I have always been interested in fatalistic weather. Not impressively interested like those in What Stands in a Storm who are interested in it and theI have always been interested in fatalistic weather. Not impressively interested like those in What Stands in a Storm who are interested in it and then like study weather and become meteorologists and save lives, but passively interested. Interested in a way where I constantly make sure that things such as tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, etc., don't come anywhere near me and sometimes track them to make sure they stay far, FAR away. However, What Stands in a Storm is my first non-fiction book about a fatalistic weather event. And let me tell you, this book was simultaneously terrifying and heartbreaking.
Kim Cross made me feel as though I was right there in Tuscaloosa, experiencing the affects of the tornado (the fact that there was a massive thunderstorm and a tornado warning...in CT, while I was reading, certainly helped matters as well). She writes in such a visceral way that I ended up flinching and bursting into tears many times while reading this. Mainly because of all of the people who have lost their lives as well as the family of those people who somehow have to pick up the pieces and move on. But I also cried because of the fact that many people banded together to help those who were left destitute and homeless because of the tornado (and it's not something that I think would happen here in Ye Olde New England). This book just made me feel every single emotion.
I can write way more words to try to pad this review and make it longer. But there would be no point. What Stands in a Storm is a brilliant, fantastically written book that will make you cry many, many, many tears....more
I don't know what it is about Jennifer McMahon's books that get to me, but they always do. I love picking up her books because I know I'm going to beI don't know what it is about Jennifer McMahon's books that get to me, but they always do. I love picking up her books because I know I'm going to be in for one hell of a creeptastic ride. McMahon's books also introduce me to great characters that are endearing, yet ever-so tragic. And The Night Sister was no exception.
I've said this time and time again, but Oh my God, am I a sucker for a good sister book! I loved reading about Piper and Margot's sweet relationship, but I really, really, really loved reading about Sylvie and Rose's angst-ridden one. It's just so much more real to me when there's such animosity between sisters since that's what I experienced while growing up. While my sisters and I get along now, there was always this tension between us. And I loved that Sylvie and Rose's relationship was riddled with that tension.
More Good: I tend to not like books that have an overabundance of varying points of view as well as ones that flash back and forth. The Night Sister has both of these things. The minute I saw the shifting narrative, I audibly groaned and started panicking thinking that I wasn't going to like this. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the shifting narratives were all highly necessary. Imagine even more surprise when I realized that I didn't dislike any of the timelines or find one more entertaining than the other. There was absolutely no preference because they were all done so well. I loved reading about Sylvie and Rose in the 50s, adored reading about Margot, Amy, and Piper in the late 80s, and was on pins and needles reading about Margot, Jason, and Piper in 2013. And this is the power of the McMahon. She gets you to love things you're you aren't going to love. I loved these characters and was heartbroken in 1955, 1989, and 2013.
Seeing as how this is a McMahon book, you know it's going to be creepy. The Night Sister definitely was. Creepy motels and mysterious rooms that you can't find? Yep, scary. The Night Sister also wasn't just out and out scary, but rather a build-up to scary. And just like angsty sister relationships, I'm a sucker for atmospheric horror/mystery novels.
Overall, I really liked The Night Sister. While it wasn't my favorite Jennifer McMahon novel (that's still Promise Not to Tell, though I will admit I have yet to read The Winter People), it was still really great. And though, this book did have some "Oh My God! Do NOT go in there! WHY are you going in there, you moron!" moments, it actually made it more fun. It's highly recommended (and made me really excited about picking up The Winter People soon)....more
I Was Here made me cry. And I'm one of those readers who tends to rate a book that made me cry higher than I would rate it had I not cried. So, when II Was Here made me cry. And I'm one of those readers who tends to rate a book that made me cry higher than I would rate it had I not cried. So, when I finished I Was Here and realized that I was still bawling my eyes out, I was thinking of rating this book four stars. But upon further reflection, I realized that there were some things in here that bothered me. I decided to stick with the rating I would have given I Was Here had it not made me cry, so it gets three stars.
The Good: Again, this book made me cry. So, that means I felt something for the situation that's going on and that's a good thing. I loved the angsty relationship between Cody and her mom. I also loved Cody's relationship with the Garcia's, particularly Meg's little brother. However, my absolute favorite part of I Was Here were Meg's college roommates. I had the biggest soft spot for sweet, bubbly Alice, really loved Richard, loved Harry, and was endlessly intrigued by Tree. In fact, I wanted to know more about all of them and would have liked to have them featured more.
The Eh: I Was Here sort of exemplified the feeling I have for Forman's books (the ones that I've read which is really just If I Stay and a short story included in My True Love Gave to Me) and that is that they tend to have pacing issues. I felt it while reading If I Stay. I felt it even more while reading I Was Here. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the overabundance of details that don't really add much to the overall plot. Maybe it's just that it feels as though Forman loses steam in the middle. Either way, there always comes one moment where I contemplate putting the book down because it just starts getting boring. And this happened with I Was Here.
The Bad: The romance in I Was Here killed this book for me. I'm of the opinion that you don't mess with your BFF's boyfriend (ex or otherwise) and you also don't mess with a BFF's crush, especially when that BFF slept with that crush and that guy was a huge dick to her afterwards. There's a code. You don't break that code. But Cody didn't break the code, she freaking demolished it. Plus, Ben reminded me of Jess in Gilmore Girls...I hated that douchebag with every fiber of my being. Ben was an asshole. And that whole good girl reforms bad boy thing is so overdone...and is annoying in every situation it pops up in. I've never seen it done in a way that doesn't infuriate me. I Was Here was no exception.
Overall, I thought that I Was Here was just okay. After a bit of a slog, it did end up being a page-turner and it was a massive tearjerker. However, there were still definite pacing issues, and the romance was just so aggravating and cliche. Despite my issues with this book, I still think I'll check out more of Forman's books, mainly because I still have Where She Went on my shelf and because I really did love that short story she wrote in My True Love Gave To Me....more
I'm a total sucker for a good friendship, summer read. So, I was very excited to read Proof of Forever...especially when you add in that this book isI'm a total sucker for a good friendship, summer read. So, I was very excited to read Proof of Forever...especially when you add in that this book is being sort of compared to The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants (and I LOVE that book/series) just with a time-travel aspect to it. And then I opened the first page, and saw that the author had a Sarah Dessen quote in it and so my expectations kind of sky-rocketed after that because just like I love The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants, I tend to love Dessen's books. However, upon finishing Proof of Forever, I found myself slightly disappointed in it. It was okay, but nothing much more than that.
The Good: I absolutely loved Joy. She definitely seemed like the sweetest of the bunch and I found her to be such an enigmatic character. In fact, I probably would have liked Proof of Forever slightly more if it had focused mostly on her. I also really loved Zoe and I identified with her feeling of being slightly stuck and feeling as though you're not moving forward. The romance aspect with these two characters was also really sweet, for the most part. Proof of Forever was also really engaging and I didn't have any desire to put it down.
The Not-So-Good: I really couldn't stand Luce or Tali at all. They were such insufferable characters and so prone to the dramatics. Tali was completely self-involved and remained that way through 80 percent of this novel. Luce was entirely way too wishy-washy for my liking. She was up, she was down, she was all-around. Towards the end, I felt bad for her boyfriend, Andrew because this chick had no idea which way was up or what the hell she wanted, but had no problem stringing him along for the ride.
However, the biggest problem I had was that despite the fact that Proof of Forever was touted as a "friendship" book, it focused very little on the friendship between Tali, Luce, Zoe, and Joy. And I'm not all that into comparing two novels, but seeing as how this book does the comparison first, I'll get over it. One of the things that I really loved about The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants was that despite those four girls spending the summer apart and spending so much of the book not being together, I was also highly invested in their friendship and I always felt it. There was also a theme of self-discovery in Sisterhood that happened that summer with the girls through different circumstances. My main issue with Proof of Forever was that while it also had a theme of self-discovery, each of these girls discovered who they were by having a romantic encounter. In TSOTP, while two main characters discovered themselves through romance, only one of those was actually about the romance while the second was about a bigger issue. But with Proof of Forever, the author focused more on the romances that these girls were having as opposed to the connections they were supposed to be making towards each other. So much that when they actually did reconnect, it didn't really ring true to me. After 2 years of not speaking, I'm supposed to believe that these four girls are now going to be the best of friends because they went back in time for five days and didn't really spend all that much time together? Nope, sorry, not really buying it.
So, overall, I thought that the Proof of Forever was just okay. I really would have loved it if it had focused more on the friendship with a bit of romance thrown in as opposed to a romance novel with a bit of friendship within it. I still think it deserves a read and I liked it enough to check out the author's future novels....more
Trouble is a Friend of Mine is one highly unrealistic, more than slightly improbable book. Ninety-nine percent of what happens in this book would neveTrouble is a Friend of Mine is one highly unrealistic, more than slightly improbable book. Ninety-nine percent of what happens in this book would never happen in real life. I'm sure that if go into "nitpick" mode, I'll be able to come up with tons of things that don't work and plenty of complains when it comes to the crime aspect of this book. But I'm not going to get into that. Why? Because Trouble is a Friend of Mine was one hell of an entertaining read.
I'm a sucker for a genuinely funny book and Trouble is a Friend of Mine is genuinely funny. Plus, the characters are snarky, cynical, and tend to have tons of snappy dialogue, so yes, I kinda, sort of loved most of this book. I really loved Zoe and while I didn't get why she would go to crazy lengths to help out Digby, I loved her not-taking-shit-from-mostly-anybody attitude. I keep reading reviews that compare Digby to BBC's Sherlock with some saying that it's merely a comparison while others say it's a blatant rip-off. Well, I've never seen Sherlock, so I came into Digby with fresh eyes and due to this I really enjoyed his character and most of the laugh-out-loud moments I had with this book were courtesy of him. The other supporting characters were all equally great. Even Sloane who could come off as a cartoon-type of mean girl and become completely overbearing was still somewhat of a delight and she was extremely hilarious.
The reason Trouble is a Friend of Mine gets four stars instead of five is because it did run on a little long. Some of it was slightly repetitive and it did get a little bogged down towards the end. I also would have liked a more concrete ending as I'm not sure if there's going to be another installment after this. Those teeny, tiny flaws didn't dampen my enjoyment of Trouble is a Friend of Mine too much.
Overall, I really liked and highly recommend Trouble is a Friend of Mine. It was so entertaining and it had a sort of 80s teen movie feel to it that I totally loved. This book was also extremely hilarious, with characters that you just have to love and root for, in circumstances that are entirely realistic, but by no means boring. Again, highly recommended....more