Books

When to Eat a Friend

Honor Lost

Honor Lost

I really appreciated this series diversity of relationships and delving into proper use of gender pronouns. But if I ever get violently overtaken by an alien parasite which attaches itself to my brain and brutally, horrifically changes by mind and body and my friend almost immediately starts combining names like were some celebrity couple…

I’m going to eat the bitch.

Continue reading “When to Eat a Friend”

Books

An Enchanting Spring Read

Enchantee

Enchantée

By: Gita Trelease

Paris. Versailles. Love. Magic. Hot air ballon and handsome inventors. The French Revolution. Marie Antionette (well, a cameo) and the crazy parties of the aristocracy while the world burned.

Even the cover of this book screams, “Read me in the Spring!”

Continue reading “An Enchanting Spring Read”

Books

Space Les Mis: Sky Without Stars

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Sky Without Stars

By: Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell

Released on: March 26th

This book is being described as Les Mis meets the Lunar Chronicles so naturally I had to read this immediately! When there was a chance to do a Fantastic Flying Book Club tour I jumped at the opportunity. Many thanks to them and the publisher for providing the arc.

Continue reading “Space Les Mis: Sky Without Stars”

Books

Reading Down Memory Lane

Paperback Crush

Paperback Crush

By: Gabrielle Moss

Feeling a little nostalgic for non-fiction November I decided to read Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of 80’s and 90’s Teen Fiction and wound up having quiet the little trip down memory lane. This is actually one of two books I’ve read that said Jessica Wakefield (my fav from Sweet Valley High) was a sociopath.

Honestly it doesn’t surprise me a bit.

Continue reading “Reading Down Memory Lane”
Books

Carpe Noctem

Neverworld Wake

Neverworld Wake

By: Marisha Pessl

Grade: A+

“Look around. It’s almost gone. 

If only someone had told me that before. About life. If only I had understood.”

When I first read the synopsis for Pessl’s first YA novel about a girl and her friends who wind up in a purgatory like place and have to vote to see which single one gets to live it shot to one of my most anticipated of the year. It just sounded like something up my alley and like something that Pessl could knock out of the park and needless to say I definitely think she did!

Continue reading “Carpe Noctem”

Books

The Serpent King

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The Serpent King

Author: Jeff Zentner

Genre: YA

Grade: B+

Dill, Lydia and Travis are all small town kids and high school outcasts (for a variety of reasons) who are either dreaming of bigger lives or feeling that they’re stuck in the lives their parents and families made for them. Not great ones at that.

This book honestly made me cry harder than a lot of things recently. But I also think people’s mileage will vary on The Serpent King based on what they feel is emotionally manipulative. I was going along reading this and thinking it was a great character piece but not a lot of plot. Will Travis get away from an abusive parent? Will Dill escape his parents and go to college? Will Lydia…?

Well, Lydia was a great character a whip-smart and ambitious blogger but compared to the other two her parents and family life were almost crazy. I mean I honestly felt like it had gone Disney whenever Lydia’s parents were around.

Then the gut punch. I’m not going to give away spoilers. Like I said I cried like crazy. All the feels and all that but then the book kept going and going and I started to think… Could we have gotten to this place without what happened? Probably. Again, I don’t want to get to into it and give anything away. It worked in the book.

The book is well written from a character perspective but I have to admit it felt drawn out at times and left some interesting threads going nowhere (Dill’s family history for one). Yet the friendship between the kids, especially Dill and Travis, is really enjoyable and I loved the cute little side bit about Travis waiting for his beloved fantasy novel series to finish. (I totally take that as a Song of Ice and Fire reference in which case it probably never will.)

Bonus points for a particular response to a personal question on Lydia’s blog that I see people getting a lot. It was golden.

Recommend: Yes. I know I sound a little down on this book but for a debut novel there’s a lot of potential here and the characters are exceedingly well-drawn. So if it sounds like it interests you at all it’s definitely worth the read.

 

Books

The Great Hunt

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The Great Hunt

Author: Wendy Higgins

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Grade: B

A lot of the time when reading a book like this I get the feeling the young characters are confusing lust with true love. That was strong in this one. I mean their bodies were responding pretty much from the first minute yet I just wanted to say, “You guys sleep together yes, but true love and marriage…

I just don’t know about that.”

A horrible beast is killing the men of the Kingdom of Lochlanach. Seemingly unstoppable the King decides to stage a hunt and offer the hand of his eldest child and heir Princess Aerity. Local brothers Paxton and Tiern are among the many to throw their hand into the ring though Paxton is not the least bit interested in marrying the girl.

I feel like my problems with this story are somewhat nitpicking so I’ll start with the good. The story itself has a lot of potential I liked the way the hunters and the hunt is set up. The author does a good job of giving some life to the men (and a wonderful tribe of women hunters) and does a good job of weaving in the history of the Kingdom and the other Kingdoms that are playing a big part in this. All the while keeping the action on the hunts frightening and tense.

So yes, important parts good. Potential.

So what bugged me?

Well Aerity herself never really took off for me. Nor did her family (specifically her younger sister and her grieving cousin). It really is another romance that starts off with the guy being a jerk and the girl being like, “Oh, he’s interesting. I’m so drawn to him!” That gets better as the story goes along but still. Though I did like that not all the participants were wildly in love with Aerity.

I was still going back and forth with her by the end as well. She’s really fairly careless which in some sense made her more human but then the end… I don’t want to give away spoilers but honestly so much of it felt so obvious! The poor redshirt guard who had to protect her! Plus there’s this thing with her sister if that isn’t set up for the plot in the next book I’ll almost be disappointed!

There’s a lot of interesting good characters here but I just felt like with the writing they were falling back into the read it, been there, done it category. I actually wanted better for Pax, Tiern and the other hunters.

Recommend: Wait to be completed. I won’t like unlike some I’m intrigued enough by the secondary characters and the little moments to keep reading. But this one that could go either way. Pull off a good ending and I could see all my problems with the first book disappearing and really loving the whole thing. Yet I can also see far too many ways that doesn’t happen. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Movies

The 5th Wave Film

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The Fifth Wave

Genre: YA/Sci-Fi/ Book Adaptation…

Grade: C

 The aliens have arrived and attack us in a series of waves including taking the power, spreading disease, and mass destruction without ever being seen. The 5th Wave based on the book by Rick Yancey (that I very much enjoyed) tells the story of Cassie, a teenage survivor desperately trying to reunite with her brother Sam. As well as the children with Sam co-opted by the military to fight the invaders for the next wave.

 Like I said I really enjoyed the book but the movie was… average. It starts out pretty well in a lot of ways. The CGI isn’t bad. The alien attacks are horrible because they leave the humans with absolutely no ability to fight back. Chloe Moretz does a good job as Cassie and Liev Schreiber is really good as Vosch, the head military man. There were a couple of good emotional moments thrown in as well like when she can’t catch up to Sam as he’s taken away.

 I also thought the movie did a fairly good job of not telegraphing the twists- spoilers for which I won’t give away.

 It’s really the second part of the movie where it fell apart for me. I liked Evan in the books but it seemed like all the meat from his relationship with Cassie (and his character) was gone. There was very little there from the time he appeared and it felt boring. I hate to say it to but Alex Roe (Evan) was not that good. Maybe it wasn’t him because they stripped a lot from Ben (Cassie’s former crush and current military recruit) as well but I thought that actor still did a good job.

 Seriously, there’s a scene where she watches Evan bathing in a river and it just felt odd because there was nothing behind that relationship to me. It didn’t do much to help Cassie’s characterization either.

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 The second big thing was that the revelations in the movie happen so fast that I felt like they fell flat. I don’t want to get into spoilers but it just didn’t seem to have the weight that it needed. I was like, “Um, okay?”

 Lastly, and this could be nitpicking, I don’t remember if all the stuff on the military base was as unbelievable in the book as it was in the movie. It all felt way, way to easy for the heroes. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that at one point Cassie is rushing through a crowd, wearing a completely different uniform and making a scene while in wide shots you can see guards on the outside of the crowd and no one seems to see her or stop her.

 I gave the movie bonus points for a scene where Cassie is scavenging and grabs some tampons because hey, even in an alien invasion you still need the necessities. But then again a friend pointed out how she always seemed to have killer hair products and seriously, even after she had been injured her hair was still on point. So maybe that’s a wash.

 Recommend: Wait to Rent.

 

Books

This May Sound Crazy

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This May Sound Crazy

Author: Abigail Breslin

Genre: Real People

Grade: —

It’s pretty much the case with me whenever I read or see something scary I have to immediately find something that’s light and fluffy in order to get over the trauma. I like Abigail Breslin. I’m enjoying her on Scream Queens and I like a good celebrity book as much as the next person so I figured… What the hay?

I’m not actually going to rate this book because I don’t think that would be fair. Because honestly this book was not meant for me. I’m not usually the type of person who says that. I think you should try to read any book you want to and make your own decisions.

Yep, this book was just too young. (And I don’t consider myself that old my a long stretch.)

This May Sound Crazy is pretty much like a stream of consciousness blog style ramble complete with hashtags and emoji’s. There was also a little bit of a personal thing that set me off early. Cuz. Cuz. Everything is cuz. I know people say it. I know people probably say it a lot and I swear if it was just once or twice I may have been able to overlook it in the writing but it was constantly cuz. The constant cuz along with the hashtags and the use of the emoji was just too much. Fine for a blog post, I suppose, for a whole book gets on your nerves.

On top of that the book is mostly break-up and relationship advice. I’ve heard it all before. Honestly, probably everyone’s heard it all before. Not to mention a lot of it was like I was dating this boy, but then we broke up and my best friend hooked up with him, and how do I tell me other best friend that her boyfriend is cheating on her.

I didn’t like this kind of stuff when I was that age.

It wasn’t all a waste. She has a couple of poems throughout that are pretty good and I enjoyed Breslin’s way of getting pep talks from celebrities but this book was so not for me. To be fair and honest I don’t think it was supposed to be.

Recommend: No. Unless you are a huge fan of the actresses or are maybe considering purchasing it for a young person having romantic troubles for the first time.

Books

Vengeance Road

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Vengeance Road

Author: Erin Bowman

Genre: YA/Western

Grade: A

Come for the cover stay for the story!

Kate is on the vengeance road out for blood after the Rose Riders string up her father. She chases them down come hell or high water and is totally willing to pay the ultimate price because she feels she has nothing left to live for. Will and Jesse, who join up with her chasing the gold map the Rose Riders stole from her father are less enthused and Lil the Apache guide is trying to get her to see her better self before a showdown no one thinks she can win.

Westerns are one of those things I can take or leave but it had been so long since I’d read or watched a good one I was excited for this and it didn’t let me down. I liked all the characters. The Rose Riders, when they were front and center were suitably awful. The descriptions of some of the show downs and the area over all are well-done and really made me feel like I was traipsing through the desert and the canyon with them.

I wasn’t overly thrilled with one twist concerning Kate’s family at the end but it wasn’t really enough for me to grade the book down.

Yes, I’m fan casting this. Mostly it was just nice to read about someone who wasn’t royal and didn’t have special problems. I liked to that Kate could be hurt in this. She wasn’t infallible and as a matter of fact prepare yourselves because like all the best westerns no one gets out of this without some serious scars both mental and physical.

Recommend: Yes. Westerns are always an iffy genre but I thought Bowman really wrote this story well and it was nice to read something of a different flavor.

Weirdly I seem incapable of spelling vengeance without a spell checker even when it’s right there in front of me.