Okay, so I am super duper hard to impress. Add about 1000 more dupers to that when it comes to middle grade novels. Nothing against middle grade, butOkay, so I am super duper hard to impress. Add about 1000 more dupers to that when it comes to middle grade novels. Nothing against middle grade, but it's just not one of my favorite genres. In fact, the only middle grade novels that tend to get 3 stars or higher tend to be contemporary middle grade. When it comes to fantasy middle grade, I've been burned more times than not. I just don't find too many of them impressive. But Curse of the Boggin? That impressed the heck out of this grown adult (in age, at least. I admit, I'm not so great at adulting quite yet).
The great thing about Curse of the Boggin is that it draws you right in immediately. When I picked it up, I was thinking "Eh..." and then I read the first page...and then 3 hours later, I had finished the book. Because Curse of the Boggin just doesn't start out engaging, but keeps you engaged the entire way through.
There's just nothing that I found nitpick-worthy in Curse of the Boggin. I mean, it's touted as scary and I wasn't scared, but again, grown adult here! I don't get scared often. I do think that children will find the Boggin creepy, while adults will find her annoying and want to punch her (or maybe that's just me). And the library! Oh, the library! It was so captivating. I want to know more about all the unfinished books and all the finished books, basically ALL the books. I want more than little excerpts. I want entire side books written about all of these side stories. There's just so much potential for awesomeness in it. But in Curse of the Boggin, I loved nothing more than the three young characters.
I loved Marcus. He was cheeky, bold, and had me chuckling time and time again. I also really loved Lu because of her daring and fiery attitude. And Theo and his logic also captivated me. I figured out how much all of these characters had me intrigued when I learned about Lu's disruption and wanted to know more about it right away. And then we got to Theo's possible disruption and I thought "Whoa, that's deep!" So, the characters in Curse of the Boggin are all sorts of great.
Overall, I really enjoyed Curse of the Boggin. It was engaging, funny, with some creepy moments embedded in it. It also had a great main character, great supporting characters, a great villain, and a great setting (Huzzah for libraries!). I actually can't wait to read more of this series and the next book is going into my GIVE IT TO ME NOW! list (along with the second season of Stranger Things cause c'mon). Curse of the Boggin is highly, highly recommended!...more
I'm weird when it comes to books about mental illness written in first person. I've read a few books where there tends to be a disconnect between me aI'm weird when it comes to books about mental illness written in first person. I've read a few books where there tends to be a disconnect between me and the main character because the main character that's suffering from a mental illness is disconnected from everything around them. I feared that this would happen with The Weight of Zero and I wouldn't connect with Cath. But I did.
The Weight of Zero was a great book. It struck the perfect balance between angst and hope. I felt for everything that Cath was going through and her fear of not being accepted due to her bipolar disorder hurt my heart. I loved her angst-filled relationship with her mom, loved her relationship with Kristal, liked her relationship with Michael, and absolutely LOVED Nonni (what an awesome character). I also really liked the dynamics between Cath, Kristal, and the others in her IOD group. In fact, I would have liked to have more of those sessions in this book.
The reason The Weight of Zero gets four stars instead of five is that I felt like there were some things that weren't wrapped up to my satisfaction, like the pervy jerk in Cath's class or Anthony's own problems. Sure, they're minuscule things that don't have a lot to do with the book as a whole, but I still would have liked to have them resolved.
Overall, I liked The Weight of Zero. It seemed like a very real account of people who are suffering from some sort of mental illness. I liked that, for the most part, it was angsty, but I also liked that we had lighthearted moments (NONNI!) in it, too. Highly recommended....more
I found Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady to be somewhat underwhelming. I guess with a subtitle like that I expected there toI found Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady to be somewhat underwhelming. I guess with a subtitle like that I expected there to be tons more focus on the actual relationship/love affair between Eleanor and Hick, but you don't really get that. I mean, you get some, but a lot of this book is focused on what these two ladies did separately as opposed to together.
I also would have liked it if this book included more of the letters that Hick and Eleanor wrote each other. I know that this book mentions that Hick destroyed some of the letters, particularly the ones that she herself wrote, but I would've liked to read at least ONE of the letters word for word. In fact, I think that this book would have benefited greatly if it was told in as somewhat epistolary style, but it wasn't.
For the most part, I found Eleanor and Hick to be somewhat engaging. But there were parts of it that dragged on a bit. I did like the emphasis placed on Hick since I feel like she was just a tad more interesting than Eleanor or rather it's easier to connect with Hick because you get a better feel of her rather than of Eleanor. In the end, I still recommend Eleanor and Hick....more
And once again, here's a YA book that people seem to love (if the 4-5 star ratings on Goodreads and Amazon are anything to go by) and that I think wasAnd once again, here's a YA book that people seem to love (if the 4-5 star ratings on Goodreads and Amazon are anything to go by) and that I think was just okay.
I loved Girl in Pieces when I started it. It reminded me a bit of Girl, Interrupted with a bit of The Bell Jar thrown in (just not as amazing). You got to find out a little bit about all of the amazing different characters in the clinic, both patients and staff. They were all so engaging. I also loved the way the first part was written. I found the little snippets interesting and they never became too poetic and flowery. However, once Part I was over and Charlie left the clinic, this formerly interesting and unique YA novel became so very generic.
The minute Charlie leaves the clinic, she starts obsessing. I would expect her to obsess over her scars, over her past, over what happened both at the clinic and before the clinic, but no. Charlie starts obsessing over a guy. And the biggest emotion Charlie feels in this book is jealousy. Jealousy because this guy from her past has a girlfriend. Then, she starts obsessing over this other guy. And she starts acting extremely pathetic to get and to keep his attention. Oh, of course, she's still jealous at this stage. She's jealous because the new guy had previous relationships with people that weren't her. She's also still jealous about the fact that the old guy she liked still has a girlfriend. So, she just wants all male attention to go her way...or at least that's what I'm deducing from the fact that she does absolutely nothing in the book but obsess over guys. That makes her boring, in my book. In fact, it seems that all of the other patients from the beginning might've had more interesting post-clinic lives than Charlie. Would've loved to read more in-depth about them.
In the end, I was a bit disappointed in Girl in Pieces. There was an interesting story to tell (particularly the one with the patients in the clinic). Too bad the author got too bogged down with the "romance" and the feelings involved in this "romance" to tell that interesting story. I did think that it was somewhat engaging and it did pick up again a bit in Part III. But the slog that was Part II is a little hard to get over....more
I really wanted to like The Crooked Sixpence. I mean, it has a blurb from the author of The School for Good and Evil, which is a book I really enjoyedI really wanted to like The Crooked Sixpence. I mean, it has a blurb from the author of The School for Good and Evil, which is a book I really enjoyed (despite not being a huge fan of middle grade novels) AND it's being compared to JK Rowling. I thought I would enjoy this one. Unfortunately for me, this didn't really happen.
The Good: I thought Ivy was feisty and I really like that in a heroine. The world building in The Crooked Sixpence was extremely elaborate and very few aspects were brushed off. You really do get to know the world of Ludinor.
The Not-so-good: The pacing in The Crooked Sixpence is all over the place. There are a few parts in this book that were engaging and off-putting (in a good way), but there were way more parts where the pacing lags. I spent most of this book wishing that the pace would pick back up so that I wouldn't be so bored. I never felt like that happened. I never really clicked with what was happening. Another thing that bothered me was Ivy. While I liked her feisty nature, she never really screamed 11 year old to me. She was written in a way where she seemed much older. Not in a precocious way, but rather in a way where you start to think "This isn't just your smart/mature for her age 11 year old. This is someone who's not really 11."
Overall, I wasn't a big fan of The Crooked Sixpence. I was bored throughout and thought that the book lagged quite a bit....more
I feel so bad giving Freedom only two stars, but I just can't help it. I read A Stolen Life a few years ago and remember being awed by Jaycee and herI feel so bad giving Freedom only two stars, but I just can't help it. I read A Stolen Life a few years ago and remember being awed by Jaycee and her resilience as well as being heartbroken for everything she had been through. With Freedom, I didn't feel much, mainly because there's not much depth involved in this book like in the other one.
I get that this book is Jaycee's book of firsts, but I just thought that this would be more engaging. But there wasn't much here. She writes about her animals, she writes about her first hangover, her first speeding ticket. Most of this book is filled with mundane things such as this. I guess I was expecting more about her life with her family. Not with her daughters, mind you, as I completely get her decision to keep their lives private, but I would've liked to hear more about her interactions with her mom and her sister.
The one thing that I just couldn't get over in Freedom was the writing. Now I get that given everything that Jaycee has been through, this book wasn't going to be fabulously written (seeing as how she didn't get a chance to finish her schooling). But there were tons of clunky sentences that I had to read over in order to fully grasp their meaning. This book should have had an editor that was willing to keep the meaning of what Jaycee was trying to say in tact while making sure that the sentences flowed more smoothly.
In the end, I wasn't that wowed by Freedom the way I was with A Stolen Life. I completely admire Jaycee and am glad that she seems to be doing so well. That knowledge is enough for me, so chances are if she writes another book, I probably won't check it out....more
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
I wasn't expecting much from Watching Edie. I thought it was yet another mediocre mystery trying to cash in on the Gone Girl/Girl on the Train successI wasn't expecting much from Watching Edie. I thought it was yet another mediocre mystery trying to cash in on the Gone Girl/Girl on the Train success (which just goes to show you that comparing absolutely everything to those books is doing a disservice to current books). Boy, was I wrong! I found Watching Edie to be completely impressive.
Again, when I started this book, I expected it to be knock-offs of the above books. And so, I read two chapters of Watching Edie about 3 weeks ago, put it down, and have been dreading picking it up. Finally, I picked it up because I wanted to get it over with. And once I picked it up again, I read it right on through. Because this book was incredibly engaging. It was an extreme page-turner. It was also a bit on the short side. But I liked that about it. I've read countless mysteries that drag on too long and try to throw twist after twist into a story to justify all those pages. Watching Edie is nothing like this. It was short and not overly complicated with the twists that make absolutely no sense and require you to suspend belief on things that happened. That's a win for me.
I do have to say that I did not see the ending "twist" coming. While it was somewhat shocking, it wasn't explosive like some other books. However, it definitely left me with a feeling reminiscent of "Dude, that is just all shades of FUCKED. UP." And I like books like that. Gah. This ending was just so haunting for me.
Overall, I was highly impressed with Watching Edie. It was an engaging page-turner with a great ending and great characters. Highly recommended.
It has been a WHILE since a book has blown my mind the way Confessions did. Seriously, my last five star read was in February and since then, I've reaIt has been a WHILE since a book has blown my mind the way Confessions did. Seriously, my last five star read was in February and since then, I've read a few good (not great) books and a slew of average and below average books. But Confessions was like a breath of fresh air. I don't think a book has ever made me say "WTF? WTF! W....T....F...." so many times and in so many different ways the way this book did.
I didn't know much about Confessions before I picked it up. I had obviously read a bit of the synopsis (enough to convince me to buy it), but I didn't check out any reviews or anything like that. In fact, I didn't even realize that this book had shifting narratives and was a bit disheartened at this when I realized. But I had no reason to worry because the shifting narratives made this book the rich experience that it was.
Confessions was such a haunting and gripping read. I'm trying to think of more to say, but I can't. I just can't fully express how great this book was. How jaw-dropping the events that occurred were. How fucking brilliant the last few paragraphs were that I just laughed, not because it was funny, but because I couldn't fucking believe it. GAH! Just read Confessions. You definitely won't regret it....more