I decided to read The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry because it seems like her name has been popping up everywhere lately. Some of my favorite blo...moreI decided to read The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry because it seems like her name has been popping up everywhere lately. Some of my favorite blogs have read, reviewed and enjoyed her books. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, this didn't work for me so much...
You guys. This is going to be a tough review to write, because to be honest? I didn't enjoy much of anything about The Other Side of Us. The characterization, plot and writing all had glaring flaws that I couldn't get past.
Let's start with characterization. Oliver and Mackenzie meet while both of them are trying to overcome unfortunate pasts. They both have divorce issues - Oliver more recently. Also, Mackenzie was in a horrible car accident that she is still trying to come back from physically. As I got to know them, I never felt like they were real people.
When things about them were revealed - used to be a musician, loves dogs, TV producer, etc...it all just felt like a "Personality Trait Checklist" that was being listed, not like actual facets of someone's personality coming out. I mean, my lack of feeling for these characters got to the point that I couldn't even read the sexytime scenes. I skipped them because I felt almost voyeuristic or something, watching something happening between two people I cared absolutely nothing about.
A couple of other things about the writing in The Other Side of Us bugged me as well. For one thing, EVERY SINGLE TIME THEY INTERACTED, one or both - usually both - of them waxed poetic about the other character's ass. I'm not kidding. Like every few pages: there it was. "That tight packed butt" or "well formed rear end" or something like it.
Next was the way the scenes were written. Oliver and Mackenzie would interact, then once they went their separate ways we'd see each of them dissect the minutia of what just happened. Usually in the form of self-torture. "Could I be more of an ass-hat?" and "God, he must think I'm a harpy!" and so on and so forth. Not attractive at all. Also EXTREMELY repetitive to see basically the exact same things happening three times over.
As for the plot...um, what plot? The Other Side of Us basically involves us getting to know the crap cards both Oliver and Mackenzie have been dealt in the past and then watch their fumbling attempts at socially interacting with each other. Then they fall into bed and bing bang boom. Things wrap up with minor "I don't know if I can do this!" drama that left me feeling distinctly unsatisfied.
Basically, The Other Side of Us didn't work for me at all. I'm left wondering if maybe Sarah Mayberry's shorter novels are more successful? If I'm not mistaken, this is one of the first (if not the first) full-length story she has written. (Am I wrong? Feel free to let me know.) I'm not ruling out trying some of her shorter stories in the future, but I think I'll be letting the disappointment of this one fade for awhile first.
To Sum it Up:
-Cardboard characterization, the odd and repetitive writing style and the lack of central plot all left me extremely disappointed with this read.
-I've heard so many positive things about Sarah Mayberry in the past, so I AM curious to see if this is a one-off or a real representation of her other writings.
-I don't think I've ever actually felt so uncomfortable and weird about characters to the point that I had to skip the sexytime scenes - until now.(less)
I picked up The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay knowing nothing about it except for the insanely crazy high rating it had on Goodreads. Seriously,...moreI picked up The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay knowing nothing about it except for the insanely crazy high rating it had on Goodreads. Seriously, last I looked it was 4.72 with almost 3,000 ratings? That’s a first for me. YOU GUYS THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD THAT I WANT TO WRITE THE WHOLE REVIEW IN CAPSLOCK. I’m not kidding. I finished it less than 24 hours ago and I am aching to read it again. I want there to be a movie that I can watch 10 times in a row…or TV show…play…I’M NOT PICKY!
As far as the plot of The Sea of Tranquility goes, you really want to go into it fresh with only vague ideas of what will happen. This isn’t an action packed thriller or a snappy, quick-moving contemporary. The plot is slooooooooow (I mean that in a good way). It is all about character building and really digging in and getting to know Josh and Nastya, the two protagonists. They are packed full of issues – the book features violence and death and dealing with the effects – and not being able to deal with the effects. Bits and pieces of their story are given to you a little at a time, and knowing stuff beforehand would be a bummer on the reading experience. JUST SAY NO TO SPOILERS.
Things switch back and forth between Nastya and Josh’s POVs and I have never been so happy to have a dual narration in my life. I couldn’t get enough of either of them. Watching them meet, get to know each other, develop a relationship…I SWOON. The chills abounded. Also, I teared up so many times, you don’t even know. Basically all they had to do to make me emote was look at each other meaningfully.
Now, I’m going to give you a gift. Don’t worry, after lecturing you about spoilers, I’m not planning on giving you any. I just want you to read the prologue:
I hate my left hand. I hate to look at it. I hate it when it stutters and trembles and reminds me that my identity is gone. But I look at it anyway, because it also reminds me that I’m going to find the boy who took everything from me. I’m going to kill the boy who killed me, and when I kill him, I’m going to do it with my left hand.
Starting with a bang = understatement of the year. After reading that one paragraph, for me it was immediately BOOM – All in.
Also, I discovered on Twitter that the Makeshift Bookmark ladies, Jen and Carla, were both reading it as well. I always forget what it can add to the reading experience to have friends you can tweet your crazed and capslocked enthusiasm to. (Also, for the record, they freakin’ loved it as much as I did.)
Forget my favorite reads of 2012 list, The Sea of Tranquility is on my fave reads OF ALL TIME list. The amount of emotion Katja Millay manages to pack into this story is ridiculous – the end brought on The Epic Ugly Cry of 2012. The book doesn’t just have the best prologue ever, it has the best last line ever. Seriously – the journey you go on culminates in the most gut-wrenchingly wonderful ending. I can’t even stand it.
Read The Sea of Tranquility. Read it if you love young adult contemporary novels. Read it if you would rather walk naked across a field of razor sharp barbed wire with feet soaked in vinegar than read young adult contemporary novels. It doesn’t matter – you will love it.
To Sum it Up:
-I might be the slightest bit evangelistic about this novel. (You have two weeks to read it or we won’t be friends anymore.)
-I definitely recommend going into The Sea of Tranquility knowing next to nothing – it will make your reading experience a lot richer.
-SOBBING. LOTS OF SOBBING. Beautiful, gorgeous, heart-wrenching and wonderful.(less)
Yet another rich man meets recent college graduate. Damien Stark wants a nude portrait painted of Nikki Fairchild – and she eventually gives in. To th...moreYet another rich man meets recent college graduate. Damien Stark wants a nude portrait painted of Nikki Fairchild – and she eventually gives in. To the tune of a million bucks. And the promise that she will be his sexually for a week. She is dazzled by him, of course. He has been obsessed with her ever since meeting her briefly SIX YEARS AGO. Dude is a creeper. They both have bad experiences from their pasts – she opens up to him much more quickly. Once again: blah blah nothing new blah blah. Basically: I would really only recommend this one if you really love 50 Shades of Grey. I keep hoping to find a better written and better plotted addition to this whole craze, not just another knock-off.(less)