ARC Book Review: Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel And The Pulse Of History

Mademoiselle CoverBook: Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel And The Pulse Of History by Rhonda Garelick

Expected Publication is September 30, 2014 by Random House|Expected Number Of Pages: 608

Where I Got It: from, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: None

Genre: Adult Non-fiction/Biography/Fashion

You can find Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel And The Pulse Of History on goodreads

Goodreads Summary: 

Certain lives are at once so exceptional, and yet so in step with their historical moments, that they illuminate cultural forces far beyond the scope of a single person. Such is the case with Coco Chanel, whose life offers one of the most fascinating tales of the twentieth century—throwing into dramatic relief an era of war, fashion, ardent nationalism, and earth-shaking change—here brilliantly treated, for the first time, with wide-ranging and incisive historical scrutiny.

Coco Chanel transformed forever the way women dressed. Her influence remains so pervasive that to this day we can see her afterimage a dozen times while just walking down a single street: in all the little black dresses, flat shoes, costume jewelry, cardigan sweaters, and tortoiseshell eyeglasses on women of every age and background. A bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume is sold every three seconds. Arguably, no other individual has had a deeper impact on the visual aesthetic of the world. But how did a poor orphan become a global icon of both luxury and everyday style? How did she develop such vast, undying influence? And what does our ongoing love of all things Chanel tell us about ourselves? These are the mysteries that Rhonda K. Garelick unravels in Mademoiselle.

Raised in rural poverty and orphaned early, the young Chanel supported herself as best she could. Then, as an uneducated nineteen-year-old café singer, she attracted the attention of a wealthy and powerful admirer and parlayed his support into her own hat design business. For the rest of Chanel’s life, the professional, personal, and political were interwoven; her lovers included diplomat Boy Capel; composer Igor Stravinsky; Romanov heir Grand Duke Dmitri; Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster; poet Pierre Reverdy; a Nazi officer; and several women as well. For all that, she was profoundly alone, her romantic life relentlessly plagued by abandonment and tragedy.

Chanel’s ambitions and accomplishments were unparalleled. Her hat shop evolved into a clothing empire. She became a noted theatrical and film costume designer, collaborating with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, and Luchino Visconti. The genius of Coco Chanel, Garelick shows, lay in the way she absorbed the zeitgeist, reflecting it back to the world in her designs and in what Garelick calls “wearable personality”—the irresistible and contagious style infused with both world history and Chanel’s nearly unbelievable life saga. By age forty, Chanel had become a multimillionaire and a household name, and her Chanel Corporation is still the highest-earning privately owned luxury goods manufacturer in the world.

In Mademoiselle, Garelick delivers the most probing, well-researched, and insightful biography to date on this seemingly familiar but endlessly surprising figure—a work that is truly both a heady intellectual study and a literary page-turner.

What I Thought:

When I saw this biography on netgalley, I was intrigued because I know the name, but not the person behind the name. Unfortunately, I didn’t like Mademoiselle as much as I thought.

It was very interesting to how she got into fashion, and what her early life was like.  It did get very repetitive at times- it was tiring to read that Chanel wanted to re-write her own life over and over and over.  Mademoiselle was very detailed and had a lot of information- too much information for me.  There were times when I skimmed the book (mostly at the end of the book), just because I couldn’t take in any more details.  For me, there was so much detail that nothing really stood out to me. Sometimes it felt like names and events were thrown at me.  And it felt much more like we got all of the different people and events that had an influence on Chanel personally and professionally, and not a lot about Chanel.  I know that they all had a big impact on her life, but I wish I walked away with a better sense of Chanel.

I did like that there were photos and quotes from Chanel herself scattered throughout the book.  It made Chanel much more real to see her own words throughout the book.  It also seemed like a very objective look at Chanel’s life, but as a result, it seemed a little dry, and I would have liked the little something extra that seemed missing.  I do think anyone who’s curious about Chanel and anyone who’s into fashion will like this book.

Let’s Rate It:

Mademoiselle got a little too detailed and was a little too repetitive at times, which made it okay for me.  It’s still an interesting look at the person who started this huge and iconic company.  Mademoiselle gets 2 stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I Need To Read More Of

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Authors I’ve Read One Book From And Need To Read More Of

I have a tendency to read every book an author has written, so it was quite the challenge to come up with 10 authors I’ve only read one book from!  But, there are some authors who I really need to read more of, so here are my 10 authors!

  1. Jennifer Echols.  I’ve only read Such A Rush, and I LOVED it, so I have no idea why I haven’t read her other books yet.
  2. Jennifer E. Smith.  I loved Statistical Probability Of First Sight, and yet, I have yet to read her other books.
  3. Emma Raveling.  I read Whirl, the first book in her Ondine series ages ago, but for some crazy and unknown reason, I haven’t finished the series yet.
  4. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of Splintered series by A.G. Howard.
  5. I’ve read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, but I’m terrified to read her other books- especially Eleanor & Park- because I feel like I won’t like them the way I loved Fangirl.
  6. Makiia Lucier.  A Death-Struck Year is one of my favorites so far, and I really want another book by Lucier to come out soon!
  7. I’m really looking forward to reading more books by Abbi Glines.  Why have I not read her other books?
  8. After reading Me Since You, I’ve decided that I need to read more Laura Wiess.
  9. And I feel the same way about Leila Sales after reading This Song Will Save Your Life.
  10. Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara is another favorite, and I really want her to come out with another book, because I know it’ll be just as awesome as Lovely, Dark and Deep.

Gilmore Girls 3×19: Keg! Max!

Keg! Max! originally aired April 29, 2003.  This episode was written by Daniel Palladino and was directed by Chris Long.

Gilmore Girls Season 3 Graphic

This episode opens with Rory and Lorelei not knowing what to do on a Friday night now that they’re not going to Friday night dinner.  They’re having trouble remembering what they did on Friday nights, because they’ve gone to Richard and Emily’s for so long.

Lorelei gets a letter from Chilton, saying that Rory’s time there is coming to an end, and so is Lorelei’s.  Lorelei decides to help out the Booster Club one more time.  Jess agrees to go to the Stars Hollow High Prom with Rory, and Lane and her band are practicing for a gig at a party.  Lorelei has to keep laying people off at the inn, until it’s all repaired, and Lorelei offers to have Nicole stay in one of the few open rooms since he can’t meet them for breakfast over the weekend.

The booster club organized grad night on a yacht, and Lorelei was voted in as treasurer.  Max comes in as the faculty advisor for that meeting, and acts like everything is fine between him and Lorelei.  In a conversation with Sookie, Lorelei says that he treated her like the other parents, and even though she’s still seeing Alex, she’s not sure where Max stands, which seems to imply that she might want to get together with Max.

Jess tries to get prom tickets, but finds out he can’t, since he’s missed so much school he’s not able to graduate- meaning Jess will have to repeat his senior year.

At the party, we find out Young-Chu is still pretending to be Lane’s boyfriend, and that he’s at the party because he has nowhere else to go.  Dave wants to know when Lane is going to end things with Young-Chu, and isn’t happy that Young-Chu has feelings for Lane.  She’ll make prom happen for them somehow.  Jess wants to leave after the band plays a set, but Rory wants to stay, and ends up promising that they’ll go after the band is done playing for the night.

Jess and Rory run into Dean and Lindsay, and Lindsay recognizes him as the kid who used to go to their school.  Lane sees that Young-Chu is still at the party, and starts drinking some beer that someone’s cousin brought over.

Rory looks for Jess at the party, and finds him in one of the bedrooms upstairs.  They start making out, and Jess wants to go further but Rory doesn’t, and he ends up getting mad because he didn’t invite her up there.  Rory leaves the room upset and crying, not sure of what she did wrong, but Jess seems to realize that he did something wrong and goes after.  Rory goes by Dean, who notices that she’s upset, and Jess notices Dean asking Rory if she’s okay.  Dean and Jess (not surprisingly) end up getting into a fight.

Meanwhile, Lane calls her mom (drunk) and starts telling her mom that she likes Dave and wants to go to prom with him, amongst other things.  Dave overhears part of Lane’s call and hangs up the phone for her.

While the party is going on, Lorelei is at another Booster club meeting, where Max is not there as the faculty advisor.  She ends up finding him in his classroom, and he doesn’t want to see Lorelei again, because he can’t trust himself around her. And if he weren’t back at Chilton, he’d be seeing someone he met in California, so things are officially, officially over between them.

The episode ends with the cops showing up at the party, and Jess leaving.

What I Thought:

Honestly?  This is one of the episodes where I don’t understand why people love Jess and Rory together so much.  I know that Jess is a smart guy who’s into music and reading the way Rory is into music and reading, but Jess can be such an ass sometimes.

I know that we know he’s acting like a complete jerk because he can’t get prom tickets because he ditched so much school, and that Rory doesn’t know that Jess couldn’t get prom tickets, but still, I was really angry with Jess!  It’s totally not fair that he took it out on Rory.  At least he seemed to realize that he did something wrong…until he saw Dean trying to figure out what was going on with an upset Rory, and got into a fight with Dean about it.

I get why Rory wants to go to the Stars Hollow High prom, but it still seems a little weird to me.  Maybe because I was not the least bit interested in going to my own prom.

As for Lorelei and Max, it seemed like Lorelei was maybe interested in getting back together with Max. Maybe she wasn’t ready to get married before, but I honestly don’t get this story line at all, because her interest in him seems a little too random.  And I completely forgot about Alex- he was never mentioned after whatever episode he was last in, so it was quite the surprise that Lorelei was still kind of seeing him.  Maybe I assumed they broke up, because Lorelei doesn’t have the best of luck with guys.

Favorite Line:

 Nothing for this episode

Pop Culture:

Prince, Milli Vanilli, Lord Of The Rings

Let’s Rate It:

I thought this episode was okay- it does set up a couple things that will happen in the next few episodes, but overall, not a memorable episode.  Keg! Max! gets 2 mugs of coffee.

Book Review: Pure

Pure CoverBook: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Published September 2012 by Grand Central Publishing|431 pages

Where I Got It: borrowed a copy

Series: Pure #1

Genre: YA-ish Dystopic/Post-Apocalyptic

You can find Pure on goodreads & Julianna Baggott on twitter, facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters…

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost–how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash…

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked: Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss–maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

What I Thought:

I really liked Pure!  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but as I kept reading, I became more and more fascinated by this world.  I mean, the Detonations happened, and people are fused to whatever happened to be near them when they happened.  Like fans or doll heads…and for some mothers, their children are fused to them.  It’s an odd, scary world, and it’s one I wouldn’t want to live in.

This world is so vividly dark and oppressive and horrible, and the fact that some people are okay just because they happen to be in the Dome- at least, okay in the sense that they don’t have this damaged bodies.  I feel like there’s so much more to this world than what we get in this book.  I’m definitely intrigued enough to keep reading the series- not right away, as this series can wait, but I’m intrigued enough to keep going.

Pure was hard to get into at first, because I wasn’t quite sure what was going on- and it does take some time to get into the book.  Once things get going, it was pretty interesting, even though I wasn’t completely sure why bombs were dropped, and why it’s so important that the earth regenerate itself.  I’m not sure if I missed something, or it wasn’t explained, or if it’s something we’re getting in the other books in the series.

I’m also not sure about the multiple narrators- I actually didn’t mind that Pressia and Partridge narrated, as the story focuses on them.  You really got a sense of what things were like and how different things were, depending on whether you were in the dome or not.  Every once in a while, you’d get a chapter from one of the other characters, which made it interesting, because you got all of these different perspectives.  At the same time, it meant that there was a lot to keep up with, and that made the story a little less enjoyable.

I think this book leans more towards the adult end of the spectrum, but at the same time, I think it’s something older teens would like to.  So it’s kind of YA, but it’s kind of adult too.

Let’s Rate It:

I really liked Pure, more than I thought I would!  I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series, because I’m curious about quite a few things.  Pure gets 4 stars.

Book Talk: This Reading Slump Thing Is Absolutely HORRIBLE

Book Talk is a new feature where I talk about bookish, non-book review things.

Book Talk

So, two Book Talk posts in a row!

All because of this stupid reading slump that I’m currently in.  It’s weird, because it’s the first reading slump I’ve experienced since starting the blog…and the first one I actually remember paying attention to overall.  I’m sure I’ve had them before, but it was also something I didn’t think about before the blog.

As much as I love reading, I just don’t want to read.  I have zero interest in reading, and it’s something that I’ve slowly slid into.  It started out innocently enough with not being super-excited about anything I was reading, and I just figured I’d come out of it with a really awesome book.

But that hasn’t happened, and I’ve really felt it over the last 3 or 4 weeks, to the point that I just want to watch something on Netflix or crochet.  With as much I’ve read the last few years, it was bound to happen- I’ve read hundreds of books since I start posting book reviews, and I think the constant reading and having anywhere from 4-6 books going on was bound to burn me out eventually.

I just really hate that reading, which is such an important part of my life, is something I have no interest in doing.  

And I just don’t know what to do.

I mean, I feel guilty that I’m not reading like I used to, and I feel like it makes me a horrible reader because I have no interest in this thing I love so much.  I’m a reader, and I’m always to be supposed to be reading, even when it’s the last thing I want to do.  I’m so torn, because I feel like making myself read will make it better, and not reading means I’m somehow inferior to people who aren’t in a reading slump…but I don’t want to force myself to read because what if that makes it worse?  And if I don’t make myself read something, will I ever come back to reading?

Now that I see the words on the screen, it seems so stupid.  I’m a reader, and I always find my way back to it.  I know it sounds cheesy, but I really have to trust that I’ll come back to it in my own time.  I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself in terms of my reading life, and while I know that it’s okay to not always be reading and to do other things, there’s still that part of me that feels weird about not doing something I feel like I’m supposed to be doing.

Maybe, for now, I just need to read at a slower pace, read fewer books at one time, and not be reading constantly.  What’s a little weird is that when I do read, it’s enjoyable and fun.  It’s just that getting myself to read is the hard part.

It’s just frustrating because I don’t know how to deal with it.  It’s all new to me, so I’m just trying to figure this thing out, and how I can get out of it.

I don’t know that talking about this slump I’m in has given me a better idea of what to do, but I am feeling a lot better about this reading slump, and I’m really feeling like I will come out of.  And that it’s okay to have one sometimes.

Has anyone else experienced a reading slump?  And how did you get out of it? Or suggestions or advice on how to change things up?

  Have a happy weekend!

Book Talk: Cookbooks

Book Talk

Book Talk is a new feature where I talk about non-book review bookish things.

Today is all about cookbooks!  I really like to cook and bake (but I prefer baking), and I feel like I’m always talking about the cookbooks I buy when I do my currently obsessed feature.  It just seems like the perfect time to talk about what I look for in a cookbook and why I’m so drawn to them.

I definitely like simplicity as far as cookbooks go- I like ingredients that I can get at one of the several grocery stores near my house.  I definitely like recipes that are simple and easy to make, and not overly complicated, with a lot of steps or ingredients.  I also look at how much certain ingredients are used- mostly spices, oils and vinegars- because if I’m going to buy cardamom or champagne vinegar or coconut oil, I really want to make sure it’s something I’m going to be using quite a bit.  I just don’t want a random assortment of spices that I only used that one time because it definitely takes away from the space I could be using for things I actually use on a regular basis.

While I’m a big fan of e-books and audiobooks, I actually prefer my cookbooks in print.  I have no problem setting up my laptop on a counter with a recipe I found on a blog or on pinterest.  But it does make me nervous, because I tend to be messy when I’m cooking (much more than normal cooking messes) and knowing me, I’d spill or splatter something all over my laptop.  I don’t mind as much if food splatters over the pages of a cookbook, but I’m really hesitant to have my computer right next to the stove.

And with print, I love pouring over every single recipe to see what I want to make- I just love marking which things I want to make, and adding notes when I do make things.  Things like if I’d make it again, if I made it at all, and any notes I have about the recipe, and why I would or wouldn’t make a recipe again.  I could do these things with a digital copy, but for whatever reason, I’d rather do this with a print copy.

Actually, now I’m curious if a majority of cookbooks are even available as e-books.  I’m sure some are, but it’s not something I’d even think to look at.  For some reason, I can’t see cookbooks being a big thing in terms of e-books.  And cookbooks are pretty visual, which is why I can’t see a lot of them being an e-book.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, and if it’s what someone prefers, that’s cool with me.

I feel like cookbooks say a lot about people- what they like to cook and eat, and cookbooks definitely say a lot about the people behind them too.  I’ve never really thought about what my cookbook collection says about me- and going off of that, you’d get that I really like to cook, but not that I love to bake.  But other than that…I’m not really sure.  I may have to think about this.

And I’ve never thought about this before, but cookbooks do tell a story- certain smells and foods bring up certain memories, and they’re such a good peek into a certain place and time.  Like, I love seeing recipes from the 1800’s or some other time period.  It’s just so interesting to me to get a peek into a time and place where people ate something completely different than I do, and it’s cool to see how much has changed.

I know I’ve rambled a lot but I can’t help but love cookbooks!  Have a happy Thursday!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Underrated YA Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Underrated YA Books Of All Genres

There are so many YA books out there that really need more attention!  I was going to go with YA contemporary, but I kept thinking of so many different awesome books that I couldn’t stick with just one genre.

  1. Witch Child by Celia Rees.  To me, it seems like historical fiction isn’t huge in YA- and within historical fiction, the 1920’s, World War 2 and the late 1800’s/early 1900’s are super popular to the point that it seems like nothing else exists.  Witch Child is is about a young woman (who just happens to be a witch) and finds herself living with the Puritans.  It’s such a great book, and I love that it’s in diary form.
  2. Illuminate by Aimee Agresti.  I’m sure a lot of people are probably over the paranormal genre, but I think Illuminate is great!  It’s a slightly different take on angels, and I like that Haven doesn’t have to make a decision to fight for good or evil.
  3. The Adoration Of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson.  I love that Jenna Fox is sci-fi, and I feel like straight-up sci-fi isn’t huge in YA.  But it definitely makes you think about how far is too far in terms of science and ethics.
  4. Unwind by Neal Shusterman.  Unwind is a really underrated dystopic novel!  It’s interesting that it deals with unwinding kids (the compromise made between people who are pro-life and pro-choice) and that Shusterman has narrators from so many different points of view.  He does a great job with showing all of the different sides.
  5. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.  I really wish more people talked about Uglies!  It definitely focuses on beauty, and given how much people like to talk about beauty standards for women, you’d think this one would make more waves.  It’s definitely one of my favorites!
  6. Speechless by Hannah Harrington.  I love that Chelsea’s vow of silence taught her so much, and that she had to deal with the consequences of her actions.
  7. Wander Dust by Michelle Warren.  Wander Dust is such a great paranormal book!  I like that’s it’s all about time travel, and that you have to work in teams, and that each team member has their own strengths and talents.
  8. Witch Struck by Victoria Lamb.  Witch-Struck is such a good combination of historical fiction and paranormal, and I love that they go so well together.  Plus, it’s set during the reign of Bloody Mary, which had me sold!
  9. A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier.  Another historical fiction, this time set during the Spanish flu epidemic.  I definitely want to read more about it because of this book.
  10. The Crown by Colleen Oakes.  I love this take on Alice In Wonderland and how it’s about the Queen Of Hearts and how she got that way.  And I love how dark it is.  It’s definitely a great book.

Books I Couldn’t Finish: Breathe and Gated

Books I Couldn’t Finish is a sporadic feature where I talk about books I couldn’t finish.

Today’s books are Breathe and Gated.  For some reason, they seem to come in bunches, so I have a couple more!

Breathe CoverBook One: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

What’s It About? Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die.Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from?A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

Why I Couldn’t Finish It: I honestly don’t remember why I couldn’t finish it- well, mostly.  I remember being pretty disinterested (well, obviously, since I couldn’t finish it) but I just couldn’t care about any of the characters or what was going on.  And I remember being kind of confused about what was going on, because it wasn’t really explained.  I had no idea what the Switch was, or why the oxygen levels changed so dramatically, and I didn’t care enough to see what had happened years before.  It kind of made me feel like I was missing something some essential piece of knowledge that was needed to know what was going on with the book.  And it does make me sad, since the whole premise of the book is actually REALLY interesting.  I just wish it were for me.

Gated CoverBook Two: Gated by Amy Christine Parker

What’s It About?  A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths.

Appearances can be deceiving.

Lyla Hamilton is a loyal member of the Community. Her family was happy to be chosen by Pioneer to join such an lovely gated neighborhood. Here, life seems perfect.

But after meeting Cody, an outsider boy, Lyla starts questioning Pioneer, her friends, her family–everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. As Pioneer cleverly manipulates his flock toward disaster, the real question is: Will Lyla follow her heart or follow Pioneer over the edge?

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker’s beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike.

Why I Couldn’t Finish It: The thing with Gated is that I wanted to like it.  It really is interesting that after 9/11, the guy in charge of the Community started to put this group together.  I really was reminded of a cult, but as I kept listening…well, this group is really messed up.  I get why they joined the Community (but hated how Lyla blamed herself, even though she was 5 at the time of a family tragedy).  I hated that she was in need of rehabilitation because she can’t shoot a gun- and it’s even worse that the outside world is full of people who will harm them, so you need to show no hesitation to kill.  The people outside this community are already seen as ghosts, because their destiny is to die, and Lyla is wrong in that she still sees them as people.  I get that this is a cult, and that seems pretty typical for cults, but it just got to where I was so angry at Pioneer that I really couldn’t listen anymore.  He’s just such a horrible person, and he made the book hard to get through.

My General Thoughts:

I like the idea of both books, and I wish I liked them!  I just couldn’t get into either book.  Because a world where oxygen is regulated is really scary, and a book about a doomsday cult are books I’d be into…these 2 just didn’t happen to work out for me.

Books I Couldn’t Finish: The Random Edition #2

Books I Couldn’t Finish is a sporadic feature where I talk about the books I couldn’t finish!

It’s time for another round of books I couldn’t finish!  I feel like I just posted a couple, and now I’m posting another one! Granted, I waited a while before posting those two posts, but still…I have had a few more books that just didn’t work for me.

Silence CoverBook One: Silence by Natasha Preston

What’s It About? For eleven years, Oakley Farrell has been silent. At the age of five, she stopped talking, and no one seems to know why. Refusing to communicate beyond a few physical actions, Oakley remains in her own little world. 

Bullied at school, she has just one friend, Cole Benson. Cole stands by her, refusing to believe that she is not perfect the way she is. Over the years, they have developed their own version of a normal friendship. However, will it still work as they start to grow even closer? 

When Oakley is forced to face someone from her past, can she hold her secret in any longer?

Why Couldn’t I Finish It?  I couldn’t relate to Oakley at all, and I found that her unwillingness to talk was just really grating.  You know there’s some really big reason why she isn’t talking, and I hated how whatever got her to stop talking was just hinted at. I’m sure it’s explained later on in the book, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care.  And it seems like no one else cares that she’s not talking.  Everyone just accepted it as normal, and it was like no one even bothered to figure out why she didn’t talk.  Plus, I didn’t like Cole, and thought he was kind of a jerk.  Like, the way he started to freak out because she didn’t text him back right away…it just didn’t seem right to me, and it seemed unwarranted.  Coming from someone who doesn’t pay attention to these kinds of things…you know something’s up when I notice it.

Anywhere But Here CoverBook Two: Anywhere With You by Kaylee Ryan

What’s It About: Allison Hagan has not lived the life of a normal teenager. Her parents died in a car crash when she was ten, and she has been living with her elderly grandmother who happens to be her only living relative ever since. Allison became best friends with the boy next door, Aiden. Aiden’s family has taken her in as part of their own, which is why when her gran insists that she live in the dorms at college, Allison chooses to attend the same school as Aiden.

Liam MacCoy is a college senior and quarterback of his college football team. Liam is rumored to be first round draft pick for the NFL following graduation, as is his best friend, Aiden. Liam has one focus and that’s football, that is until his little sister introduces him to her roommate Allison. Since he met her, he hasn’t been able to think of anything else.

Liam is not a relationship kind of guy, and Allison wants it all. She wants the romance and the family that she grew up without. Will Liam overcome his fear of relationships as well as the tangle of friendships to give Allison everything she wants?

Why Couldn’t I Finish It? I normally relate a lot to characters like Allison, but I felt like she forgot about her grandma way too fast after going to college.  For someone who was so worried about her grandma, and who didn’t want to go away to college, her transition to college life was a little too unbelievable, especially for someone who seemed really shy, sheltered and studious.  Seriously, it seemed weird that she would shed that image as quick as she did.

Book Three: A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir

A Dangerous Inheritance CoverWhat’s It About? In this engrossing novel of historical suspense, New York Timesbestselling author Alison Weir tells the dramatic intertwined stories of two women—Katherine Grey and Kate Plantagenet—separated by time but linked by twin destinies . . . . involving the mysterious tragic fate of the young Princes in the Tower.

When her older sister, Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days’ Queen, is executed in 1554 for unlawfully accepting the English crown, Lady Katherine Grey’s world falls apart. Barely recovered from this tragic loss she risks all for love, only to incur the wrath of her formidable cousin Queen Elizabeth I, who sees Katherine as a rival for her insecure throne.

Interlaced with Katherine’s story is that of her distant kinswoman Kate Plantagenet, the bastard daughter of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king. In 1483, Kate travels to London for Richard’s coronation, and her world changes forever.

Kate loves her father, but before long she hears terrible rumors about him that threaten all she holds dear. Like Katherine Grey, she falls in love with a man who is forbidden to her. Then Kate embarks on what will become a perilous quest, covertly seeking the truth about what befell her cousins the Princes in the Tower, who may have been victims of Richard III’s lust for power. But time is not on Kate’s side, or on Katherine’s.

Katherine finds herself a prisoner in the Tower of London, the sinister fortress that overshadowed the lives of so many royal figures, including the boy princes. Will Elizabeth demand the full penalty for treason? And what secrets will Katherine find hidden within the Tower walls?

Alison Weir’s new novel is a page-turning story set within a framework of fascinating historical authenticity. In this rich and layered tapestry, Katherine and Kate discover that possessing royal blood can prove to be a dangerous inheritance.

Why Couldn’t I Finish It?  I was really overwhelmed by the amount of information!  As much as I love Alison Weir, I just couldn’t get into it.  I love her non-fiction, and what’s really cool about her historical fiction is that it comes from people she’s researched a lot for her non-fiction.  So her historical fiction is always pretty historically accurate/authentic, because she’s done all the research.  (By the way, I definitely recommend her historical fiction if you’re a stickler for historical accuracy). Katherine Grey’s story wasn’t that bad in terms of the details, but Kate Plantagent’s story was.  Part of it is that I’m not too familiar with the Wars Of The Roses, and the events that lead to the Tudor Monarchy.  Which might be why Kate’s story felt so overwhelming.

I found that I just couldn’t care about Kate or Katherine- it was hard to care when I felt like facts were being thrown at me.  I just wasn’t a point where I wanted to get past all of the details to get to the rest of the story. And while Kate and Katherine both narrate, I felt like it was a little clunky- it felt like the book was randomly switching between the two women.  It changed frequently enough that I couldn’t really get into either character.  Just as I was getting into one narrative, it would switch to the other.  After about 50-60 pages, I got frustrated and knew it was time to just walk away.

My Overall Thoughts About All Three Books:

These books just weren’t for me.  I really wish that I liked them, particularly A Dangerous Inheritance, but they are definitely great books for other people.

Book Review: Some Boys

Some Boys CoverBook: Some Boys by Patty Blount

Published August 2014 by Sourcebooks|250 pages

Where I Got It: I own the e-book, courtesy of the Nook store

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Some Boys on goodreads & Patty Blount on Twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Some girls say no. Some boys don’t listen.

When Grace meets Ian, she’s afraid. Afraid he’ll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses Zac, the town golden boy, of rape, everyone turns against her. Ian wouldn’t be the first to call her a slut and a liar.

Except Ian doesn’t reject her. He’s the one person who looks past the taunts and the names and the tough-girl act to see the real Grace. He’s the one who gives her the courage to fight back.

He’s also Zac’s best friend.

“A bold and necessary look at an important, and very real, topic. Everyone should read this book.” – Jennifer Brown, author of Thousand Words and Hate List

A gut-wrenching, powerful love story told from alternating points of view by the acclaimed author of Send.

What I Thought:

I really liked Some Boys, and it’s the first book in a while that I’ve been excited about reviewing!

Some Boys made me sad and angry…sometimes at the same time.  I HATED how everyone treated Grace after her rape, and how everyone thought it was her fault, and that she deserved it, because she was drunk and because of how she dresses.  I hated how everyone turned against her because no one wanted to believe that the town golden boy was capable of rape.

It really made me so sad for Grace, who had no one on her side- except for her mom.  She really seemed like a good kid, and she really doesn’t deserve anything that happened to her.  It just made no sense to me that no one believed her or was willing to stand up for her.  I liked that she didn’t leave school and study abroad and I liked that she stayed strong, and didn’t give up hope that things would get better.

I thought Some Boys really highlighted rape culture, and how we still see women as deserving it and how people believe someone like Zac isn’t capable of it.  It’s nothing new, but I liked that you felt for Grace, and it really came through that she went through something horrible.

I also loved that part of the book was narrated by Ian, who is Zac’s best friend.  There were times when I hated Ian, because he just stood by and let people say horrible things about Grace, even though he was the only person talking to her willingly.  He really struggled with doing the right thing, but in the end, he did the right thing.  There were hints at a potential romance between Grace and Ian, and I’m sure some people will dislike the fact that he’s why everyone eventually believed Grace’s story. I wasn’t bothered by it because he was Zac’s best friend, and because I feel like he really did change, and that he wanted to change.

The only thing that I didn’t like about the book was the ending.  I just didn’t like that Grace was so forgiving of everyone else, and that it was as though the last few weeks didn’t happen.  It was just too nice and neat, and I felt like Grace was way too forgiving of a town that put her through hell.  Maybe she wanted things to go back to normal, and maybe people were on her side, but were too scared to speak up, but I felt like it didn’t fit with the rest of the book.  I’m glad everyone finally believed her but I wish she didn’t forgive so easily.

Let’s Rate It:

Overall, I really liked Some Boys, and how it highlights how ridiculous and horrible people can be when it comes to rape. I didn’t care for the ending, and unfortunately, I thought the book was great up until that point.  I still highly recommend this book! Some Boys gets 4 stars.