I jumped on the chance to read this book when I saw a very nice copy in the used bookstore. It’s a rare occasion to find Judy Blume books at used bookI jumped on the chance to read this book when I saw a very nice copy in the used bookstore. It’s a rare occasion to find Judy Blume books at used bookstores because I think people hang on to their own copies more often, so I considered myself lucky to have found it.The plot seemed quite interesting and I loved that Miri would be the main character as a child. I love looking at the past through the eyes of a younger narrator sometimes. I was interested in her childhood and the unlikely events that would change her life. It’s a great POV because it holds the same nostalgia for the past, along with the growing pains and obstacles that come with growing up and realizing adults are flawed.
It is difficult to review the book because I liked it and enjoyed the plot, but did not enjoy actually reading it. I often found myself not wanting to read because it was cumbersome to get through. There were entirely too many POVs and, while I was genuinely interested in their lives and story arcs, I felt passed around too much and I hate being pulled out of an interesting POV and shoved back into a POV that I was interested in before it switched around and I have to gather the energy to re-care about their lives. It was exhausting. I don’t know why so many authors think constant POV switches are good because they absolutely drive me crazy.
While I loved getting to know Miri and the events that came to shape her life, I feel vaguely frustrated by the direction of the novel altogether. I would have preferred it if the book had not dipped into the present day at all because I think that was ultimately what frustrated me. There was little reason for the character to be in the present and tell this story other than to reminisce, despite literally most of the important characters moving with her from NJ as a child. There was only one real person she was there to see and I just didn’t like the way that went at all and would rather have been left to wonder.
In the Unlikely Event was interesting, but I felt like it was more jumbled that I would have expected it to be and it was difficult to get through as a result. I would recommend it if you have the patience to sit through multiple POVs and enjoy vaguely frustrating endings that dwell on the missed opportunities and miscommunications of the past. I do think there’s an audience for that kind of nostalgia and bitter sweetness that just doesn’t work for me....more
I have never read Beauty and Beast and am mostly familiar with the tale based on the Disney version, though I’ve read quite a few retellings over the years. It’s one of my favorite fairy tale type of stories. Without having ever read the original, I can’t say for sure how close any of the retellings really are, but I wouldn’t classify Beauty by Robin McKinley as a REtelling, but rather as a telling of the fairy tale. Few details differed from the version I’m familiar with and there was nothing reimagined about it at all.
The book wasn’t bad and it was enjoyable, but I kept waiting for unique and different things to happen and literally it was just Beauty and Beast as I’m familiar with it, minus the talking teapots.
The book was short, so it didn’t take too much time to read, but I don’t know that I’d really recommend it because it was so predictable and the writing wasn’t profound enough to warrant reading it. Honestly, I could’ve just watched the Disney version and called it a day. I expected the story to veer off and be different or interesting in some type of way and I just didn’t get what I expected from the book at all....more
I love Katie McGarry books, especially the Pushing the Limits series. I couldn’t wait to get more characters and I enjoyed the romance between Logan aI love Katie McGarry books, especially the Pushing the Limits series. I couldn’t wait to get more characters and I enjoyed the romance between Logan and Abby. However, despite enjoying the book, I feel like it’s one of my least favorite in the series. I just didn’t like Abby as much as I enjoyed the other street kids and I think it hindered my enjoyment a bit.
This may sound a tad insensitive, but I didn’t like that Logan’s only issue was his diabetes and why he let that seem like such a big deal that made him weak. I’m not saying diabetes isn’t scary, especially type 1, but I’ve never in my life viewed it as a big illness that makes people weak or seem less strong due to having it. Perhaps I’m just ignorant as to how sufferers feel, but it just doesn’t carry the stigma that I think Logan felt it did. I could be incorrect and I’m also not a teen and I realize teens will make anything something to make fun of you about. I’m not sure if the book shed light on the issue for me or if Logan was kind of making it a bigger deal than it had to be. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve never looked at someone and thought about their diabetes first, but I think it’s a sad thing if sufferers feel that way about themselves.
While the book was a great contemporary romance, it fell short of my expectations because Abby and Logan didn’t feel as real to me as the other characters. Abby’s drug dealing thing was always a bit over the top, so I just felt like I didn’t “believe” her struggle the way I did with the other down on their luck kids. I felt like Logan’s diabetes, while eye opening for me, was just a conflict thrown in so that Logan could try to relate to Abby and have a secret. Their whole conflict seemed contrived in a way that shocked me after so many believable contemporaries in the series.
The story was good and I enjoyed the action and the way the characters fell. It was sweet and full of conflict as are her other books. I am not sure if this just wasn’t as good as I’d hoped and my expectations were too high or I just wasn’t in the mood for this type of story. It wasn’t a bad story, it just isn’t one of her best. ...more
I don’t read much nonfiction, but I grabbed this on a whim because I thought I could relate to the wives in some way being a military spouse myself anI don’t read much nonfiction, but I grabbed this on a whim because I thought I could relate to the wives in some way being a military spouse myself and I thought it would give me some cool behind the scenes stories about that time period in America.
While The Astronaut Wives Club certainly gave me what I expected, I did not enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would and that was largely due to the way it was written. While it is chronological in that it began with the Mercury Seven and went on to include the later Apollo astronauts and closed with the reunion years later, the book jumped around quite a bit. It was written as if the author was attempting to construct an essay, had bits of information lying around, and found ways to squeeze some of the fun facts into random parts in order to include everything. There was no structure other than the chronological inclusion of the different groups of wives, from the first Mercury wives, to the Gemini, to the Apollo. Everything within those groups was scattered. I assume putting together a book like this is no easy feat, but surely there are better ways to weave the information together than the way it was done. It could have even read like a fiction novel and worked out quite well.
It appears that I’m not alone in my feelings, as the book has many negative or average reviews mostly due to the writing. It’s a real shame because the women in the book were interesting and their struggles were as well, but the writing style grated on my nerves and left me feeling less than interested. There was no organization, no voice, and it read like a book report peppered with random facts and instances. While I expected the wives to be held to the typical housewife persona, I was frustrated that the author made no attempt to make them into real people in a real story.
The worst part about reading this abysmal book is that it’s loaded with great information that a better author could have turned into a captivating story. That’s the real tragedy....more
I did not enjoy Everland at all, despite initially being intrigued by the plot and steampunk idea. The book had some unique and quite cool aspects, buI did not enjoy Everland at all, despite initially being intrigued by the plot and steampunk idea. The book had some unique and quite cool aspects, but it was an in-your-face blatant Peter Pan retelling that was entirely too cheesy for me.
The book began in a way that reminded me of The Hunger Games. Gwen left to forage to take care of her younger sister (and brother) due to an absent (literally in this case) parent. It was simplistic, but it never really improved the way I think The Hunger Games did. It never grasped me and a captivated me.
To be fair, Peter Pan is a weird story that I don’t really connect with, but I thought taking away the whole never-grow-up thing would make Pete seem like a fairly stable guy. And he did seem that way, so I don’t think my feelings towards the original are affecting my feelings about this particular book in any biased way.
The virus left only children survivors and most of the girls died out from the infection. Gwen seemed to be immune. There wasn’t much explanation about the virus, as the story seemed incredibly focused on making it connect as much as possible with the original story and never spent much time developing the side aspects of this new world. The Captain Hook character was cheesy in my opinion and didn’t seem to have believable motivation as the villain to me.
I tried to finish the book in an optimistic way and I hoped it would eventually get better and pull me in or give me some side story to care about, but it was just not well executed at all. I cannot stress how blatant the retelling is and I felt like a more loosely based retelling with room to explore the wonderful steampunk apocalyptic aspects could have been so much fun! The characters seemed flat and immature and I just never connected with anyone or anything.
I don’t recommend the book unless you’re a huge huge fan of Peter Pan and you’re in the earlier teen years, as mature teens and adults may find the characters to be to immature. ...more
This was the first book I received in an Owlcrate that I already knew I wanted to read. It was on my radar. The cover was gorgeous. The plot seemed enThis was the first book I received in an Owlcrate that I already knew I wanted to read. It was on my radar. The cover was gorgeous. The plot seemed enticing. I was so happy it came in an Owlcrate because it saved me the book math logic of having to decide to buy it or wait for prices to go down once it was available in paperback.
It is hard to review the book because I don’t know if I wasn’t in the mood for the type of story it was or if the story wasn’t well executed or what. It should have been something I should be raving about, but I was left feeling vaguely..meh.
I think The Love That Split the World is one of those books you have to be in a certain mood to read. It was a cool story that had a ton of Native American elements and an otherworldly sense in an otherwise contemporary story. It was well written. While the writing was descriptive, it wasn’t completely poetic like the Tahereh Mafi’s and Nova Ren Suma’s of the world, where you just kind of expect something strange and somewhat magical to come creeping out of the woodwork somewhere.. where magic and time travel just belong and where instalove isn’t even an issue because you’re so overwhelmed by the sensations of being in a moment. Instead, it read like a normal teenage contemporary about a girl struggling with identity and graduation looming ahead of her like an ominous countdown. And that would’ve been fine, but something about the plot and the style of writing just didn’t mesh for me.
Maybe I just didn’t connect with Natalie. Or Beau. Or the awful insta-love. I didn’t understand why she could suddenly get over someone she loved and fall into his arms even though he literally represented the exact same things that her previous boyfriend did and the exact things that plagued her because she didn’t feel like she belonged and he was from a world where she literally didn’t belong. And no matter many times they referred to each other by full name to provide some sort of serious dialogue, Natalie Cleary and Beau Wilkes, I was rolling my eyes and waiting for her visits with the counselor to provide some better answers as to what was happening to her. The problem with The Love That Split the World is that I had to be fully invested in the love in order to truly jump on board with the entire plot, twists and all, and I just wasn’t.
But the writing was well done and Natalie’s conflict was certainly captivating. She was going through a period of time where her identity was everything and she had no idea who she was. I felt that and I understood her struggle and her need to track down answers to who this Grandmother figure was in order to understand the world around her. But I feel like a bunch of elements or details about the story could have been different in the execution in order for me to full jump on board with the plot and have it hit me the way I feel like it should have. It’s very difficult, in my opinion, to mix the supernatural or fantastic with a contemporary and get it right. And while I loved the originality of the story, I don’t feel like it executed it well, despite the descriptive writing. It tried to do too many things at once.
The book certainly hit a lot of high notes. It was positive. It did not slut shame when opportunities arose. It featured characters worth looking up to. Even Natalie, who was basically seeing things, wasn’t afraid to seek out counseling and never was it made into a negative or secretive thing. There’s a lot of love when you’re looking for those qualities because so many YA novels get that wrong. It even had diverse characters from a Native American background. In that area, the novel shined.
I understand why it is highly praised, but it was missing that key element that sucked me in emotionally and I just couldn’t seem to get fully into it. I’d recommend it, though, as the story was certainly unique. I will perhaps even try to read it again just to see if it was me or the book that was missing something....more
If you’re looking for a great mystery novel to suck you in and give you a great story with tons of twists and turns, The Passenger is the perfect bookIf you’re looking for a great mystery novel to suck you in and give you a great story with tons of twists and turns, The Passenger is the perfect book. It was fun to read and difficult to guess.
The main character fled town after her husband’s death because she was on her second identity and knew it would cause issues by sticking around. She stayed on the run and changed her identities a few times. She met up with people who impacted her journey. There were also a series of emails from a childhood friend that refer to some event happening that would have been the cause of her initial identity change.
It was definitely full of twists and turns because her journey was ultimately unpredictable and fraught with obstacles and pile of bodies that somehow keep turning up at the most inconvenient moment.
I enjoyed the journey and I also loved the way it came full circle and we got to figure out what was going on My only real complaint is that I don’t really know what sort of person the main character really was. She changed everything so many times and I think that was kind of the point. She never really got to be the person she was and she was constantly adjusting herself to fit her new persona in order to stay under the radar. Still, I wish I had more actual connection to the main character.
I definitely recommend the book and it’s certainly the perfect book to grab and take to the beach and devour. ...more
Wolf Hollow was a middle grade novel that was well written and moving. The story was just as gorgeous as the stunning cover that caught my eye at an aWolf Hollow was a middle grade novel that was well written and moving. The story was just as gorgeous as the stunning cover that caught my eye at an airport bookstore, which is really saying something. It was set during World War II, but not it was not a war historical novel by any means. Instead, it was a story in a small town in Pennsylvania where twelve year old Annabelle was learning about fear in the news reports of the war and in the bully who was starting to become a problem outside of school.
Annabelle was fascinated by a war veteran living in her town named Toby. People judged him for being strange and quiet, but all she had ever seen from him was kindness. She was beginning to experience bullying by a girl in school named Betty. It began with small things, but they soon escalated and Toby also became the subject of her amusement. Annabelle fiercely defended Toby and the story took on a mind of its own as Betty’s lies put Toby’s reputation on the line.
Wolf Hollow was all about judging others, learning how to lie, learning how to tell the truth when it counts, and knowing someone’s character. Annabelle learned a lot the year she turned twelve. It does deal with some violence, but if fits well in the middle grade genre and is certainly a book I’d recommend for kids and parents alike. I enjoyed the story and I highly recommend it. I honestly didn’t expect the book to live up to the gorgeous cover, so I’m shocked and happy to know that the story turned out to be so great....more
I loved The Long Walk. My stepmom explained it best by saying it was almost like a Stephen King version of The Hunger Games, which piqued my interest.I loved The Long Walk. My stepmom explained it best by saying it was almost like a Stephen King version of The Hunger Games, which piqued my interest. I basically devoured the book on the plane ride home after visiting her.
Now, since it’s already been compared, I’ll say that it’s not nearly the same at all. But the contest itself and the consequences of not being the winner and society’s fascination with the contestants is very similar, so the basic elements of why I feel stories like those exist were there and that was an apt enough comparison for me.
In The Long Walk, 100 boys took a walk every year. The winner would receive everything he could ever want. The rules were very clear. Keep a 4 mile an hour pace. At all times. Until you’re the only one left. The Long Walk was terrifying. Like Ray, once I understood what the consequences were, it still shocked me every time it happened. It seemed so brutal. The walk was agonizing. It was so inhumane. It was shocking.
Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the fact that it didn’t overshare. I have no idea why the event happened. I don’t know what happens to the winners afterwards. I don’t know what makes the world in the book different from ours. But the fact that it was so vague made it linger in my brain longer. It wasn’t trying to be some dystopian novel that went from apocalypse to new government system. It was just a horrifying story that has it’s place and was terrifying in it’s own right.
I highly recommend the book. It was a quick read (for a Stephen King book, anyway) and it was absolutely fascinating. ...more
I absolutely LOVED this book. The beginning (which is the beginning of blurb #2) completely hooked me. Despite the fact that “Zoe” sounded much youngeI absolutely LOVED this book. The beginning (which is the beginning of blurb #2) completely hooked me. Despite the fact that “Zoe” sounded much younger than I think she actually was, I kind of enjoyed the narration because it stopped it from being a dark, woe-is-me kind of story and allowed it to be a little bit more upbeat. I typically don’t like when narrations sound younger than the content, but it was precisely what made this book stand apart from the depressing YA that is prevalent nowadays.
The pacing was nice. I knew Zoe had a secret she was ready to spill. I knew someone’s future would be cut short. But who? How? And why? I loved that there was more than just her own drama happening at the same time. Her family was having problems. And mostly, I just loved how EVERY SINGLE character had a flaw. This a book that doesn’t deal in absolutes, but tells a story that seems more realistic. Zoe is a teenager, but can still see the world with naïve eyes, which is true. As much as I love mature YA with narrators I can relate to as an adult, sometimes, we forget that teens are just kids learning to deal with adult feelings without adult wisdom.
While the story is told in letters to a death row inmate, it reads more like a diary. Some reviewers felt like it was a problem, but I think the letter to the inmate served as something else. Sure, you probably wouldn’t share such details, especially the gooey bits, to a death row inmate, but she didn’t write to him because she was thinking about how he would respond to her. She was writing to the only person she felt could understand her and the guilt she carried. It was her diary.. but addressed to someone in order to serve as a better outlet. I think it made perfect sense and showed how Zoe felt about her own actions and I don’t know that I would have necessarily realized the depth of her guilt otherwise.
Yours Truly is not a perfect story, but it was captivating and I loved watching it unfold. I loved the ending, the feelings, and the way it all kind of felt bittersweet, the way The Perks of Being A Wallflower made me feel. I definitely loved it and recommend it, so long as you aren’t overly critical and you’re in the mood for everything this book sounds like it is. And honestly, I hate the title change because I feel like Ketchup Clouds invites readers who have a better expectations. There’s something kind of silly about it, but the serious blurb makes you kind of take a step back. It was a story that had silly moments and serious ones. Yours Truly just doesn’t have the same ring to it. ...more
I have seen people praise Me Before You for awhile, but I always avoidedReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason Book Review Blog
I have seen people praise Me Before You for awhile, but I always avoided it because I didn’t like the cover. It made it look like some old 80’s romance novel about a divorcee or something. Honestly, that’s what I thought, and seeing it listed as a contemporary romance novel certainly didn’t alert me that it wasn’t what I thought. I finally saw the movie previews going around and realized that I probably would enjoy the story, so I picked up a copy and dove right in.
I write my reviews and schedule them in advance, so there’s no telling when this review will actually go live, but I feel the need to explain that I just finished The Serpent King, sobbed until I had no more tears left, and woke up the next morning determined to read this book before it sat on my TBR shelf until the movie ended up on basic cable (because I do that) and I wanted to read it ASAP. Looking back, I’m not sure I should have dove into a book that is what this book is about because it was NOT FUN crying and sobbing 2 nights in a row.
Me Before You was really good and very well done. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it didn’t immediately turn into some sappy romance novel, though I knew, somehow, it would break my heart along the way. I initially disliked Lou and her family, but she grew on me with her colorful tights and determination. I disliked Will, too, actually, now that I think about it because OF COURSE he would be rude and awful and hate everyone’s pity. But maybe that’s because I see the actor as Finnick from THG and that’s kind of the same personality Will had. The two of them thrown together was hilarious and doomed at the same time, but I loved every second of it. I love it when I start to feel like I know the characters and become invested.
The book is indeed chick lit. It is designed to make you cry and it will. And a lot of people hate books like that, but sometimes, a good old fashioned cry fest is perfect. Seeing characters you care about become better people when they take some risks is awesome and there’s always a time and place for fiction like this. I’m glad I finally picked it up and I definitely recommend it. But, fair warning, if you’ve just had a cry fest, maybe read something funny to lighten you back up before picking this up. Unless you’re into torturing yourself? ...more
Wow. This book was amazing. I cried my eyes out. I RARELY cry when reading books, so when it happens, it’s typically not because it’s a tearjerker, but because I care about the characters and I’m just overwhelmed with feelings about their fates, whether good or bad. I swear, I cried for the entire last quarter of the book, but I also laughed. My heart aches with both sorrow and hope just thinking about it.
The faces behind Owlcrate frequently gushed about how they were putting their favorite book in March’s box, so I already knew it was well loved when I got the box. The theme of March’s Owlcrate was Writers Block, which is actually the perfect category for the book to fall into now that I’m finished. Before I started, I couldn’t quite figure out what it would be about. I don’t know why I thought it would be a fantasy or adventure.
The Serpent King is a brilliantly written contemporary novel about life, growing up, and finding your place in the world. Dill’s father, a snake handling preacher, was in prison for questionable content on his computer involving minors. Dill was named after him, so his name carried a stigma he never got to escape. Lydia, his best friend, was a girl with a great family stuck in a small town. She blogged about fashion and became internet famous, which was her ticket out of the town. Travis, their other best friend, was a simple guy who loved a fantasy series so much, he practically lived in it. He wore a dragon necklace, carried a staff, but also loved working on engines and being outdoors. He wasn’t necessarily stuck, despite his awful home life, because his escape was in his books.
The three characters dealt with some pretty awful things in their everyday life. They were all outcasts in their own way. At first, it may have even seemed like they had nothing else in common, but they had a tight bond and genuinely cared about one another. They dealt with so much stigma because they didn’t fit the mold of their small Tennessee town. Dill questioned himself often and felt like his faith was being tested, he was failing, or God had abandoned him altogether.
The book, while it does deal with religion, isn’t about religion. Dill’s father was a preacher of the extreme fashion, using venomous snakes as a test of his faith and winning. The small southern town contained people who became appalled by anything outside of the norm. There were people who would only read books from the Christian section and thought any type of adventure was going against Jesus. But the book doesn’t deal with the existence of God or anything like that, so if you’re religious and afraid the book will go in a direction you find to be unacceptable, you can rest assured that it’s not about that. It would only be offensive I think to people who are like the residents of the town, that think any individual thought is the devil whispering in your ear and a guy who would rather read instead of play football must not be very Christian and is likely a (insert offensive word to describe men who bigots think aren’t many enough). (And if that’s the kind of person you are, I highly doubt you’d be reading my review because you wouldn’t be clicking on book reviews for genres outside of Christian Fiction, so it’s a moot point.)
The book is moving, dark, haunting, tragic, and hopeful. I think the fact that, despite the absolutely horrific realities some of the characters live in, it remains a story about hope, courage, and bravery, is amazing. As I said above, I sobbed. It was such an incredible story.
I loved that the characters didn’t have to be a certain label in order to be outcasts. They were outcasts in their own right without being a stereotype, which is rare in this kind of fiction. Of course the goth or the gay person or the Wiccan would be an outcast in a Southern town, but the characters in The Serpent King are just people with unfortunate circumstances that make them stand outside of the pack.
I commend the author for weaving such a realistic and moving book that captures the essence of growing up and finding out where you will go, who you will be, and being brave enough to do it. I understand why it’s a favorite of Owlcrate because it’s definitely moving up to one of my favorite books, too. I HIGHLY recommend it. ...more
Wow. The Way I Used to Be was very good and well executed. Speak is sorReview Originally Published at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
Wow. The Way I Used to Be was very good and well executed. Speak is sort of the book that I compare all other that deal with the same topic, so they typically have big shoes to fill. My initial reaction upon finishing this one is that I thought it compared to it quite well. Now, I’m not saying that it is better, but I felt wowed when I closed the book. I felt like it dealt with not speaking up as well as finding your identity ON TOP OF swinging to the other end of the spectrum with the mentality that if my body isn’t mine, why should I keep it to myself? And that is such a tough thing to accomplish, but the book nailed it.
The story jumped immediately in. By page 8, it was happening. I had to blink a few times.. not ready. The book just sort of took you right into it. It wasn’t graphic or anything, but it was clearly happening. And then we got to watch Edy transform and deal (or not deal) with the emotions that the event caused.
Edy was the geeky band girl, the girl no one noticed. And that’s how she knew her rapist knew she wouldn’t tell. So she made it her goal to be visible, be different, and step out of the role that she was somehow stuck in. At the same time, her friend was also changing, her brother went to college, so things were in a transition type of phase. And suddenly, Edy’s name started showing up on bathroom stalls. Slut. Whore. But Edy had blocked herself off from emotion long before. She then started actually sleeping around, not caring who she gave her body to.
The Way I Used to Be was such a hard hitting novel. It was messy. Edy wasn’t always a great person. She hated with a hate that she couldn’t even really deal with. She cut herself off from everyone, even part of herself. I ached for her to heal, but I knew she was dealing with her own identity. In some ways, the book is just another story about rape. Surely, there are many books that deal with the subject well and Edy as a character does NOT deal with it well. But I enjoyed the journey because it was so messy and it because it also dealt a bit with the slut shaming that happens, too. Also, not everything was a cautionary tale.. not every action was analyzed later. Her best friend was also being a crappy friend, drinking, changing identities and hair colors and I felt like it was a good “control” for the book.. it made me look at it like, while Edy was being destructive as a result of being raped, not EVERYTHING she was doing was necessarily related. It was also part of being a teenager, realizing you’ve been trapped in a household and school that has determined your identity. You don’t speak up, that’s not just what you do, it’s who you are and it’s expected of you, now. I just loved that the book dealt with the aftermath of that realization.
I definitely recommend The Way I Used to Be. ...more
The Raven King concludes The Raven Cycle and I was eagerly awaiting the finale of the series. The series is one of my favorites and the author is also one of my favorites. Her style of writing, though not everyone’s cup of tea, mesmerizes me and I find myself slowing down and savoring every word, which isn’t something that happens to me often. What began as a story about a teenage girl possibly killing her true love by a kiss (which could have easily been the plot of a 2-3 star subpar teeny bopper paranormal romance) has turned into an epic story involving characters I feel I somehow know, dreamers, and Welsh kings.
It’s difficult to write a review without wanting to spoil so much, so I will likely keep this short and to the point. The fact that the series is not called a series or a saga or any other term for a story spanning multiple books and is instead called The Raven Cycle is absolutely perfect and I realize now why it’s so perfect in ways that I couldn’t quite pinpoint before the finale.
I closed the book just minutes before typing this review and yet I already miss the characters. They were so unique, multifaceted, and real. Despite their major differences in persona, demeanor, and interests, Gansey’s merry band of friends meshed well together and were somehow more. To Blue, as was said in the first book, she didn’t have friends that weren’t lumped together with family and Gansey’s crew immediately became part of her already extended family.
I thought The Raven King was amazing and it did so many things I wanted it to do. It might be the best in the series and it was probably the most complex. However, I can’t help but feel, as I felt mostly through the last half of the book, that there weren’t enough pages to wrap everything up. I still feel like there are loose ends, people who didn’t have their closure, and I feel like there could just as easily be another book on its way, though I know there isn’t. Part of me loves this because I absolutely hate conclusions wrapped in a neat little bow and handed to me since I love to ponder about the fate of the characters. The other part of me is already feeling like the end of the book was me being politely asked to leave this amazing party that I’m still totally invested in and I just want to see what else will happen. What about …? Fill in the blank. I’m sure over time my feelings will even out and if they don’t, I’ll just reread the series and re-experience the characters all over again if that’s what it takes. It’s a book hangover at it’s worst that I’m experiencing, which makes me feel bad, but is a wonderful sign of just how amazing the story, this particular book, and the ending in general is.
While it’s no secret that I love Maggie Stiefvater and all of her stories, I highly recommend The Raven Cycle above all others. It’s my favorite. The ending does not disappoint, so I feel like I can say with more confidence than before that this is a must read series. It is a story that captures the essence of friendship in a way that I don’t think I’ve encountered before. Sure, it’s also a much more complicated and fantastical paranormal/fantasy type of epic story, but at its heart, it’s about friendship, and it’s perfect. ...more
Ok. Let me start from the beginning. I let this book sit on my shelf because I was afraid to read it. I was afraid, especiaOMG! Wow. That was amazing.
Ok. Let me start from the beginning. I let this book sit on my shelf because I was afraid to read it. I was afraid, especially after reading Heir of Fire in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas that she would somehow create this love triangle and I wasn’t ready for that. While I fully support the love interest shift in the Throne of Glass series, it was something I also wasn’t ready for and fought against at the time and later realized it made so much sense, but I swore that it would make no sense for Feyre to shift her allegiances. I mean, Feyre literally gave her life for true love, right? How can you just ignore that and have another love interest? I was so afraid because I didn’t want a story I loved so much and an author I love so much to go the stereotypical YA fantasy route.
I could not have been more wrong about everything. I worried for nothing. This is mother flipping Sarah J. Maas we are talking about. Did I REALLY think she would let me down? Of course she wouldn’t! She would NEVER made Feyre the idiot bumbling YA heroine we are all used to seeing. She would not let Feyre (or any of her characters) blindly follow some dark and handsome hero just because OMG he’s like, hot. So, if you were in the same boat as I was, don’t be afraid to pick this up.
A Court of Mist and Fury was so well done. It was brilliant. It weaved a story that didn’t ignore the emotions, the trauma, the rage, and the predicaments that Feyre experienced. I feel so stupid for ever thinking the author would let Feyre treat love like it was nothing. In fact, while I wasn’t wrong about there being another type of love interest, it came in another way.. the way that it was handled was one that explored the darkness of stifling relationships, the trauma of being tortured and the aftermath of what that torture does to people. It was so well developed.
Feyre was changed after her time in the mountain. Quite obviously, she was no longer human. But more importantly, she was a different person who went through certain experiences that altered her. And she was stifled. So her story took a turn that maybe we weren’t expecting a Beauty and the Beast type of retelling to go. But it took a turn into the dark and violent world of the Fae and Feyre was no longer the heroine with the happily ever after, but the fierce and powerful defender of the realm.
I loved Feyre’s transformation. She made her own friends, she learned her own lessons about the world, and while she did get help, she was no one’s pet and no one could stop her.
It is difficult to review the book because I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s over 600 pages, so a LOT happens and I’ve felt a million different emotions after finishing. What distressed me and impressed me and made me scream or cry and shut the book before finishing because I was scared to continue and then frantically read the next page because I just had to see how it would turn out… Or blush and feel my cheeks heat with the knowledge of what would happen next or when my eyes widened in surprise when something was revealed just when I thought I knew what was happening.. Those things are all based on other things that may or may not be spoilers. But I can tell you that I did all of those things and more when I was reading and I lugged this giant hardcover to the beach where I was terrified I would ruin it but the option of taking another book was UNacceptable and I just had to take this one.
A Court of Mist and Fury is a million times better than A Court of Thorn and Roses. I know that the Throne of Glass novels do the same upward arc where you can’t even believe that the story could even GET that much better, but it does with each progression. Sarah J. Maas is a goddess of fantasy and a strong writer and I love her stories. I can’t believe I ever doubted that this book would impress me. It blew me away and I highly recommend it.
Splintered began with Maddie and her fake tale of an almost abduction. The book featured her POV, along with her mom, mom’s ex best friend, the police officer assigned to her case, and another character who would later become a problem. Maddie’s lie spiraled out of control and made her mom question her ability to parent. What began as a glimpse into the lives of the characters quickly turned into a mystery as Maddie’s disappeared without a trace, fairly undetected due to her “cry wolf” incident at the beginning.
Like any other fairly contemporary mystery novel you’d find on the shelves of Target and maybe on Lifetime, the story was complex, griping, and involved multiple perspectives that lead up to one major event. Splintered took place in the Tampa area of Florida, which was nice because I know the area quite well as my husband is originally from there and we visit often.
The book is certainly a great book to pick up when the mood strikes you and you are looking for an enjoyable mystery that is also heavily character based, like many of the Gone Girl-esque novels are. It was great, as well as fairly short with a full story arc. It doesn’t waste time with unnecessary scenes or characters and remains on track, making it perfectly satisfying for a short read! I would compare it to The Good Girl and Reconstructing Amelia, and I would say it’s one of those books you might grab when you’re looking for something to escape into. ...more
about the lives of two very different girls. They dreamt about each other’s lives each night, yet neither existed in the other’s world. I have conflicabout the lives of two very different girls. They dreamt about each other’s lives each night, yet neither existed in the other’s world. I have conflicted feelings about the book and the ending makes it difficult to review because the things that I appreciated about it are things that are super spoiler-y and I don’t want to give anything away.The ending was extremely vague, leaving a lot up to interpretation, though I think a lot readers have come to a relatively similar conclusion. It can be frustrating to deal with such an ambiguous ending after a detailed novel in which we live their day to day lives in a small fraction of time.
The book was split into two narrations. Maggie was an actress living in New York City with her little sister and never present mom. Sloane was a student living in Mystic, Connecticut with her mom, dad, and brothers. They had very different lives. Maggie was lonely, but very energetic and she had a lot of opportunities. While I don’t believe she was happy being so neglected, she had the life that most teenagers would dream of. Sloane, who literally did dream about Maggie’s life, was the studious type, wanting to do well and go to a good college. She was a bit shy, didn’t really like the spotlight on her, and felt as if she lived an ordinary life.
Throughout the book, it wasn’t clear which one of the girls was real, if they both were, or if neither was real. It was the kind of thing I’d expect from a psychological thriller, but the book was completely contemporary. It wasn’t remotely dark and neither character felt mad or as if they were losing their grip on reality. It was the concept rolled into a typical YA contemporary, which was a bit weird, but certainly unique.
I enjoyed the book and I like the various thought processes I had when the book ended and I attempted to piece together my own theory about what actually happened and why. It was initially frustrating and I wish that book was more clear about the circumstances. Without the twist and concept, it was essentially 2 YA contemporary stories about falling in love. But the concept of dreaming about lives is in the synopsis and on the cover and is the reason people are picking up the book. so it’s frustrating that the whole thing was so vague. I was intrigued and as the story went on, I wondered what the conclusion would be and how the authors would surprise me and what the whole cause of their dreams would be. I felt like the story should have had a bigger wow factor. It’s almost as if the concept was what they ran with and they didn’t have a good reason as to why the two characters were dreaming about each other, like they began with a great concept and wrote themselves into a corner and chose a slightly ambiguous conclusion in order to get out of it and satisfy the story.
I would recommend the book as it’s enjoyable as a YA contemporary and the ending is weird enough to make you ponder about it for awhile. It’s missing a lot for me to really call it a great book, but any book that makes me sit around and stir up some thoughts about why things happened the way they did deserves a decent rating, even if it wasn’t as amazing as I initially expected....more
Middlesex is quite the modern classic and has won many distinguished awReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason Book Review Blog.
Middlesex is quite the modern classic and has won many distinguished awards. I enjoyed The Virgin Suicides by the author, so I was intrigued enough to purchase a copy of the book. I decided to read it during the crazy bathroom debate surrounding transgender people, as it seemed like the perfect time to crack open a book that dealt with gender to some degree.
Middlesex was about Cal, a man who was originally born as a girl and later discovered she was a hermaphrodite and decided to live the remainder of life as a man. He began the story with his grandparents as he was tracing the gene that led to his predicament. The book was an epic story, as one would expect with a muse narrator named Calliope with Greek origins, especially as the book took place during so many major historical events.
It’s difficult to decide how I feel about the book overall. It was an interesting story and I enjoyed the ride through Detroit during the Prohibition, through the race riots, watching Detroit change as the characters made their way to the suburbs to escape the violence and destruction of the city. I also enjoyed how the characters weren’t native to the area, but didn’t identify with minorities. As Greeks, they were basically white, yet not the all-American people that fit into the society, making their experiences quite unique. I was also eager to find out what would happen to Cal/Calliope and was eager to see the story finally go through her own childhood and her discovery.
However, Calliope’s own story didn’t quite grip me the way her grandparent’s and parent’s story did. While I liked seeing her grow up, she wasn’t at all aware there was something wrong with her. While she caught herself becoming interested more in girls as she grew and she noticed some changes as she went through puberty, nothing really seemed all that out of place considering her circumstance. Her decision to live life as a man was abrupt and not nearly as well explored as literally every other event in the entire book. Reviewers have said that her interest in women and her concerns over not developing were sure signs, but I disagree. I feel like any woman who has been interested in the same sex would have gone through it and never question their own gender. Apart from the interest in girls, I think every adolescent girl goes through the self conscious stage of puberty, wondering if you’re ever going to develop, comparing yourself to others, measuring your normalcy against the milestones of your peers.
Slight spoiler: She had a consult with a doctor who never explained what would happen should she choose to “remain” female or go the other route and she just glimpsed at the notes the doctor had and was scared enough to flee and decide to be a man.
Sexual attraction and gender identity aren’t the same things, nor would I equate worrying over development and feeling a tad out of place in your body as a teenager with gender identity issues, so I’m just a bit disappointed that a story ABOUT a hermaphrodite wouldn’t have better explored it.
My other issue with the book is that it involved a lot more incest and strange sexual encounters than I would ever consider normal, despite knowing that small villages often had issues with mixing genes because people ended up being related in some fashion. The way everyone was related was kind of odd, out of place, and not something I expected in a modern tale.
The book was interesting and it certainly brought up a lot of valid points about society, gender, race, politics, and people in general. I enjoyed it and I think it would be a good book club book or discussion piece. However, I don’t think it’s nearly as amazing as people claim and I don’t really understand the hype. It was good, but I still don’t think it did what I originally thought it would do based on the synopsis and I think that whole portion of the book was lacking.
This book could be seen as brilliant because it’s about transition on so many levels, so the title Middlesex is perfect. However, it’s basically just a Forrest Gump journey through important events mashed with everything we already know about Greeks based on movies, and a dash of “let’s add in a hermaphrodite so I can throw him in this pool in a freak show and figure the rest out” and connect it all together. ...more
The first book Make Her Howl was a short story showing how Chloe became a wolf when she was known as a null in her pack, meaning she hadn't yet changeThe first book Make Her Howl was a short story showing how Chloe became a wolf when she was known as a null in her pack, meaning she hadn't yet changed and wasn't projected to. A newcomer to the pack helped.. fix that by doing something no one else had thought to do before. It was a short and to the point book. I liked the werewolf pack dynamics, but the book was basically just Jackson and Chloe going at it and her becoming a werewolf as a result.
The second book was longer and had more of a story arc. Chloe and Jackson were mated and he was pretty vocal about how he cared about her and she would be his. She loved him, but it certainly shook up pack dynamics. Not only did Jackson sleep with basically all the eligible pack females when the alpha decided he had to find his mate, but Chloe was now this new alpha's mate, basically in the spotlight, after a lifetime of being on the back burner and forgotten. She was definitely a threat to pack females who thought they had more of a claim to Jackson.
I enjoyed the plot. It was fun, fast paced, and enjoyable in a similar way to the Sookie Stackhouse series. However, the books were both pretty basic with easy dialogue and not much complexity. I felt like they were fun, but essentially not as well polished or intricate as other paranormal romance novels. They are great books when you're looking for something easy on the brain and good fun. It had a light contemporary flow, but a paranormal plot.
The short story is actually free on Amazon Kindle. The Alpha's Mate is only 3.99 for Amazon Kindle (at the time of me writing this review), so it's quite affordable if you're in the mood for something light and fun. ...more
I’m not a big fan of Cecilia Ahern. I think she comes up with awesome ploReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reasonbook review blog
I’m not a big fan of Cecilia Ahern. I think she comes up with awesome plots, but I don’t think she’s a strong writer. I wondered whether I would enjoy her attempt at YA fiction, but my expectations were quite low.
Flawed was okay. The story was fairly character driven in a society where regular laws, like the kind you and I are aware of, exist. The biggest difference was the Guild who punished people for flaws in their characters and prevented people who were deemed Flawed to be in positions of leadership. This was to prevent the economic collapse due to dishonest people and other flaws. I was impressed with the concept because it’s interesting and I felt like I was certainly reading the book at a great time.. When our candidates for president are some of the worst people I’ve seen in politics in a long time. I could definitely get on board with having people pay for their character flaws if they can’t be convicted of a crime.. At least don’t let them do things like RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Right?
The beginning of the book was interesting, but then it started to get a little crazy. The act of deeming someone Flawed seemed a bit flawed, but if all they did was basically prevent people from being in positions of power, it didn’t seem that bad. But then it got worse. Suddenly, you weren’t allowed to help people who were Flawed and that’s how Cecilia found herself in a screwed up situation and where the story started to make no sense. I can get on board with a society that wants to prevent people who make bad choices from leading. But now they can’t be helped? They can’t sit with other flawed people? This seems like an issue that never would have gotten as far as it did. Perfect people have compassion and would want to help flawed people in order to feel better about themselves, we already know that as a society. So, if I reject helping a Flawed as being a problem, then I basically reject the rest of the book. Flawed people were essentially “factionless’ people in Divergent, but you’d get in trouble for even thinking about helping them.
Society went from having this minor thing where they deem people as Flawed to having this power hungry Guild looking to mark people as Flawed to promote their own agendas and what not, which is the very thing the whole system rose up to prevent.
I get that Celestine basically fell down this rabbit hole for doing what she thought was right, but I just rejected the whole system and couldn’t really get on board with the conflict. I feel like dystopias should be somewhat probable or believable. Pulling the wool off of the eyes of an innocent girl may work for some people, but the system seemed designed to fail and therefore wouldn’t have lasted long enough for people to have treated Flawed citizens the way they did. If it’s been happening for any length of time, it should not be quite so easy to tear apart logically.
While I basically rejected the whole premise of the book, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be and I flew through it. It was certainly not difficult to read and I feel like fans of YA dystopian novels will like it as well. Flawed was better than I expected and, while I didn’t really like how unbelievable the conflict was, I’ve seen worse in YA dystopias, so I can’t completely knock the book. It’s not nearly as ridiculous as a lot of dystopian worlds and the book did a fairly good job at keeping it character based and interesting. ...more
I liked Stone Field and it was a quick, enjoyable read. It was a retellReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason Book Review Blog.
I liked Stone Field and it was a quick, enjoyable read. It was a retelling of sorts of Wuthering Heights, where Catrina is Cathy and Stonefield is Heathcliff. It was a story in which Catrina was forced to be in the “box” of her station. She should do housework, marry young, not embarrass her family, be a good little church mouse, and leave the wildness to the men. By her nature, Catrina was very wild. She spent time in the woods, felt comfortable outside doing men’s work, and felt stifled by the expectations set by society. Her father wasn’t one to discipline her, but her brother vocalized his issues with her behavior.
Catrina met Stonefield (and named him Stonefield as he lost his memories and she found him in a stone field) and felt immediately connected to him. Together, they were one. They both felt the same way about nature and love and feeling connected. Of course, it threw a wrench into everyone’s plans for her and things just got progressively worse. Stonefield and Catrina hurt each other based on miscommunication and they were both hurt by society and their roles in it. What should have been about finding your other half turned into a tragic story of pain and suffering.. which is exactly how I remembered Wuthering Heights being when I read it in high school, so I guess that part was right. ha.
I loved the themes and Catrina’s desire to be free. However, Catrina and Stonefield had a hippie millennial love in a Civil War era time. In today’s world, they would just be two weirdos who fell into mutual weirdness and got naked in the woods. In their time, they were obviously out of place and I couldn’t understand why Catrina, knowing the issues with the devil and witchcraft, would totally just be naked, dance, and put weird symbols on her body. I understand that society was certainly awful to people who truly felt connected to nature and more “pagan” than they “should” have been, but it seemed a little too much to have her be quite so crazy and wild. Instead of showing me the horror of the exorcism and the Reverend’s opinion, part of me kind of wondered if she DID need to at least be examined. She had some of what seemed like total breakdowns, so, while I was horrified by how people treated her, I kind of felt like maybe she wasn’t completely sane.
The lyrical narrative when Catrina and Stonefield were together was a little bit strange, so even I thought maybe they both had some issues, what with him losing his memory and her dancing around in twigs. If set in today’s time period, I would have just chalked it up to being a lyrical narrative, but set in the Civil War, it just didn’t work. I think the book lost some ground by trying to fit a modern day type of narrative into the time period, as it didn’t fit and took away from the themes a little bit.
However, the book was definitely unique and beautifully written, albeit a bit strange. I do recommend reading it if the synopsis intrigues you and you enjoy stories that don’t have such a clear cut happy ever after kind of ending. I absolutely love the cover, too, and think it fits the book quite well. ...more
I loved Easy, which was book 1 in this series, so I picked this up when I saw it on the bargain section at Books a Million. Of course, it’s been awhilI loved Easy, which was book 1 in this series, so I picked this up when I saw it on the bargain section at Books a Million. Of course, it’s been awhile since I read Easy, so I didn’t realize upon first glance that this was the same story from the POV of Lucas instead of Jacqueline. Despite not exactly remembering the story line (I only vaguely remembered pieces of it), it wasn’t difficult at all to dive in and find my way. There were sections that were from his childhood, when he still went by Landon, which were new material and very intriguing to read about. The big reveal about his past was a surprise in Easy, so I enjoyed getting some background into who he was, what motivated him, and what he triumphed over.
I enjoyed Breakable and I felt like we got to know Lucas in a more intimate way by watching him deal with his mother’s death and his father’s detachment. It was also nice to see things from his perspective as he met Jacqueline and slowly fell in love.
I feel like Breakable could have been a part of Easy and been one giant book, but I don’t feel like I got too much “regurgitation” in Breakable. However, it has been awhile since I read Easy, so perhaps if you read them close together, it may be a different experience. I recommend the book if you were a fan of Easy and interested in getting more from Lucas. It was well written and I enjoyed Lucas as a character. ...more
The Star-Touched Queen was so amazing. The writing was incredible in every way, prompting me to highlight so many passages on my kindle. The story was beautifully told and a glorious mixture of Indian folklore and Greek mythology that worked so well together.
If this doesn’t win 2016 Goodreads Debut Novel, I will be shocked, because it will likely be my best debut novel of 2016. It’s good. Guys, it’s best book of the year good and I know some books will be pretty damn spectacular this year.
The best part?
It’s a standalone novel that HAS AN ENDING. Can we just take a moment to bask in the amazingness of having a fantasy/mythology novel that doesn’t span a bunch of books and make us wait for conclusions? Maya grew up as the cursed princess. She was the unmarried daughter of the Raja. Her horoscope, something that was not taken lightly in their culture, told of Death and Destruction, making the women in the harem avoid her and spread rumors, often placing the blame on her for the deaths of others. After all, it was foretold.
Her life was thrown upside down when she was finally due to be married and events led her to take the hand of Amar, a faceless ruler of Akaran. He promised to treat her as his equal and she took his hand and was led into an unfamiliar world where she had to make tough decisions, unravel a mystery spanning over years and many lives, and rule as Queen.
If I say much more, I will spoil something that has been so generously left out of the synopsis, but the story was unique, amazing, and absolutely beautiful. I devoured every word and loved it. I highly recommend the book. As I said before, I have a feeling it will be on many Top 2016 Books lists because it’s just that good. ...more
I Let You Go was a mystery involving a hit and run driver who killed a little boy. The police were working diligently to track down the identity of thI Let You Go was a mystery involving a hit and run driver who killed a little boy. The police were working diligently to track down the identity of the driver. We also got the perspective of Jenna who was trying to make a fresh start and learn to survive without the prospect of having her child. The accident replayed in her mind over and over again and she was struggling to build her own life.
The reviews have been absolutely amazing, so I feel very much in the minority by saying that, while the story was interesting, it did not blow me away by any means, mainly because of an entire perspective/point of view.
I loved the parts of the book written in first person through Jenna’s point of view, but the point of view of the detective was very difficult to get through. The dialogue felt forced, unnatural, and very clunky. The characters were the same two cops I’ve seen on just about every cop drama with the same old issues. Their conflicts weren’t unique and neither was the predictable nature of the relationship between the partners and between the detective and his wife and his family. It was literally eye roll inducing. I found myself dreading each time I’d go to the next chapter and saw it was back to the detective. And yet, Jenna’s story absolutely captivated me.
There was a twist and I admit that it was not a twist I saw coming. I also enjoyed the way the book handled the backstory once the twist was revealed. For that, I feel like the book was pretty good and enjoyable.
Personally, I feel that the cop drama section could have been axed entirely and been told through a series of new articles in which the police revealed whether or not they had leads because it really didn’t matter in the end.
I enjoyed I Let You Go for the most part and I would recommend it if you enjoy it when books take you through a story and then completely throw you for a loop and surprise you (in a good way)....more