Archives

Review – All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

By Jennifer Niven

SummaryThe Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
 
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Source: I purchased a kindle copy

Add to Goodreads

Review:

It’s official. Those quirky contemporary books that everyone else seems to gobble up like candy and rave about all over social media? Not for me. And when the hype gets to me and I’m like “oh, maybe the book IS decent, even for a contemporary issue book with quirky characters” I need to remember where I stand. Because All the Bright Places is just not the book for me. I can’t really say I hated it, but I’m frustrated by it. I can’t tell if maybe it’s just a tired trope or not as well written as I’d hoped or I’m just simply too old for the YA issue books with absent adults and inherently wise teenagers. But whatever the problem is, I just have to keep reminding myself to not let the hype get to me.

I don’t want to sound cold or ill informed when I say that I just didn’t think All the Bright Places captured anything real. I’m sure there are people out there who would vehemently disagree. But I will say that the book didn’t have the kind of writing that sucked me in or characters who found their way into my heart and that made any actual realistic aspects of depression, suicide, bipolar disorder, etc just fall flat. I feel like books should call out to not only those who have suffered from the tough topics they talk about, but to those who haven’t, so they may feel that they walked a mile in someone else’s shoes. If I haven’t felt like it was enlightening or realistic or remotely moving, what was the point?

All the Bright Places was like Paper Towns except the main characters were suffering from an array of mental disorders. Violet was dealing with the loss of her sister and having to face life without her. Finch was bipolar, but he was also from an abusive home and neglectful parents. In this story, he was the girl from Paper Towns, leading Violet on grand adventures. If Violet was the type to try to make herself appear smaller and avoid the spotlight, Finch was the loud and proud class clown who runs around in order to stay in the spotlight. Both characters were not dealing with life in a healthy and stable way and neither of their parents seemed to pay attention to anything. 

The book felt contrived, full of issues, lacked real character depth, and left me feeling frustrated. It announced itself as a suicide book from page one and I knew I was waiting for someone to die. I knew who it would be and I’d hoped for some real emotion along the way. I’d hoped both characters would save each other in some way, even if one of them would die. But I never really connected with the story.

Star 2

 

Advertisements

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall TBR

 toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Three Books on my Fall TBR

1. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. I preordered this as soon as I heard about it. 

2. The October Country by Ray Bradbury. It’s been on my shelf for awhile, but I didn’t get to it last October and it just feels wrong to read it any other time of the year.

3. Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle. I loved The Accident Season so I had to pick this one up.

 

I haven’t actually given much thought to anything else. I’ve just been choosing books at random to read as the mood strikes me. 

Review – Thinner by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

 

Thinner

By Richard Bachman

SummaryBilly Halleck sideswipes an old Gypsy woman as she is crossing the street in their quiet Connecticut town of Fairview, and everything in his pleasant, upwardly mobile life changes. He is exonerated in the local court by a friendly judge and the sheriff…but a blacker, far worse judgement has been passed on him nevertheless.

Add to Goodreads

Source: I borrowed a hardcover from my stepmom.

Review:

I absolutely love the awful B movie, Thinner, that is based off of the book. I mentioned wanting to read it while my parents were in town visiting and my stepmom happened to have her copy with her, which somehow always happens to us, so I borrowed it and finally crossed it off of my To Read list.

Thinner was just as good as the movie, which is a good thing even though I think the movie is terrifically terrible. The movie is awesome even though it’s such a cheesy movie, but the book kind of had a similar feel to it. It was a serious matter, but also kind of entertaining. 

The story involves selfish and cruel lawmen who ran Gypsies out of town, were awfully racist and classist, and pretty much let the death of one of the Gypsies go unpunished. The Gypsies got revenge, turning the rather large Bill Halleck into a shrinking husk of a man. It is such a great revenge story and I loved getting the point of view of the victim who started the story as a the villain. I enjoyed watching him start to realize that maybe he was an elitist jerk. 

The best part, aside from the horrific aspects of the book, was that it so perfectly portrays why revenge is so terrible. There are more than two sides to every story. Any victim can be the villain in another person’s story. People don’t see how awful they can be.. on both sides. And getting revenge feels good, but when does it go too far? Thinner is a cautionary tale in that regard while also being a tad creepy. 

I recommend Thinner, especially to people who are easily scared by King’s other horror novels and/or intimidated by the length of Stephen King novels. Thinner is not nearly as bone chilling and it is a very short novel.

Star 4

Book Blogger Hop – Sept 15

Book_blogger_Hop.png

Book Blogger Hop

Hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

15th – 21st

Have you ever bought a more expensive edition of a book, when a cheaper edition was available, just because you preferred the cover of the more expensive one? 

(submitted by Maria @ A Night’s Dream of Books)

 

Not really, no.

I’m such a cheapskate. If some edition exists that looks better and it’s more expensive, I’ll go for the cheaper cover. There are covers that I prefer, but I’m not really that worried about it. I don’t own multiple editions of books on purpose and if I have a cool edition, it was probably a lucky find.

My husband will always make me buy the more expensive editions of books because that’s just how he is, but I’m usually book shopping by myself and trying to buy the most amount of books for the money because I read so much.

A lot of people have well loved favorites that they just own multiple copies of. A lot of people just collect books in various formats. But I’m not one of them. I actually own some series in paperback that I’m missing books for because I borrowed the other book in the series or I own it on kindle. I don’t really care as long as I got to read the book. 

With that being said, I don’t own a lot of junky used books, either. I don’t want my books to fall apart so I do tend to spend more at a used bookstore on the nicer copy so I don’t have crappy and broken books hanging around. 

Review – Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

 

Everything Everything

By Nicola Yoon

SummaryMy disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Source: I purchased a paperback

Add to Goodreads

Review:

I avoided Everything Everything after hearing some criticism about the ending and not really being sure if it was a book I’d enjoy in the first place. A few months ago, I read The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and it was very good, so I decided I’d amend my decision to not read Everything Everything. It fit a category for my POPSUGAR Reading Challenge and was decently priced at the store.

I devoured the book within a matter of hours. To be fair, that is the norm for me and contemporary novels, but it is still normally a sign that I’ve enjoyed the book.

Everything Everything was written in a way that just sort of sucked me in and I couldn’t get enough. The fact that I knew the twist based on reading other reviews when the “hype” around it was happening did not hinder my enjoyment at all. In fact, knowing how it ended made me pay close attention to some of the dynamics in the book and I appreciated the twist more because it still fit with the story and the behaviors of characters in the story. 

I prefer The Sun is Also a Star because it more closely explored the cultural aspects of both Jamaican and Korean cultures and what it means to be those things and be American, but I think Everything Everything delivered a story with diverse characters as well. My only real complaint is that I wish there was more depth in regards to the medical aspect, though I imagine it would’ve been difficult to incorporate that knowing the story. 

Everything Everything wasn’t realistic, but it wasn’t annoyingly so. I felt like it captured emotions and the essence of falling in love and being a teenager well, even if it wasn’t completely grounded in reality. I definitely recommend the book for a short and sweet contemporary YA read.

Star 4

Top Ten Tuesday – Throwback

toptentuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Throwback Freebie

Top Ten Older Books I Love (Published before 2010)

1. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Cult classic and one my all time favorite books. 

2. The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater. It came out at the wrong time when all the Twilight craze was going on and a lot of people overlooked a really great series. It was rich and sad and amazing.

3. World War Z by Max Brooks. Once the awful movie was made and the hype died down, I almost never hear people talk about this book, but it’s definitely one of my favorite zombie books.

4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Always a classic. It’s a must read.

5. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I know Nicholas Sparks makes me roll my eyes, but I love this book.

6. The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. After True Blood ended, it was bittersweet. I loved this book series and now I feel like less and less people pick it up without the HBO series hype. 

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I love this book so much. It’s narrated by death in WWII. It was unique and well written.

8. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It’s been years since the movie came out, so I don’t hear as much about this book as I’d like, but it’s a definitely favorite.

9. White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I actually watched the movie first, but I love this story (in both forms) so much. It was so twisted and captivating.

10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson. This book was a total hit for all sorts of people. I’ve discussed it with my grandmother and also at a classy luncheon with rich strangers where I didn’t really know what fork to use… two types of people you’d never expect to read a crime thriller with computer hacking and gore and sex. I just love how so many different types of people enjoyed it!

 

Review – Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1) by Julie Eshbaugh

Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1)

By Julie Eshbaugh

SummaryA prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Source: I purchased a hardcover

Add to Goodreads

Review:

Ivory and Bone was incredibly disappointing. 

Jane Austen retelling/reimagining books in the YA world have been extremely dazzling and unique. I expected there to be a reason for the setting in prehistoric times and I expected a story that focused on interpersonal relationships because there was little else for clans to do in prehistoric times but create legends, survive, and carry on. 

To be quite honest, I couldn’t help but feel like the book was a waste of potential. The setting, while boring to some, left a lot of room for real character development. The Pride and Prejudice inspiration seemed like it would be a story that was inspired and passionate. There was even a unique aspect to the POV because Kol, the narrator, spoke to you, a love interest in the story. But none of those things worked well. I almost feel like the prehistoric aspect was a way to strip down a simple story and make it even more simple and to the point. It is a story that could’ve happened anywhere, so I don’t feel like there was real storytelling or character development.

At the end of the book, I didn’t feel like I really knew anyone. Let me be clear, there was next to nothing else aside from characters interacting with one another in the book because that’s all there was. Someone hunted, they moved, they made pelts, they found honey, they told stories. It was a prehistoric setting. So to feel like I didn’t really know anyone meant that the ONLY aspect in the entire book that existed wasn’t very well done.

I just.. I just don’t get why this book exists. It didn’t really work. It was boring, forgettable, and it told a story that could’ve been whittled down to a few sentences because there wasn’t much else going on. Why would anyone do this story in this setting in this way?

To be honest, I would’ve been more intrigued if it was detailed in the way they hunted, made weapons, worshipped, and lived their lives. Chapters full of the hierarchy of each clan, complete with legends told by the fire would’ve made the book worth my time because there would’ve been something MORE to it. 

The POV didn’t work at all. The lack of communication and lack of understanding that everyone had for one another just made the first person to second person narration simple (since Kol only understood his own life and assumed everything else about Mya’s and we never really got into Mya’s head because we were in Kol’s the whole time) and I think I would’ve needed to get into the head or daily life of everyone to have enjoyed myself. 

Star 2