If someone where to ask me what type of stories/people always get me, my list would look something like this: fictional guys who seem like assholes bu...moreIf someone where to ask me what type of stories/people always get me, my list would look something like this: fictional guys who seem like assholes but who actually are sweet and somehow tormented, guys who like nerdy stuff, stories related to films and film-making, ice-hockey players with amazing butts, funny guys and fierce female characters... The list goes on, but already from the synopsis of Catch a Falling Star several of the items from my list can be spotted. Also, since I loved both This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith and The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, which kind of have a similar type of premises (small town girl, rich boy), I knew that I had to give this one a go.
Carter lives in Little, California, a small town filled with Victorian houses and cute little cafes. She's enjoying her summer holiday before her senior year in high school, working in her family's cafe and spending nights stargazing with her best friends. She is content with her life in Little, enjoying the little things in life and envisioning her future in the town she had called her home for the whole life.
Everything changes for Carter when Adam James, a Hollywood heart-throb with a messy past comes to Little to film a modern adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Parts of the town are covered with fake snow in the middle of the summer for a Christmas shoot and suddenly Carter is pulled right into the center of the action. By making a deal with Adam and his agent to pretend to be Adam's sweet girl-next-door, small-town girlfriend to bump up Adam's public image, Carter becomes part of Adam's glamorous world of body guards and publicity stunts. But as she spends more time with Adam, she starts to wish that not all between then was just play for the photographers.
The relationship between Carter and Adam is one used in literature and film for ages. She's not interested in celebrities and glamorous lifestyle and makes the decision to pretend to be his girlfriend just to help her family. He is famous, handsome, and bit of a dick. But as they spend more time together, the opposites start to attract and we learn that these characters are not all what they first seemed to be. Yes, it is a bit of a cliche, but hey, when you pick up a book like this, what do you expect? Probably something sweet and romantic? That this book can deliver to you.
I think the major issue I had with this novel was the fact that though Carter is an interesting character, she occasionally seems almost too perfect. Everyone around the town loves her, she helps the poor and the elderly and just in general she seems to do no wrong. I guess there might be people out there who are actually like that, but I constantly kept waiting some type of flaw to appear. I had some issues with Adam as well, mainly just with the fact that though he is charming and all, I never really felt any type of connection to him - there was not really any swooning involved while reading this one.
I really liked the stargazing scenes of the book and the little blog posts between the chapters. The book is generally well written and though the characters remain somewhat two dimensional at points, I still found myself enjoying most of it. I feel like this is the type of book you can bring with you to the beach or the pool and enjoy it there. (less)
I wish I could give this an infinite number of stars, since the five star rating feels very limiting with regards to a book that was so wonderful, ima...moreI wish I could give this an infinite number of stars, since the five star rating feels very limiting with regards to a book that was so wonderful, imaginative, funny, occasionally heartbreaking and just so wonderfully real and honest.
I think I just found one of my favorite books of all time.
This book was so wonderful! It was funny, imaginative, occasionally heart breaking, occasionally heart fluttering and most importantly, very real and honest. I seriously had tears falling down my face when I finished with it because I knew that I had just found one of my favorite books of all time.
Cath is a freshman in college, an English major with a love for fantasy stories and fictional characters. She is a Simon Snow fan (Simon Snow, Rowell's fictional book series, is kind of like Harry Potter, a story about magic, good and evil and people with magical powers in a boarding school type of setting) - she had read the books several times, she has seen the movies, and most importantly, she has created stories for the Simon Snow characters on her own, making her one of the most read Simon Snow fanfiction writers. Being a fan is a way of life for her - she lives and breaths for Simon and his magical world.
Fangirling used to be an activity Cath exercised with her twin sister Wren, but once they get to college in Lincoln, Nebraska, Cath quickly realizes Wren's interest in Simon is fleeting - she is much more interested about socializing with her new school mates, attending parties and hooking up with boys. Unfortunately, Cath cannot let go. Simon is a part of her, a part she does not want to lose, a part that defines her. Not only is Cath losing her fangirling buddy, she is also losing the roommate she thought she would have - Wren has decided it would be better if they lived separately and Cath is left with a roommate she does not know, a roommate so completely different than herself that at first she feels like she does not fit in at all. And then there's Levi, her roommates boyfriend who keeps hanging around at their room, making Cath tell things about herself she did not imagine she would share with someone... especially not with a boy.
With a fiction writing class that is not going at all like she planned and a problematic father back in Omaha, Cath is not sure she can balance all the newness and still be herself and the girl she used to be.
Words cannot express how much I loved Cath. She is funny, artistic, creative, sarcastic and just so true to herself. But she is not perfect either - she might judge things and people too fast, and she might not be the best communicator out there. The way Rowell has build Cath is amazing - she is a well-rounded, interesting character who develops throughout the narrative in very realistic, multi-dimensional ways. And then there's Levi - he is not the regular-type of handsome, I guess, but there is something in him that makes him so dreamy and desirable and swoon worthy. The relationships between the characters, especially between Cath and Levi, are so well built - they take their time and they have their ups and downs.
There are not many characters I have identified with as much as I identified with Cath. I was a university freshman three years ago and I feel like much of Cath's thoughts and actions matched mine. I hate parties and socializing has always been difficult for me - I don't know how to be "cool" and how to talk to people in party-type situations. I rather stayed in my room, read and watched a film, occasionally even wrote something. I am still very much like I was three years ago, but like Cath, I hope I have grown at least a little bit. I admired Cath's passion for what she loved - I feel like what Simon was for Cath, film is for me (I'm a film student). For her being a fangirl is a way of life, something she is good at. And though I don't like to compliment myself too often, I can honestly say I am pretty good at being a fangirl too.(less)
I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of Before I Fall back in the day (I can't believe how long ago that actually was... it feels like tomorrow)....moreI was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of Before I Fall back in the day (I can't believe how long ago that actually was... it feels like tomorrow). I read the first book of the Delirium trilogy when it was released, and actually quite liked it, but I feel like I'm really bad with keeping up with series, so I still haven't read the 2nd and 3rd book in the trilogy. When I heard that Oliver is working on a new contemporary novel, I got really excited, because Before I Fall was so GOOD. Panic, a story centering around a summer tradition in a small New York town is that book, and wow, it was pretty good!
Heather lives in Carp, a small New York town where nothing really happens. Except Panic - a town tradition for the graduating high school class. The day after the graduation, the students who want to participate attend the jump, the starting of a summer-long chain of challenge, each more dangerous and extreme than their predecessor. With a sizable price money in the horizon for the winner, Panic has become popular among the youth - despite the past casualties and the danger, the graduates are willing to fight for the money - and the change that it would give to leave Carp.
Heather is an interesting character and it was a delight to get to know her through Oliver's writing - she is strong and independent, but also has her weak spot - a guy she thought she loved and who now is with someone else. Seeing him with another girl pushes her to the edge - and right into the challenge. With a good-for-nothing mother and a little sister she wants to protect, Heather starts to understand that the money she could win from Panic would help them to start again.
In his mind, Dodge is the perfect competitor for Panic because he does not fear anything. What motivates him to participate is a wish for revenge, a wish to punish someone for what they have done. But as the challenge goes on, Dodge realizes he might not be as invincible as he thought. And when feelings and safety of people he cares about get involved, he realizes he might have to slow down.
Oliver's Panic is a well-written, entertaining young adult novel that deals with the issues and problems of growing up, trusting yourself and people around you, and of taking risks, both in friendships and in love. The novel is beautifully written and the characters are interesting and rounded - they are not perfect, but they are trying their best. If you liked Before I Fall, you'll probably like this one as well. (less)
I've been so busy with university tasks lately that I literally haven't had any time for anything else than writing essays, reading and watching films...moreI've been so busy with university tasks lately that I literally haven't had any time for anything else than writing essays, reading and watching films for my seminars. I had been looking for that one book that would take me out of the reading slump I've been in, and I can honestly say that We Are Liars pulled me out from the slump with force.
Cadence Sinclair is from a rich, all-American family - she is beautiful, rich and distinguished. She spends every summer at the private island her family owns - the island is a world of its own, filled with big, beautiful houses, good food and of course her dearest friends. But as they grow older, they realize that their family might not be all that it seems to be to the outside world. Then something happens during Cadence's 15th summer at the island and everything changes.
This book is a difficult one to review because I don't want to give anything away. But what I can say is that We Are Liars is super exciting, tension filled and will definitely keep you interested until the last page. The characters are interesting, especially Cadence, and it is interesting to follow how she tries to figure out what happened to her at the island. The way Lockhart described Cadence's feelings and thoughts is very poetic and a pleasure to read.
I couldn't put this one down. So if you are looking for a perfect early summer read, this is it! (less)
I find it very hard to write reviews about books that are sequels to series just because I cannot expect that everyone has read the first book(s) and...moreI find it very hard to write reviews about books that are sequels to series just because I cannot expect that everyone has read the first book(s) and thus I do not want to spoil anything for ones who might have to read the first book at some point. But I will try my best with this one.
So in Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Mara and her family move from Rhode Island to Florida after Mara is the only survivor from an accident at an old asylum - Mara's best friend Rachel, her friend Claire and her boyfriend Jude died. When they reach Florida Mara starts to see things that she cannot explain. When she meets Noah, a super hot and rich guy with a British accent, she is afraid that her issues will make their relationship difficult. But then she learns that Noah also has a secret and that they might not be quite similar as the people around them. The book ends with suspense as Mara thinks she sees someone who is supposed to be death.
The Evolution of Mara Dyer opens up with Mara in a hospital. When she tells that she has seen Jude, the guy who is supposed to be death, no one believes her. Except Noah. The perfect, handsome, charming Noah. Mara knows that if she cannot pretend to be somewhat normal, her family will ship her to mental institution. Thus she decides to keep her issues to herself and she is enrolled to an outpatient program at a mental institution - this means she can still live at home and spend time with Noah, the only one who actually believes her. But as the attacks from Jude get more and more intense, it gets difficult for Mara to pretend that everything is okay. And the relationship with Noah is not only sunshines and puppies either because of the fact that Mara is afraid that if they get too intense, she might hurt Noah. And Noah is the last person she would ever want to hurt.
I feel like it took me a while to get through maybe the first 60% of the novel. This was mostly due to the fact that I did not really remember perfectly all the events from the first book and kind of had to go back to check on some things. But wow, the last 40% were so exciting and action packed and full of surprises. The ending took me completely by surprise - I would never have expected that kind of plot twist. It feels impossible that I have to wait til March 2014 for the next book.
Like in the first novel, Mara is likable, but a lot darker than in the first book. More and more issues are piling on her and once again you really do not know at points can you trust her or not. Noah, of course, is perfect, so I won't say much about him. I know for some the relationship between these two might be kind of cliche - he is ready to pay for her protection etc. and I must admit I somewhat got Edward Cullen vibes from him at points (I think it is just the rich, sulking, protectiveness). But unlike Bella, Mara is strong and independent, and thus their relationship is not that one-sided.
I really loved the fact that in this book we got more information about Mara's family, especially her mother and grandmother, who's point of view is offered in this novel. The connection between Mara and her grandmother is not fully explained yet, and it is something I am definitely looking forward from the next book. I also have a soft spot for Daniel, Mara's big brother, and hope that there will be more about him on the next book.
When I wrote the review for the first book I criticized the some what paranormal element of the first book (meaning the powers) and hoped that it would be explained in the second book. AND IT WAS. And wow.... this is the plot twist I am talking about. I cannot wait to see who Hodkin extents this whole issue.
I really enjoyed The Evolution of Mara Dyer and really cannot wait to see how the story processes. (less)
I usually tend to avoid books that deal with suicide for two reasons; as a person who has gone through (and will keep going through with it for the re...moreI usually tend to avoid books that deal with suicide for two reasons; as a person who has gone through (and will keep going through with it for the rest of my life) the suicide of someone close to me, books like this always bring up memories and feelings I try to bury as deep as possible. The second reason is that I always feel like these books are not very realistic portrayals of the type of grief that really cannot be even described in words. I feel like you almost have to have gone through the pain through yourself to fully understand it. I don't know what is the case with Harrington, but she really was able to hit close with this one.
Harper's big sister June has committed suicide. Harper was the one who found her. Always the "second" best to her divorced parents, she is now the only one left. When her divorced parents decide to divide June's ashes between themselves, Harper makes a drastic move and "steals" the urn in order to spread her sister's ashes to California, the place June always dreamed about. With the company of her best friend Laney, who is fighting a fight with her own issues, and mysterious Jake music lover Jake, Harper embarks on a journey to get some type of closure to both herself and June.
It took me quite a while to get into this book. It was not because it was bad, not at all. It was just because it was so emotional and hit so close to home. I really liked Harper - she is strong, but also extremely confused. She does not really know how to handle her grief and thus for half the time she feels more angry than sad. I was able to relate with Harper - she wants answers, but at the same time she is scared to face the truth. She blames herself even though she deep down knows that there probably was nothing she could have done. She hopes that she would have said something or known that her sister was so sad.
What I also really liked was the fact that there never are really any complete reasons given to why June killed herself. In some of the books I have read about suicide the reasons have been so concrete and in some ways so carefully constructed that they don't really feel very realistic. June killed herself because she was sad - why she was sad is never fully explained. The type of sadness and desperation that a person must feel in order to actually commit suicide must be something that cannot be fully explained - it might be one big thing, or a combination of small things that just start to feel too heavy and eventually there is no other way out. Some say that suicide is one of the most selfish things a person can ever do, and I completely agree with that. But in some sick, twisted way suicide is also one of the bravest things you can do - the result hurts the people you leave behind, but it probably also gives some closure.
The relationship between Harper and Jake develops slowly, which I really liked because of the fact that it shows that Harper has other things in her mind that just how gorgeous Jake is. He knew June, probably in a different way than Harper, but he gets the sadness and the feel of loss. Sometimes people have the need to compare who is the saddest and whose grief is the largest. In my family my grandmother is always the one who at the moment of loss says to be the one who is the saddest and who has lost the most. But how can we really measure grief? Of course the loss of a child most probably is the hardest on the parents. But what about the loss of a friend? Is your grief smaller if you are not related? Can you grief for someone you did not personally know? I feel like this book really digs into that issue, discussing the different levels of grief people feel as well as the ways they cope with them. Everyone copes differently and talk about it in different ways, but in the end, the source of the grief is the same.
Even though Saving June might sound like a perfect summer read, I would not recommend it as a book for the beach or holiday. It truly is sad and I at least found myself crying during the final couple of chapters. It has an element of romance on it, but it is not one of those stories with instalove and several romantic moments many readers want to read during the summer. The love in this book hurts, but it also helps the characters grow and become stronger. It is a story about the anger you feel after losing someone, the want to die, but also the want to keep going even though it hurts. It also opens your eyes to a grief that I hope not many have to go through during their lifetime - all death is sad, of course, but personally to me suicide has always been the saddest way to die because the one who died must have been so completely alone that he/she did not see any other option than to leave. (less)
The reasons for me reading this book were the following: 1. There was a copy of it on our bookshelf 2. I wanted something fast to read 3. I remember Iina...moreThe reasons for me reading this book were the following: 1. There was a copy of it on our bookshelf 2. I wanted something fast to read 3. I remember Iina saying that she quite enjoyed it 4. After talking with Iina again about it she said that it was fast and good read.
When beginning to read this book I did not really know what to expect. The description is quite vague and the only thing I knew was the fact there is some type of chance to the humanity. Basically the situation is the following: old audio tapes recorded by a boy called Kyle Straker are found. These tapes are an account of events that took place in a very ordinary day in an English village. An innocent talent show hypnosis experiment turns into something quite unexpected when Kyle, a girl his called Lilly and two adults, Kate and Mr. Peterson notice that they are the only "normal" ones left in the village. The others are first literally frozen to the position they were in during the hypnosis. Later on they become almost hostile and it seems that they are a lot different from Kyle and his posse.
It is quite hard to write this review without spoiling the story and the essentials, but I will try. The text in the book is framed as an edited account of the tapes - there are three tapes on which Kyle explains what happened and how he felt about it etc. The idea for this book is something I have never encountered before, which made it an interesting and enjoyable read. The writing is good and fast-paced and the story is at points maybe even too edited in the sense that I would have liked to get more details about the happenings. Since the story is only from the point of view of Kyle some of the feelings of the other characters are not very clear - they are only descriptions of how Kyle sees the characters reacting to the change.
There are these very interesting annotations in the text added by the "editor" which explain some of the things discussed to the "futuristic" audience the book is indented for - it is a history book for the people who were not there to witness the humanity as we see it today.
Since the book is quite short, there were some instances in which the characters rushed to certain conclusions without really thinking about them too much. For example the whole "this must be an alien invasion" thing was a bit rushed, even though the whole situation for sure was absurd. I almost hoped that this book would be an adult science fiction book rather than a young adult one because I feel like in an adult book there might have been more detail to this interesting world Lancaster has created. But all and all, I really liked this book and would love to read the sequel at some point.
(Was I the only one who found the font on the paperback copy annoying?)(less)
My expectations for this book were pretty high due to the fact that it has been on my TBR pile since it was published and it seems that everyone I tru...moreMy expectations for this book were pretty high due to the fact that it has been on my TBR pile since it was published and it seems that everyone I trust when it comes to book recommendations have at least liked it, if not even loved it. I have not read that many contemporaries this year to be honest, but I am happy I finally picked this one up because it really made me want to read more of books of its type.
It was so incredibly easy to identify with Bianca. I guess I never really shared that much with people in my "group" in high school - I hated parties, I hated all the guys that I had to go to school with and I just couldn't get excited over the same things they did. The only thing we shared was the school stuff and now that high school is over, there really isn't anything that still connects me to them. Bianca has a couple of good friends, but she has always felt like she is somewhat the outsider. When the school douche Wesley calls her The Duff, the designated ugly fat friend of her group, she starts to feel even more conscious about her position in her group of friends.
Bianca is also extremely cynical and sarcastic, which I loved, because that is also so me in some sense. I am extremely pessimistic and always think of the "worst possible" solution for different things and events. I know that drives people crazy sometimes. So does Bianca. She is also a bit of a control freak, which was something I was able to identify with as well. Bianca might seem like a bitch sometimes, but there are things going on in her life she is not ready to talk about with anyone. She is not the touchy-feely sharing type her friends are. And I loved that about her.
At the beginning I felt like Wesley was a total ass. But I guess that was the point. He is handsome and funny, but also over confident which drives me crazy in guys. Confidence is a good thing, but I think you never should be too sure of yourself. But as Bianca and Wesley spend time together they start to notice that they actually have a lot of similarities. But can Bianca ever forgive the guy who labeled her as The Duff?
I really enjoyed Keplinger's writing style. It is not anything super special, but it is easy to follow and the characters she creates are funny and you really start to feel for them, especially for Bianca and Wesley. Bianca might be almost unlikable at points (I think this was also due to the fact that sometimes I was able to identify with her TOO MUCH and felt like a complete bitch myself as well) but she really grows as a person throughout the story and realizes that sometimes good things can happen to a person who never expects them to happen. Her family situation adds another level to the story making it not only a book about high school problems, but also about how problems at home shape you as a person.
The Duff is not one of those super fluffy everything is perfect -type of contemporary reads. It might make you feel uncomfortable because of the fact that Bianca uses people to feel better. There is also sex, so if that usually makes you squeamish, maybe this is not the best one for you. The characters are not perfect and they make bad decisions and decisions that only benefit themselves - that might make them unlikable, but at the same time they make them extremely realistic. Like Bianca realizes, no one us are perfect.
The Duff is a quick, funny read despite the issues that it deals with. There is no instalove, which I know a lot of readers hate, and the relationships that take place might not be the most loving ones, at least not at the beginning. But if you are looking for something a bit different to read, the Duff is definitely a potential pick. (less)