This is just good old fashioned horror fun. One of my favorite things to do is pick a random horror movie off of netflix and just dive in, and that's...moreThis is just good old fashioned horror fun. One of my favorite things to do is pick a random horror movie off of netflix and just dive in, and that's what this book felt like. There's not a lot of character development or deep meaning, but honestly I didn't want that.
I thought The Merciless did a great job of keeping me guessing. I couldn't tell for a long time if this book was going to have some sort of paranormal element or if it was going to be a case of revenge gone wrong. Both are really awesome horror stories, and I would have liked either path. I really did like the way this one turned out. The only aspect I didn't like was the fact that this is going to be a series. I think it would have been a better stand alone with slightly different pacing. However I will be picking the next one up, but I really hope they don't change the covers (seriously, this cover is so perfect I love it).
I would recommend The Merciless to anyone who enjoys possession based horror movies. It's a little like The Craft meets The Exorcist and I really liked it.(less)
I enjoyed Fangirl a lot. I really related to Cath, especially in the beginning. I remember calling my mom the first week of college and crying about h...moreI enjoyed Fangirl a lot. I really related to Cath, especially in the beginning. I remember calling my mom the first week of college and crying about how I wasn't making friends and that I felt left out and lonely. And, like Cath, that alone-ness was really self inflicted. I just wasn't giving people a chance.
I had the biggest problem with the ending which felt really rushed. I felt like a lot of things were glossed over or not fully addressed. Namely what happened with Cath and her mom's relationship as well as finishing up Carry On and the fiction writing assignment. Those were three huge parts of Cath's life and they didn't get any resolution.
Overall the writing and character are adorable, but it needed some plotting work.
Oh and did anyone else find Simon Snow WAY lamer than Harry Potter? Because I did.(less)
A good mystery. It felt a little light in some details while focused a bit too much on not so important things. I would have liked to get to know Mr....moreA good mystery. It felt a little light in some details while focused a bit too much on not so important things. I would have liked to get to know Mr. Penumbra a bit more. I wish the mystery had been a little more difficult to solve. Overall a fun read, but not as mind bending as I would have liked.(less)
I think I've discovered a genre love I never knew I had. I love reading contemporary YA with a male protagonist. Some of my favorite books such as Joh...moreI think I've discovered a genre love I never knew I had. I love reading contemporary YA with a male protagonist. Some of my favorite books such as John Green's Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, Jesse Andrew's Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Evan Roskos's Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets feature hilariously awkward and endearing main characters. I can now add Andrew Smith's Winger to that list. Ryan Dean, the main character, is charming and vulnerable and very authentic.
Winger tells the story of Ryan Dean, a 14 year old kid who has the book smarts to already be a junior at a private boarding school, but still has the street smarts of a 14 year old kid (ie, not many). This leads to some hilariously embarrassing interactions because all of his friends are 2 years older than him and are often exasperated at his antics. His immature 14 year old mouth often gets him into trouble. Even though Ryan Dean spends a lot of time thinking that he's a loser, don't believe him. He's athletic, smart (maybe not the most wise but what 14 year old is?), and very charming. He is a complete joy to read.
I really loved the character Joey. He was like the great voice of reason with Ryan Dean. Ryan Dean would go off on some crazy tangent or get himself involved in some crazy scheme and Joey was there to slap some sense into his head. I absolutely loved the friendship that developed between these two characters, it was so endearing and cute and (without spoilers promise) made the ending even more sad.
I am very excited to read this for a second time. There is a lot of subtle development underneath all of the jokes about balls and I'm really excited to re-read it and see what I can catch. It's very artful storytelling and I think the words chosen are a lot more deliberate than they seem. That's very difficult to achieve, and I think Andrew Smith is brilliant for it.
So overall I loved Winger. It's funny and touching and has a great balance between poignant moments of friendship, love, and personal growth and jokes about balls. I highly recommend Winger and I think it's a perfect addition to your YA collection. (less)
I liked Eleanor and Park, but it needed some serious editing in the plot department, namely that there wasn't much of one. This book was more like two...moreI liked Eleanor and Park, but it needed some serious editing in the plot department, namely that there wasn't much of one. This book was more like two completely different books, one quirky romance between two oddball kids and one gut wrenching story about family drama and child abuse. The two stories, instead of blending together, seemed to compete for screen time.
While the romance was initially cute, it got very repetitive about half way through. Every romantic interaction would basically be like, cute stuff happened but then Park put his foot in his mouth and Eleanor would get mad/flustered and leave and they would freak out the the other was going to break up with them until they saw each other again and the cycle would repeat. Too much time was spent doing the same basic scene in a different location. That time could have been spent developing Eleanor's relationship with her family or Park's personality outside of his infatuation with Eleanor. Also I can't even begin to count how many times we were told Eleanor was FAT and Park was ASIAN. Ok, we get it, can we get to know them as people now?
Even with that said I enjoyed the book up until the very ending. I know this was set in the 80s so cell phones weren't a common thing, but seriously Park I'm sure your parents would have been cool with you driving up to see what was up with your girlfriend after not talking to her for a year. Also Eleanor is a pretty shitty person, just because you move a few states away doesn't mean you get to decide to just end a relationship and not even talk to your partner. If she cared at all about Park she would have at least given him the common courtesy of a phone call. I understand that first loves and young loves can feel huge in the moment but then fizzle out pretty fast at the first real obstacle (ie distance) but come on. And we get almost no resolution with Eleanor's family which was so frustrating. I was especially interested in the development of Eleanor's mother and she was basically flat for the entire novel.
OH and I have a major issue with their last "intimate" moment (view spoiler)[ I HATE HATE HATE that Eleanor was all, "this is our last chance, I don't care that you don't have a condom and that I might get pregnant". WHAT THE HELL. I hate that mentality, it is stupid and irresponsible. Don't have sex if you don't have protection. Period. (hide spoiler)]
BUT with all of this ranting there were some really good parts to Eleanor and Park, in particular Park's mom. I love her so much, she was so supportive of Park exploring his own interests and not pushing her own gender expectations on him.
I have conflicting emotions about this book, parts of it were great, parts were terrible, and parts were meh.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I liked it, but I didn't love it. It's very funny, but I feel like it's the same type of humor that gets a little old after a while. I think this book...moreI liked it, but I didn't love it. It's very funny, but I feel like it's the same type of humor that gets a little old after a while. I think this book is best read is small doses. Jenny Lawson is a blogger and I suspect that this book was written like her blog. However, blog posts come out once every couple of days and this book is all at once. It's a bit overwhelming.
However Let's Pretend This Never Happened is still very funny in a random and silly kind of way but with more sincere moments as well. I recommend this to fans of her blog or anyone who enjoys humerous memoirs. (less)
Do you ever just randomly pick up a book without knowing much about it and it's just the perfect thing for your life? Well that's what happened for me...moreDo you ever just randomly pick up a book without knowing much about it and it's just the perfect thing for your life? Well that's what happened for me. I wandered into the bookstore with the goal of just getting a coffee but then Dr Bird's caught my eye. I had no idea what it was about, but I saw the blurbs from Matthew Quick and Jesse Andrews and thought "I need to read this".
Turns out Dr. Bird's is about a boy with depression and anxiety. The synchronicity is rather freaky because I've suspected that I have depression for years but I've never really taken action to get some help, I've always tried to deal with it on my own. Dr. Bird's helped me realize that I cannot do it alone and I've started taking steps to find a therapist. I really appreciate this novel and the perfect timing in which it came into my life.(less)
I found out about My Life as a White Trash Zombie from Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy Book Club. This was my first read for the club and I have to say...moreI found out about My Life as a White Trash Zombie from Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy Book Club. This was my first read for the club and I have to say that while I don't think it was a vaginal fantasy MLasWTZ was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
The zombies in MLasWTZ aren't standard zombies in that they retain their humanity as long as they consume brains on a regular basis, as opposed to the usual mindless re-animated corpse. In this way Angel is more like a vampire, especially like the vampires in the Daybreakers movie (with Ethan Hawke and Sam Neil, am I the only person who's seen this movie?). As long as she has brains she can pass off as human. This didn't bother me at all but some people were squicked out by the eating brains and the idea of undead sexy times (even though physical romance is very light), so be warned if you're squeamish.
I have to say that my most favorite part of MLasWTZ was Angel and her inner monologue, which is hilarious and sarcastic and awesome. She also goes through so much transformation, both physically, emotionally, and mentally. Angel starts off as an unambitious pill head with a dead beat boyfriend and an abusive father. Throughout the book though she really comes into her own. She starts to care about her situation and she realizes that she is not only capable of more, she is worthy. The Vaginal Fantasy Book Club usually reads romance novels, but as one commenter so aptly put it, this is a story about Angel finding love for herself.
Ultimately I don't think that Angel is white trash. I think that just because you're living in poverty or have an addiction problem doesn't automatically make you white trash. I think that white trash is a state of complacency, a willingness to stay in your current situation and not work to try and change it.
Overall I really loved My Life as a White Trash Zombie. It was quirky mystery and a great introduction to The Vaginal Fantasy Book Club. I'm really looking forward to the second book in the series and to reading more VFBC selections. (less)
I was really excited when I first found out about Dance of Shadows last summer. I really love ballet stuff (Center Stage, Dance Academy, So You Think...moreI was really excited when I first found out about Dance of Shadows last summer. I really love ballet stuff (Center Stage, Dance Academy, So You Think You Can Dance, even Dance Moms!) and I was really excited to see how the paranormal aspects would be woven into the ballet story. While I think there were some really interested ideas in Dance of Shadows, I though they were presented in obvious and uninteresting ways.
Let me start of by thanking Bloomsbury and netgalley for the chance to read Dance of Shadows early and to participate in the blog tour, but unfortunately I don't have a lot of positive things to say. The best part of Dance of Shadows is the cover, so be prepared.
I didn't think any of the characters were that memorable. Vanessa, the main character is pretty oblivious throughout. She had this blind faith in certain characters but her relationships with them were never really all that developed so I didn't understand her devotion to them. She also, and I hate to say this, was a bit of a mary sue (ugh that's so bad but it's true). She doesn't want to be good at dance, she doesn't love it, but she's instantly the most special snowflake dancer. Ballet is HARD AS BALLS. Even the most naturally gifted dancers have to work their asses off, and frankly this book makes all of their dedication to the craft a bit of a joke. She also instantly makes a ton of friends (who serve no other purpose other than being Vanessa's friends, they have no back story or anything else interesting going on) and instantly draws the attention of the hottest dancer in school (who is really a big jerk face but for some reason Vanessa is just in love with him for....reasons). It's all just a little too easy for her in my opinion.
The other big issue I had was the pacing of the book. The mystery was just dragged out at a snails pace for 70% of the book and then it was like all of a sudden they realized they were 300 pages in and nothing had really happened yet so the ending was a huge flux of information and crazy events that took place a ludicrous speed (almost went to plaid!).
Now, with all of that said, I still really liked this book. I liked the premise and I really liked all the crazy stuff that happened at the end, I just wish the pacing was better and the characters were smarter. I mean, how did NO ONE notice that so many ballet dancers were missing? How did Elly or Chloe's parents not notice? Whose parents don't call their teenaged daughter in months? If it were my kid I'd be freaking the eff out. While I was intrigued by the people and events that were hinted at for coming books in the series, I do think it could have all been completed in one book and not dragged out.
Overall I thought Dance of Shadows had an interesting premise but poor delivery which may be the most disappointing type of novel. I think with a lot more editing Dance of Shadows could have been really good. Even though I had major issues with the book I was intrigued enough to want to read the sequel if one is published. (less)
I absolutely loved the premise of The Raven Boys, but I had a hard time getting started with this novel. The beginning felt very slow, largely due to...moreI absolutely loved the premise of The Raven Boys, but I had a hard time getting started with this novel. The beginning felt very slow, largely due to the story being told from two separate perspectives (Blue and Gansey have alternating point of view chapters for a while). However once Blue and Gansey meet and join forces the story takes a major turn. I flew through the second half of this book and became completely immersed in the story and characters.
The Raven Boys is a bit of a slow burn to start off. I think this is due to the fact that the marketing materials presented the book like it was going to be all about Blue and her family, but in reality Gansey is the main character for much of the novel. I went into The Raven Boys expecting a story about a girl living with her psychic family, but instead I got a story about a group of boys trying to find a magical energy line. This isn't bad necessarily, but it wasn't what I was expecting so I was put off at first.
The biggest strength of The Raven Boys is the characters. Each character feels supported and full. Everyone has a unique backstory that shapes their world view. I really enjoyed reading how each character grows during the course of the book, in particular Blue, Gansey, and Ronan. I also really enjoyed Blue's family and I really hope that we'll learn more about them in future books.
I'd say the pacing of the book is the biggest weakness. It was slow and confusing at the beginning, and fast and confusing at the end. I feel like this is a book I needed to re-read immediately after finishing because I felt like I missed something. The world building in The Raven Boys sometimes felt too big for the book and that the ideas of the magic and mythology were difficult to get on paper.
Overall the Raven Boys is an interesting, if sometimes confusing, start to a series. While the world building and pacing were shaky at times the fantastically developed characters will definitely bring me back for book two. (less)