Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jamie Reviews Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer



Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Published: September 2014 - Penguin
How I Got This Book: BEA
Why I Read This Book: I knew it was related to The Bell Jar & Sylvia Plath's work which I LOVE.
Rating: 3 stars..maybe 3.5 stars.

Add it to your to-be-read-list! // Buy it! 









I talked more personally about this book on my blog, The Perpetual Page-Turner, and how The Bell Jar was important to me and about how this kind of took me back to a time in my life that was hard. So if you want to read THAT...go here! But I wanted to actually let you know more what I thought about it here!

What I Liked:

1. The plot -- it was super interesting! A girl whose boyfriend dies and she isn't handling it well at all gets sent to a special school with other kids who have some issues and needs therapy. She gets put into this mysterious English class that is super hard to get into and nobody even KNOWS how you get picked to be in it. They study the works of Sylvia Plath the whole semester and are given a journal they HAVE to write in. And what happens with the journal I'm not telling you! I was VERY much engaged and interested!

2. So quoteable: I can't tell you how many dog-ears I made with just really great lines or passages. The writing was pretty solid and it was very thought-provoking!

3. I thought I had this book's number but NOPE -- I thought I knew the trajectory of the story pretty much and let me tell you...it took me for a bit of a ride. I didn't see something coming and how it was revealed and built-up to was SMART.

4. Some of the characters and their stories were intriguing!  I really liked our main character and some of the friends she made. I LOVED how their group came together and supported each other. I wish we would have seen a LITTLE more of the teacher because she intrigued me a whole lot.


What I Didn't Like:

1. The pacing wasn't consistent -- there were times I was racing to read this and there were other times it just was DRAGGING and DRAGGING. Too much in some places, not enough in others.

2. Way too "this is the message/lesson" -- This was a really thought-provoking novel! However, it felt almost as the author didn't quite trust the reader to glean some of the important things out of it. At the end it was super THIS IS THE MESSAGE and I felt like it was dumping it all out there to make sure I got it. Which I did.

3. Sometimes I felt we were being TOLD stuff rather than shown --  There were certain areas where I think I was supposed to feel more but instead I felt like it was just being told to me and I was like okay so this is happening. Like instead of FEELING changed attitudes and hearts..I was just told that there were changes.



Overall, Belzhar was enjoyable and engaging. It wasn't always consistent but at its highs it was GREAT. It felt unique and I loved how thought-provoking it was. In certain ways I think this could have been better but I did like it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ten Authors We've Only Read One Book From & NEED To Read More!

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

 

Jamie says:

 1. Leila Sales -- I LOVED This Song Will Save Your Life and have yet to read her backlist which FOR SHAME, self!

2. Nina LaCour -- I read Everything Leads To You this year and I SERIOUSLY need to check out her other books!!




Jana says:


3.  Kiera Cass -- I enjoyed The Selection quite a bit, and now I need to get myself to read the others in the series!

4. Maria V. Snyder -- I loved Poison Study, but never finished the series or read any of her others! I've heard such great things about them, so I really need to get on that.


Lori says:


5.  F. Scott Fitzgerald -- The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels.  I own most of his other stuff and have even started reading a couple, but just haven't finished any.

6.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- Technically I've read two novel by him, but he had such a large list of novels, novellas, and stories to his name that I need to read more.


Daisy says:


7. Guy Gavriel Kay -- I LOVED Tigana, it was epic and beautiful and I really need to read more by Guy Gavriel Kay to see if it's just as awesome.

8. Jessi Kirby -- Golden was such an unexpected love for me and I can't wait to see what else she can do!

9. Tahereh Mafi -- I can't believe I've only read Shatter Me! I do own the other two books in the series, so I'll be sure to remedy this!

10. Veronica Rossi -- Same goes for Veronica Rossi, I ADORED Under the Never Sky and PERRY! And I can't believe I haven't read the other books in the series!


If you've read any of these authors let us know what books we should read next of theirs!!








Monday, September 15, 2014

Daisy's Mini-Review of Hexed by Michelle Krys


Title/Author: Hexed (The Witch Hunter #1) by Michelle Krys
Publisher/Date published: Delacorte Press, June 10th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

So, to be honest, I kinda had to skim through the book again before writing this review, because it's been about 3 months since I read it and aside from knowing that I was kinda bored by it, I was drawing a bit of a blank. Which is not a good sign on itself.
Which is why this review will be short and maybe not really sweet, but oh well.

Basically, I really didn't connect to Indigo, she's shallow and kind of a pushover and just not my kind of girl at all. Also, she has this weird frenemy thing going on with her 'best friend' Bianca, who is most definitely not a nice girl. Indigo seemed more interested in climbing the social ladder and her date than anything and it was a bit annoying. And ugh, here boyfriend is a douche and the new love interest isn't much better, he's got this snobby doucheness going on that really rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, this is what he says to her:
“Just don’t do that anymore,” he says, gesturing to my tear-tracked face. “It’s terribly unattractive, and I do hate to be seen with unattractive girls. Bad for the reputation, you know?"

Just ugh.

It was pretty fast-paced and a lot seemed to happen, but for a book about witches, there's not a lot of witchcraft going on and I like my witchcraft in your face over the top there, but that's just a personal preference. The main problem I had with Hexed is that I wasn't invested in the story, I didn't really care about what happened to Indigo and the only character I liked was Paige, cause she seemed to be the only one who possessed a bit of common sense. I was hoping for it to get better, but I was just a bit bored and it didn't get past the 'meh' point for me.

My rating: 2 stars

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 8/31 - 9/13

Daisy's Book Haul



Because I have to get up today at (what feels like) the crack of dawn to leave for my mom's to celebrate her birthday, I'm leaving you with this picture and am failing to include the links and all my feels because I just don't have the time. (Well, except for a shout out to Heir of Fire because I LOVED IT!!! SO MANY FEELINGS! Review has gone up on my personal blog already) (It's more fangirling than a review to be honest)

This book haul was brought to you by my wallet and Debby who is a good friend and handed me Mortal Danger after she read it herself :)

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How September 11th affected books


I was in the middle of another review when I realized what day this review would be posted on. September 11th. Anywhere you go there are reminders. Online. Newspapers. Fliers in the mail. That got me thinking, what else has been affected? I sat looking at my book shelves for a while, then I realized how much even books have changed. The first example that came to mind was one of my favorite book series, “So You Want To Be A Wizard”. The series recently was updated and republished. (The first book was published over 20 years ago, but only a few years pass from the first book to the most recent). In the original version the main character is on a train in NYC and makes a comment about the World Trade Center, and how many people are in the building and in Manhattan itself. In the new version she instead comments on the hole in the New York skyline.



Other books that have been published since that take place in NYC take more time to mention Ground Zero. Depending on when it was written it'll talk about the clean up, others talk about the construction of the new World Trade Center.



Of course the other change is that of the reader. It's always something of a shock when you come across a book that casually mentions the twin towers, you remember again what is missing.



What about you? Have you noticed changes in books you've read? Tell me about it in the comments!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Julia Reviews Evernight by Kristen Callihan

Title/Author: Evernight by Kristen Callihan
Publisher/Year Published: August 2014 by Forever
How I got this book: I was provided with a Netgalley book in return for an honest review
Why I read this book: I really love this series. 
Rating: 5 stars

The Darkest London series is one of my favorite series out there. It’s got everything: steampunk, romance, paranormal, an overarching plot, and characters that practically leap off the page and into my imagination. The latest book in this series, Evernight, is no exception.

Evernight picks up a year after the events of Shadowdance. Our lead characters, Holly Evernight and William Thorne, both had things happen to them in Shadowdance that effect their actions in the book greatly. So that said, I wouldn’t recommend jumping into this series with this book. And since I love this series so much and want people to read it without being spoiled, I am going to be vague about the particulars. So let's just take a peek at the characters.

First we have Holly, the intelligent inventor working with the supernatural agency in London. She creates some wickedly awesome inventions. We've seen her pop up in the series before, notably in the last book where she was forced to use her mechanical brain for evil. That whole ordeal has affected her and it carries over into this book in what I think is a realistic portal of how someone could react to traumatic events. She is very literal and speaks her mind without a second thought, a good a bad thing. She meets up with William Thorne when he tries to kill her.

Thorne is a demon known for their savoring of lust and life (and blood). He is the complete opposite of Holly: very devil-may-care, sarcastic and has worked for the enemy. They are stuck together because his heart is metal and causing an adverse reaction with the rest of his body. Holly can control metal and thus can help him keep things under control. She reluctantly pairs up with him so he can help figure out who is trying to kill her. It's a mutual trade that turns into something more.

They mix just as well as oil and water, and it is entirely believable and awesome. I love opposites attract stories. The plot is super interesting and expands on the story that is currently unfolding with this series. But like I said I don’t want to talk too much about that. Take it from me. If you are reading this series, the story just sucks you in and picks you up right where you left off with it.

One thing that I think Ms. Callihan does well is keeping her characters consistent. Frequently in series that I read, secondary characters become the heroes in their own stories. I've seen it happen so many times where a lovable secondary character that you are super excited is getting their own book, completely changes characterization when becoming the hero or heroine. It annoys the hell out of me. This series does not do this at all. Everything is consistent and I love it! The character's are still the ones you know and love (or hate) but you just get to see more of them and more of why they are the way they are. You don't backtrack on their characterization either. Things build. In my mind, this is what marks this as a great series. The characters just blossom in my mind.

One downside though is keeping track of the overall plot across books as well as of the supernaturals, their powers, who runs them, etc. It gets a little frustrating at times when I can’t remember something that I know I've read somewhere. It’d be nice if there was an online reference or something to just boost my memory.

Overall though, I really like this series, and Evernight is a wonderful continuation. It doesn't stand alone though so I would recommend starting at the beginning instead (or maybe at least reading Winterblaze and Shadowdance). The characters are wonderful, their chemistry is amazing and hot, and it’s a book that is easy to lose yourself in.

I've reviewed this whole series: Firelight, Moonglow, Winterblaze, and Shadowdance

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top Ten Underrated Contemporary YA Books



For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!


I (Jamie) consider myself to be pretty decently well read in the contemporary YA genre and I wanted to talk about some books that I think are SUPER underrated in the genre!




1. If I Lie by Corrine Jackson: OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK. Slim little thing but I SOBBED my eyes out. I raved about it like crazy after I finished because WHY HAVE MORE PEOPLE NOT READ IT?!

2. Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian: This is a book I want every teenage girl to read -- it discusses sexuality and slut-shaming and I just really saw a lot of my high school experience in this book in terms of trying to reconcile "what kind of girl I am" and what that REALLY means.

3. Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert: This book is SO under the radar! Very gritty and raw! Set near Chicago, a girl who left her hometown and never came back is actually back and she has to confront the memories of her teen years which were filled with rock music and drugs.

4. I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg-Sloan: This book was beautiful and heartbreaking and so, so cinematic. It makes me sad it isn't more well known!


5. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton: This book tells the story about a girl and the aftermath of a rape. Resilience and emotion just pour out of these pages!



6. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland: This one is super popular in the book blogging world but I am so surprised that it's not more popular outside of this space!! Good beach read with emotional depth.

7. How To Say Goodbye In Robot by Natalie Standiford: GOD I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. It's quirky and definitely different but OH MY LORD MY EMOTIONS.

8. When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney: I feel like this book got lost in the shuffle or something. Daisy Whitney really wrote a beautiful book here!

9. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez: I was drawn to this book because of the cover to be honest but it ended up being an AWESOME book that didn't get nearly enough attention when it was published!

10. Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian: That title caught your attention yeah? It did mine plus some rave reviews. I really liked this book -- very character driven and very, very underrated!


What are some underrated books in the contemporary YA genre that you think I would like?? Have you read any of these?








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