Okay, so, Unremembered by Jessica Brody didn’t exactly change my life.
I liked it well enough. The book lent itself well to quick reading– I was astonished by how quickly I hit those 50 page increments. I even think that I could have read it in one sitting, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve been pressed for time, and it didn’t ‘hold’ me enough. It was… put-down-able? That sounds AWFUL, but I don’t really mean it as a bad thing. I appreciated that I could set it aside and come back to it easily. Through Jessica Brody’s fabulous writing, I would be quickly swept back into Seraphina’s story when I picked it up again.
And the story is… well, fairly predictable. There was one slight twist that I didn’t predict, but almost everything was pretty easy to call. It put me somewhat in the mind of Mary E. Pearson’s Fox Chronicles– which is to say, it’s stuff that’s sort of been done before.
I hate that this is coming off like a negative review: I liked reading Unremembered. If you need a quick read and don’t mind predictability, I think you should read it. But if you’re expecting a whole lot of uniqueness… don’t. (less)
When I first read about Narc in the Book Expo America Show Daily, I made a beeline for the Flux booth. With such an edgy pre...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
When I first read about Narc in the Book Expo America Show Daily, I made a beeline for the Flux booth. With such an edgy premise, the rarer YA male protagonist, and a South Florida setting, I was itching to get my hands on a copy.
Unfortunately, the novel didn’t resonate with me as I’d hoped.
I think my main issue was with the plausibility of the entire premise of Narc. Perhaps a teenage “narc” is, in fact, a method police utilize. However, the way that it was laid out, I couldn’t believe it. Maybe I didn’t have enough explanation, or maybe the deal is thrown on the table a bit too early and with too little provocation. Either way, it made the whole story difficult for me to believe or lose myself in the slightest bit.
There are also several elements that felt a bit anachronistic to me. Narc presumably takes place in the present-day, 2012 and Aaron use tools at his disposal like Facebook. But he refers to Facebook apps like Top Friends that are still technically around, but seldom used. When he sends Facebook IMs, they use screen names, which isn’t how it works. There’s also the fact that even “richer” students that Aaron hangs around with have phones without wifi, which is extremely commonplace these days.
I suppose that’s the danger in relying so much on technology in exposition. There was so much of it and it was just outdated. It served no purpose but to distance me from the novel.
Further, Aaron’s voice didn’t ring true to me. He spends a lot of time composing unsent e-mails and sometimes events are so glossed over that I was left backtracking trying to figure out exactly what had just occurred.
Overall rating: 2/5. Despite a promising premise, unfortunately, Narc just didn’t feel real to me at any point.
While Narc wasn’t for me, if you live in the Miami area and it sounds like a book for you, Books & Books is hosting Crissa-Jean Chappell on September 8th! You can see the full event details here.
You guys, do not even TRY to hold me down while I fangirl flail over The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. It...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Oh. My. Word.
You guys, do not even TRY to hold me down while I fangirl flail over The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. It’s a little dystopia, a little sci-fi/paranormal, and I was feeling very “meh” about anything even RESEMBLING the dystopian genre, but WHOOSH, Alexandra Bracken whisked my doubts away.
Ruby lives in a world where the kids who are still alive are regarded by society with fear– they’re Psis, or people with psychic abilities, and the government hates them so much that for the past six years, Ruby’s been locked up in a “rehabilitation camp.”
There were small notes of the novel that reminded me chillingly of the Holocaust. Psis, for example, are forced to wear a Psi symbol and a color that denotes which type of Psi that they are. They’re in these awful camps, where experiments used to be performed. It’s awful. The world that Alexandra Bracken created in The Darkest Minds is desolate and depressing. But that makes me that much more sympathetic to Ruby’s plight.
When she gets out of her camp, Thurmond, I bonded with Ruby even more. Because God, she is just so, so scared of the world around her and she has every reason to be. There’s no one to protect her, and if she gets caught, it’s probably a death sentence. With the powers and the way that society regards them, the Psis reminded me a little of the mutants of X-men, but Ruby doesn’t exactly have a Professor Xavier to guide her on her way. In fact, almost no one can really be trusted. But, thankfully she runs into other Psis on the run.
And as Ruby emerges from her shell bit by bit, she and her companions (who slowly earn that trust) become some of my favorite characters in recent memory.
They call a van named Black Betty home, and they are all so different from each other, but have managed to form this pseudo-family regardless. There’s Zu or Suzume, the adorable child (who, by the way, I was terrified the whole book was going to go the route of Rue), who manages to be a fully developed character though she doesn’t speak a single word. Chubs, who is extremely cautious and wary to outsiders, to the point where he comes off antisocial and asshole-ish. He likes books and learning (and book blogging!) and takes a while to warm up to, but then becomes an incredible friend. I related to Chubs EXTREMELY well.
But Liam… he needs a paragraph all his own. Hello, Swoontown USA. With his non-condescending “darlin’s,” and a bit of a hero complex, Liam is just WONDERFUL. He’s funny and stays good and upbeat through most of the novel, which is believable because we get to see the cracks in his molding here and there. And his relationship with Ruby is just… GUH. There is so much SLOW BURN. We see initial attraction, but neither of them jump straight to “GIRL/BOY, I wanna have your babies.” There’s the build-up. From strangers to friends, from friends to more-than-friends, and from more-than-friends to…
To the ending, which left me reeling and screaming.
Look, I don’t want to spoil this book for you, so that’s going to have to be all I say about the ending. Please read this book. Please?
To sum up: Read it. Please please please read it. (less)
Though I didn’t have the opportunity to read Cat Patrick’s deubt novel, Forgotten, I heard nothing but praise for it. It was...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Though I didn’t have the opportunity to read Cat Patrick’s deubt novel, Forgotten, I heard nothing but praise for it. It was an easy decision for me to add Revived to my TBR.
Daisy Appleby is, for the most part, a completely ordinary girl. She doesn’t have superpowers. She runs a blog with her best friend and she’s a little overly fond of interior decorating. Totally normal. Except Daisy has died five times. In fact, Patrick sucks you into her novel immediately as Daisy is stung by a bee and dies for the fifth time. I sort of had “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence echoing in my head when I read this.
Revived is rooted in a contemporary world with one small touch of science-fiction: a drug that can bring people can to life. Patrick doesn’t go overmuch into the specifics of how the drug works, which I honestly appreciated. I bought it anyway due to Daisy’s character the secret organization atmosphere. If she’d gone into technicalities, there was a chance that my head would have have deemed it boring and half started trying to find flaws in the logic.
Many teens– and heck, people in general– seem to feel like they are invincible, taking unnecessary risks. Daisy is no different from them, perhaps a little flippant at the idea of death in certain aspects. But even Revive has its limitations, and watching Daisy come to grips with that is heart-rending.
But no wonder she feels that way. The program is entirely sacreligious, with this flagrant disregard for a higher power or even that death is permanent. The head of the program is nicknamed God because he decides who lives or dies. His agents are disciples. With that kind of power-trip, it’s not shocking when Daisy discovers corruption in the system.
After her fifth death, when Daisy and her makeshift family of agents relocate to a new town, Daisy develops a friendship with a girl a few lockers down from her named Audrey. Audrey is her first real friend outside the program, and you know? Props to Cat Patrick for healthy friendships in Revived. There is not a single instance of one of them trying to tear down the other for her own good.
And then there is Audrey’s brother, Matt. Daisy thinks he’s hot right off the bat, but we don’t jump right into insta-love with this romance. It’s more of a slow burn as we go down the checklist. Cute? check. Sense of humor? Check. Likes to be with his family? Check. Gives me swoony feelings in my chest? Checkcheckcheck. Not one bit of their romance feels contrived, even when Matt and Daisy are trying to find their way back to each other.
Daisy’s family may be makeshift, but she has a stellar father figure in Mason. He raises her with a sense of trust, lets her try to be a normal teen. Despite his secret agent man dealio, I wanted to reach into the book and give him a hug.
Overall rating: 4/5. A believable novel with one major twist of science-fiction, Revived makes you wonder how you’d act if death wasn’t a permanent option.(less)
I continued to enjoy the timeslip adventures of Gwen and Gideon in Sapphire Blue. The romance was very typical of paranormal...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
I continued to enjoy the timeslip adventures of Gwen and Gideon in Sapphire Blue. The romance was very typical of paranormal novels, but things get a little riskier as Gwen isn’t sure who to trust.
Something that may not have bothered me much if I’d had more time and distance between my reading of Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue is that they read like one big novel. They basically happen completely back to back. I felt like the first one wasn’t self-contained. It was like one book got to a point where someone decided “This is too long. Cut it in half and make it two.”
Still. Time travel. Good old-fashioned see what I did there fun.(less)
Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride is the sequel to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and the book is like a smorgasbord of pa...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride is the sequel to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and the book is like a smorgasbord of paranormalcy. THE BEST kind of smorgasbord, filled with hilarity.
Sam’s still trying to work out how this whole necromancy thing works. When push comes to shove, he’s still basically a college-age kid. Watching him grow into his role not only as a necromancer, but as a member of the magical council is just as engrossing as when he first stumbled into this supernatural world (or, more accurately, when it kind of attacked him).
Lish brings Sam to life so authentically that I half expected to look up from my copy of of Necromancing the Stone to see him standing in front of me. He’s just… he’s such a boy, guys. A good guy, and noticeably matured from the first book but… he feels real. If one of my IRL guy friends was put in the situations that Sam’s in, I expect that he’d react very similarly.
The humor in this book is another thing to marvel at. It’s chock full of laugh out loud moments… especially when it came to the lawn gnomes. I had the unpleasant experience of snorting soda up my nose from laughing during one of the their appearances. But I’ll let you see that for yourself.
It’s true that the main character’s in Necromancing the Stone are guys, but the secondary female characters like Sam’s family, his girlfriend, and a couple friends are drawn equally strong and are each fierce in their own right. My favorite among them is probably werewolf Brid, who will lead her pack one day, kicks ass, and doesn’t take anyone’s crap. But it’s still obvious that she’s got feelings.
One thing that I’ve discovered really makes a novel come alive for me is when you get to know the villain. Douglas isn’t exactly a sympathetic character, but Lish McBride develops him, explains his past so that we get him and understand what makes him tick. He may not feel sympathy for his present, but it gets to the point where you (or at least I) mourn the person he once was and could have been.
Basically there’s an element of authenticity to the character voices that I rarely see in a paranormal novel. Overall rating: 5/5. A sequel that is either equal to the first awesome book… or one that just plain surpassed it.
Be sure to check back on September 27th for my stop on the Necromancing the Stone blog tour, when I’ll be interviewing Sam’s “capricious werewolf sort-of girlfriend,” Brid!(less)
Parker’s coach, the guy that she refers to as “Brian” gave me a total creep total creep vibes throughout this entire novel....morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Parker’s coach, the guy that she refers to as “Brian” gave me a total creep total creep vibes throughout this entire novel. I’m not going to lie though, as an actual teen, I probably would have found him a little swoony in the beginning… I read many a fanfic with the student/teacher premise and it never bothered me before. Now, however, I was overcome with this urge to sweep in on Parker superhero-style and talk some sense into her.
Corndog, however was a cutie-pie. Even if I did unfairly judge him at first because my brain kept equating “Corndog” with “Horndog.”
Like with Kenneally’s other novel, Catching Jordan, I also appreciated Parker’s struggles at home. She’s always been a church girl, but when the people at her church turn judgey on her and her family, she struggles to separate church from God Himself. Characters with issues like this are always easy for me to relate to, having felt similarly throughout a majority of my teen years.
I, admittedly, connected more with Jordan (I just loved her I-don’t-take-any-crap- attitude) than I did with Parker, but I still enjoyed reading about Parker’s journey to find her way back to herself. And as a bonus: a few characters from Catching Jordan made cameo appearances in Stealing Parker!
To sum up: While I didn’t connect with this novel as much as Kenneally’s previous book, I still think this is one worth reading. But possibly not if you don’t enjoy a little religiosity.(less)
I have never read a book like The Forest of Hands and Teeth.
Carrie Ryan has a wonderful way with words. Her language just carries you along, all floaty and lyrical and beautiful. And that’s what makes the fact that this book is BEYOND CREEPY perfect.
Because, HOLY CRAP, this is a zombie book. As much as Iwas enjoying it, I couldn’t read the whole thing straight through because it FREAKED me out. I swear, I could hear the zombie moans following me around for days, and could see the masses of the undead chasing after me. Terrifying. Totally terrifying.
But while it is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read (seriously, don’t read it at night unless you yawn through horror movies), it’s also a love story. There’s this story of Mary and how much she loves Travis. I’m going to admit, I really don’t see Travis’s appeal or why Mary loves him, but I did enjoy her ruminations on love and whether it was “enough.”
Furthermore, it’s not just romantic love that Mary thinks about– there’s also familial love and friendship love that she takes time to think about and they are interesting themes to ponder.
I don’t watch horror movies… but I would read the next books in this series. I have it on good authority that they are even better.
Overall rating: 3.5/5. Beautifully written, horror lovers will be even more enamored of The Forest of Hands and Teeth than I was.(less)
Much like the novel’s title implies, a great deal of the events in Mistwood are shrouded in mystery.
We open meeting Isabel, the kingdom of Samorna’s Shifter. Not human, her only purpose is to protect the king. Isabel has lived for hundreds, maybe thousands of years in the Mistwood, where she can shift forms from human to animal to the very mist itself. And now her king needs her. But the problem is that Isabel can’t remember anything– not even how to shift.
Cypess builds a novel that is an easy read with a very smooth flow. It’s a story that’s easy to fall into, but I wish that the characters had ventured beyond the castle and the Mistwood– I think that it would have added “texture” to the world. As it was, I felt that the castle and Mistwood were interesting places, but the world itself didn’t come alive for me.
Some reviews have claimed that the character of Isabel fell flat, but I have to disagree. Isabel struggles to be flat. That’s what a Shifter should be. A Shifter isn’t supposed to be bogged down with humanity or such mundane things as emotions, but Isabel is. So what does that make her?
And certainly there’s an element of romance in Mistwood (isn’t there always?) but I truly appreciated how it took a backseat to the rest of the story because there are court intrigues and Isabel’s personal mysteries to work through. And those fascinated me far more than a romance would have in this novel.
Cypess truly threw me for loop with an unexpected twist near the end. I love when authors manage to pull that off. To surprise me and have me believe it because all of the pieces fit and make sense with the rest of the story.
With plots against the crown, and the question of who has the right to it, Mistwood is a novel where everyone’s loyalties are in question– even Isabel’s, herself.
Overall rating: 3.5/5. It’s always pleasant to discover a fantasy author whose work reads as easily as Cypess’s. I will definitely be picking up the companion novel, Nightspell. (less)
Confession: I have a soft spot in my heart for southern living. I like country music, cowboy boots, Sweet Home Alabama, sout...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Confession: I have a soft spot in my heart for southern living. I like country music, cowboy boots, Sweet Home Alabama, southern accents, and right this minute I’m watching the new ABC dramedy GCB.
So to a certain extent, my love of a drawled y’all meant that I liked The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker.
Ricki Jo (or “Ericka” as she now prefers) is seizing on the chance to reinvent herself as she enters high school and the popular boy “Wolf” would fit perfectly into her plans.
But the thing was, I wasn’t all that fond of “Ericka.” She made a lot of poor decisions when it came to choosing her friends and it truly infuriated me how she’d go back to Wolf over and over again no matter how much of a jerk he was or how much he embarrassed her.
Like her best friend Luke, I preferred “plain old Ricki Jo,” who is a little eager to please, but sweet. She loves her dog and her family. She doesn’t much care for harvesting tobacco, but she’s not a hellion about it either.
When I very deliberately put myself into the shoes into those of a high school freshman, I found Ricki Jo a sympathetic character. I vividly remember my own freshman reinvention; I spoke in a determinedly perky high-pitched voice, going out of my way to fight my reserved nature and be outgoing.
I imagine that younger readers of the genre in their early teenage years will feel the same and sympathize with her. Older readers, like myself, may get distracted from the plot due to an urge to shake some sense into Ricki Jo.
Overall rating: 3/5. Better suited for younger readers, but still an enjoyable read.(less)
I didn’t realize at first that Sisters of Glass was a novel written in verse. Some might find this a point against its favor...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
I didn’t realize at first that Sisters of Glass was a novel written in verse. Some might find this a point against its favor, but for me, it was a point for it. I’ve never been a fan of poetry– I respect it as an art form, of course, but my tastes don’t tend toward it in reading or writing. Instead, I thought it read as smooth, but simplistic prose.
I was taken in by Luca and his attitude toward Maria. He didn’t treat her as delicately as the rest of the family and considering how trapped she feels, I don’t blame her for falling for him.
It’s certainly an easy and quick read, and I felt swept along by the prettiness of it all. Venice, glassblowing, art, lovely singing… it’s easy to fall into if you’re a romantic as I am.
My largest problems with the novel were that I felt Maria’s sister Giovanna or “Vanna” to have the wildest behavioral shifts. She went from loving to sneering and back to loving without any explanation. I didn’t feel like I could trust her when she was suddenly nice again.
My other major problem was that everything at the end was tied up very conveniently and with very little fuss. It felt totally unrealistic and I didn’t buy it. No one’s feelings got hurt and it was just… too easy.
Overall rating: 3/5. A quick read and well-suited for someone looking to dip their toe into the pool of verse novels.(less)
When we meet Marina again in The Moon and The Tide, she’s all but dismissed the ultimatum issued to her in the previous book...morePosted to Almost Grown-up
When we meet Marina again in The Moon and The Tide, she’s all but dismissed the ultimatum issued to her in the previous book by the mermaid council: she has 50 moons to decide whether to join her sisters in the sea or she will have no choice but to remain human. Marina thinks it’s a no-brainer: she’s spent her whole life as a human and she has a lot of people that she loves. Still, the sea calls to her, much to the dismay of her boyfriend Ethan. The more it calls to her, the more she seems to reveal things she’d rather not.
And it’s only a matter of time until the wrong people notice.
Derrolyn Anderson’s mermaid interpretation engrossed me in the previous book, and that continued in this installment. In particular, I was fascinated by the things we learning about those who are half-mermaid– or, as Anderson calls them “hybrids.”
There’s undoubtedly a lot of mystery and danger in The Moon and The Tide, and when Derrolyn ups the stakes for Marina, it truly yanked me into the story.
But I wasn’t constantly in the story. The book is so long with so many fairly repetitive scenes: Marina paints, she surfs, she fights with Ethan, she encourages someone. A little less would have improved the pacing significantly.
And then there’s Ethan. Good god, someone get Marina away from that boy. I was with aunt Evie 110% when she tried. Marina and her story are so much more interesting when he’s not around to pick a fight and get all jealous and alpha-male on her. The plot MOVES when he’s not there, plus I respect Marina more.
Rating: 3/5. Liked it a bit less than the first novel, but I still liked The Moon and The Tide enough to read the next book in Derrolyn Anderson’s mermaid series.(less)
The name Chime may ring a bell. Though the National Book Awards this year were surrounded by controversy, it was a nominee (...morePosted to Almost Grown-up
The name Chime may ring a bell. Though the National Book Awards this year were surrounded by controversy, it was a nominee ( it was confused, at first with Shine by Lauren Myracle).
Both books immediately went on my TBR list.
I despaired over Chime at first. I mean, it was beautifully written and Billingsley chooses moments to “break the rules” of writing (POV for instance), and manages to pull it off admirably, so it was easy to say how the NBA nomination happened. The first 100 or so pages were difficult for me to get into though.
But after I passed that benchmark? OH MAH GAW.
Briony is such an amazing character. She’s convinced that she’s wicked and wonders what it might be like to be a normal girl. In the hands of a different writer, I might have felt the martyrdom of it to be irritating, but Billingsley has such an amazing talent, that it worked. She uses words and descriptions that never would have occurred to me, but are perfect.
Chime ended up being a novel that I not only admired, but envied. Billingsley’s writing is masterful.
Overall rating: 4.5/5. If I had felt as strongly about the first 100 or so pages as I did about the rest of the book, it would have been a 5/5. Easily.(less)
After all of the hype, I anticipated that I was going to feel one of two ways about Tempest: I thought I would either want t...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
After all of the hype, I anticipated that I was going to feel one of two ways about Tempest: I thought I would either want to rave wildly about how much I loved it or I was going to want to chuck the book against the wall. Fortunately, since I was reading on my Kindle, I didn’t experience the latter feeling. But I didn’t run into the former either.
I didn’t connect with the story as I held out hope for, mostly because I didn’t really grow to connect with Jackson or Holly. They both felt a little flat to me. Jackson, for instance seemed to have a typical college boy attitude: not overly mushy, a little offensive at times– but he’s well-read, majoring in Poetry, rich, can waltz, and oh yeah– happens to be able to time travel. I couldn’t make myself believe it. And Holly– well, honestly, when she wasn’t on the page, I wasn’t itching to see her. When a romance is really working for me, I always want to see the two characters together and that wasn’t the case here.
I was far more interested in the theory of time travel, which, yes, could be a bit confusing at times. But hey, it’s time travel. Nothing about that sounds simple. Unless maybe you’re the Doctor. I felt that as the plot moved along, Cross cleared things up pretty well. We discover how it works right along with Jackson.
A few scenes tugged at my heartstrings. Those were largely the ones that were family-oriented and dealt with Jackson’s relationship with his father and his deceased twin sister. That’s when I actually felt a brief connection with Jackson.
As for the plot, I’ll be honest, that I enjoyed. Most of you know that Summit Entertainment has already purchased the film rights for Tempest and I think it’s going to be really fun if it’s carried out well. Tempest was packed with scenes that action, science fiction, and romance lovers would all love.
Overall rating: 3/5. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, but ultimately wound up enjoying the story. Looking forward to the movie someday because I definitely intend to see it. (less)
First disclosure: I waited too long to write this review after reading, so this if this review gets a little vague in place...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
First disclosure: I waited too long to write this review after reading, so this if this review gets a little vague in places? That’s how that happened.
Second disclosure: I accidentally spoiled myself a little for this series by reading the anthology Enthralled which features a short story following the series.
I’ve been wary of reading paranormal lately– it tends to hit a lot of my hot buttons with cliches like insta-love, boys-who-know-best, and weak female characters, but Kelley Armstrong started and finished strong.
She started with a prologue from the point of view of the main character Chloe when she’s very young. The narration felt authentic for Chloe’s age and reeled the reader into the upcoming creep factor of the novel. Add that to the fact that she mentioned Sailor Moon (in passing) and I was hers. (Side note: I totally snickered over the fact that there was a girl named “Rae” with pyro tendencies)
I mentioned the creep factor before, but it bears repeating. Chloe (and by extension, I) was never sure what to believe or who she could trust in Lyle house. Even during more relaxed scenes, the niggling sensation that I couldn’t forget the larger issues hung over me, which made me feel further connected to Chloe.
There were some more unusual magics explored in The Summoning, which made me want to throw my arms up and cheer “Hooray! Not every paranormal is about a vampire or a werewolf! There are other kinds of magic people out there!”
The mysteries of Lyle house unravel at a satisfying pace and the end is full of turns, plenty of action, and a gratifying twist.
Overall rating: 4/5. I seem to constantly be undertaking new series, but I don’t regret undertaking The Darkest Powers trilogy. I look forward to grabbing the next one!(less)
Yayyyy, John Green, yayyyyy! I’m slowly working my way through his fabulous books.
In Paper Towns, you’ve got the characteristic Green wit that makes for some truly laugh out loud funny scenes. As in, don’t drink a soda while you’re reading this book because it will be coming out of your nose when you snort from sudden laughter and lord that carbonation BURNS YOUR NOSTRILS–
–What was I saying?
RIGHT, Green’s wit. It shines. Particularly in the road trip scene– I think I was actually crying from laughing at one point. It is fabulous and even if I can’t ALWAYS picture people actually saying these hilarious things, it makes me want to be these character’s best friends.
John Green’s talent is absolutely astonishing. In Paper Towns, he weaves in literature/poetry absolutely seamlessly. It is essential to the plot and it doesn’t feel forced or fake. It just FITS. I think I could sit and read for years, I could be the most well-read person on the planet and still I wouldn’t be able to fit poetry or literature in so perfectly or meaningfully to connect with my characters or situations. Green is absolutely brilliant.
To further make the point that he’s got a crazy amazing brain, Green brings up the idea of being in love with someone versus being in love with the idea of them, and holy brain boggler, Batman, aren’t we all guilty of that? From celebrity crushes to how we think a person is. Unless we get to know their true selves, are we in love with them or the idea of them?
Overall rating: 4/5. Really wonderful book. Definitely want to add it to my shelves one of these days. If you like the sound of a hilarious, yet serious contemporary novel with a male protagonist, look no further.(less)
I'm not really sure at what point for me this book turned from "I don't see what all the fuss is about" to "holy crap, I can't believe I only have the...moreI'm not really sure at what point for me this book turned from "I don't see what all the fuss is about" to "holy crap, I can't believe I only have the 1st and 3rd books, this is so perfect."
I feel like I can hear the cries of “WHAT?” “You’re just reading this now?!” “But… but… Notso! MARCUS FLUTIE!” from here. I know, I know, my reading of the life and times of Jessica Darling is overdue. If it weren’t for the fact that this was the FYA March Book Club pick, the poor girl would probably still be sitting on the TBR.
Huzzah! That is not the case!
But in the beginning, I wasn’t as enamored of Jessica “Notso” Darling as everyone told me I’d be. In fact, when her story started off, she drove me NUTS. I felt like she was one of the whinier teenagers that I’d seen when her life didn’t seem all that bad and she seemed to think she was better than everyone else. Fortunately her acerbic wit and hilarious narration kept me reading.
And I read on to discover a girl who, despite her biting humor, can’t connect with many people since her best friend moved away. Her father seems to want a boy, and it seems like her mother would prefer a girly-girl like Jessica’s older sister. When Jessica comes clean with her mom about how she feels, I started crying, something I was not expecting from a book that I’d gone into thinking “comedy.”
And no wonder Jessica thinks she’s above her so-called friends. As I got to know a bunch of them, I thought she was above them too! Granted, we get to see more of Bridget that lets us know we shouldn’t assume things about people (insert obvious assume joke here), but Jessica’s friends personalities are somewhat GRATING.
One person that Jessica does find herself connecting with is Marcus Flutie. And Marcus is… well, he grew on me too. The cynical bitter pothead became funny to me. I guess, like Jessica in the beginning, I couldn’t help seeing him as a “dreg,” but he proves that he is much much more.
Overall rating: 4/5. Jessica grew so much in this first novel that I can’t wait to see how she progresses in Second Helpings.(less)
Oh essays. I used to loathe you, you know. All that rhetorical analysis that I had to do in AP English back in high school,...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Oh essays. I used to loathe you, you know. All that rhetorical analysis that I had to do in AP English back in high school, I suppose. But it’s nice to see that we’ve reconciled. Now that I don’t have to get too hung up on you, it’s nice to read the insights that you have to offer.
I couldn’t have asked for a better set of essays on The Hunger Games than this one. They explored such a wonderfully broad set of ideas from reality voyeurism to the American Dream and even to fashion and how it makes us view people.
Each author’s essay is well-crafted and intelligently presented (though I could have done without the constant referral of Katniss as “Kat” in one particular one). But were definitely ones that I liked more than others.
In particular, I’m think of my favorite essay in the collection. It was most decidedly Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s take on the Team Peeta vs. Team Gale debate. Barnes chooses Team Katniss, arguing that the point of these books is not that Katniss needs a man. Though I’m definitely guilty of crying “Team Peeta” before, I thought it was a great point. These are books that would be powerful with or without the romance or love triangle.
The Girl Who Was On Fire will make you think– really think about The Hunger Games beyond the amazing story itself. And if you’re anything like me, it will make you positively itch to reread Suzanne Collins’s amazing trilogy.
Overall rating: 4/5. If you’re looking to explore The Hunger Games more deeply (and why wouldn’t you?) be sure to pick this up.(less)
Some of you may remember that I’m a bit of an Ally Carter fangirl– to the extent that when I represented Cammie Morgan in th...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Some of you may remember that I’m a bit of an Ally Carter fangirl– to the extent that when I represented Cammie Morgan in the YA Sisterhood’s Heroine Tourney, I made a couple of videos pretending to be her. So you’re not going to be all that shocked by the fact that I went to the closest bookstore to me on March 13, the day that the latest Gallagher Girls book came out, and picked up a copy of my own.
Then I tore through it in one night.
Because I really, really, don’t want anyone to get spoiled too much from my review I’m going to strive to keep things a little vague, while still giving you an idea of what I thought about the book. But there is a teeny-tiny itty-bitty spoiler at the end of the review. Nothing that Ally Carter herself didn’t reveal many times before the release.
First of all, there was never a point that I wanted to set this book aside. Ally Carter whisks you off on adventure with not a single dull moment. Her pacing kept me engaged as we set off with Gallagher Girl Cammie to try to uncover the mystery surrounding the events of her summer.
The interesting thing about the amnesia factor is that at times it makes you feel a little like Cammie may be an unreliable narrator, and honestly, when done well that is one of my favorite writing devices. The mystery of the Circle of Cavan is deepened even more with the idea that somehow, whatever Cammie has learned about them, it has left a blank gap of time in her mind.
Out of Sight, Out of Time is filled with the characteristic spy lingo and reports that we’ve come to expect from the very first installment in the series, in addition to the wonderful voice of Cammie. Ally Carter has a gift for making a character that is relatable because she is strong and smart. Cammie defines herself based on what she does and the choices she makes, and YA could use more heroines like her.
In Out of Sight, Out of Time, we get some answers to the mystery that’s been building over the past few books. But the adventure isn’t over yet, and in the end, still more questions are raised.
Oh, and tiniest spoiler ever:
Like Ally Carter said on Twitter many many times, Zach really is in just a towel at one point. My immature self couldn’t help grinning. Also, he’s as swoony as ever, but one of the many reasons I love Cammie is that she may have boy drama to worry about, but she’s very aware that other things are more important.
Overall rating: 5/5. I’d say this is tied with the last Gallagher Girls book for my favorite in the series. Get your copy soon!(less)
While listening to the audiobook of The Sweet Far Thing, I laughed. I swooned. My heart pounded with fear. And I wept. Libba...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
While listening to the audiobook of The Sweet Far Thing, I laughed. I swooned. My heart pounded with fear. And I wept. Libba Bray broke me.
As with the other books in the series, Gemma has so much to deal with. There’s her various family issues, the Realms, the Order, the Rakshana, her friends, society. It seems that everyone expects something of her and she can’t work out what she should expect of herself.
All of it can get a bit overwhelming, but c’est la vie, non?
I am never sure that I like most of the friendships in this series. Though they have their moments where I sympathize with them and even feel proud of them sometimes, largely speaking, I dislike Felicity, Ann, and Pippa and fail to understand why Gemma holds onto the bonds of friendship with them. But since she has, I understand the responsibility she seems to feel to help them. Though I’d say Gemma has the greatest burden to bear under the title of the “Chosen One,” the others’ problems are no small matter.
My favorite scenes? No question. The ones with Kartik. He made me feel all warm inside.
And my least favorite? If you’ve read or listened to it, it’s not too hard to guess. It’s the scene in which, as I said earlier, Libba Bray broke me.
Josephine Bailey’s narration in this audiobook is flawless. Each character that she voices, she does so with such distinction that one is never at a loss for wondering who it might be. As scenes grow more weighted, her narration perfectly reflects it. I know that when I read the books again myself one day, I will hear Gemma’s voice echoing in my head as Bailey voiced her.
A long book and by extension a long audiobook at 20 hours and 29 minutes, but if you’ve got the time, you won’t regret it.
Overall rating: 4.5/5. Hands down my favorite book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, even if it broke my heart.(less)