I'm obsessed with thrillers just like anyone else, but this book sounded dumb to me. I mean, "what's in the gift box"? Seriously? So I never read it. It was made into a movie. I never planned on seeing it. People keep telling me it's amazing and I just did the "yeah....sure...." head nod. Then I saw it on sale for $2.99 on Amazon.
This book sure was a surprise! I went in with low expectations, but I ended up getting sucked in and finishing it within 24 hours. Very unexpected...
Overall I really enjoyed the plot. Like I said, I love thrillers and especially love crime stories. Although I personally think Amy overreacted a tad bit to news of her husband's infidelity (you could have tried to confront him...), I can see why that happened within the context of her past. Amy is a straight up sociopath, and as such basically lives off of manipulation. Hearing about what she did to other people in her life was quite disturbing.
What really got me about this book was how it was presented to the reader. I fell for the lie making up the first half of the book, as I'm sure most readers did. I didn't know there was going to be some crazy plot twist, so of course I wasn't expecting it. Imagine my surprise when it comes out that Amy is framing her husband for her own murder.
But the second half, I was not a fan. Yeah Amy set up this whole thing just because her husband cheated on her, but it was a bit too fantastic for me to believe. Amy's whole plot against her husband was convoluted to a fault, and all the resolution was very convenient. There is no way that that kind of plan could work in real life, with such dependency on the separate pieces that the plan needed to work perfectly. It even mentions in the book how conveniently things seemed to have worked out for Amy (according to her public account). I was mad when they couldn't dig up ANYTHING on her.
One thing that was interesting was how fast my loyalties shifted. The first half, I felt bad for Amy (but didn't necessarily demand Nick's head). In the second half, I grew to hate Amy with each passing page. The fact that she feels like she has the right to upright someone's entire life because she can't have an adult conversation about infidelity really bothered me. It also seriously bothered me that she got away with it and expected and demanded Nick to pretend to be a happy family with her. She not only financially but reproductively (?) blackmailed her husband into staying with her and lying to cover her ass. Knowing your husband is only with you because you got pregnant has got to be the worst feeling ever, but I didn't feel bad for her at all. I mean, is she even capable of emotion?? I did feel bad for Nick. He wasn't lying when he said Amy was the most interesting girl he'd ever met. He just didn't know how much she would fuck up his life.
**I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
I'm having a really hard time with this review. On one hand,**I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
I'm having a really hard time with this review. On one hand, I loved Suma's Imaginary Girls, and this was similar in premise and ending. Both books felt very airy, with lots of flowery, descriptive writing and perspective switches and the overwhelming feeling that the narrator just isn't quite right. Ori's POV was very creepy and well-written. It felt like I was reading Black Swan in teenager form. All really great.
However, in a way, that sort of falls flat here. I wanted to know more about what happened, both in the past, and at the end. It felt like there were too many jumps in narration, in time and between people, to get a good handle on what exactly went down. Not to spoil the plot but how did the mistake happen in the first place? Why Ori? And wtf was up with the ending? Flowery writing is good to an extent, but I would've really enjoyed more concrete details. Maybe Suma just sat down and wrote whatever with no real plan, because that's sort of how this book comes across. Without delving into specifics, she avoids confronting any plotholes or errors someone might point out. Nonetheless, I still mostly enjoyed the story, and I will still be looking forward to her future works.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is one of those books that, for me anyways, I can't remember the plot a week later. It's strange because it's
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is one of those books that, for me anyways, I can't remember the plot a week later. It's strange because it's not like nothing happens in this book, it's that a lot of what happens is resolved and forgotten as quickly as it comes up. So separate events don't have a lot of overall bearing on the characters.
Anyways, I made a short list-style review for today. I won't be switching completely to these reviews, but I think they're a good option when I don't have a lot to say or when I'm busy. Without further ado:
GOOD - the main plot with her hallucinations and powers - writing when Mara is falling apart is great - legitimately frightening sometimes - a little bit diverse (Indian family) - although we're not sure how & what she's capable of, Mara isn't constantly referred to as "special" - the very last few pages
BAD - the mystery suffered, and it sometimes felt like a contemporary romance - plot stuff: her powers don't explain the hallucinations/passing out, the trial & kidnapping felt like filler - all the female characters were bitches or beneath her (except Rachel, who's dead) - a lot of token characters (sometimes more than one token per character) - sexist, sleazy pig of a boyfriend
COMMENTS - Jude was a bad kid but I'm not sure he "deserved to die" - I wish I knew more about what exactly happened in the asylum
Summary Classic problems: token characters, girl hate, falling in love with the school's mysterious/sexy/bad boy. Rising out of the ashes of disappointment is a cool idea for a plot that got little airtime. I loved being inside Mara's head and I loved being in the asylum. Hopefully the next one focuses on those....more
**I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Gosling is gifted in her world-building. Vivid descriptions abound o**I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Gosling is gifted in her world-building. Vivid descriptions abound of places, people, and events. Everything is imaginable with crystal-clear quality...almost to a fault. In a few instances I found the descriptions tiresome and boring. However! The story itself is far from boring. Reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes (perhaps because of the similar time period), the plot is full of intrigue. Not to Doyle's standard but a great effort nonetheless.
Thaddeus also made for a strong supportive character, if not misguided by a forced romance. In the beginning he was marked by sound moral character and conviction...by the end, he was flimsy like plastic wrap, bent to Rémy's wishes.
One of the biggest problems is that the romance felt very inauthentic. Rémy wants nothing to do with love but mere pages later she is casting furtive glances in Thaddeus's direction and he was telling her he loved her. I didn't buy it.
Other problems were more minor. J's voice was awful. There is a line between authentic and overdone and Gosling landed far on the latter side. The Professor, Thaddeus, and Desai all lacked any real backstory and seemed to me to merely serve a function and be done with it. The traitor, the lover, and the sage. How did Desai get his powers? That was never explained, and all the characters seemed to accept that. Another issue was that I often felt like I was being told what to feel or think instead of being shown, something universally frowned upon in literature.
I also didn't buy the ending. Everything wrapped up really nicely and way too cleanly with too little effort for my taste. How did Rémy and Thaddeus escape? They just happened to be on the shore? The mute just happened to tell everyone where Rémy was taken to after someone guessed where she was at and took her home?
Abernathy wasn't a believable villain. Because his plans were rejected by his peers, he suddenly turns mad and decides to take down the entire government of the British Empire. That's convenient. He never scared or shocked me. Most of the time I thought he was a bit silly and I was waiting for the real villain to appear.
Summary This book was just okay for me. It had a lot of potential but fell short when it really mattered. Superficial characters, a too-perfect ending, and a weak villain made this book suffer. Not an awful read, but not anything to get overly excited about. A good read if you don't expect too much. ...more
My Thoughts I was told I would like this book more. I was told this book would be good.
The romance was boring. Mara & Noah ma
My Thoughts I was told I would like this book more. I was told this book would be good.
The romance was boring. Mara & Noah make promises to stay together 4ever, have intense make-out sessions that last for 4 pages, and spend the rest of the book talking about how much they love each other and how they'll make it through whatever is going on. What a snoozefest.
The plot was boring. The bulk of the book was spent talking about what just happened or what Mara should do. Pages and pages and PAGES of this. If I wanted an in-depth conversation I would've talked to someone in person, not picked up a book.
The characters are boring. Mara USED TO BE really crazy in the first book, but now she's just super lame. She barely uses her powers and all she ever does is black out when the timing isn't good. Noah used to be a sexist jerk, and now he's a simpering wet blanket. Mara's family and friends continues to be taken from the NYT bestselling "Last 50 Cliches & Stereotypes You Will Ever Need." If I had a token for every stereotypical character, I could win some amazing prizes on the crane machine.
The ending was boring and quite far-fetched. The twists are so randomly inserted that I feel the author got pressed for time and decided, "fuck it! I'm throwing in everything!!" The last page is supposed to be a heart-stopping ball of adrenaline barely hanging on a cliff in the Grand Canyon. While I was reading it, I looked up and stared at some rain on the tent and walked to the campground bathroom.
I can't even write a proper review because I was SO bored I barely made it through this book conscious.
Summary Crazy cliffhanger - I think NOT. Who decided to publish this? This book has the same problem as it's predecessor: 15 minutes after I had finished, I couldn't remember the plot....more
The plot never seemed resolved to me. Bitterblue searches for answers fervently yet so easily she gives up at the end. I wWhy was she crying so much?
The plot never seemed resolved to me. Bitterblue searches for answers fervently yet so easily she gives up at the end. I wanted answers too. There was a great opportunity for Cashore and in the end she decided to put in some vague filler. I'm not impressed. I felt as though the whole time I was being led up to something so grand that I had no idea what it was, and then....nothing. Disappointing. I wish she had tied up even one of her loose ends....more
Blue Is for Nightmares is really an interesting read. Not that the plot is really interesting, but it's just a weirdly structured book.
Blue Is for Nightmares is really an interesting read. Not that the plot is really interesting, but it's just a weirdly structured book. The plot easily falls into a pattern of something scary happens -> Stacey casts an ineffective spell -> everyone is relieved. This repeats about three times throughout.
Stacey was both mean and useless. Amber is a ditzy girl, but Stacey needlessly calls her a bitch under her breath a few times. Actually, Stacey's favorite word to refer to any female is bitch. Poor Amber just wants to be friends and hang out but Stacey gets agitated at things like her writing on their door's message board. Literally, that happened. She also calls another girl a tart just because she's young and has nice highlights in her hair. As a supposed witch, Stacey's "magic" sucked. I don't know if her spells were supposed to have a placebo effect or actually work, but they did neither. She does all these complicated rituals passed down by her dead grandma and they accomplish nothing. She wants to stop dreaming, so she casts a spell and...still dreams. She wants to remember her dreams, so she casts a spell and...can't remember anything. She makes a protection charm for Drea and...bad things continue to happen to her. This is a constant theme. If I got those kind of results I would really be questioning my grandma's sanity. In addition to that, there's the random bed-wetting. It happens every time she has a nightmare, then she scrambles to cover it up. Why is her wetting herself described in such detail? Where is she getting all these clean sheets? Why is this in the book? I last wet the bed when I was probably around 4, but I can vividly imagine what it's like thanks to this book. Eww.
Drea and Amber were okay. There wasn't a lot of depth to their character - actually not a lot of depth to any character in the book. Everyone just had the one side to them that was made apparent with everything they said. Example: Everyone is creeped out by the notes. Drea says something bitchy. Amber makes a joke. Stacey decides to do a spell. Repeat over and over again. This book is basically a series of repeating patterns.
Chad wasn't a very good love interest. Not only did he play a very small role in the book (so you never find out much about him), but his personality wasn't very attractive. He existed only as "Drea's ex" and then later on as "Stacey's dumb crush." He seemed innocent enough but he was always flip-flopping on who he wanted. He kissed Stacey, but then he's jealous when Drea flirts with other guys. He spends the night with Stacey but makes a mad dash when Drea comes in the room, like he doesn't want her to find out. They've been broken up for a year. She doesn't own you, bro! Live your own life.
The mystery was a little forced. The culprit was pretty obvious and why he did it was kind of shaky. I don't really believe he would go to that lengths, be that creepy, just to have alone time with her. Even stalkers know construction sites aren't romantic. And they murdered their partner because they got jealous and twisted the point of the game? Why did they need a partner to begin with? The stalker's fate in the epilogue too...there's no way they would've gotten away with accidental murder.
Summary I bought the whole series when I was 14, probably without reading the first book. I'm not sure why, now that I've read it. The characters are one-dimensional, the plot consists of the characters alternately being frightened and sitting around watching Stacey light candles. The mystery was almost non-existent with the exception of a huge climax that seemed a little too intense to be believable. It's not awfully written, just boring. I wish I didn't own the other books already. ...more
To be completely fair, I have read this book before (so nothing was a surprise) and I finished it over a month ago (so it's been a while). Oh, college...
Across the Universe is the story of Amy and Elder, two teenagers from completely different circumstances, on a spaceship traveling 300 years to a new planet. Elder is the ship-born leader-in-training. Amy is the "non-essential" daughter of two brilliant minds, all cryogenically frozen, destined to help on the new planet. But what happens when Amy is woken up 50 years early?
I have a weird relationship with this book. On one hand, I really love the concept (reminds me of Wall-E) but on the other hand, it was poorly executed. Almost all of the major plot elements were given away in the very beginning. For instance, the first-Elder-gone-bad idea was great, but making him a creepy, antisocial librarian with scars where his com should be? It could not have been more obvious. I'm surprised that passage wasn't just highlighted for the reader's ease. I'm the type of person that never picks up on those "obvious" hints, and even I could tell he was some type of antagonist.
Another example of this would be the mind-control aspect. Amy feels weird when she drinks the water, the mating season, there's a random, suspicious access point to the entire ship's water line that Elder can get to... to me that all screams THERE IS SOMETHING IN THE WATER.
Another problem I had with this book is the romance. Elder saves Amy when she gets woken up, and then they just casually decide to be together forever. I didn't feel any sort of connection between them other than the fact that Elder kept repeating that Amy was different and Amy kept repeating that she was different. Then throw in the fact that Amy is obsessed with her womanizing ex-boyfriend and waking up her dad from cryo-sleep and you've got to wonder why exactly Elder likes her.
This review has been mostly negative so let's talk about some positives. Like I said, I liked the entire concept of the book. It's a great idea and the blurb really sells it. Even if the blurb didn't, the cover alone sells this book, I'm sure. Anyways, building a spaceship to find a new planet and develop a new Earth with people frozen 300 years ago is cool. Finding out that it's been over 300 years and there's a massive cover-up to keep the population under control was crazy. I love mysteries and watching Amy and Elder try to figure it out was great. Amy was like the perfect "non-essential" because she came across as your average angsty teenager. Amy's friend Harley was fun, but I really felt bad for where he ended up.
This wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't a fantastic book either. I, by far, enjoyed it more than I didn't enjoy it. The problem was it could've been SO much better. Make things a little harder to figure out, make the romance feel a little more real, cut down on Amy's whining...easily 4 stars....more