Friday, June 15, 2018

Pre Birthday Book Haul: Game Show Edition

Hello everyone. As you may know, because I am very lame, I prematurely celebrated my birthday and got a lot of Indigo gift cards. As a result, I bought thirteen books from Chapters. Just pretend that makes sense. Buuuut, because my ten line book reviews are not only supremely uninteresting but also incredibly boring, I'm going to run this a little more like a game show. Each book will be rated by me and commented on by three of my personality traits. They are Nerdy Minna, Hopeless Romantic Minna, and Supervillain Minna. I, as "Real Minna," shall be interjecting at times to provide a temper to my personality traits. Let's say hello to our hosts!

Nerdy Minna: Hi everyone! I am the nerdy side of Minna's personality. I am also the one that lashes out at strangers about bad grammar and at friends about contractions. If it were up to me, Minna would spend all her time reading and studying. But no, she just had to go and get hooked on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Anyway, I love books that have a compelling plot line, good characters, and fantastic world building! Some of my favourite stories are The Illuminae Files and the Harry Potter series.

Hopeless Romantic Minna: Honestly, Minna should spend less time reading and more time being social. She's never going to find true love if she lives with her head in a book! I love romantic books, but the only way I will be caught in public actually reading a book is if it has a beautiful cover. I mean, the only point of reading is for the bookstagram, and Minna can't even maintain a theme because she's that basic. Some of my favourite books are The Sun Is Also A Star and Children of Blood And Bone.

Real Minna: Who let Regina George on the game show? Also, you didn't read any of those books. You just sulked in a corner over my Lorde T-shirt and comfortable pants.

Hopeless Romantic Minna: Those pants make you look like you are in the eighties, and you know it. Your fashion sense is abysmal. Maybe that is why you are not cool?

Real Minna: Maybe the real reason I'm not cool is that even the hopeless romantic flirty side of my brain still talks like she is in a Jane Austen movie? Supervillain Minna, enter stage left.

Supervillain Minna: I am supervillain Minna. I am the reason why the teachers want to call the FBI on Minna, but I just call that population control. I have a thick Serbian accent even though I don't really speak Serbian, and Dolores Umbridge and the Joker are my idols. I like all black even though I live inside the brain of someone who regularly wears her sister's pink sweater. My favourite books - and the best books - are Batman: Nightwalker and Maximum Ride Forever. Yeah. I thought it was a great end to the series. 

Real Minna: You know we hate Maximum Ride Forever, you just like it because everyone dies!

Supervillain Minna: So?

Real Minna: Let's just get on to the game show. All ratings are out of ten, because we live solely to confuse you.

Book #1: Star Wars Jedi Academy #4: A New Class (GIFTED)
Cover: 3
Plot: 2
Characters: 4
World Building: 5
Writing: 2 (Was there really any?)
Ending: 6 (It was over!)
Total: 3.5/10

Supervillain Minna: There was no villain in this book. Also, the guy who dressed only in black was a stereotypical character and turned out to be good all along. Which was sad. But the incorrect grammar used in the story is definitely my villain origin story.
Nerdy Minna: I thought your villain origin story was not being able to find strawberry green Nestea in Canada?
Supervillain Minna: Curse your photographic memory. 
Nerdy Minna: Anyway, I thought this book was really juvenile and relied way too much on cliches for younger audiences. It failed to capture my interest and I updated Instagram twice while reading it. Twice! That's three times too many.
Real Minna: How-
Nerdy Minna: We should delete Instagram. Also, I agree with Supervillain Minna - the grammar in this book made me want to set it on fire.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: You guys are super boring! Who cares about grammar! The cover was ugly and the pictures inside were ugly, and thus we are moving on.
Nerdy Minna: I can't believe we share the same headspace.
Real Minna: We're not gonna focus on that. All the judges hated it, and we give it the average grade of half of Minna's class - 35%.

Book #2: Kiss Kill Vanish (GIFTED)
Cover: 7
Plot: 6.5
Characters: 5.5
World Building: 4
Writing: 7
Ending: 7
Total: 6/10

Hopeless Romantic Minna: None of the romances delivered! And there was an absolutely disgusting road trip, which I cannot believe. This book road tripped me, and it wasn't in the fun Paper Towns way! It was just boring and weird. Also, Valentina is a spoiled rich girl who doesn't appreciate anything. Also also, the description of chocolate was fantastic. I love chocolate.
Nerdy Minna: Wow, you really paid attention to this book!
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Well, it did have kiss in the title. *mumbles* The cover was kind of lame.
Nerdy Minna: There she is.
Supervillain Minna: Yeah, Valentina was a super lame protagonist. She pretended to be all badass and stuff. I mean, she kissed and vanished, but where was the killing? I was promised killing!
Nerdy Minna: And Valentina is such an idiot! She leaves with no money, no nothing, and picks the most obvious alias in the world! Doesn't even bother to change her appearance! Whines about how she's so hungry and leaves the sushi restaurant without leftovers! She needs to get her act together.
Real Minna: All you guys are doing is complaining, remind me why you gave this book a solid 60%?
Nerdy Minna: Firstly, 60% is a terrible grade. Secondly, the food descriptions were great and it's set in Canada. Thirdly, it is written in a very captivating way.
Supervillain Minna: It's like a drug.
Real Minna: Goddamnit, don't get us arrested again!

Book #3: Leah On The Offbeat
Cover: 9 (Only because I can't get the freaking sticker off, otherwise it would be a ten.)
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
World Building: 10
Writing: 10
Ending: 10
Total: 10/10

Supervillain Minna: Do not get me wrong, but I really liked this book. It was cutesy and made me feel nice inside, and I was super rooting for the main characters to get together. I saw the chemistry in the first book of this duology (companion books?) and I got it right! I think all of us related way too hard to Leah, but she was such an amazing and relatable character.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Awww, you're finally learning! You even lost your super fake Serbian accent to gush about the book!
Supervillain Minna (in over-the-top accent): Vat? I say no cute thing! Now, if you vill excoose me, I moost goo eat some souls to make up for dis.
Nerdy Minna: Sure. Okay. Usually, contemporary isn't my thing, but this book might be one of my favourite contemporaries ever! It was nice, and cute, and fluffy, and I just really enjoyed reading this absolute masterpiece.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: I love every character and I'm so happy they ended up happy! Awww yes! I related so hard to Leah oh my gosh.
Real Minna: #RepresentationMatters. Also, this is a hella cute book. I love it. I'm losing my street cred. Oh no,

Book #4: Children of Blood And Bone
Cover: 10
Plot: 8
Characters: 7
World Building: 10
Writing: 5
Ending: 8
Total: 8/10

Nerdy Minna: I know that this is a powerful book with a great story and a good plot. I loved the development of the characters and the magical world. But something just didn't click with me? I wasn't invested, and I didn't care that much about the characters until the end.
Real Minna: We're all being nice by making it a four star read, it was probably closer to a three.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Yeah, and all the romance was super cheaply done. It felt like a way to just pair everyone off.
Supervillain Minna: There was adequate violence. Not enough fighting. I have had to read so many romances. When you say you have a fantasy with violence, I expect more violence.
Nerdy Minna: Several people died.
Supervillain Minna: For shock value.
Nerdy Minna: But the worldbuilding was pretty good! And the allegory the book has about racism is really important.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: I liked the characters?
Real Minna: You can stop lying to yourself now. 

Book #5: Obsidio
Cover: 10
Plot: 7
Characters: 9
World Building: 10
Writing: 8
Ending: 10
Total: 9/10

Nerdy Minna: It was an astonishingly powerful finale to a fantastic series! But-
Hopeless Romantic Minna: They didn't touch on Hanna and Nik's romance enough, there was no creepy new threat, and too much of the book is written from the camera guy POV.
Nerdy Minna: How-
Hopeless Romantic Minna: I heard you practicing.
Nerdy Minna: Obsidio was an amazing story... it just wasn't on par with Illuminae and Gemina. Part of this could be I didn't really care about the characters, or the main romance.
Supervillain Minna: Speak for yourself. I shed a tear when Aidan died. Both times. Or all three times. How many times did he die again?
Nerdy Minna: The plot was great though. I wish we'd gotten more of the older characters, but that's just me.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: "That's just me" title of your sexy ape.

Book #6: Turtles All The Way Down
Cover: 8
Plot: 7
Characters: 10
World Building: 8
Writing: 9
Ending: 9
Total: 8.5/10

Supervillain Minna: The plot of this book is rather weak. The true villain is coupon books. It is my favourite John Green book. I killed a puppy. Also, there are some nice quotes - damnit!
Nerdy Minna: What have we said about murder?
Supervillain Minna: (hopefully) That it's a good idea and I should keep doing it?
Nerdy Minna: No! The exact opposite of that! Moving on from our upcoming lawsuits, Turtles All The Way Down was a great story that I felt captured anxiety so, so well. It was really a stellar piece of art.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Not enough romance.
Supervillain Minna: Weak plot!
Real Minna: There was one quote that stuck with me, and it was near the end of the book. Love is both how we become a person, and why. It was decidedly powerful and incredibly insightful, if for nothing more than its truth.
Nerdy Minna: Wonderful sentiment, but aren't you just Philosopher Minna with a mask?
Philosopher Minna, pulling off mask: You guys never invite me to anything! It's not my fault I constantly think about what happens after death and before birth.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Just leave.

Book #7: From Twinkle, With Love
Cover: 10
Plot: 9
Characters: 10
World Building: 7
Writing: 9
Ending: 10
Total: 9/10

Hopeless Romantic Minna: I really really enjoyed this book! I loved the romance, and I was invested in the characters from beginning to end. I loved the style this book was written in and was fascinated by Twinkle's interest in film. A great story.
Supervillain Minna: I actually liked this too. (stares at feet) Who have I become.
Nerdy Minna: A definite step up from Menon's first book! I would give it 5 stars because it feels like a cupcake - a warm delicious thing to devour every single damn day.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: You have a problem.
Nerdy Minna: I know.
Supervillain Minna: Going off your point from earlier, the only thing that carries on from When Dimple Met Rishi is the outlandish name of the main female character.
Nerdy Minna: And yet I like the name Twinkle. Stars in the sky, she wants to be a director, a star. Stars twinkle. Dimple's name has no correlation.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: So you would rather her name be HTML?
Nerdy Minna: Yes.

Book #8: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Cover: 4
Plot: 8
Characters: 8
World Building: 8
Writing: 7
Ending: 8
Total: 7.8/10 (not including cover rating)

Nerdy Minna: When I first saw the title, I thought it was a metaphor. After reading the book, I realized just how on the nose it actually is.
Supervillain Minna: The evil stepmother is named after us, which is a win. I appreciated the evilness and moral grey areas in this book.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Yes, the stepmother Mina is a great character. However, I was not in love with the name "Lynet." It sounds like a My Little Pony character.
Nerdy Minna: And were you not obsessed with that?
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Yes.
Nerdy Minna: Anyway, let's do a quick review of the book. Plot was a bit slow, I didn't feel a lot of connection to the characters, and the writing was emotionless but detached enough for a fairytale retelling. I wish there had been more romance though.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Yes, it seems odd that the main romance in a book marketed as LGBT+ is heterosexual.
Nerdy Minna: I do appreciate the feminism in no kisses without consent! Yay to that!

Book #9: Eliza And Her Monsters
Cover: 10
Plot: 9
Characters: 9
World Building: 10
Writing: 10
Ending: 10
Total: 10/10 (the power of rounding)

Nerdy Minna: Just... ALL THE YES to this utterly fantastic novel! I fell in love with the plot and the characters and Eliza and the hilarity of some of the text conversations... STELLAR. 5/5 WOULD MARRY.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Here, I fell for the characters. I screeched in outrage when Eliza's sketchbook was taken away and almost cried when her identity was revealed and squealed when romance was going down.
Supervillain Minna: I appreciated how this was a darker book (yes) and very much related to Eliza's feelings of anxiety. Her emotions felt very real, like she could step out of the book and sit next to you.
Supervillain Minna: That is less creepy then it sounds.
Nerdy Minna: And the egg love? I love eating eggs, and book characters so rarely go into this much detail about love of eggs. Hardboiled eggs are kind of eh unless done right, but I'll take what I can get here.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: #EggLoversUnite2k18.

Book #10: The Hate U Give
Cover: 10
Plot: 10
Characters: 8
World Building: N/A
Writing: 9
Ending: 10
Total: 9/10

Nerdy Minna: This is a great social justice book. I think that own voices books are important, and I think that stories about important issues are important, but I don't think you should support something just because it's about something important. If a book is poorly written or expresses hate towards another minority, it should not be supported. The Hate U Give is an example of a book that is about important things, is own voices, and is an excellent book.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Damn, I really thought you were leading up to a scathing critique there!
Nerdy Minna: Nope.
Supervillain Minna: I hate institution villains because they're more terrifying than just one person. You can take down one person, but you can't take down a whole system. I think that that fear is very well portrayed in this novel.
Hopeless Romantic Minna: On a much lighter note, this book was pretty funny and had excellent familial relationships, something you rarely see in YA. Only lost a point for the eh romance that seemed to be just thrown in there.
Nerdy Minna: Despite the romance, it definitely deserves the hype.

Book #11: The Cruel Prince
Cover: 10
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
World Building: 10
Writing: 10
Ending: 10
Total: 10/10

Nerdy Minna: I just might be absolutely obsessed with this book. Faeries, fantastic worldbuilding, wonderful writing, badass characters, a call out to The Darkest Part Of The Forest, and it's going to be a trilogy? Hear me when I say I need to read all of Holly Black's books now.
Supervillain Minna: I refuse to put us all through The Magisterium series again.
Nerdy Minna: Not that! I was talking like The Coldest Girl In Coldtown and Tithe.
Supervillain Minna: Oh okay.
Nerdy Minna: But The Cruel Prince is phenomenal! It's murderous, it's dark, it's such a good portrayal of faeries. Holly Black is queen. I love the different characters and the fantastic story and the myths and legit everything. I also like how we aren't slowly introduced to the fey from the eyes of a human wandering in, but through the eyes of a mortal who has grown up with them and has seen what they can do. The packaging for the hardcover is magnificent, with the thorns and the gold stump embossed-
Hopeless Romantic Minna: Someone please sedate her.
Nerdy Minna: My only hope for Holly Black (not an issue with this book) is that she writes a story from the POV of a faerie, because I think that could be really cool.

That is all the books we have to show you today! Happy reading, and I hope none of you get kidnapped by faeries. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go read The Truth About Forever and stick my weird mind companions back where they belong. Bye for now!

Minna Potter
Her Crooked Shelf

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Library Is A Godsend and I Read A Lot

Mini Reviews: The Library Is A Literal Godsend and I’m Still Cool (Lies)

None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio: ★★★★☆
I can’t help but feel I literally flew through this book. I sat at my desk and I read it in less than three hours and I barely paused. This book is about a teenage girl who finds out she is intersex, and her story is ultimately heartbreaking and hopeful. Also, it serves as a good teaching device. I learned a lot about intersex people that I don’t think I would have known otherwise. I also felt like the characters were very well developed and I got to know a lot of different people, which was fantastic. However, the hatred from Krissy’s classmates and friends was absolutely devastating to read and I absolutely hate that there are people who can be so blind? Ugh. Moving on. I really appreciated the supportive staff, and I loved that Krissy was encouraged to see a therapist and reach out to others for help. One thing that I did not particularly like was the ending. It felt very forced and played a lot off of weak shock value. Overall, the book is very, very good.

The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins: ★★★★☆
This was a wonderfully well written story with an amazing plot and all these twists I never saw coming. The writing style was wonderfully original and unlike anything I have read before. Although it has a contraction with have in the title, I found this book to be a marvelously moving and wonderful read. My only issue? The whole idea that you can “flip someone straight.” I mean. It’s one line of dialogue, but it annoyed me to no end. Just.. no… not good… not okay… I’m okay with the semi-cheating thing (neither person said they and Ariel were exclusive) but the biphobia? No thanks. No thanks. But! I do appreciate that the main character is bisexual and that it ends with two very healthy f/f romances. If it hadn’t been for that one line of dialogue, this book would be a five star read. I also thought that the way Ellen Hopkins discussed abuse was very saddening but also realistic. The storyline was phenomenal, and now I need to take Maya McCabe away from Hopkins so she can learn to treat my favourite characters nicely damnit.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman: ☆☆☆☆☆
This book! My last post is a hatred review of this disaster, so I won’t go into too much detail here. It was an absolute waste of hours and disappointing, especially when compared to Forman’s more powerful novels such as If I Stay. Please… never again… the mediocrity…. I will include a link to my ranting review here, so that you can fully ‘enjoy’ my anger. I have recently checked out one of Forman’s newer releases, I Was Here. I am hoping it’s good so I can actually enjoy an author who added a cello in her books. A professional cellist! (Book in question is If I Stay, you should read it if you have not.)

Night Of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor: ★★★☆☆
How to sum up this little book in one sentence? Cute but bland novella where I do not really care about the romance. I’m here for Zuzanna, damnit, can she have the personality I loved in Daughter of Smoke and Bone? The book in general feels like a huge departure from Taylor’s usual style of writing. It is written in first person and I! Just! Do! Not! Care! About! The! Romance! However, huge props for including a violin and a theatre. Now, if the whole book could be about the violin (not the violinist, the actual violin) it would be perfect. I did enjoy the creepy puppet bit and the reinforcement of Karou’s bond with Zuzanna. Also, the preview of the DOSAB comic book looks very, very cool. Although this is irrelevant and I should be focusing on the cake. There is cake appreciation and it is perfect. The scenery of Prague (I’m visiting Prague!) is absolutely beautiful and I loved the whole treasure hunt idea. The book was also filled with art which is absolutely perfect because the illustrations are gorgeous. I do wish Zuzanna and Mik had spoken earlier. Maybe I’m a clam. It’s okay.

The Darkest Part Of The Forest by Holly Black: ★★★★★
And here lies the part of the review where stuff starts getting real good. TDPOTF (I refuse to type that title again) is a splendid book of creepy and faeries (!) and magnificence and holy heck I loved it so much. I now need to read all the Holly Black because she’s an amazing writer. The description is so beautiful and the development of characters is absolutely iconic. I felt as though I’d stumbled into a tiny fairy town and I never wanted to leave. The story is absolutely enrapturing. It takes you in and it never lets you go until you’re gasping for breath and your heart is broken and now you’re crying in the dentist’s office and now you need a new dentist. I’m not speaking from personal experience haha what are you saying I’m sure this happens to everyone. Also the development of the fey world was unlike anything I have ever read and I thought that it was done so amazingly. The fairy prince stuff is all so well done and I just… Holly Black is gonna take over the world and I will be perfectly fine with that.

All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater: ★★★★★
This was an absolutely wonderful read chock full of magical realism plot and it was everything I expected from the Raven Cycle and didn’t get. (Don’t shoot I still love the series! It just wasn’t what I was expecting! Nothing to see here!) I adored how each character was introduced by things they want and were scared of. The whole story just had so many wonderful characters with unique motivations and dreams and hopes. I felt like I was viewing everything through the blurry eye of a shutter lens - and it was great. The plot moved quickly and every setting was beautifully described and with a perfectly unique viewpoint. I just really liked this book. It was good. Oh my god. I have lost all ability to use words in an interesting way. This book decided to come, rip my heart out of my chest, trample it to the ground, murder me, and then it decides to take my ability to talk? I’m filing a lawsuit. This is is illegal. 911 Maggie Stiefvater hath killed me.

Once And For All by Sarah Dessen: ★★★★★
I actually have a fun story to tell about this book! I was on the bus one morning and I was reading this book, and then I kept looking up to try and make sure that I didn’t miss my stop. And then what do I do? I stop checking. I missed my stop, the one after it, and the one after that one. I ended up at the subway station, where I found a friend (thank God) who convinced me to go on a bus where I had to walk forever to school instead of taking the goshdarn 95. I mean. No. But I did it. I even read on the weird bus. The power of Sarah Dessen, folks. I fell in love with the wedding settings and the cuteness and literally everything about the book. It might actually be my favourite Sarah Dessen book. I love her bunches. Also my heart got ripped to pieces like 47 times (cough Ethan cough) and then died sadly. I die a lot. How am I typing this blog post? HONEY I ROSE UP FROM THE DEAD I DO IT ALL THE TIME. Yep. I’ll see myself out. Bye.

Short For Chameleon by Vicki Grant: ★★★☆☆
I read this book because it was the last book that I didn’t read during Red Maple because no one in my school knows how to return books. Also I felt pretty bad during the Red Maple ceremony when the kid talking about this book sounded like a dead robot and it was very sad for us all. Unfortunately, this book is merely mediocre. I think the issue with this story is that it tries to tell too many stories. There is the story of Raylene, there is the story with Albertina, there is the story of Rent a Family. It’s just too many plotlines condensed into too little space to do proper justice to any of them. The story was also too plot driven to actually focus on any of the characters? Beyond physical descriptions, I don’t feel like I really got to know anyone and it was very sad. Maybe this story as it is could have worked if it was longer? Or if they had focused on just one point? Vicki Grant is very sweet and I like the concept, but I just don’t think the execution was particularly good. At all.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: ★★★☆☆
The title is a mouthful. Let’s just get that out of the way to start. Secondly, I watched the movie before the book and I feel like the movie was better. First and only time I will ever say that. The first half of the book was so slow and dry and I distinctly remember shouting at it to just pick up already. The second half of the book felt like it just revolved around ‘how can I use cheap gimmicks to pretend I’m a horror novel?’ (Real look into the author’s thought process, I’m telling you.) Also, the knowledge of the fact that all the horror gimmicks are super cheap and lame does not prevent one from being scared. I still have not read like ten pages in the book for fear of the creepy photos. COULD YOU NOT PUT THEM ALL IN THE BACK WITH A WARNING. I’M JUST SAYING. 3AM MINNA READING THIS BOOK WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE THAT. Quick point: I said “I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but I don’t like it.” several times while reading this book. It was as sad as it sounds.

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline: ★★★★☆
This book was nominated for a White Pine award, which is how I heard about it. (Quick point about White Pine: the host was telling these high school kids that they’re old enough to enjoy reading about sex and violence and I was mightily disturbed.) Another thing about this book is that it has so many awards on the cover it’s actually intimidating. But the story deserves the awards. It was powerful and eloquent and so, so important. Maybe the bone marrow/dreaming correlation is unlikely, but the world going to hell environmentally and people in power turning against marginalized groups? That sounds very realistic. The characters were very well developed, even if I didn’t understand the romance. (Unnecessary love is unnecessary. Also, I hate spelling necessary.) The plot was captivating…. No. It was not. Until the last 50 pages, there seemed to be no real immediate conflict present day. However, I did enjoy reading about the backstories about the different characters. Wab (I’m pretty sure that was her name) was my favourite character, and she didn’t deserve to go through what she did. No one does.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen: ★★★★☆
So after the emotional trauma that was The Marrow Thieves, I read a nice sweet Sarah Dessen book to balance it out. Honestly? This story is one of those nice, feel good contemporaries with a nice romance and good side characters who have distinguishing quirks that make me like them. I wolfed this book down like the romance it is. Every Dessen book has a season, and this is undeniably summer. You want to sit on a lounge chair, put your feet up, and read a good but not too serious YA novel? This Lullaby is that book. There were also strong female friendships between different girls and it was great. There were little things that made them stand out from each other; like Lisa’s sweet tooth or just Remy’s memories with them. Also, the protagonist’s mother is so so fantastically written and is such a well developed character I cry. All the amazing female characters. Oh and there were men. They were good too. The romance was very, very adorable and I loved it. The plot got a lil slow in the middle, but otherwise this book would have gotten a full five stars.

What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen: ★★★☆☆
It is breaking my poor old heart not to love a Sarah Dessen book okay? I have said her name too many times in this post. She’s not a person anymore. Onto other things. I loved the premise of this book. I loved everything restaurant wise and Opal. I did not love the last bits of the romance. Dave became weird and creepy and I didn’t like that. I loved the family relationships. I did not love the whole reinventing oneself storyline where different personas you go by are different people now. No. You’re one person, dammit. This is also an issue I had with Just One Day, so at least I’m consistent. Some of the prose was really great and I could get behind it. The monologue about 2am friends was remarkably adorable. Opal was the best. All bow down to the queen. However, Mclean felt like a cardboard cutout with personality issues. I did not like how she had to pretty much take care of her dad when he’s the parent. No. No. Never. I really wanted to love this book, but I just didn't. I tried to add that shrugging emoticon, but I could figure out what to do.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson: ★★★★☆
This was a fantastic book for the first seventeen chapters. I share the opinions of many others when I say that final twist was just there for shock value and didn’t make sense. Also, the return of the Basic Boy was unlikeable and sad. Now that I have gotten my two major qualms out of the way, I loved this book. I loved the different characters and the heartbreaking reality. The plot was superb and the way everything just generally went down made me so shocked that it was a debut. How? It was gripping, and important, and fantastic, and I just…. I need to read Monday’s Not Coming stat. Everything Mary has to go through is just…. Inhumane? Terrible? And it makes it worse when you realize that stuff like this does happen. It’s not getting swallowed by a dragon, it’s actual abuse in a system that exists and oppresses people to this day. I can’t. My heart hurts so much after reading this book, but I would still recommend it to anyone with a strong stomach. It’s an important story to read.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman: ★★★☆☆
This was Forman’s last chance with me after the travesty that was Just One Day, and she did not disappoint. The main plotline about a character who comes to terms with her friend’s suicide (not a spoiler, on the back cover) was devastating and well written. Harry Kang was a gift. The invading of the forum and the meeting up and wow what a book. The characters were all super well written and I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel. I especially loved the development of Tricia, specifically her relationship with Cody. I thought that was very well done and it added a lot to the novel. The only turn off was the romance. Just… why. Why. There was no need. Why does every YA novel have to have romance? 90% of the time, the story would be better without it. Call me a heartless Vulcan. It’s true. If y’all are gonna try to write romances, please write good romances that are relevant to the plot. Thanks.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (reread): ★★★★★
I keep checking this out of the library to read it again and at this point I should probably just buy the damn book. It’s so so cute! The plot is adorable and perfect, and the baking is so nice and original, and it’s honestly one of my favourite contemporaries of all time. The sister relationships are so nice and cute and I don’t usually read stories with positive sibling representations, so that was a plus. Actually, all the familial relationships in this book are so well done I can’t I love it. Also, Lara Jean Song Covey (is it Song first or Covey first?) is just the cutest and best character ever and I need the whole trilogy so I can keep it in my room and love it for the rest of time because I just love it so much. This mini review is gonna be short because I will inevitably check this book out from the library and read it again. READ THE LARA JEAN BOOKS WHILE I PLEAD FOR MORE.

In conclusion, I have no social life, just books. Have you read any of these books? Do you hate Just One Day as much as I and other normal people do? What’s your favourite genre? Do you place holds at the library or just take your chances? Alright. That’s all for today! See you later! Happy reading!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Just One Day: A Review

An Extremely Angry Review of Just One Day by Gayle Forman

RATING: ☆☆☆☆☆
SUMMARY: When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines. (courtesy of goodreads)

One of these days, I’m going to invent a time travel machine so I can go back and stop myself from ever picking this book off the library shelf. I am in a very small minority here, but let me just say: I. Hated. This. Book. So. Much. The best part of reading this was the Taylor Swift I listened to during it, and it was a struggle to read all 369 pages of absolute nonsense. In good conscience, I cannot even give this book one star due to the blatant slut shaming/girl hate, instalove, horrible writing, and a very homophobic bit. Yeah, so this book sucked. Why did I finish it? I couldn’t review it fairly if I didn’t finish the whole book. However, I would not recommend the book under any circumstances, and everything after this point is going to be a pretty angry and spiteful deconstruction of everything I hated about this book. There shall be spoilers.

In order to get a good grasp on my hatred for this book and my inability to find even one good thing about it, let’s read the notes I took while reading! This is the first time I have taken notes about a book, and it was because I would rather write them than focus on the disaster of a story.

  • Protagonist COMPLAINS about seeing fabulous European cities. (Also, there is no freaking McDonalds near the Spanish Steps and the ruins don’t smell like cat pee.)
  • All. The. Girl. Hate. Even towards a girl she knew for five minutes! The most positive thing said about a woman in the first 100 pages was the waitress brought us our food.
  • Idiotic stain/love metaphor.
  • Dual personality Allyson/Lulu? I wanted to smack the character - YOU’RE THE SAME DAMN PERSON MASQUERADING UNDER A DIFFERENT NAME.
  • Horrible writing. Ex. His smile unfurled like a sail. I could not figure out whether this meant his smile faded away or appeared. Turned out to be the latter. Go figure.
  • So much instalove.
  • Protagonist complains about vacation so much I may strangle her.
  • She is literally flattered by being called an accident! In what world?
  • Allyson is so freaking snobby. 
  • She complains about the Louvre now? COME ON.
  • I can’t convince my friends to give me $2 I sure as hell couldn’t convince a stranger to take me to Paris. I mean, I know it’s fiction, but… what?
  • Allyson is not Willem’s girlfriend, what he does with other girls is none of her business and somehow she makes it her business. 
  • Even the names are pretentious! Allyson and Willem instead of Allison/Alison and William. I mean… I can sort of understand Willem (it’s Dutch, Willem’s ethnicity in the book) but Allyson?
  • The accident motif isn’t working. (And, dear 150-pages-in-Minna, it will never work. Right after Willem leaves, when the motif would start working, it is never brought up again.)
  • She complains about her goddamn golden watch. What. The. Hell.
  • Italicizing a word in every sentence this character (Kali) says doesn’t give her a unique voice. It makes her painful to read. Also, it’s obvious she’s not well developed.
  • Allyson freaks out when her friend says she’s going out with girls. She basically says she should have realized because of her friend’s “hairy armpits, nose ring, and new haircut.” That is so incredibly stereotypical and wrong I’m done. Homophobia.
  • Allyson also describes the way a friend talks as “sassy gay sidekick!” Stereotypical and rude. This is at the top of page 208, the moment I realized I wanted to rip every page in this book into 40000 pieces. 
  • No one becomes that decent at French in two months. We never see Allyson practice or anything, and it’s very unrealistic. Yes! It’s fiction! But it’s set in the real world.
  • She expects a city barely mentioned in her guidebook to be tiny (which I understand,) ugly (which I don’t), or industrial (which I still don’t understand.)
  • Allyson Healey spends one whole year of her life looking for a guy she spent one day with. She spends so much money and so much time… for what? The only reasonable explanation is that she wants her watch back, but that doesn’t end up mattering. I cannot believe the level of idiocy here. YOU CANNOT FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE AFTER ONE DAMN DAY. LOVE TAKES TIME. 

Therein ends my angry rambling notes taken during Just One Day! God, this was so annoying. I need to figure out where I’m going with this review. Just writing it is making me angry. I don’t think I have ever hated a book like this. Wouldn’t recommend, don’t subject yourself to this ever. Anyway, I’m gonna go eat some cake and wonder what happened to Gayle Forman after she wrote Where She Went.

Interview with the one and only... CG DREWS!

Guess what I have for today's post! You guessed it (or I can't shut up because I'm TOO EXCITED) an interview with the one an...