paperback
Pages: 500 (varies)
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.
My take: I'll admit it, I picked up this book because I saw the movie when it was in theaters (so long ago, right?). If you're not reading it because you saw the movie, I seriously suggest that you do. The book is so much different than the movie is! So so so so different. (Could I be anymore insipid...) I don't want to give spoilers away, but it is a tear-jerking heart breaking novel. I think I actually cried more during the novel than I did in the movie. Which is something of a feat, because I rarely cry during novels.(Though I do have my few that unfailingly make me ball like a baby...) The only thing that kept this book from a solid ten out of ten was the changing perspectives. I hate changing perspectives. In some books it works, and I'm not saying it doesn't in this one, but I'm just not a fan. Also keeping it from a perfect score was all the medical terms and information. I get it, essential to the story and what not, but a few times I had no idea what they were talking about. I'm one of those people who will look it up though, but I know a lot of people don't. I flew through this book, but it did have a few dry parts. Probably essential to the story, but I just wanted to get back to the main events. All in all, I suggest you read this, because the difference from the movie and novel is somewhat -for lack of a better term - humourous. 
Final take: If you read this book, make sure you have a box of tissues beside you... it's a heart breaker.

27 December 2011

The Hunger Games

I'm not going to post a review, as Kristen already has and I really don't think I can really improve on hers but I just wanted to say that The Hunger Games is amazing! I highly suggest you read it. I couldn't put it down and I constantly pictured myself as a character within the book. Look for Kristen's review here!

20 December 2011

Dark Lake

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Louise Gaylord
Format: Paperback, ARC
Pages: 191
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (From GoodReads): Summer at the Lake just isn't what it used to be. This year, it's murder.
After 15 years, Allie Armington returns to her aunt Sallie's idyllic cottage retreat in the Adirondacks where she spent most of her childhood summers. Until the accident, that is. But instead of the happy reunion she's anticipating, she finds Sallie's mangled body and her cousin Arlene bound, gagged, and drugged.
The close-knit community of July 4th to Labor Day residents at the Hotanawa compound tries to portray the tragedy as a suicide to keep things out of the news. Allie knows better. There's been foul play, yet the cops have all but closed the case.
To clear her aunt's reputation, Allie's got to navigate her way around a compromised police department, wealthy neighbors with agendas, a cousin who's turned into a meth-head, and a drug conspiracy that just gets stranger and stranger- especially since the handsome drug cop is an ally in one moment and a suspected conspirator the next.
Populated with neighbors you love to hate, childhood ex-crushes you'd hate to love, and family and friends who promote more problems than solutions, Dark Lake brings us an up close look at summer life in the Adirondacks and Allie at her best.

My Take: Okay soooooo...I thought this was a pretty good book. I'm the kind of person that likes to guess "who done it" while reading a mystery. This book kept me guessing, I never knew what action would come next and I loved that. I also didn't figure out the killer until the very end when it was told to me. It had good forshadowing without giving away too many future plot points. I especially liked how everything was tied together at the end.

There were a lot of characters in this novel but i never got confused with any of them. In fact, I grew to trust many of them and even to hate a few too. I didn't, however, feel that the main character felt, or rather, expressed the right or all the emotions that she would feel with the losses that she faced in this story. It felt like some of the emotions were left out.

Another small issues was that every once and awhile there seemed to be pieces missing. Peices of dialogues and story line semmed to have been deleted but after a reread or two i found that the changes made sence, they were just slightly awkward.

Final Thoughts: It was a good mystery. I am likely to reread it in the future. It has a bit of everything. There is action, guns, death, love, comedy, and drama. It has a bit of something for every person. I would recommend this book to people who like CSI!

17 December 2011

World Book Night 2012

I was just surfing the net when I came across this website. This looks like an awesome opportunity, so I wanted to share it with all of you!

Do you love a book so much you want everyone to read it?

World Book Night launched in the UK in 2011 and saw passionate readers across that beautiful country, give 1 million books to light or non readers to spread the joy and love of reading. Reading changes lives and at the heart of World Book Night lies the simplest of ideas and acts - that of putting a book into another person’s hand and saying ‘this one’s amazing, you have to read it’.
Now, it's our time to join the cause.
World Book Night 2012 will be held on April 23 - in the US and the UK - and we’re looking for 50,000 volunteer book givers to hand out 20 copies each - for a total of 1 million free special World Book Night paperbacks!
In order to be a book giver you must be:
  • Aged 16 or over and a resident of the United States
  • Able to pick up 20 copies of your book from your local bookshop or library
  • Committed to giving your books away on World Book Night to non or light readers
Givers will be chosen based on
  • Where, to whom & why you want to give books away

Click the picture for more information. 

16 December 2011

Follow Friday

Q: When you've read a book, what do you do with it? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it..?)

I have an absolute obsession when it comes to my books. I keep them, all of them. Even if I hated the book, I will keep it and put it in a box that I have under my bed. The books I can re-read over and over go on my shelves, and I have a box for the rest. If I have doubles, I'll give it away. But that's about the only time I ever would. So, I guess I'm a book hoarder myself! - Kristen.

I'm with Kristen on this one. I keep all my books. I still have all the books I read when I was really little. The only difference is that I have about a gillion shelves in my room, they don't go in boxes under my bed. I need my own library! 

12 December 2011

The Hunger Games

Reviewer: Kristen 
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 374
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover (paperback is available)

My Rating: 10 out of 10. 

Summary: This novel takes place in a futuristic time, where a war has destroyed civilization as we know it. The Capitol has taken over, and organized the Panem into twelve districts. Each of the districts face hardships of poverty, hunger and controlling peacekeepers that can kill as they see fit. As a reminder to each of these districts of what was caused because of their rebellion (the war), they are required to send a male and female 'tribute' into the Hunger Games. Once they are reaped and arrive in the Capitol, they have a mere few days to prepare for the slaughter that awaits them. When the games have begun, you must fight to the death. "You must kill or be killed." The last person alive wins - the prize is their life. They receive a lifetime of riches. 

The Hunger Games follows the life of Katniss Everdeen. From her point of view, the story is told. The 74th Annual Games have arrived, and her sister, Primrose Everdeen has been chosen as a tribute. Before one can even understand what happens, Katniss has volunteered for her. Katniss is going into the Games. Also reaped is Peeta Mellark, a bakers son. Unbeknownst to us at the time, Katniss owes this boy a lot. Peeta and Katniss are sent to the games where they have little time to prep for the oncoming slaughter they will inevitably face. Survival, however, has become a second nature to Katniss. At a young age, her father died, and she had to find a way to provide for her family - she found this through hunting. If she wants to win she is going to have to make choices that weigh survival against moral.

"Winning means fame and fortune,
Losing means certain death.
The Hunger Games have begun..."

My thoughts: This was not the type of book that I usually looked for, or read. The plot kept me reading, and once I started I could not put it down. Katniss is such a complex, strong character that I became attached to her. Peeta is her character foil, kind and caring. I think that these two compliment each other perfectly. The writing is first person, and is extremely easy to read. The plot is perfectly paced, and Suzanne Collins knows exactly how to leave you wanting more. I loved to watch Katniss grow as a character through the most unlikely circumstance. Also, I felt that the rest of the characters were developed perfectly alongside her. The deaths are brutally described, so if you have a weak stomach, this novel is not recommended to you. Suzanne Collins created such a realistic feel to this novel, I felt as though I was looking into our current worlds future. This also happens to be my favourite novel, so read it! It has been one of the few books that I literally could not put down. I still think of this book to this day, and I read it in 2008. The amount that I have re-read this is actually shameful. 

Conclusion: If you haven't read this book... what are you waiting for? If you love suspense, a budding romance and a good read this is the novel for you. This book surpassed every single one of my expectations. Seriously, if you're still reading this... why haven't you left to go and buy this book?

UPDATE... I just couldn't resist. If you haven't already seen it, this is the official trailer for the upcoming movie which is released March 23rd, 2012. I am shamelessly in love with this. 

I don't want to review the rest of the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, because I'm afraid I'll spoil it for some. So, I'm not going to give it a full review, just my rating out of ten. 

Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
My Rating: 10 out of 10 

Brief Summarization: Personally, I didn't think that Suzanne Collins had what it took to top her first novel. I loved it that much. Suzanne did that rare thing were the sequel topped the original. This book played with my emotions, and let me tell you... not a fair cliffhanger. I loved Catching Fire just as much, or possibly more so, as The Hunger Games. 


Author: Suzanne Collins
My Rating: 10 out of 10

Brief Summarization: This book was given poor reviews because of the way it ended the series. Remember, this is a book about war and destruction, it can't have a happy ending for every single character. Readers thought that Suzanne didn't give us enough information to end the series with. I completely and totally disagree. Suzanne stayed true to Katniss' character which is the danger of first person narrative. Katniss didn't care about what some of the readers did anymore, and Suzanne reflected that. Mockingjay was the perfect end. There was enough information given so that the reader has a pretty good idea of what happened and not too much that readers couldn't conclude their own things. Mockingjay was my favourite book out of the series, though I had to read it more than once to fully appreciate what happened. 

6 December 2011

The Clockwork Giant

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Brooke Johnson
Pages: 250 (some formatting errors so could vary)
Format: This novel was giving to me as an advanced reader's copy so it could be given an unbiased opinion. ARC - eBook only
Release Date: December 13, 2011 (online retailers only)
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (From GoodReads): It's 1881, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Chroniker City, the global hub of technological advancement in the modern world. Based off the British coast, the city is home to the most prestigious polytechnic university worldwide, a center of mechanical ingenuity teaching everything from clockwork mechanics and thermodynamics to electromagnetism and electricity.

Petra Wade, self-taught clockwork engineer, dreams of one day becoming a member of the Guild, an elite group of inventors and innovators who envision a future fuelled by technology, but her ambitions will only come to fruition if she can find a way into the illustrious university—an institution reserved for men only. When she meets Emmerich Goss, an accomplished engineer newly recruited into the Guild, Petra discovers that he needs help building a top-secret, government-sanctioned automaton, and she is just the girl to help him.

Together, they craft the clockwork giant, and as the deadline for its completion nears, Petra finds that she can love more than gears and mainsprings.

My Take: When I first began to read this book, I won't lie to you, I was worried as to how it would turn out? I was a bit deceived by the cover and I guess also the summary. The beginning was a bit slow but that was the only thing in this book that was slow. After about the first chapter it picked up in a big bad way. Something was always happening and that helped to keep my interest. I read half the book in the first four hours of starting it before I decided it would be good to get some sleep. There was always movement and action. I had to pay attention to every word that I was reading in order to keep up with the story. It didn't bother me though so don't get me wrong! I got into it and stayed into it for the remainder of the story.

The characters are perfect for their perspective roles. Each is different and easy to remember. I've read stories with only three characters that I can't keep straight but this author managed to cleanly keep all of the characters in their perfect place within the story. Also, I'm not a huge fan of loving to hate characters and I don't think that I've ever hated a single character more than I hated one in this novel. This hate is well deserved I promise. I think it exists because I fell so much in love with Petra. She seemed so innocent (don't confuse this with naive) that I desperately wanted to protect her. Sadly, I couldn't jump in the book and do it myself.

Don't worry about not knowing anything about machines or clocks, this book can help you with that. I have the strange need to go out and buy a pocket watch. (Know a good place?)

There are only a few things that I didn't like. Firstly, if someone hurts you and you aren't sure if you could trust them, would you still go to them to ask for help in a life or death matter? Maybe you would but I had a hard time believing that. Then again, it could be the character hate speaking here. Secondly, around the middle of the book it seemed kind of jumpy and it would take me a minute or a quick second read through of a paragraph to catch what was happening, what she was seeing, or where we were. However, that could have just been the fact that I was reading it so quickly. Finally, the problem with any new series novel is that now I have to wait for the rest to come out so that I know how it ends!

Final Thoughts: (I'll make it quick!) Good read, fast paced, outstanding character's that are so good they might be the first person you really hate, and who doesn't like some love? (Did I mention love?) I would recommend this book to anyone who likes their love with a side of action and science or vise versa.

3 December 2011

What books are on your list for the new year?
Help us to know what you like to read!

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