Word of Mouth Reviews: Catching Jordan, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Finnikin of the Rock

Welcome to a new occasional feature on the blog ... Word of Mouth Reviews!

Being on vacation gave me a great chance to catch up on my reading. I've realized that one of the problems with blogging is that I tend to focus on current stuff and, as a result, miss out on some fantastic books.

Here are three books I finally read during my vacation, an explanation of why I missed out on them in the first place, and why I wished I'd read them sooner!

Catching Jordan
by Miranda Kenneally

Published by Sourcebooks/Fire
on December 1, 2011

Source: ARC from my collection

Click on the images to add books to Goodreads.

Why I Didn't Read This Book Sooner: Football. I'm not really into football. I find it pretty boring, actually. So even though I heard great things about this book, I put this ARC on my "I'll get to it eventually" stack.

Why I Wished I Read This Book Sooner:  Jordan is such an amazing character. I mean, she's the quarterback of her high school football team. She's earned the respect of all the guys. She loves football, and wants to keep playing in college. Then she's thrown for a loop when a new student arrives at school -- a talented (and completely gorgeous) quarterback. Yes, this book has football stuff in it AND a love triangle, but I didn't care -- it was also an amazing story about friendship and loyalty and following your dreams.

In five words: inspiring, emotional, heartwarming, romantic, funny

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
By Laini Taylor

Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
on September 27, 2011

Source: ARC from my collection

Why I didn't Read This Book Sooner? Fantasy. I'm not such a big reader of fantasy. You can see how long I've had this ARC by the fact that it's seriously vintage (there will be a photo below). But I kept hearing amazing things about this book, so I put it on the vacation pile.

Why I Wished I'd Read This Book Sooner: This book is just crazy-imaginative. It takes place in a world filled with humans, monsters, and angels. The writing is great. The setting is rich and fully imagined. And it has some great humorous moments! Fantasy books usually aren't funny enough, in my opinion.

In five words: haunting, original, atmospheric, melancholy AND funny

Because Karou has a sense of humor, here are the shoes I just bought to walk the dog which shall forever be known as the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Shoes. Why does Karou look all red and blue on my ARC? Beats me.

Finnikin of the Rock
by Melina Marchetta

Published by Candlewick Press
on February 9, 2010

Source: swapped with a friend and I'm not giving it back :)

Why I Didn't Read This Book Sooner? Fantasy, see above. What is it with me and fantasy? I think it's that I spend too much mental energy trying to figure out the world and can't ever really enjoy the story fully.  But Melina Marchetta is one of my favorite authors, so I've always intended to read this.

Why I Wished I'd Read This Sooner: M2 does not disappoint!  This book was ... wow. I will confess that did resist all the fantasy-land stuff at first, but the story just wouldn't have been the same without it. Amazing characters! This book explores all the sides of human nature, from our darkest, most horrible impulses to a better world of love and faith and humanity.

In five words: powerful, surprising, gut-wrenching, brought-tears-to-my-eyes. Yeah, that's more than five.

Tell me about a Book You Wished You'd Read Sooner and be entered into my July comments contest!


  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone looks so freaking good! I don't know why I haven't read it yet! The cover on your ARC looks kind of creepy ... I definitely like the finished cover better!

    Catching Jordan looks like a cute read!

  2. I really like this feature! I haven't read any of these but I do plan on reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Catching Jordan.

    I put off The Fault in Our Stars for a long time because I knew it was going to make me cry and I really wished I hadn't because it was amazingly good.

  3. The reason I have not read Catching Jordan yet is the exact same reason! I am not huge on football but it does sound good and the companion book sounds great too!
    I still need to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I am not sure why I haven't but I hope to get to it at some point.
    I really loved Finnikin! I had a hard time understanding things at some points but on a whole it was excellent. Hopefully I can read Froi of the Exiles soon too. :)

  4. Catching Jordan is on my to-read pile-I actually bought a copy in anticipation of loving it but of course review copies keep getting read while my own books languish on the shelves! I also really liked Daughter of Smoke and Bone-excited to start seeing some reviews of the sequel.

  5. I wish I read Divergent by Veronica Roth sooner. I didn't really want to try it until I was bored out of my mind. Then again, I had to wait 5 months for Insurgent, which wasn't fun.

  6. I have an ARC of Catching Jordan on my pile too! Of course, I'm not sure why I haven't read it yet, since I ADORE football, haha ... and Finnikin I hear good stuff about, must snag from the library ...

    A book I wish I'd read sooner ... How about everything Robin McKinley writes? haha ... But seriously, I discovered her writing not that long ago, and fell in love. I'm trying to think of what else I've read that I put off reading ... I refuse to count Mansfield Park, because I'm not enjoying it ;o) LOL!

  7. I only just read DoSaB a few months ago and I wished I had read it sooner too. I still have to read Catching Jordan. My excuse is having no time. Lame I know, but true. Great post!!

  8. I wish i read If I Stay by Gayle Forman earlier:) lol it was suchhhh a good book:) I have a review up of that on our new blog: http://yanovelties.blogspot.com/ and a welcome to our blog giveaway up:)

  9. I have Catching Jordan on my TBR and keep meaning to get it. I've read so many great reviews on it. I really need to get to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It's been on my bookshelf for months! I'm glad you posted about it. I will be putting it higher on my list! :-)

  10. I LOVE this post! I want to do something similar on my blog because this happens to me ALL the time. I haven't read Catching Jordan yet either, and I REALLY want to because her next book, Stealing Parker, is about BASEBALL, which I love (obviously.)

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Finnikin both earned 5 stars from me and are two of my fave books of ALL time so I am thrilled that you got a chance to read them at last, Jen! And that D of S&B ARC is BIZARRE, btw!

    The book I should have read MUCH sooner would be The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (So. Much. LOVE.) And if I could pick another, besides Catching Jordan, that I really want to read, it would be Lola and the Boy Next Door, because I adored Anna and the French Kiss.

    Love this post, Jen, really:)

  11. I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Great worldbuilding. Not my fav fantasy--not a fan of angel books. I can't think of any books I wish I'd read sooner, but there are a few authors (Simone Elks in particular) that I wish I had read sooner.

  12. Haven't read Catching Jordan but I really liked Daughter of Smoke and Bone & I loved Finnikin of the Rock. I just read Froi of the Exiles & I think I love it more than Finnikin (but maybe it's because it's been a while since I read Finnikin). I can't wait for Quintana of Charyn! Anyways, a book I wish I read sooner is Split. It is a story that really stays with you long after you have read it.

  13. Finnikin of the Rock is one of those books I can't wait to read but I am almost afraid to read. Does that make sense. I just have heard that it is so good and amazing and heartbreaking that i don't know if I have it in me right now to go through it all! Daughter of Smoke and Bone just looks and sounds awesome and I have had on my TBR list forever also. Great shoe/book matching!

  14. I felt like that when I finally read Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick. I had pre-ordered it and then ended up waiting months before I finally just DLed the audio so I could experience the awesomeness.

    DoSaB was seriously one of my favorite reads last year. (I think I told you that already 'cause I remember you having to figure out my abbreviation. :P) I agree that the humor really set it apart from other fantasy novels. I have Finnikin on my Nook, but I haven't gotten around to it yet, though I've wanted to read it for some time. I love fantasy -- as in it's my favorite genre to read because I can escape into a world and just live there for awhile -- but I can see why that would be difficult for some...it does take a lot of mental energy. But it's so worth it. :)

  15. I haven't read any of those books yet for the same reasons you didn't read them sooner, but I will give them a try now! I was apprehensive of the book Hush, Hush at first because of the religious aspects to it, but I ended up really enjoying it; so much so, that I read all three and am longing for the day the fourth comes out!

  16. A book a wish I read sooner would be Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne. I remember winning this book and I was very excited and I really don't know what kept me from reading it. I think it was the fact I was distracted with other books and I also think once I got Harbinger it didn't really call to me to read it yet. I just recently read this and wow what a story. Such a psychological mystery and totally kept me on my toes. I can't believe I didn't read Harbinger sooner but I am very happy that I finally did.

  17. I've been wanting to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone for a while. I've been hearing wonderful reviews about it! I guess I should really pick it up!

    I've also wanted to read Finnikin of the Rock... mostly because my favorite character from The Hunger Games is Finnick! :)

  18. I LOVED Catching Jordan. I hate football but I felt Jordan's passion and was rooting for her to be able to keep playing. I also loved her best friend. They are mentioned in the companion novel Stealing Parker. I had wanted to read it since it came out but it's just hard to keep up with the million releases I want to read every month. I still need to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I've heard amazing things about it since it came out but haven't read it yet.

  19. "Finnikin of the Rock" looks amazing. I need a vacation to catch up.

  20. I haven't read any of these yet! Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Catching Jordan are both on my TBR list though! I even have a copy of DoS&B but haven't gotten around to it yet..lol

    Glad you enjoyed them!!

  21. I LOVE Melina Marchetta! Her writing style is beautiful. I haven't read this series yet, cause I'm waiting for all three books to come out! :)

  22. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone... so emotional! And I've been giving Catching Jordan a pass... maybe I'll reconsider.

  23. Great idea for a post! I have Catching Jordon on my tbr, I read DofS&B and really liked it, and I added the other to my tbr. I think there are so many great books out there and there is only so much time to read that it is pretty easy to not get everything read. Plus, everyone has a little bit different tastes and so you never know if you will love a book like someone else or love it more. I have several I must get read and haven't yet. Some I should have read sooner: the Artemis Fowl series, the Gallagher Girls series, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

  24. I've never been interested to read Catching Jordan because I'm not a fan of football, either. But maybe I'll have to check it out. But I own both Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Finnikin of the Rock and I haven't read either! They're both high on my TBR pile after I get through my contemp binge.

    Love the shoes that match the Daughter of Smoke & Bone ARC!

  25. Ah!!! I'm such a big fan of fantasy! I think I'm going to love all these! Thanks for the review! I like your Daughter of Smoke and Bone Shoes! :D

  26. Hi Jen!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog (downthesteps.blogspot.com). Daughter of Smoke and Bone is hands-down my favourite YA fantasy trilogy so far; Laini Taylor is in a league of her own. Like you, I prefer Melina Marchetta's contemporary stories, so I'm a little hesitant about starting Finnikin of the Rock. But I might give it a go now that I've read your review! :)

    ~ Joyce


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you will share your thoughts on this post!