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!

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