My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor was a book that I had in my TBR pile for years, ever since I heard about it in one of my undergraduate neuroMy Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor was a book that I had in my TBR pile for years, ever since I heard about it in one of my undergraduate neuroscience courses. The premise just sounded so cool: a neuroscientist has a stroke and is able to recover and talk about her experience from a neuroscience background. Unfortunately, My Stroke of Insight wasn’t exactly what I expected, Although I liked the first few chapters where Bolte Taylor described what she experienced on the morning of the stroke, how her deterioration related to different brain structures and functions, and strategies that aided in her recovery, the latter section of the memoir focused too much on how she now feels more at one with the universe. The tone during this portion of My Stroke of Insight was just too sappy for me, and I struggled trying to finish the book....more
While I loved Kasie West’s Pivot Point series, I haven’t found her contemporary novels quite as appealing. Sadly, The Fill-in Boyfriend was no exceptiWhile I loved Kasie West’s Pivot Point series, I haven’t found her contemporary novels quite as appealing. Sadly, The Fill-in Boyfriend was no exception. I had a tough time connecting with Gia because I found her to be very shallow. As well, the way the romance started off wasn’t very convincing, and it then veered into drama territory. I think in the future, I’ll just have to pass on any Kasie West contemporaries. ...more
though I enjoyed Sarah Alderson’s Lila series, I haven’t read any of her books since. So, I had some high expectations for her newest novel, Out of Cothough I enjoyed Sarah Alderson’s Lila series, I haven’t read any of her books since. So, I had some high expectations for her newest novel, Out of Control. Unfortunately, Out of Control turned out to be a rather disappointing read for a few reasons. Firstly, its fast pacing made it hard to learn much about the characters or care about them. Secondly, I found myself getting annoyed by Liva because of her priorities, – I wouldn’t be focused on a guy if there were people trying to kidnap me, – and complaints about her looks (but really, she’s pretty). Lastly, it drove me crazy that the Hispanic characters in Out of Control were portrayed so stereotypically. ...more
Although it had murder, mystery, and blackmail; Dead to Me by Mary McCoy was a book that never felt suspenseful enough to me for several reasons. FirsAlthough it had murder, mystery, and blackmail; Dead to Me by Mary McCoy was a book that never felt suspenseful enough to me for several reasons. Firstly, I failed to connect with Alice and didn’t really care much about her sister, Annie. Secondly, I felt the plot was very sequential, and knew things were going to work out for Alice and Annie. Seriously, when was the last time you read a book where the protagonist died or was seriously injured? Finally, the bad guys were revealed much earlier than I anticipated, and so I was simply waiting to see whether the bad guys would be caught in the latter portion of the book. ...more
Using the themes of death and divorce, Susin Nielsen’s We Are All Made of Molecules explores how families can change and adapt. Unfortunately, my enjoUsing the themes of death and divorce, Susin Nielsen’s We Are All Made of Molecules explores how families can change and adapt. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the book was tempered by: 1) the character of Ashley and 2) the use of rape as a plot device.
Told from the alternating points of Stewart and Ashley, We Are All Made of Molecules chronicles what happens when two families decide to merge. Although I thought both Stewart and Ashley seemed very stereotypical, Stewart was at least a pretty decent character. Ashley, on the other hand, was not only mean and constantly putting others down, but Nielsen chose to highlight that Ashley wasn’t as smart as Stewart by having Ashley continually mix up words (e.g. using unconstipated instead of emancipated, etc.). This drove me crazy!
Another issue that I had with We Are All Made of Molecules was that Ashley wasn’t almost raped once but twice in the book - just so that she could experience some character growth! Also, nobody experienced any major consequences in the aftermath of either situation. It’s just too bad that a topic like rape was used as a plot device, and wasn’t handled more sensitively....more
A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin had the potential to be a decent read. Unfortunately, its emphasis on romance came at the expense of chA School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin had the potential to be a decent read. Unfortunately, its emphasis on romance came at the expense of characterization and plot development. Whereas I felt like I barely got to know the secondary characters, the main character, Georgiana, came across as pretty immature and impulsive. She also kept complaining about her red hair and feeling unloved, which became annoying because she wasn't Anne Shirley!
As well, the short time span that the book covered made nothing feel believable. For example, Georgiana develops an invisible ink within six days, yet tons of people had tried to do something similar, with limited success. She also meets and falls for Sebastian during this time, and then is later involved in an extremely quick rescue of someone....more
I’m not sure what I was expecting from Sharon Huss Roat’s Between the Notes, but it wasn’t what I got - a story where a formerly rich girl spends theI’m not sure what I was expecting from Sharon Huss Roat’s Between the Notes, but it wasn’t what I got - a story where a formerly rich girl spends the majority of the book pretending to still be rich and looking down at her new neighbours. As a result, I had a tough time connecting with Ivy.
Another aspect of Between the Notes that I struggled with was the unnecessary love triangle. It was clear from the beginning of the novel who Ivy would actually end up with; so, I didn’t see why Roat chose to have Ivy be conflicted over two boys, neither of who were really fleshed out. It also made Ivy’s change of heart at the end with regards to her love life not very believable. ...more
Uninvited by Sophie Jordan was a book I hesitated to read because I hadn’t really liked the first book, Firelight, in Jordan’s previous series. But, IUninvited by Sophie Jordan was a book I hesitated to read because I hadn’t really liked the first book, Firelight, in Jordan’s previous series. But, I decided to give her writing another chance because I thought the premise of Uninvited sounded interesting.
One of the aspects of Uninvited that I enjoyed was the growth in Davy’s character. At the beginning of the novel, she had the perfect life – she was rich, popular, smart, musical, dating a hot jock, and had a loving family. Once Davy tested positive for HTS, however, her friends dropped her and her parents began to avoid interacting with her. Yet even as her life changed; Davy continued to believe herself to be superior than other HTS carriers. Over time though, Davy learned to look beyond people’s superficial features, and became less of a damsel in distress.
The same depth of characterization, unfortunately, wasn't given to Sean. Not only would I have liked to learn more about him, but he just seemed to serve the purpose of conveniently showing up whenever Davy needed help. As well, even though the romance wasn’t insta-love, it sure seemed like it because I had no clue why Sean fell for Davy. What made her so unique from the other girls that he interacted with?
Another reason I had to lower my rating of Uninvited was because of the weak worldbuilding and premise. For example, even though the novel was set in 2021, there wasn’t much of a difference in the technology. In addition, I learned very little about the Wainwright Agency or how HTS was discovered.
Furthermore, from a scientific perspective, the premise of Uninvited is illogical. Since, HTS affected more males than females in the book, this suggests that it's a case of X-linked recessive inheritance. For Davy to be a carrier and her brother to not be one, it implies that her HTS allele is on the X chromosome provided by her father. This would mean that Davy's father should also have the HTS allele and therefore test positive, which he doesn’t!
Ignoring my issue with the genetics of the premise though, – I spent way too much time thinking about that, – I liked that Uninvited makes readers think about whether we’re a product of nature or nurture. Although the governmental authorities in Uninvited seem to side towards nature, the book does a good job of demonstrating instances where people committed violence as a result of their environment....more
Gone Too Far by Natalie D. Richards is a book I probably would enjoyed more in my teenage years. That’s not to say I still don’t love revenge storiesGone Too Far by Natalie D. Richards is a book I probably would enjoyed more in my teenage years. That’s not to say I still don’t love revenge stories – I do – but if I’m going to love the plot now, there needs to be a very good motivation for the character(s) to want revenge and the victim(s) must truly deserve it.
That wasn’t the case in Gone Too Far, though it did acknowledge that there’s a person behind a label and that not everybody within a certain clique is the same. The motive of the person responsible for exacting revenge (and later blackmailing Piper) was extremely weak, and Piper herself voluntarily became a co-partner because she hadn't stood up for Stella and had been bullied herself by the popular kids. Thankfully, over the course of the novel, Piper slowly becomes more uncomfortable with her role in the take down of some students and realizes that part of the reason she’s in the mess that she’s in is due to the fact that she’s very judgmental. However, trying to get her anonymous co-partner to stop seeking retribution is another matter altogether. ...more
After enjoying Rosamund Hodge’s debut novel, Cruel Beauty, last year, I was looking forward to seeing what she would do with a retelling of Little RedAfter enjoying Rosamund Hodge’s debut novel, Cruel Beauty, last year, I was looking forward to seeing what she would do with a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with Hodge’s sophomore novel because the issues that I had with Cruel Beauty were present in Crimson Bound as well.
Like Cruel Beauty, Crimson Bound, for example, contained both instant love and a love triangle, neither of which I usually find appealing or necessary. Similarly, although Crimson Bound had some very interesting mythology and worldbuilding, it was confusing as hell to understand it. For instance, I’m still trying to figure out whether the Devourer is supposed to be a god, the devil, or something else altogether. Due to the worldbuilding and the way things were resolved, I also found the ending quite unsatisfying.
On top of all that, I didn’t really like Rachelle since all she seemed to do was have a pity party for herself about how she wanted to save the world and not be a murderer. Meanwhile, I just wanted to tell her, “It was your choice to take off your charms in the presence of a forestborn; if you’re going to be stupid, please don’t expect me to sympathize!”
If you plan on reading a novel by Hodge, I’d recommend Cruel Beauty over Crimson Bound....more
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver was a book that turned out to be a disappointing read. Personally, I just couldn’t form an emotional connection wThe Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver was a book that turned out to be a disappointing read. Personally, I just couldn’t form an emotional connection with Ella because I didn’t understand her motivation for pretending to be Maddy. I mean, it’s understandable that her parents were joyous when they heard the news that Maddy survived – at least one of their daughters did. I have no clue though why Ella would assume that that meant that they wouldn’t be happy to hear that she, instead of Maddy, survived. As well, although the synopsis suggests that Maddy’s life was full of secrets, Maddy really only had one big secret, which unfortunately just wasn’t scandalous enough for me....more
When I decided to read Lee Bross’ Tangled Webs, I thought I’d be getting a story with a badass heroine. Instead, I got a protagonist who was constantlWhen I decided to read Lee Bross’ Tangled Webs, I thought I’d be getting a story with a badass heroine. Instead, I got a protagonist who was constantly thinking about romance!
Right from the start, I had a bad feeling about Arista as a character. In chapter 1, for example, rather than being focused on her job, Arista daydreams about what it would be like to kiss her bodyguard and best friend, Nic – that is, until she meets a mysterious stranger who she instantly connects with. From here on, the story became one of insta-love with a bit of a love triangle thrown in. Unfortunately, the hardened street rat I was expecting never showed up!
In addition, although Tangled Webs’ setting was London in 1725, there was very little detail devoted to the setting. This story could have easily been set elsewhere or in another time period and still remained the same....more
Although I’d never checked it out, Cinda Williams Chima’s The Heir Chronicles was a fantasy series that I’d heard a lot about in the past. With the reAlthough I’d never checked it out, Cinda Williams Chima’s The Heir Chronicles was a fantasy series that I’d heard a lot about in the past. With the release of the newest book in the series, The Sorcerer Heir, however, I figured I’d give the first book, The Warrior Heir, a try.
Though I found The Warrior Heir to be an okay novel and thought the worldbuilding was pretty solid, the story just didn’t grip me. Not only was The Warrior Heir quite predictable, but its pacing was slow and the characters were sort of boring. Ultimately, I think my younger self would have enjoyed this book a lot more....more