Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Bridgeport, Connecticut // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Fall River, Massachusetts
First Line(s): You walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn't slam.
My first thought upon finishing YOU by Caroline Kepnes was "what the heck did I just read?" but more than that I was lost in just how good it was. YOU is supremely well written and takes a character, in this case Joe Goldberg, who is a terrible terrible person and makes you LIKE him. Not just that but you kind of sympathize with him and understand why he is doing what he is doing. Which is a total mind fuck since Joe is a deranged stalker who kills people and so shouldn't be a sympathetic character. From the moment that I started YOU on audio I was enthralled. Santino Fontana *is* Joe Goldberg and he totally brings this character and this world to life. I can't imagine experiencing this book in any other format than the audio because Fontana is just such a great narrator. He gave me chills and he made me like Joe. Again, Joe is not a character to like so its slightly disturbing and part of what makes YOU such a good book.
I know that YOU isn't a book that is for everyone and I think that a reader will either love it or hate it. I don't think that there is any shades of grey with this one. Because Joe is crazy. There is no way around it but the people that he meets aren't the best either. Not that any of them deserve their fate but when you see them through Joe's eyes and hear his thoughts you can believe his rationale as it works for him. Even as you sit on the edge of your seat begging the other person to make a different choice since you know what Joe has planned if they make the wrong one. Before I read YOU I really didn't think it would be a book that I would like but after...well...after I found it hard to leave Kepne's world behind because she is just so talented and her words so powerful that I wanted the story to last.
If you like thrillers and audiobooks that I strongly recommend that you experience YOU in that format. I think that the spoken word is just so powerful at times and with Fontana as the narrator it almost feels like you are sitting across form Joe listening to him tell his story. Which is terrifying since, as I've said, he's a crazy stalker who kills people and not the sort of person that you ever want to cross paths with. Joe is a total sociopath and I just bow down to Kepnes in her characterization of this character. Joe is just so real that you really think he's in the room with you as this book progresses whispering in your ear and sending chills down your spine. The images that Kepnes's words evoke are so vivid that if I closed my eyes I could picture each and every one.
YOU was a fantastic listening experience and one that I wish I could experience again for the first time. This is seriously one of my favorite reads of the year and I like it more the more I think back on it. YOU is the sort of book that stays with you long after you read it and is a really hard experience to describe to others. I could not stop listening to this book and think its unlike any other story out there. Its totally riveting and I really can't wait to see what Kepnes comes up with next. If you haven't experienced this book yet then you need to move it up your TBR pile. I don't think that you'll be disappointed!!
As of this posting, there is only one book that I can think of that makes a good read-a-like for YOU. If I think of something later then I will update this post. Or if you know of I good read-a-like then let me know in the comments and I'll credit you and link back to your review!
SHADES OF EARTH is the thrilling conclusion to Beth Revis's Across the Universe trilogy. Its a book that has been living on Mt TBR for way longer than it should have been but better late than never, right? As always, I enjoyed Revis's writing style. She has a gift of world building and writing engaging prose that keeps the reader engaged and wanted more. Like all the books in the series its a quick read but its one that I didn't enjoy as much as the others in the series. I think that's because in SHADES OF EARTH Revis introduces a love triangle and I am so not a fan of love triangles. Granted this one is minor in comparison to others I've read but its still a nuisance because I have loved how the relationship between Amy and Elder has progressed over the course of these three books.
I also really didn't like Amy's father. My stars he was such an asshole! I hated how he wouldn't listen to Amy or Elder despite all the knowledge and experience that they had gained about the Godspeed, the people on it and the planet they landed on. I didn't like how her father kept trying to make things be how they would have been back on Earth and how he couldn't seem to accept the changes that had happened over the course of the journey while he and the other Earthens were asleep. Although he did remind me a bit of the adults on the CW show The 100 when the ARC first crashed back on Earth and how they wanted to keep treating Clark and company as the children they wanted them to be and now as the capable adults circumstances forced them to be.
SHADES OF EARTH also introduced a bit of WTF-ery into the story and so it lost me a bit there near the end. Overall though I was satisfied how this series finished up but I do think that Revis stretched believably a little too far with some of the choices that she made. Though things could defiantly have gone far far worse so I have grown to accept and care for on how Revis decided to end things as she did. As I said above Revis can write and she brings that gift of words throughout this entire series and I am glad that I finally picked SHADES OF EARTH up in order to finish it.
If you like sci-fi adventure stories that contain a little romance and mystery then you should probably pick up Revis's Across the Universe series. Its a fast paced series and one that I don't think that people talk about enough. I'm glad to have read it and my only real regret is that I didn't get to SHADES OF EARTH sooner than I did. But then again I do so hate when a series ends so that probably didn't help matters. But you, dear reader, may not have that problem. So go forth and grab these three great reads today!
Place(s) Traveled To: Hampshire, England // London, England // Watford, England
First Line(s): I walk to the bus station by myself.
When talking with my friends after reading Rainbow Rowell's FANGIRL (my review) it seems like I am one of the few that actually liked the little excerpts from Cath's fan fiction story called Carry On. So when I heard that she was turning that into a book I was excited. Until I was not. CARRY ON is the name of Cath's fan fiction but for this story its presented as the very last Simon Snow story and as such, I feel, as though it should have been titled something along the lines of Simon Snow and the <<blah blah blah>>. Although that may have been too close to HARRY POTTER which the Simon Snow story is clearly a spoof of. Title aside though I still had some excitement but it all sort of fizzled by the time I had this very large book in my hands.
CARRY ON started off really really slow for me and I wasn't a fan of the fact that they didn't use a female narrator for the female POV chapters. Euon Morton does a fair enough job overall as the narrator but as with all male narrators female voices aren't where he excels. I did like his vocal choices for Simon and Baz but the rest? Not as much. Speaking of Baz, this is a character that takes his own sweet time in showing up in the story. Things in CARRY ON do pick up a bit when he does but its still kind of a hot mess with little to no direction. There isn't a whole ton of plot and the whole book is just sort of ramshackled together and I found myself rolling my eyes. A lot.
CARRY ON is also billed as this great M/M Romance and it fails there too because for a lot of the book Simon has a girlfriend. Then when he decides he likes Baz it just never feels real. Simon is such a surfacy 2D character that its hard to believe any of the emotions that he's supposed to be feeling. And for a book that is a romance there should be more push/pull/something that happens between the characters. But with CARRY ON this doesn't really develop until a good three quarters of the way through the book and then it just falls flat. A lot of this I think is due to the poor writing and the very mediocre narrator that was Simon Snow. I think if Baz had been telling CARRY ON I may have liked it a little more. Maybe.
From a fantasy standpoint, CARRY ON only barely squeeks by. Its just cobbled together with a bunch of tropes and its so very predictable. I guessed all the big twists very very early on and as such just sort of rolled my eyes at the attempted mic drop moments. I also felt that at times the POV just shifted way too rapidly that I almost got whiplash. I also didn't get why certain characters were in the story at all since they did nothing to move the plot along and just bogged down the story. In the end, I was pretty disappointed with CARRY ON as I just expected so much more from this story. I think in the future I'll still to Rowell's contemporary works and turn to others when I am looking for a fantasy read.
Place(s) Traveled To: Rome, Italy (Medieval-verse) San Francisco, California (Triad-Verse // War-Verse) Berkeley, California (Our Universe // War-Verse) Paris, France (Russia-Verse) New York, New York (Mob Verse) Unnamed (Home Office Verse)
First Line(s): The first time I traveled to another dimension, I intended to take a life. Now I'm trying to save one.
Second books in a trilogy can be a mixed bag. Sometimes they are really really good and sometimes you wonder why the series wasn't a duology instead. THE THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU by Claudia Gray falls somewhere in the middle of these two reactions. On one hand, there is a lot of new information and a series of events that keep you on the edge of your seat. On the other it felt a little drawn out and there was no real explaination for why things started as they did. While A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU (my review) can be considered a stand alone, TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU is not. It ends in a crazy cliff hanger and while I want to know what happens I'm also on the fence about it.
Which is a shame because A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU was such a surprise that had me eagerly anticipating this book. Perhaps I was looking forward to it too much and so I fell victim to my own hype. It didn't help that TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU was very repetitive and it even seemed to contradict itself at times. One moment they are saying that their alters don't remember what happens when they are "possessed" (for lack of a better term) and then they next they do retain memories of the experience. You can't have it both ways, either they remember or they don't. Pick one and run with it.
It also didn't help that Marguerite was way more annoying in this book than she was in the first one. She seemed to regress a lot and I was glad for Theo as he saved many a scene. But then at the same time I was conflicted because of the events that happened in the first book and with some that happened in this one. Things came close to becoming love triangly and that just didn't sit well with me. Fortunately though, Marguerite stays true to Paul throughout though it makes me sad that we didn't get to see much of this character in Triad-verse self. But I do like how Marguerite learns to accept all the possibilities of Paul and to me that is a very big and important step.
Tavia Gilbert returns to narrate the story and as with A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU I was very pleased with the narration. She is great with all the various accents and her voice really helps make the story compelling. I'm glad that I continued this one via audio because I may have tossed the book across the room a time or two if it wasn't on my phone. I do have plans to read the final book, A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU (Goodreads) but as of now its not one that I plan on rushing out to read, even with the crazy cliffhanger. I want to know what happens buy I'm not crazy bouncy with excitement for it as I was with TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU. Altough I do know I'll be buying a finished copy of book 3 as these covers are absolutely stunning!!