After an uneven start, this became surprisingly entertaining, though it's not a "good" book by any stretch of the imagination, mostly because of the aAfter an uneven start, this became surprisingly entertaining, though it's not a "good" book by any stretch of the imagination, mostly because of the abundance of humorless, meant-to-be shocking sex.
But it's enjoyably sociopathic (or psychopathic, depending on how you interpret the MC's behavior), and it's an interesting/different thriller because of its backdrop of stolen art, expensive clothes and meals, money laundering, and assorted hustlers. I was surprised to see the door left open for another installment, as I think the character has run her course? But another bag of potato chips would be hard to resist.
Great plane reading if you have a weakness for thrillers featuring thoroughly shallow and unpleasant people. ...more
My fifth Cleeton book, and the first one to be a disappointment. This book just felt off to me tonally--it starts off feeling like adult urban fantasyMy fifth Cleeton book, and the first one to be a disappointment. This book just felt off to me tonally--it starts off feeling like adult urban fantasy (though there are no supernatural elements), but then quickly starts feeling very YA in the plot, writing, relationships, and language. It almost feels like the author started out trying her hand at YA but changed her mind? And settled into a weird sort of not quite NA but not quite adult book? I just couldn't adjust to the adult stuff clashing with elements that felt so young. It's on the sexually aggressive side, for example, and yet the sex fades to black--which is very much not like Chanel Cleeton at all. (The main non-romance plot had a lot of stuff going on and yet still felt underdeveloped as well.)
I bought this book in a tiny mountain town in the middle of nowhere, mainly because I'd always wanted to read more about the infamous Donner party andI bought this book in a tiny mountain town in the middle of nowhere, mainly because I'd always wanted to read more about the infamous Donner party and to find out whether this children's book published by Scholastic would actually mention the cannibalism.
Kudos to the author for writing about a tricky subject with responsible sensitivity. I'm curious and surprised that this book was written and published (was it commissioned?) for middle grade students, though--I hope most kids get to last beyond elementary school before they have to learn all the gory details of what human beings can be pushed into. Probable futile hope, but still.
Anyway, this gave adult-reader me just the right amount of information and even gives this sad period in history a bit of context and hope. One of the photographs also mentioned that Donner party survivors put items into a time capsule buried at one of the memorial sites back in 1918, and it's supposed to be unearthed a hundred years later. That's just two years away, and you can bet I'll be watching to see what that capsule contained.
Recommended for fans of The Long Winter if you are weirdly drawn to awful stories of survival, if you like the pioneer era, or if you just have a somewhat morbid curiosity in general. I'm always interested in learning about people pushed to their limits and how they cope, and this is an extreme example of that for sure. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A single act can change your life forever. In Eden's case, the five minutes in which she was raped send her into a spiral of desperation and despair,A single act can change your life forever. In Eden's case, the five minutes in which she was raped send her into a spiral of desperation and despair, so that there are times when she doesn't even recognize herself anymore.
This book is divided into four sections, each one following a different school year. Freshman year, which shows the crime and immediate aftermath, is the most well-written one. While the pages kept turning because I wanted to find out what happened to Eden, the later sections don't feel quite as satisfying or complete, either plot-wise or on an emotional level.
Still, I'd recommend this one because it effectively puts you into the immediacy of Eden's emotions--the pain, shame, and fear, as well as the feeling that you've been damaged beyond repair. And that you are unworthy, undeserving, and unlikely to ever be treated with respect and tenderness.
Whatever he thinks that I am, I'm not. And whatever he thinks my body is, it isn't. My body is a torture chamber. It's a fucking crime scene.
This story also touches on other important aspects of sexual violence: how it affects more than the people directly involved, how it changes the way you relate to everyone around you, and how it perpetuates until it is stopped. And perhaps most importantly, stories like these are a reminder that we rarely know what's happened in other people's lives, and what has driven them to drink, to sleep around, or to betray friendships. I hope boys especially are encouraged to read this, and that the book helps to reshape the dialogue about trying to understand--and being compassionate about--those around us, even if and especially when they're behaving in ways that are hard to understand. (Eden endures a shit ton of slut-shaming, both casual and threatening.) Anger, acting out, promiscuity, and changes in behavior are often triggered by traumatic events, and seeing the warning signs and trying to act upon them might help someone in desperate need of kindness.
Two last things:
1. While there were a fair number of loose ends and some plot threads that could have been better developed (I don't need everything tied up, btw, some aspects were just crying out to be further explored) I appreciated that the story does not end (view spoiler)[with Eden being rescued by a boy--and she realizes she has to save herself (hide spoiler)].
2. I'll echo the author's resource note at the end and include the free hotline for the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network: 1-800-656-HOPE. If you need someone, please know help is available and confidential.
3.5 stars Bumped up in stars because it's an important subject and portrays some things very well. It's not a perfect book, but it's well worth reading.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Free association with THE MUSEUM OF HEARTBREAK! What words and phrases come to mind when you think of this book, Wendy?
Haphazard. Trying too hard. QuiFree association with THE MUSEUM OF HEARTBREAK! What words and phrases come to mind when you think of this book, Wendy?
Haphazard. Trying too hard. Quirky without enough substance.
The thing about humorous prose is it has to feel effortless--and it has to have some order even if it doesn't appear to. This book felt all over the place; from the structure to the tenses to the things the characters were interested in, I felt like we were bouncing back and forth in a pinball machine. There's no real character development to speak of, either--everyone gets assigned some traits (this is the guy who draws and reads comic books, this is the mean girl who has no redeeming qualities, this is the best friend who shares a few memories with the MC, these are the eccentric parents, and this is the cute guy who...what does he do? Oh yeah, eventually you learn he likes Kerouac) and that's kind of the extent of the thought and depth behind it. Zero chemistry, zero stakes. I don't even know why we're supposed to like the narrator, to be honest; she's not awful, and I made myself be patient with the silly decisions she makes, but she's really not that interesting.
It pains me immensely to not love this book, because it talks about dinosaurs so damned much and I LOVE dinosaurs. And the author's bio says her heroes are Anne Shirley and Harriet the Spy. Come on! The bait and switch of that allure versus the story I actually read is so upsetting. This book tries so very hard to be charming, but it's too unfocused, too delighted by its own cleverness and tangential side stories, and too lacking in characters and relationships that feel complex or moving.
There are a few cute moments, and Ephraim is the best part about the book--he of wonderful dinosaur drawings and presents and humor, but even he's not much more than the great BFF and an object of affection. Come to think of it, that's probably the biggest issue here--that the characters in this book are treated like objects, like something you'd arrange in the diorama pictured on the book jacket, rather than people with deep feelings and thoughts and dreams. But even the grandest of dollhouses feels empty if you don't fill them with an interesting story.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review. This gets an extra star because of the dinosaurs alone....more
3.5 stars Much better plot and characterization than the first book, though for a series where sex figures so heavily, the actual sex sometimes feels3.5 stars Much better plot and characterization than the first book, though for a series where sex figures so heavily, the actual sex sometimes feels slightly...prudish? Am I too jaded? Heh. ...more
3.5 stars Solidly entertaining, action-packed scifi--especially if you're familiar with LA. (Ripley's T-Rex FTW!) Some aspects and secondary character3.5 stars Solidly entertaining, action-packed scifi--especially if you're familiar with LA. (Ripley's T-Rex FTW!) Some aspects and secondary characters could have been developed more, but I still enjoyed reading it.
Started off cute, but quickly became predictable and cliche, with vague allusions to "Europe" and "Paris" to convince you Ryan's food is legit.
There'Started off cute, but quickly became predictable and cliche, with vague allusions to "Europe" and "Paris" to convince you Ryan's food is legit.
There's a lot of dinner and dessert in this, btw, but I refuse to add it to my"food porn" shelf because I find it ridiculous that these people don't seem to have heard of the most basic of desserts. And is "trio of desserts" really something that needs explaining or a concept so novel it's worth marvelling over? ...more