Mini Reviews | March 2016 Edition

Yes, I do realize that it is no longer March. But I was hoping to do some sort of round-up of all the books I didn’t get to review in March….so I’m doing mini reviews! Grab your beverages and get cozy, guys, because this is going to be a long post.


11588.jpgThe Shining by Stephen King

This book took me a while to get through, because, you know…..I’m not that experienced with Adult books. I did love it though! I had extremely high expectations for this one because Stephen King is considered to be one of the greatest writers of modern times, and I was certainly not let down. The only thing I wasn’t really expecting – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I don’t like to get too freaked out – is that it didn’t scare me as much as I expected it to. I’m not saying that I didn’t get scared at all, because I did. I’m just saying that although I was pretty scared while reading this book, it didn’t have much of an effect on me after I finished it. I think it’s just one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” situations.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


22205.jpg This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

I had pretty mixed feelings about this one. I mean, it is Sarah Desssen, so it was extremely well-written and quite adorable. I guess I was just let down a little bit by the plot. I guess it felt a little slow to me for the first half of the book, so I didn’t get into it until much later on. Also, the main character, Remy, really bugged me with all her negativity and selfishness. The plot seemed pretty cliche with the whole “girl who doesn’t believe in love meets boy who changes her life” trope. It was a cute book, though, and while I didn’t necessarily like the characters individually, I loved them together.

Rating: 3/5 Stars


228965514.jpgNone of the Above by I. W. Gregario

None of the Above is an extremely important book, and I’m so, so glad I read it. It centers on a teenage girl, Kristin, who has to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about herself after being told she was intersex. Admittedly, this book did make me a bit uncomfortable, but not because of the subject matter at hand. The way people reacted to Kristin’s situation and completely betrayed her just broke my heart. The sad thing is that before reading this book I had no idea what it meant to be intersex – and that is one of the reasons this book is so necessary. Lovely writing, realistic and fleshed-out characters, and unique, important subject matter. Highly recommend!

Rating: 4/5 Stars


22489107.jpgFairest by Marissa Meyer

This one was okay. I mean, I guess it was kind of interesting to learn about Levana’s background and how she became so evil and everything, but for the most part, I feel like it didn’t add much to the series. Readers that actually liked Levana’s character to begin with might enjoy this book, but I personally don’t see the appeal. Some parts felt more like a chore to get through than actually reading for pleasure.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars


6654313.jpg Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

I actually wrote a review on this book a few weeks ago, which you can view here. Basically, while the writing was still gorgeous and the story was somewhat enjoyable, I had some issues with the plot. By that, I mean: literally nothing happens throughout the course of the entire novel. Nothing. It was also pretty predictable, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the new characters that were introduced. Overall, a fast-paced, fun read, but I found it lacking in a few areas.

Rating: 3/5 Stars


12425532.jpgOf Poseidon by Anna Banks

I wasn’t a fan of this one at all! The premise sounded promising because I’ve hardly ever encountered any YA mermaid novels and I was in the mood for a good beach read, but unfortunately, it didn’t deliver. The writing style is what about 80% of my ratings are based off of, and I didn’t enjoy the writing style in this one at all. The sentences felt kind of choppy and contrived and there wasn’t much sentence variety, and it felt like the book was geared towards a much younger audience than “young adults.” I also had some serious issues with the characters, starting with Emma. Emma just seemed so whiny and naive, and she bugged me so much throughout the novel! Galen just seemed way too creepy and stalkerish and possesive for my taste. Insta-love is one of my least favorite romance tropes, and it was painfully present in this book. I could go on with all the things I didn’t like about this novel, but it’s supposed to be a “mini review,” so I’ll just stop right here….

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars


180442773.jpgThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Loved, loved, loved! The first 3/4 of the novel is really, really confusing, but the confusion is well worth it. This book centers on the lives of 3 teenage girls: Amber, Orianna, and Violet. It tells the stories of these super messed-up girls and the crimes they did or did not commit. The way Nova Ren Suma wove these stories together in such a beautiful, seamless way was honestly awe-inspiring. The lyrical writing was absolutely gorgeous – almost poetic. This book will seriously mess with your mind, and while I do admit that this book isn’t for everyone because of the dark subject matters at hand, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


 

13455498.jpgAnything But Ordinary by Lara Avery

I wrote a review on this one a few days ago, which you can view here. This book had lots of potential, but unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of the execution. I suppose the first half of the book was pretty enjoyable, but there were too many aspects in the latter half that left me rolling my eyes and wanting to throw the book across the room in frustration to overlook. The writing was okay, but nothing special. The characters were boring and felt pretty unrealistic. The plot was shockingly predictable, and the ending felt really cheap and unsatisfying. A quick, fast-paced read, but I definitely had some issues with it.

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars


 

16068341.jpgThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

For anyone who has ever been bullied, The Truth About Alice is an absolute must-read. This book explores the effects of an extreme case on the bullying spectrum in an incredibly honest and raw perspective. The book is in the POVs of four characters: Kelsie, Alice’s ex-best friend; Kurt, the boy next door; Elaine, who hosted the party and is the most popular girl at school; and Josh, the best friend of the boy who Alice supposedly “killed.” The writing was amazing and I loved how Mathieu used 4 unique perspectives to piece together what truly happened that night. The only issue I have with this book was the extremely stereotyped and cliche characters. These stereotypes included: “the nerd actually really likes Alice” and “the best friend betrays Alice to fit in with the popular crowd” etc., etc. This did get a bit annoying, but besides that, I didn’t have any issues.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


18806240.jpgBone Gap by Laura Ruby

This one was probably my favorite read of the month! I mean, I wasn’t MIND-BLOWN or anything, but I’m really, really glad I read it. The concept is so unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and it kept me on the edge my seat the whole time. I’ve read an embarrassingly small number of magical realism books, but of the ones I’ve read, this one certainly takes the cake. Oh, did I mention how incredibly unique and quirky and WEIRD the characters are?! I completely fell in love with all of them within the first few chapters. Also, the writing style is quite gorgeous.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


Gosh darn it, that took a long time to write. Still no 5-star reads for me this year, but I have had some solid 4-stars. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed! 🙂

Let’s chat: Which of the books on this list have you read? What did you think? What was your favorite book you read in March?

Advertisements

Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

6654313.jpg Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Published by Scholastic Press on June 13 2010

Page Count: 360

Genre(s): YA, fantasy, paranormal, romance

Format: Hardcover, library copy

Would I recommend? Um…I suppose so, if you’re a fan of the first book. I did have some issues with it, but the writing style is really beautiful and the story is still pretty enjoyable.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

the longing.

Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.

Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being a human.

the linger.

For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life a constant struggle between two forces–wolf and human–with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?

-Goodreads.com description

My Thoughts

“She made her home in between the pages of books.”

Linger was a book I had super high hopes for. I mean, how couldn’t I? I absolutely fell in love with Shiver last year, and I’ve been desperate to get my hands on the sequel ever since. I had read some pretty mixed reviews on Linger, but my expectations were still through the roof because of how Shiver left me. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed and underwhelmed.

Don’t get me wrong; Linger isn’t a bad book. I mean, I’m still convinced Maggie Stiefvater is an absolute genius and can do no wrong. Almost everything was there that I normally look for in a novel: a gorgeous writing style, fleshed-out and realistic characters, a unique concept, a slow-burn romance. Which pretty much leaves out one thing: the plot. Which, in my experience, is a pretty important part in a good novel. Some say that it’s the most important thing, which I agree with, after the writing style. This is the area that I found Linger to be a little lacking in.

Our story is introduced right where Shiver left off, except this time there’s a new character introduced: Cole. I wasn’t a huge fan of the new POVs that were added in (Cole and Isabel) in addition to Grace and Sam. Also, the book sometimes changed POVs in the middle of a chapter, which really bugged me. I definitely preferred Shiver‘s format and the way it changed POVs every chapter.

“This is a love story. I never knew there were so many kinds of love or that love could make people do so many different things.

I never knew there were so many different ways to say goodbye.”

Cole kind of bugged me for the majority of the novel, but he kind of grew on me by the very end of it. I guess my main problem with him was that he wasn’t relatable at all, and I couldn’t fathom anyone thinking about or doing some of the things he did. I suppose Stiefvater was going for some major character development, but frankly, I just found it annoying and unrealistic. I guess that’s why I ended up not hating him as much in the end: he seemed way more….well, human.

My main issue with this book was the plot. I’m just going to be outright with my opinion on this: throughout the entire 360 pages, literally nothing happens. Stiefvater uses romance as a convenient way to get the nearly nonexistent plot rolling. And trust me, I’m not saying that I’m against romance – I love myself a good slow-burn romance. I loved Sam and Grace’s romance in Shiver because they were just getting to know each other and they were so adorable together. I was looking forward to learning more about the world Stiefvater created and also to having some of my questions answered, but I was pretty let down in this aspect.

Another part of this book that kind of bugged me was the predictability of it all. We were literally told what was wrong with Grace within the first couple of chapters, and then we were expected to be shocked by it at the end after the “big reveal.” This aspect didn’t taint my enjoyment of the book too much because it isn’t one of the main things I look for in a book, but it is an area that I think Stiefvater could have improved on.

“And some days I just can’t live with that. But I do. Because that’s life, Cole. Life’s pain. You just have to get over as much of it as you can.”

Alrighty, enough with the negativity! I may have emphasized a little too much on my negative opinions on this book in the first part of my review, but honestly, 3 stars is still a pretty good rating. Although I did definitely have some things that bugged me, it was an enjoyable read overall. There were many parts of this book that I absolutely loved. Like, for instance, Cole and Isabel’s relationship. While I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of either of these characters individually, their relationship was quite adorable and pretty realistic. Also, Stiefvater’s writing style was as beautiful as ever. Her prose reads so smoothly and beautifully; it’s almost like poetry.

Similarly to Shiver, I also really appreciated Stiefvater’s unique take on the whole werewolf thing. I haven’t really read any werewolf books unless you count Twilight, but I really liked how she incorporated the paranormal aspect with her lyrical prose and her extremely character-driven plot, which isn’t something you see too much of it YA fantasy.

Final Thought

Overall, a solid and fairly entertaining read but not too memorable for me. I will definitely be finishing up the series, but my seemingly-endless TBR pile might fall over and squash me in my sleep before I ever get to that point – oops.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

 

Review: Outspoken by Lora Richardson

26567165Outspoken by Lora Richardson

Published by Createspace on August 18th 2015

Pages: 252

Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 3 stars

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

Penny Beck is a girl who says yes when she means no. She keeps to herself, follows the rules, and does what she’s told. After a disastrous experience with her boyfriend, she’s determined to change from the spineless person she’s always been into the strong woman she wants to become. All she needs is a little practice. On a cross-country trip to check on her grandpa, she strives to become bolder and more outspoken with the strangers she meets. Penny’s plan is to practice saying and doing what she wants without worrying about what anyone else thinks. Then she meets Archer, an introspective loner to whom she finds herself drawn. She realizes she does care what he thinks, very much. Will Penny be able to stick to her plan, or will she revert back to her people-pleasing ways?

-Goodreads.com description

Oh my goodness, it’s my first review request! *ecstatic happy dancing* I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was when I received this email. That being said, my opinions regarding this book are completely my own, as my reviews always are.

The Characters: I think Penny is someone we can all relate to one way or another, which is very important in a novel in my opinion. Penny was at a time in her life where she was very uncertain and hesitant when making decisions because the last big one she made was a huge mistake. She’s terrified of breaking the rules and affecting others with her actions, and I think a lot of people share this type of experience.

How would I describe Penny? Um….smiley. Friendly. A bit boring, otherwise. Though her character itself wasn’t that intriguing, her thoughts were very relatable and interesting, which I think is the most important thing.

I wasn’t too fond of Archer either; he just seemed a bland to me. While I didn’t like the characters by themselves, I did love their relationship with each other and how I got to see it blossom.

The Plot: Often I struggle with books that aren’t very fast-paced, but I didn’t get bored at any point during this novel. The pacing was great, maybe even a little fast, in my opinion. Though the romance itself developed fairly slowly, the characters’ feelings for each other were obvious from the start. I was okay with this because that’s often what happens in real life. However, I do believe the best and most interesting romances are those in which the characters gradually get to know and like each other, instead of just liking each other right from the start.

One of the problems I had with this book was the character development, or the lack of it. Judging from the Goodreads blurb, I was expecting the book to be about Penny’s growth and transformation, and not just about the romance. I really didn’t see many improvements or changes of her character throughout the book, so that’s what bothered me the most about this novel.

The Writing Style: I, personally, wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style, though I can see why other people would like it. It just seemed a little simplistic to me, and the dialogue felt a bit forced and unnatural. As I read, I had to refrain myself from marking up the text with added punctuation and vocabulary (Commas, commas, COMMAS!).

Final Thought: Though I did have some problems with this book, I definitely enjoyed it as a whole, and I would rate it 3 stars. If you’re looking for a fast-paced YA romance, Outspoken is the way to go!

Let’s talk! What were your thoughts on Outspoken? Let me know below! 🙂