We listened to this as part of our annual Midwestern holiday trek, and we were sadly disappointed by the inconsistent depth of the humor. Some jokes aWe listened to this as part of our annual Midwestern holiday trek, and we were sadly disappointed by the inconsistent depth of the humor. Some jokes and commentary were funny and insightful, but the majority were obvious and often unnecessarily simplistic or crass....more
I requested this title for review via Netgalley when I saw it pop up, as I had met the author this past summer at a book/writing conference and I had I requested this title for review via Netgalley when I saw it pop up, as I had met the author this past summer at a book/writing conference and I had one of her promotional cards about this novel. Though it sounded like a simple romance, I liked the concept and was intrigued: a tattooed, spunky children's librarian who co-writes erotica on the side meets a charming British man and tries to find inspiration for her writing through him and their romantic interactions.
Sadly, this book disappointed on many levels, and I DNFed it at 23%. Early on, I found the dialogue between the main character, Blair, and her roommate, Raine, to be trite and unbelievable. While Blair and Raine bicker and talk like best friends and writing partners might, it was pointless, empty dialogue, and it did little to develop their characters. It was also boring. So little happened in the first quarter of the book. I can imagine that two writers are stressed while on deadline, but the two friends acted ridiculous, didn't treat it a like a real job, and just drank lots of coffee and feel asleep at their laptops a lot. I felt as though the set-up of two friends writing bestselling erotic novels under a pen name was just a wish-fulfillment fantasy or stand-in for the author herself. Instead of being proud of their work, the main character even hides it, but then has all of her well-read librarian colleagues conveniently tell her about how fabulous these popular books are that they carry (which, coincidentally, happen to be hers written under the pen name).
Characterization of Blair as a children's librarian also fell short, as did characterization of Declan, the love/sex interest. Blair would not be able to repeatedly fall asleep at her desk in the children's room, be chastised/worried over by her superior, and then be called "damn good" at her job by the same person. The author also seemed to show her ignorance about librarian training by not understanding how old someone would be if she had gone to MILS/LIS school, when and what age someone can be a teaching assistant, etc. The same goes for the love interest, Declan. When Blair's friend snoops out information on him and finds out that he is a rich businessman and investment supervisor, a sparkling college graduate, and a current MBA student at an unnamed Ivy League school (which he doesn't appear to attend in person), we're also smacked with the news that he is also only 23 years old, has a 3 year old son, and has already been married and divorced. When I read that, my incredulity wouldn't let me get past it. He also dresses his son in suits, even to go to the library with the stereotypically snotty nanny. It would have made much more sense to age both characters up to their late 20s or early 30s.
Finally, I didn't feel much for the budding relationship between Blair and Declan. I read through the first date between the couple, and while their banter/dialogue was better than the rest I'd read, the story too quickly jumped to a focus on sex without any focus on the relationship and its development. The main character even says things like (paraphrased), "This felt different emotionally," but there's nothing to back it up. She even waxes poetically that the relationship feels like it will last months or more, despite having shared very little between them and for it being her first time having sex on the first date.
All in all, I didn't find much to move me or motivate me to finish this title. The author's other titles seem to be more well-received, but I don't think I'll be a good fit for them.
Note: This review refers to a review copy provided by the publisher....more
Unoriginal tale, but it will still likely pull in many readers
RED QUEEN follows Mare, a rough teenager who has no skills of her own but instead reli Unoriginal tale, but it will still likely pull in many readers
RED QUEEN follows Mare, a rough teenager who has no skills of her own but instead relies on pickpocketing to help her impoverished family. Like those who live around her in the slums, Mare is a Red, a person with no special powers who bleeds red. The Reds are oppressed by the Silvers, a class of people whose Silver blood gifts them with formidable powers and places them in the middle and upper class. Through a series of unlikely events, Mare finds herself living in the Silver palace as the betrothed of the younger prince and faking her way as a Silver. All the while, she is plotting ways to overthrow the Silvers and help the growing Red rebellion. Unexpected alliances form, and Mare finds herself pulled romantically between the two princes.
In the publisher letter that accompanied my review copy of RED QUEEN, the title was described as being "wholly original." Describing anything that way in a very dangerous proposition these days, but it was especially so with this book. I found nothing original about RED QUEEN, but in that, I think, will lay its success. It is a hodgepodge of character tropes, plot points, and themes that pulls from popular YA: strong, female heroine who's rough around the edges; love triangle (or, in this case, love quadrangle) with different boys; story of strife and power struggle between the haves and have-nots; and a bit of rebellion, fighting, and secret alliances. I found that the book struggled to be anything different, new, or more exciting than what I've read before, but I'm sure that many people, teens and adults alike, will love it, even though I did not.
On the positive side, Aveyard's writing is better than most I've read recently in the young adult genre. In addition, the story has the aforementioned elements that will pull in many readers: class struggle, fight scenes, the primary love triangle between the two princes, and visually-compelling descriptions of the various settings. Even so, I found the first 60% of the book incredibly slow, with little forward action in the plot or in character development. When things did start to happen and the intrigue increased, the pace picked up, but my interest level remained low. Many of the events that happened seemed implausible or ridiculously orchestrated, and I found myself frustrated with the main character for being so oblivious to when she was being tricked or manipulated. When the big twist and betrayal was revealed, I was still unmoved and unaffected.
In future books in the series, I hope that the author works to break free of the genre tropes she incorporated into this first novel and brings something new and original to her tale.
Note: This reviews refers to an advance review copy....more
I have read two of Colleen Hoover's other works and was disappointed in each, so I'm not sure why I expected that my experience with this novella woul I have read two of Colleen Hoover's other works and was disappointed in each, so I'm not sure why I expected that my experience with this novella would be any different. Despite the easy, breezy style of her writing, the plot points, character and relationship development (or lack thereof), and the indescribably slap-dash way in which the big issue was handled were all beyond my ability to suspend disbelief. I'm also confused as to whether her novels in the Hopeless world should qualify as young adult or new adult; it seems like the two categories are mixed up in her works. ...more
DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE will likely be a solid read for those who like their thriller/suspense stories to be filled with angsty romance, but I couldn DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE will likely be a solid read for those who like their thriller/suspense stories to be filled with angsty romance, but I couldn't get past the plot holes that confounded the resolution of the story....more
This collection of poems felt outdated and disjointed in its organization, and I doubt that it would find much purchase with today's feminist teens. IThis collection of poems felt outdated and disjointed in its organization, and I doubt that it would find much purchase with today's feminist teens. It may have, however, found more resonance with readers when it was originally published in the mid-1990s....more
A very solid and moving contemporary title, complete with a swoon-worthy boy, a supportive and present family, and a flawed and realistic main charact A very solid and moving contemporary title, complete with a swoon-worthy boy, a supportive and present family, and a flawed and realistic main character. While the plot trajectory was too obvious and the ending wrapped up too quickly and easily, I still enjoyed reading every page of this fourth novel by Jessi Kirby. Based on this book and her debut (Moonglass) that I read, I believe Kirby should be considered one of the best voices in today's contemporary YA market....more
POISONED APPLES has an interesting premise with some gems in the mix (as well as some beautifully evocative photography), but in the end, it was not a POISONED APPLES has an interesting premise with some gems in the mix (as well as some beautifully evocative photography), but in the end, it was not as searing or inspiring as I had hoped. For young feminists, or those girls who are just starting to see the injustices in the world around them, it may resonate more deeply, however. ...more
Unbelieveable plot & weak writing make this a poor read
After being less than satisfied with the two other Nicholas Sparks novels I have read ove Unbelieveable plot & weak writing make this a poor read
After being less than satisfied with the two other Nicholas Sparks novels I have read over the years (A Walk to Remember and The Choice), I read THE BEST OF ME in anticipation of the film adaptation that's being released in October 2014. When I read Sparks' other two books, I was one of the many readers who knew she/he was being manipulated emotionally but who still cried anyway. For this one, I was expecting much of the same: schmaltzy scenes with serviceable but unimpressive writing to back it up. I experienced something far less enjoyable than that, however.
Never before have I encountered such a ludicrous and unbelievable plot. In Sparks' attempts to add some mystery and paranormal happenings to his typical storyline, the author created a tale with no feeling and no logic. I have never before flipped to the end just to get through something, but with this novel, I did. And, when I got there, I literally exclaimed about how ridiculous the resolution was and how unrelated it was to the first two-thirds of the novel. The two main characters themselves were supposed to be sympathetic, but they seemed incredibly immature for their ages, and the villains and other townsfolk were simplistic caricatures who were hard to imagine as real people. In addition to the failed plot and hasty characterization, the writing was incredibly pedestrian and flip-flopped between narrators (in third-person limited point of view) too often to maintain any type of narrative flow.
With this experience in mind, I think I've had my fill of future or past Nicholas Sparks novels. I'm glad that many other people enjoy his work, but his style and plotlines are not a good fit for me as a reader....more
I'm finally, finally done with this tome of a novel. Sadly, this was the most disjointed and clearly unplanned novel of the series. Plot lines were br I'm finally, finally done with this tome of a novel. Sadly, this was the most disjointed and clearly unplanned novel of the series. Plot lines were brought up and then dropped; characters were introduced or reintroduced and then ignored; and the entire conflict and resolution felt contrived and anticlimactic. Oh, and our two main characters of Matthew and Diana? Even more perfect and revolutionary and special than anyone before them and anyone to come and all to a nauseating degree of implausibility. ...more