Upon finishing Our Chemical Hearts, I wanted to bawl (not really, but kinda). The ending of this book was just so realistic and amazing that the onlyUpon finishing Our Chemical Hearts, I wanted to bawl (not really, but kinda). The ending of this book was just so realistic and amazing that the only thing I kept thinking was "I wish the rest of this book was worthy of you". But, alas, it was not meant to be.
The Bad: I have to start out with the bad in Our Chemical Hearts because it's what permeated what could have been a decent book. Henry. That's it. THAT was the bad (or most of it). He was such a pathetic, whiny, complete waste of a human being. This guy STALKS the girl he likes, not once but twice. And tries to excuse it away. I should have realized this was going to happen once he started saying how harshly he judged Edward Cullen. Uh no, dude. That guy deserved to be judged, as do you. Henry obsesses over Grace until his grades start to suffer. He obsesses until the newspaper that he's the editor of starts to suffer so much that his (awesome) best friend has no choice but to rat him out to a teacher, not once, but twice. All because he just couldn't get his shit together long enough to do the job that he was assigned to do. I have never wanted to hit someone so bad in my life.
This guy was just a douche nozzle who wanted a girl just because she was mysterious, just because she used to look like what popular high school girls in movies look like. He wanted everything to be about his needs, about what he needed Grace to be for him. She might have a mental illness? Eh. I need her to be happy and so, I'll pretend that she's happy because it makes it easier for me in the end. That's not to say that Grace was a perfect because she clearly wasn't. She had her fair share of flaws, but they're understandable given what she's been through.
The Good: Sadie. Oh my God, I LOVED Sadie (which makes me think that I might need to give YA a rest for a while because lately all I'm loving are the adult characters). She was a badass, smart ass, kick ass chick who was an awesome big sister (that Henry didn't deserve). While reading Our Chemical Hearts and reading all about Sadie's childhood/teenage antics that tend to be sex, drugs, and rock and roll, all I wanted to be reading THAT book...the book about Sadie's antics. I wanted a Sadie YA book because she was so much more interesting and likable than Henry (and I wanted so much to read her apology/redemption note to Hotchkiss). In fact, everyone in this novel was more interesting and likable than Henry. La was an awesome best friend, who I wouldn't have minded reading a story about. I wanted to know so much more about Murray and his infatuation with Sugar Gandhi. I wanted to know more about all of the characters (that weren't Henry).
More Good: Again, the ending of Our Chemical Hearts was so bittersweet and had such a dose of realism that I didn't quite expect (given the whininess and obsession exhibited by the main character). It's something that's not the norm in YA novels and I liked that. Won't be spoiling it here, but it was a really great ending.
Overall, I wasn't a fan of Our Chemical Hearts because Henry was such a horrible main character. Had this book been about anybody else, I might've liked it. Even though there were some parts about it that I liked (Sadie!!!), I still classify this one as a disappointing dud for me....more
It's so disheartening to realize that it's been a long while since I've read an honest to goodness GREAT YA book (a YA book rated higher than 3 stars)It's so disheartening to realize that it's been a long while since I've read an honest to goodness GREAT YA book (a YA book rated higher than 3 stars). It was in March. A whole four months ago. It's not for lack of trying, either. Unfortunately for me (and I guess just for me because the ratings for this book on GR are through the roof), Signs of You was no exception.
Signs of You had so much potential to be great. I tend to like books that deal with loss, so I had assumed that I would like this one. And, for the most part, I did like the parts that focused on coping with the lost of a loved one. That was the one aspect of Signs of You that I thought was mostly well done. It's everything else that lost me.
The whole St. Ignacious thing bored me to freaking tears. It was so, so underwhelming. In fact, the whole paranormal aspect of this book was underwhelming. It just never clicked for me. And seeing as how that's a big bulk of Signs of You, that means that the book as a whole never clicked for me. I was also bored by all of the main characters and disliked Riley for most of the book considering she spent most of her time worried about romance when real shit was going down. These characters just weren't engaging. The only characters I was interested in were Riley's dad and that out of college librarian with the Peter Pan collared shirt (who didn't have a name because she was barely in the book, but managed to be more interesting than everything and everyone else). Yeah, not good. I also didn't buy the whole romance thing that happened in the end considering that the MC spent most of her time infatuated with a whole other person.
Overall, I found Signs of You to be completely underwhelming. I was never engaged with the story and thought it dragged way too much (which is surprising given how short it is). And so my quest to read a YA novel that's not just okay/mediocre this summer continues....more
Meh. That's pretty much the only word that ran through my mind when I finished With Malice. I guess we've sort of moved past the post-apocalyptic/dystMeh. That's pretty much the only word that ran through my mind when I finished With Malice. I guess we've sort of moved past the post-apocalyptic/dystopian craze where every YA book wanted to be The Hunger Games. Now, we have YA books that all want to be like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. And so we have many generic YA thrillers coming out hoping to capitalize on that fame. Unfortunately, With Malice is as generic as it gets. I probably would have liked With Malice more had I not read a few fictional variations of the Amanda Knox trial already. And due to that, this book sort of came across like "same shit, different book" to me.
The Eh: None of these girls that were involved in the accident are even remotely likable. So, who are we rooting for? In fact, not even the minor characters were likable. Once I finished the story, I also realized that I didn't like how this story was told. The MC is learning in pieces what happened during the accident. So, you would think that this book would be fraught with tension as we're following her journey as to what happened. Except it wasn't. The whole thing was told in a very blah-like matter. Furthermore, everything about this book was predictable. I could see every single one of the twists coming.
The Okay: Despite the fact that I saw it coming, I did like the ending. It was cynical and I feared that the author would try to wrap this up with a bow-like ending. So, kudos for not doing that. I was also impressed by how much of a page-turner this book was considering that it was lacking in tension and wasn't the least bit atmospheric. I didn't want to put it down.
So, in the end, I wasn't that impressed with With Malice. It had unlikable characters, doing unlikable things that were very predictable. Also, I wasn't a big fan of the writing (I was so sick of the word "nauseated" by the end of this book). I say, skip it....more
Despite the fact that I'm not a huge short story fan, I really enjoyed My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories. It was sweet, adorable, and abDespite the fact that I'm not a huge short story fan, I really enjoyed My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories. It was sweet, adorable, and about Christmas/Winter. All things that I enjoy. So, I was so looking forward to reading Summer Days & Summer Nights because of how much I liked the first installment. And I have to say, I did enjoy some of these stories...but I liked My True Love Gave to Me a bit more.
Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail - I really enjoyed this story. When I think of YA summer reads, I tend to favor contemporary reads. This intertwined contemporary with fantasy for a wonderful dash of magical realism that I really enjoyed. It was an incredibly cute read. 4/5
The End of Love - I'm always wary when I pick up anything by Nina Lacour because I intensely disliked The Disenchantments. But to my surprise, I really enjoyed this story. I loved the romance, the supporting characters, and the turmoil between the MC and her mom. I wanted to read a full story with these characters. Loved it. 5/5
The Last Stand at the Cinegore - Just like I have a complicated relationship with Nina Lacour's works, the same goes for Libba Bray. Loved the Gemma Doyle trilogy, intensely disliked Going Bovine. So, again, wary. And I had a reason to be. To me, this story tried way too hard to be witty and funny. Liked the characters, but the whole premise fell flat and I was bored throughout. Didn't enjoy this one. 2/5
Sick Pleasure - This one was...interesting. The characters with only initials got old really quickly, but the premise was okay. The fact that it was so depressing was different and I somewhat enjoyed the uniqueness. But Francesca Lia Block always goes over my head and I fear this story was no different. 3/5
In Ninety Minutes, Turn North - I wasn't all that enamored with North and Marigold during Christmas. I was doubly not interested in them in the summer. I just don't get the appeal with those two characters nor these stories. It's not a bad story, per se, but I'm just so bored by the blah premise and the meh characters. 2/5
Souvenirs - I LOVED this one. It was sweet with a dash of angsty realism. I loved Matt and was so into his relationship with somewhat manipulative Kieth. I wanted to know so much more about how they got together and how they stayed together throughout the summer. And OH MY GOD, did I LOVE his mother. She was only there for a bit, but I loved Matt's relationship with her. This is another instance where I wanted a full fledged novel about this experience. 5/5
Inertia - Interesting premise with cool characters with an angsty relationship, but I just wasn't too into it. I don't like being dropped down into a new world with no particulars on how I got there. Reading this felt like picking up a book mid-series. I HATE that feeling. 3/5
Love is the Last Resort - I really, really liked this one. I can totally see a whole series with the staff of this resort and its wacky guests. My view on love is the same as Lena's so I loved her (and her logic) from the get go. I found this story to be witty, clever, humorous, and cute. 4/5
Good Luck and Farewell - This is one of those stories that I would have enjoyed more if the main character wasn't such an asshole. Seriously, she was so unlikeable and so rude to people for no discernible reason. And I've read another book by this author and the MC of that one was equally unlikeable (though more sympathetic). Her love interest was super awesome, though. Way too awesome for this MC. 3/5
Brand New Attraction - This is another one with a unique premise that I like. Unfortunately, the characters in this were so thinly developed. I get that it's a short story so there's not much time for intense development, but having some would have been welcome. The characters were stereotypical and the villain was too cartoon like. 2/5
A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong - I kid you not, my notes on this story read something like this: Aww, tear, tear, tear, smiley face emoji, smiley face emoji. I LOVED this one. It was sooo (add in 10 more o's) cute and sweet and exactly what I think about when I think summer YA read. It reminded me a bit of the movie Adam and I LOVED Adam and so I LOVED this story. Sigh. Swoon. 5/5
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things - This was the perfect end to a not so perfect compilation. It was such a great story. And my geeky heart when all a-flutter when the MC mentioned Edge of Tomorrow, especially since this was the movie that popped into my head while starting this story, not Groundhog Day (and when he mentioned Omega Mimic, I died a little). I loved the two main characters, loved the premise, loved the writing, and I am now even more excited to pick up The Magicians. 5/5
So, in the end, I liked My True Love Gave to Me more than Summer Days & Summer Nights. While I think I liked the same (if not more) amount of stories in both books, there were more I actively disliked in this one than in that one. Still worth a read, though. Oh, and kudos to this compilation for being crazy diverse. Loved that. I'm also hoping that there's a compilation dealing with Fall stories. But please, feel free to leave North and Marigold at home this time....more
I've avoided Eleanor & Park for a few years because everyone was raving about it. I didn't want to get my hopes up too much. Then, I read FangirlI've avoided Eleanor & Park for a few years because everyone was raving about it. I didn't want to get my hopes up too much. Then, I read Fangirl and fell completely and utterly in love with that book. And then my hopes went up way too much that I put this book on the back burner. Then, I read Attachments, wasn't that enamored by it, and then this book went on the back burner again because of this. Finally, I read this and while I really liked it, part of me is still a little disappointed by it (i.e. this book is more of a 3 1/2 star book, but I'm bumping it up to 4 instead of downgrading it to 3).
The Good (that veers into Eh): The romance in Eleanor and Park didn't make me want to stab my eyes out. And that's high praise coming from me cause I'm stuck in an "Eww! Romance!" mentality when it comes to most books (but when I really like the romance plot in the book, watch out cause I squee all over the place). So, the fact that it didn't annoy me was great. But I also wasn't completely sold on the romance to begin with. It wasn't exactly insta-love, but it had shades of it.
More Good (that veers into Eh): I liked Eleanor and Park (the characters) enough, but I never fully connected with either of them. This is a change from Fangirl when I connected not only with Cath, but with Reagan, too (oh, how I loved that sarcastic chickadee to bits and pieces). I don't necessarily need to connect to a character to enjoy a book, but it would've helped my enjoyment of this book.
More Good (with no Eh): Oh my God, did I love Eleanor and Park's families. Park's family was just so cute (and his mom was adorable) and I wanted to hug them all to pieces. But Eleanor's family was why I liked this book. Her family was angsty as all get out (and I'm a HUGE fan of angst...not melodrama, though) and THAT'S the reason that I kept turning the pages of this book. I wanted to find out what would happen between Eleanor and her family because the book kept going towards this point where I knew something explosive would happen. And it did. And the explosion wasn't unsatisfactory...but the resolution was.
The Actual Eh: I was so invested in Eleanor & Park because of Eleanor's family situation. That's why it was so disappointing that the book ends with such ambiguity when it comes to that point. Did Eleanor's mom leave Richie? Are they still together? Did she get help? What the hell happened to the younger kids? And I have no answers to these questions. That kind of pisses me off.
Overall, I liked Eleanor & Park, but didn't love it. And I'm still so pissed off at the ambiguity that I was left with that I'm downgrading this to 3 stars than the 4 I originally started out with. So, I still recommend this book, but I liked Fangirl way more. ...more
Beware That Girl is yet another book this year (this month, actually) that has me in a tizzy on what to rate it. I didn't expect to like Beware That GBeware That Girl is yet another book this year (this month, actually) that has me in a tizzy on what to rate it. I didn't expect to like Beware That Girl as much as I did because of its Gone Girl comparisons. I didn't particularly like Gone Girl, but feel compelled to check out every book compared to it because I'm a masochist.
The Good: For the most part, I liked Kate, which is surprising because when I first started reading Beware That Girl, I couldn't stand her. I thought this was going to be one of those books where you read it just to see the main character get theirs. But, once I got into the thick of the novel, I started to admire her dedication and tenacity. Maybe, she just didn't seem that bad because Olivia was so soul-sucking that everyone looks like an angel in comparison.
More Good: Beware That Girl was an extreme page-turner and that has everything to do with the atmospheric nature of it. With a book like this, you have to build tension and Beware that Girl succeeded in that front. I was holding my breath once I was getting to the end and actually debated in sneaking a peek at the end because I couldn't stand the tension (and I've only ever done that with one book in my entire life). I didn't, but man was I tempted. Also, Mrs. Chen was awesome.
The Eh: This isn't a real thriller. I expected some amount of grittiness in this book, but despite the tension, this still felt like the CW's attempt at a Gossip Girl spinoff with mysterious undertones. Also, the villain was a little too cartoon-like for my liking and apparently his penis was holy cause everybody wanted it, even people who really should've known better. So, that part rang kind of false to me. The climax to the ending was also extremely anti-climactic and just way too absurd. And the twist? I didn't even see it as a twist. That's the problem of reading reviews before you read the book. Everyone kept talking about this crappy ending with a crappy twist that my mind started coming up with different, outrageous scenarios. And every single one of my scenarios was more twisty than the actual twist that we got. I expected the twist from the beginning, but more as a passing plot point, not as this big twist. Disappointing.
In the end, I thought that Beware That Girl was a somewhat solid read. But that could be because my expectations were so low that the fact that this was semi-decent shocked me to the core. Still, it could have been so much better....more
I am experiencing some deep and inner turmoil when it comes to Summer of Supernovas. On the one hand, it was a pretty cute and summery read. But on thI am experiencing some deep and inner turmoil when it comes to Summer of Supernovas. On the one hand, it was a pretty cute and summery read. But on the other hand, this has a couple of things that had I known about ahead of time, would have deterred me from reading this book. Mild spoilers below.
Summer of Supernovas has the dreaded love triangle. I'm sorry, but I'm one of those people that loathes love triangles, love squares, love any damn shape that involves more than two people. It's aggravating to me and makes me want to throw things at the wall. Not only does Summer of Supernovas have a love triangle, but it also has a love triangle featuring two brothers. *insert furious scream here* Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! Can this BE more soap opera like? And that was also one of the problems I had with this book. It veered slightly into a melodramatic plot. Drama is fine, drama I can deal with it. But melodrama? Yeah, that bothers me, too.
Now for the good: For the most part, I did like Will. She was sassy, funny, witty, and kick-ass. All things I like in female heroines. Her stubbornness in trying to find the perfect guy based solely on astrological charts was slightly annoying, but you do you and all. Unfortunately, the love triangle with the brothers sort of made me dislike her a bit just on principle alone, but if that hadn't happened, I would have loved and adored her. I did love and adore Irina, though. Sigh. I love pierced, tattooed, bad ass chicks in literature. They make life so interesting. In fact, all of the supporting characters that weren't actively involved in the love triangle were amazing. I loved Manny. I loved the members of the band. I loved the bartender. Seriously, it was all love for the supporting characters.
In the end, I only liked Summer of Supernovas. It was somewhat melodramatic, it ran slightly long for its premise, and had an annoying love triangle with brothers. But for the most part, it's a cute, easy-breezy, summery read. Still recommended if you're into love triangles and all that....more
I wanted to love My Best Friend's Exorcism so bad! Mainly because I love The Exorcist so much. And by love I mean that it scared the ever living shitI wanted to love My Best Friend's Exorcism so bad! Mainly because I love The Exorcist so much. And by love I mean that it scared the ever living shit out of me when I was kid and I continue to watch because I have a masochist streak. I kind of expected this to be a bit like The Exorcist, in terms of scare factor, but it wasn't.
The good: I really loved the whole friendship between Abby and Gretchen. I loved that the whole exorcism thing took a backseat to their friendship because I'm a sucker for a good friendship book. Despite the fact that Abby and Gretchen are on the outs for most of the novel, I still felt the history of their friendship throughout the entire novel. They always felt like friends even when Gretchen was doing crazy shit. I also loved the guy that played the exorcist. I thought he was hilarious (and if there's ever a movie made out of this, Steve Howey HAS to play him).
The Eh: I found the writing in My Best Friend's Exorcism to be slightly clunky. First, this book never really had a definitive voice. It was told through everybody's POV and that made it hard to connect with any one character. This book also has major sluggish parts due to how much exposition it has. GAH! Exposition. This would have one (what I thought was a) throwaway line and then there would be two or three paragraphs explaining that one throwaway line. It stopped the flow of the story and dropped me right out of it every single time. I also didn't find it scary. I haven't read a truly scary book in a while and I had assumed this would be one, but alas, it wasn't. (Then again, very little scares me anymore).
Overall, I thought that My Best Friend's Exorcism was just okay. It was an entertaining, sometimes heart-wrenching read that wasn't at all scary. But I don't regret reading it. I would have enjoyed it more had the writing been a little less clunky....more
The Safest Lies is yet another YA mystery book that I finish and think "Meh." There's just nothing memorable about this book. More than that, there waThe Safest Lies is yet another YA mystery book that I finish and think "Meh." There's just nothing memorable about this book. More than that, there was nothing that I particularly liked about The Safest Lies enough for me to recommend it to someone.
One of the biggest pet peeves I have in books is when there's something so huge and important going on in someone's life, but they're not too focused on it...because there's a cute guy around the corner to focus on. This was Kelsey all the time. The fact that her mother may have been kidnapped is secondary to the fact that OMG! There's a cute boy in her room! Someone's trying to break into her house? OMG, Cute Boy made a flirty comment while we're in danger! Let me think about how much I love him instead of trying to figure out a plausible way out! Ugh. Needless to say, I didn't like Kelsey after this and found her to be daft and annoying.
The Safest Lies was also repetitive. The same thing that happens in the middle (was this supposed to be the climax? Cause I don't even know) happens again towards the end. Well, then that means that the middle or the ending was a waste of time. I don't know which, mainly because all I can think of was that the whole thing was a waste of time. Especially when you realize how implausible the whole ending is. In fact, not only was it implausible, but it was hugely anti-climactic. And after I finished reading, all I could think of (besides meh) was "What was the point?".
So, I did not like The Safest Lies. It veered toward boring. It was hugely repetitive and Kelsey was just a horrid, unlikable character. I did like Annika, though. Too bad she was given very little to do....more
It Wasn't Always Like This has alternating past-present chapters. I'm not a huge fan of timelines like this since I tend to find them scattershot andIt Wasn't Always Like This has alternating past-present chapters. I'm not a huge fan of timelines like this since I tend to find them scattershot and annoying. However, the thing that made It Wasn't Always Like This a slight bust for me was that it always felt like I was reading two separate stories and the alternating chapters weren't weaved into one storyline in a way that I liked.
The Good: I really liked the present day storyline. I'm a huge fan of Veronica Mars and the present day chapters sort of channeled VM. In fact, I could read an entire series of Emma and Pete kicking ass and solving crimes. I also really loved Pete. In fact, he was my absolute favorite character of It Wasn't Always Like This. He was just so interesting...more interesting than any other character.
The Bad: I wasn't a big fan of the fantasy aspect of this book. The fantasy part just wasn't expanded upon a lot and you only get glimpses of what the whole immortality thing entails. I also wasn't a fan of the historical aspects of this book. It was just Emma pining over Charlie throughout time. Boring. In fact, I found a lot of this book boring. It just wasn't as engaging as it could have been. I was never attached to Emma as a main character nor any of the supporting characters (with exception of Pete).
Overall, I found It Wasn't Always Like This to be slightly unsatisfying. I would have liked to have more engaging characters and a more engaging storyline. I loved the PI aspect of it, but everything else fell kinda flat....more
When We Collided was a weird book for me. And that's not all that surprising. Books about mental illness tend to leave me with conflicting feelings, eWhen We Collided was a weird book for me. And that's not all that surprising. Books about mental illness tend to leave me with conflicting feelings, especially when that book is narrated by the person with the mental illness. I always feel like there's a disconnect with the narrator and with me as the reader. And I sort of felt this way with When We Collided.
Vivi: I spent the entire novel being exhausted by Vivi. Her larger than life personality was just way too much sometimes. And when she wasn't being overwhelming, she was being completely self-centered. Vivi is a HARD character to like. However, due to her circumstances, I can see why she is the way she is. It completely makes sense. I do have to say, though, that Vivi's chapters bored me somewhat. Again, we have that thing for me where there's a disconnect between me and the character because the character might be feeling disconnected herself. So, I was never really engaged with her.
Jonah: I loved Jonah and his whole family. I found everything that was happening in his life to be completely interesting. I loved the littles and I loved the relationship he had with his older siblings. In fact, I wanted more of Jonah and his family in When We Collided. He was just such a sweet and solid guy. I also really liked his friendship with Ellie and Ellie as a whole. And I loved that the whining was kept to a minimum with him.
The Romance: The romance in When We Collided was weird. I'm not usually a big romance fan and it didn't bother me here. I think mainly because there were so many other things going on that the romance never felt like the focal point of the book for me. It felt like a summer fling more than this earth-shattering romance and that didn't bother me. I predicted where the romance was going to go at the end and that didn't bother me either. Usually in summer, contemporary YA novels, the endings all tend to be the same and this was different. I appreciated that.
Overall, I liked When We Collided. I loved Jonah, wasn't enamored too much by Vivi, but I found it to be a solid read. I did find the writing in here to be wonderful, though. And I loved that when Vivi was falling apart, the narration style mirrored that. Despite the fact that I didn't love this, I think that Emery Lord is going on my "must buy as soon as it comes out" book list....more
I have no idea why, but I wasn't expecting much out of The Darkest Hour. On second thought, it might be the cover. I don't know. I feel like the coverI have no idea why, but I wasn't expecting much out of The Darkest Hour. On second thought, it might be the cover. I don't know. I feel like the cover is not befitting of what The Darkest Hour is about. It makes it look like a historical fiction chick lit. And OH MY GOD, chick lit this is not.
The Good: The Darkest Hour is INTENSE. It's just non-stop action all the way through. This means that it's freaking IMPOSSIBLE to put this book down. I tried to numerous times. I even read through my commute (don't worry, I'm not driving) and I NEVER do that (mainly cause I get too car sick). I just had to see how this was going to end. I also loved Sabine. She was so flaw-filled and angsty and wonderful. Lucie and Tilly were great, too.
More Good: THERE WAS NO ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK! And yes, that needs to be in all caps because it's so rare to see a YA novel that has no romance. We have tons of them with overwhelming romance, we have some with a smidgen of romance. But I can't think of a YA book at the top of my head that had NO romance whatsoever (though I admit, I was shipping Lucie and Sabine for a while there, but that's just me being me). It was so refreshing and made me love this book.
The reason that this book doesn't get five stars is because I wanted to know more about the characters. I get that they're Covert Ops agents and therefore, they have to have this shroud of mystery surrounding them, but I feel like I didn't get to know much of anything about them. Tilly was somewhat of a blank slate. Sabine was a character who was so extremely interesting, but that interest wasn't fully explored, and while we get to know somethings about Lucie (she is the main character, after all), I wanted more. Oh, I also found it a tad predictable.
Overall, I really liked The Darkest Hour. Those were some intense, action packed 300+ pages that Richmond wrote and I (mostly) loved every page of it. I also plan on reading every single one of those books mentioned in the afterword. Non-fiction female spies in WWII? I'm so there. Highly, highly recommended!...more