Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Feel Differently About Now That Time Has Passed

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

Blog Graphic- Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books I Feel Differently About Now That Time Has Passed

This is an interesting topic!  It was a little hard, though, because for the most part, it seems like my feelings on books haven’t changed that much.  Still, I have ten books that I feel differently about now that some sort of time has passed!

  1. Harry Potter.  The more that time passes, the more I love it, and the more glad I am that I read it as it was coming out.
  2. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.  The more I re-read it, the more I fall in love with the series.
  3. Take A Chance and One More Chance by Abbi Glines.  Even though there hasn’t been a lot of time between me finishing these books and me writing this post…the more I think about these two books, the more I hate them, which makes me not want to read more New Adult, because I’ve read some NA I’ve really liked, and these 2 books just make me hate the genre.
  4. What We Left Behind by Robin Talley.  I think I like it even less now than I did when I read the book.
  5. Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.  I used to love this series in high school, and now I’m sort of indifferent.
  6. The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  Every time I think about this book, I feel so many different things, and it just makes me wish everyone read this book.
  7. Winter by Marissa Meyer.  I love it more now than I did when I first read it, and that reminds me, I never posted a review of it, and maybe I should do that.  But the point is, I love Winter, and it’s easily my favorite book in that entire series.
  8. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.  I wasn’t a big fan of the series when I read the first one, but after seeing the movie, I re-read it, and liked it a lot more than I did when I first read it.
  9. Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine.  I miss this series so much!  I have yet to read the short story collection, but I’m so excited for more Morganville and I can’t wait to revisit it!
  10. Basically anything Shadowhunter, by Cassandra Clare.  I’m feeling very fatigued by the sheer number of Shadowhunter books out there, and while I liked the Mortal Instruments series (which is also the only books I’ve read by Clare), I don’t know if I like it enough to read Infernal Devices, even though that’s a series I want to read.

Book Review: One More Chance by Abbi Glines

One More Chance CoverBook: One More Chance by Abbi Glines

Published September 2014 by Atria Books|272 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Chance #2, Rosemary Beach #8

Genre: NA/Contemporary Romance

Blog Graphic-What It's About

The unforgettable story of Grant and Harlow from Take a Chance continues in this brand-new novel in the Rosemary Beach series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines.

She was it. His one. His only. Then he made the mistake of letting her go.

After fighting his way into Harlow Manning’s heart—and revealing a side of himself no one had ever seen before—Grant Carter destroyed his own heart by giving in to his greatest fears and doubts. Months later, he’s stuck in a miserable routine. Work relentlessly. Beg his best friend Rush for news about Harlow. Avoid all other friends. Leave nightly voicemails for Harlow, pleading with her to come back to Rosemary Beach. Fall asleep alone. Repeat.

Miles away, on her brother’s Texas ranch, Harlow can’t bring herself to listen to Grant’s voicemails. Though she wants to be with him, and knows he regrets letting her go, she doesn’t know if she can trust him. When he discovered the truth behind her sheltered upbringing, it shattered their relationship, but the secret she carries now has far greater consequences. Can she risk giving Grant one more chance, or will the gamble ultimately destroy her?

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

Even though I didn’t like the first Harlow/Grant book, I still wanted to see what would happen.  I think I hated this book more than I did the first one.

It’s mostly because Harlow is a selfish idiot.  Even though she has a heart condition AND HAVING A BABY CAN LITERALLY KILL HER, she insists on going through with her pregnancy, even though everyone around her wants her to have an abortion.  I did hate that people were trying to force her to change her mind and get an abortion, because it is her decision, and if she wants to keep a baby that could kill her, it’s her decision, as much as everyone doesn’t like her decision.  I felt like Mase’s mom was the only one who seemed supportive of Harlow’s decision. Grant seemed to come around a little bit but not completely.  At the same time, though, I felt like it was incredibly selfish for Harlow to insist on going through with the pregnancy.

I know it’s Grant’s baby, and she wants the baby, and he made her want things she could never have, but I felt like she cared more about the baby and sacrificing herself for the baby than living.  I felt like she was either too stupid to realize SHE was more important to people than her baby, or she realized it but didn’t care that SHE was important to people and that they didn’t want to lose her.  I don’t understand her decision, and I’ve never had to make that decision, but I also feel like it’s her decision to make…and Grant’s too, being the father.  We never see her talk with Mase or his family about it, and we’re just told what her decision is.  Grant’s opinion doesn’t seem to matter either, and I feel like she doesn’t want to take into account what other people think, because all that matters is what she wants.  Which is true to a point, but…it just bothered me that she didn’t care if she lived or died.

I also hated that Mase called Rush, knowing that he’d tell Grant, who’d go running to find her.  His voice mails were pretty pathetic, and I am utterly clueless as to why Harlow is in love with him, and why she’d give him a chance after everything he did.  And after the way he treated her after finding out about her heart condition. She really should have made him work to get her back.

I did like that Nan donated blood, and I felt like I understood Nan a lot better.  I still don’t completely get why people dislike Nan and why the other characters treat her the way they do, but what she did for Harlow did was really nice. I didn’t like how everyone suspected she was up to something, and unable to do anything nice for anyone.  And that she was trying to manipulate someone or something by donating blood.

The letters Harlow wrote to her unborn child were really morbid, and I didn’t like them at all.  And Harlow thinking she live just based off wanting to be there for her child…hope can go a long way, but again, her pregnancy could very will kill her, and hope can’t overcome that.  Plus, it’s something that she can pass on to her child, so I am having a hard time understanding why she’d want to keep this baby.

Something I thought was weird was her grandma.  Early on in the book, Harlow’s thinking about her grandma (who didn’t believe in abortion), and what her grandma what think if it were Harlow getting an abortion.  And then Kiro mentions her grandma, and wants to know if it’s a religious thing and if it’s something her grandma taught her. I am confused about what religion has to do with it, because someone not wanting an abortion doesn’t necessarily have to be because of religious beliefs.

I get Kiro is trying to understand why she’s not getting an abortion, but that, combined with Harlow’s earlier thoughts of her grandma made me think that her grandma was religious and didn’t believe in abortions.  I don’t understand the emphasis on her grandma’s beliefs when one, grandma isn’t with us anymore. and two, it doesn’t actually go anywhere.  Given it comes up a couple of times, I thought it would have more of a role, and it doesn’t, so I don’t get why it’s brought up.

After giving birth, it takes her a while to open up her eyes, but, of course, she ends up being fine…it seemed like a major cop-out that she ended up being fine.  Other than people freaking out because she insists on having a child, she ends up fine, with nothing other than a coma.  Why have her have this serious heart condition in which having a child could kill her if she’s going to be fine?  It felt manipulative in the last book, like it was there for drama, but it felt extremely, intensely manipulative for her to be fine.  Because Harlow just can’t be pregnant, she has to be pregnant with a serious, life-threatening heart condition and somehow end up okay. Granted, she was in pretty good health, which probably was a factor, and she was high-risk but at the lower end of high-risk, but I wanted more complications with it.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

1 star.  The only thing I liked was Nan donating blood to Harlow, but overall, this was a frustrating book to read.

Book Review: Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne Valente

Six-Gun Snow White CoverBook: Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne Valente

Published November 2015 by Saga Press|128 pages

Where I Got It: I own the e-book

Series: None

Genre: YA Western/Fairy-Tale Re-Telling/Novella

Blog Graphic-What It's About

A plain-spoken, appealing narrator relates the history of her parents—a Nevada silver baron who forced the Crow people to give up one of their most beautiful daughters, Gun That Sings, in marriage to him. With her mother’s death in childbirth, so begins a heroine’s tale equal parts heartbreak and strength. This girl has been born into a world with no place for a half-native, half-white child. After being hidden for years, a very wicked stepmother finally gifts her with the name Snow White, referring to the pale skin she will never have.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

Six-Gun Snow White sounded really good and different, and I was pretty excited about reading it, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

It’s an interesting take on Snow White, and I like that it’s a western, because that seems pretty rare for YA.  And yet, I felt really distanced from what was going on, which made it hard to get into.  I felt like I was being told what was going on, instead of seeing what was going on, and it felt like it was being told to me by a third party, instead of Snow White herself.

The ending was a cop-out!  It felt very slapped together and like there wasn’t a lot of thought put into it.  Which I thought was odd, because it otherwise felt like a thought of thought went into the story.  It also felt very halting, and it was a little hard to get through.

As a re-telling, it does follow the original story of Snow White pretty well, but in a different setting and time period. How Snow White got her name was sad, and I felt like it was a dig on the step-mother’s part.  There are some differences, of course, but overall, I thought she did a fantastic job re-telling it, with Prince Charming as a horse, and with the dwarves as women.  As a western, though, I couldn’t get into it all.

I can’t speak to how accurate all of the Native American stories we see in the novella are, but Snow as half-white and half-Crow Indian was a different take on the original story, and why Snow White getting the name of Snow White was sad.  There is a lot of abuse and racism in the novella, so it’s probably closer to the Grimm version of the story then any other book out there.  It’s darker than I expected, and given how the story is written, novella length is probably the perfect length for it.

I had a hard enough time getting through it, and at one point, I was dangerously close to not finishing it, even though it’s not that long.  But since it’s not long, I figured I could tough it out and finish it.  Because of the length, though, you don’t get a lot of details, which could have been really interesting.  It does make me wonder what this novella could be if it were novel-length, but not if it were written the way the novella is.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

2 stars.  I thought about giving it one star, but it gets two because the book as a re-telling was really really good, but how it was told didn’t work for me.

Vacation Pictures!

So, last week, I had a mini-vacation!  Not that you could tell, because I had posts scheduled while I was gone. But I went up to Oregon for my cousin’s wedding, and I really wanted to talk about my trip and share some of the pictures I took while I was up there.

I was reading like a maniac prior to leaving, because it’s a long car ride up to where she is- she lives not too far from the California-Oregon border, and I knew I’d need something to do in the car, so I wanted to make room for the books I was planning on reading.  Plus the three crochet projects I brought up with me so I could alternate between reading and yarn.  And randomly looking out the window.  But there was no sleeping in the car, because once I’m awake, I’m awake, and there’s no going back to sleep.  Plus, I got caught up on a few podcasts that I was behind on during the trip up there and back.

The wedding was really nice, and I’m really glad I got to go.  It was pretty casual, and it rained a little, but at least the rain held off until after the wedding…which was outdoors, and even then, it rained a little and then everything was fine.  I didn’t get any pictures of the actual wedding or the reception, mostly because I don’t have a smart phone, and felt awkward busting out the digital camera.  I wish I got a picture of the cake, which was really cool- it was a Wonder Woman/Batman cake!  The centerpieces were pretty cool too- flowers inside of cassettes, which I assume were glued together (I didn’t think of getting a picture until the next day, but there’s nothing I can do about that.  Same thing with the place settings, which were records!

Now it’s picture time!  Of which there are a few.

There are a couple pictures from the venue I wanted to share, which was super pretty.  It’s on this one estate, and I’m glad I got a few pictures.  Like the one below.

Eagle Creek 1

I’m pretty sure that the creek in the background is Eagle Creek.

This next picture is a few feet away, and a different part of the creek.

Eagle Creek 2

There was even some chairs, if you wanted to sit by the creek.  I have a few more pictures, but they’re all pretty similar, and these two are my favorites.

We didn’t do much while we were up there, but I did get see the family I have up there, which was nice, because I don’t see them often.

The next few pictures are from a winery/vineyard we went to.  There are a ton of them in Oregon (at least, in the part we were in, I can’t say it’s the same for the rest of the state), and the one we went to was DanCin.

DanCin Wines 1

The wine was really good!  And yes, I did take a picture of the wine I had.  I’m not the biggest fan of red wine- I’d rather drink white, which is why I got the above wines, but the reds were pretty good.  And totally local to the area, of course.

DanCin Menu

The menu looked pretty cool, like cork!  Which is oddly appropriate for a winery/vineyard.

DanCin Fish Pond

We also sat in front of this really pretty fish pond.  I didn’t get the best picture of the pond, but you can catch a glimpse of it behind the plants.  I have a few more pictures of the pond/garden, but this one was the best one, in my opinion.

And I did get a few pictures of the actual vineyard, but the one below is my favorite.  Basically because it’s part of the vineyard up close, and not a far-off picure with random cars in the background.

DanCin Vineyard

And on the way up, we stopped to take a picture of Mt. Shasta.  It’s the snow capped mountain you see in the distance.

Mt Shasta

Those are all the pictures I have- everything else was pretty similar to what I shared, or didn’t turn out as well as I hoped.  We did drive through this historic town called Jacksonville.  I didn’t get any pictures, as I thought they’d turn out blurry since we were driving.  They have this historic cemetery, and it was pretty but also a little overrun, which somehow seemed to fit.  In a way, it reminded me of Old Town San Diego, but a lot quieter.

It really is pretty, and there are lots of trees and mountains.  Also farm land, rivers and creeks.  It’s quite different than what I’m used to in San Diego, but it was really cool to see, because it is so different.

Happy Friday, and have a great weekend!  Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Book Review: The Heart Of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson

The Heart Of Betrayal CoverBook: The Heart Of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Published July 2015 by Henry Holt & Company|473 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Remnant Chronicles #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

Blog Graphic-What It's About

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia’s life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There’s Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

I loved The Heart Of Betrayal!  It doesn’t happen often where I love the 2nd book in a series more, but that was definitely the case for this series!

We get multiple narrators, with Lia, Rafe and Kaden all narrating the book, with the odd chapter narrated by Pauline.  It worked really well, and it added a lot to the story, because they’re all going through different things in Venda, and you get to see all of the different things going on.

The romance is really complicated- there’s Rafe and Kaden, of course, and a new “love interest” is thrown into the mix, which I didn’t expect at all, but makes things interesting, especially with everything that happens with him.  There are some twists and turns in the romance department, and I’m still not sure where the romance is headed.  Normally, it’s predictable who our heroine ends up with, but not with this book, in my opinion.  It could be anyone, and I like that while she favors one, she also hasn’t completely made up her mind about who she wants.

I was not expecting the book to end the way it did, and it makes me want to read book 3 right now.  At least I won’t have to wait long until the next book comes out, but as that’s a few months away…it feels too far away!  I just don’t know how Pearson is going to resolve things, and with this book being so good, I’m hoping the next book is going to be even better.

I don’t even know what to think about Lia’s family.  I have the feeling that there’s a lot going on with them that we’re not seeing, and I hope that we get more of that in the next book.  And there’s something up with Lia’s gift- it does seem like she has premonitions, so I’m hoping we get more about her gift in the next book.

I really like Lia, and she’s such an awesome character.  She’s very strong-willed, but she’s also very caring, and I love that she’s the same Lia we saw in The Kiss Of Deception.  I really felt for Kaden, and I liked that we learned more about him.  And Rafe…honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about him.

I really liked Venda, and everything we learned about them.  To me, it was the most interesting of the 3 kingdoms we see in the book.  I feel like we know more about them than we do the other kingdoms, but I’m also fuzzy on the details from the first book, so maybe it’s because I don’t remember anything about the other kingdoms.  But Venda really is an interesting place, and I really liked seeing it.  I really felt like we were there, and she shows so well what it’s like in this country.

I also love all of the stories and songs we see from different books.  It was one of my favorite things about the first book, and it’s one of my favorite things about this book.  It’s interesting to see a peek into the past, and how it relates to the present, and if it’s meant to be a parallel between the two.

And the cover is beautiful!  I’m glad I have this series in print so I can just look at the pretty cover!

Blog Graphic- My Rating

5 stars.  I love everything about this book, and even though the magic and how it works is pretty fuzzy, I don’t even care because this book was even better than the first one!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

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

Blog Graphic- Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

It’s not often I randomly pick up books off the bookshelf- I have such a big virtual TBR pile that I feel like I need to stick with it, but lately, I’ve been randomly checking out books I know nothing about.  It’s been fun, though, because I’ve been reading books I’ve either never heard or books I’ve heard of but know nothing about.  These are 10 books I’ve picked up on a whim!

  1. Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines.  I finished this one recently, having randomly picked it up from the library. It’s definitely cute, and I really like the friendships/relationships you see in the book!
  2. Accidents Of Nature by Harriet McBryde Johnson.  This is another random pick-up from the library, and all because I wanted an audio book!  The title caught my attention, and it looks interesting!
  3. Perfect by Natasha Friend.  This is another audio book, and it seems like it’s right up my alley- I seem to go right for the books about characters dealing with things like the loss of a parent and eating disorders.
  4. For The Record by Charlotte Huang.  I know I’ve seen this book come up on at least a couple of blogs I read that focus on diversity in books, but only vaguely remembered it when I picked it up from the library.
  5. Ink And Ashes by Valynne Maetani.  It turns out I already wanted to read this one but forgot I wanted to read it.  It looks good, though, and I’m intrigued because it’s about a girl who finds a letter from her father addressed to her step-father and then she goes on this journey to learn more about him.
  6. Surviving Santiago by Lyn Miller-Lachmann.  This is another one that got lost in the depths of my TBR pile, but at least I vaguely remember wanting to read it.
  7. Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand.  So, I mostly checked this one out because I saw the last name, and assumed there was a Cynthia Hand book I didn’t know about…only to realize it’s by a completely different author with the same last name.  The plot kind of reminds me of that one movie with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock where they write letters to each other but at two different points in time, but YA and in book form.
  8. A History Of Glitter And Blood by Hannah Moskowitz.  I remember hearing about this one, but you can’t go wrong with a book about faeries!
  9. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Helig.  Yet another one I’ve heard about, but it seems cool!  Seriously, a map and ship that can take you to any time and place?  I’m sold!
  10. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi.  It seems like there are some books similar to this one already out there, but it’s fantasy inspired by Indian mythology, which makes it really different!

Book Review: Heir Of Fire by Sarah J Maas

Heir Of Fire CoverBook: Heir Of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Published September 2014 by Bloomsbury|562 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Throne Of Glass #3

Genre: YA Fantasy

Blog Graphic-What It's About

She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Crown of Midnight.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

This series is getting better and better!  Seriously, it is.  I didn’t love it, but I really liked it, and I think it might be my favorite book in the series so far.

This book is massively epic, and we learn so much about Celaena and the world she lives in, and I couldn’t believe everything that happened.  Celaena has a lot in store for her in the book, and what she learns about her family going back to basically the dawn of time or whatever…I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I did like what Maas did with that. Looking back, it was sort of predictable, but it wasn’t something I thought about until I read that part.

It does seem like there’s a possibility that Rowan is a love interest for Celaena, and I don’t know if I care for them as a couple.  Granted, it seems more like friendship than anything else, but it did seem like it might be a possibility.  I’m actually fine with Celaena not being with anyone, because she has enough going on without adding in romance, even though it would eventually help her out with being queen.

Manon and the stuff with the covens seemed a little out place in this book.  We got a little bit of it in Crown Of Midnight, and it makes me think that it was introduced because it’s going to come up in the next book.  It was a little bit interesting, but it didn’t quite fit with the rest of the story, since it has no direct impact on what we see happening in this particular book.  It was a little bit slow, which was odd considering how much actually happened in the book. And it seemed like it was too long at times.  But still, it’s pretty epic, and I’m actually really glad I don’t have to wait for the next book.

I really liked Sorscha, and I wish we saw more of her.  I know it’s because we have the stuff with Celaena, Chaol and Aedion and with Dorian, and by default, we don’t see much with her.  But I was sad to see her go, if only because I really liked the glimpses we saw of her.

I felt for Aedion, a lot, and I don’t know that I really like Rowan.  I did like that he felt bad about how he treated Celaena, but…at first, I hated him, and even though I don’t outright hate him, I am currently unsure how I feel about him as a character.

I also don’t know what else to say about Heir Of Fire.  I think I pretty much covered everything, so on with my rating!

Blog Graphic- My Rating

4 stars.  I really liked it, and we learn a lot but it was also slow and it dragged a little bit.

Audio Book Review: Perfect by Natasha Friend

Perfect CoverBook: Perfect by Natasha Friend, narrated by Danielle Ferland

Published January 2013 by Recorded Books|Run Time: 4 hours, 22 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Blog Graphic-What It's About

Isabelle Lee has a problem, and it’s not just Ape Face, her sister, or group therapy for an eating disorder, or even that her father died and her mother is depressed and in denial. It’s that Ashley, the most popular girl in school, is inviting Isabelle to join her at lunch and at sleepovers at her house, and this is presenting Isabelle with a dilemma. Pretty Ashley has moved Isabelle up the social ladder, but is it worth keeping the secret they share? Caught in the orbit of popularity and appearances, Isabelle must navigate a world with mixed messages, false hopes, and potentially harmful turns, while coping with her own flailing family and emotions. The author brings a depth of characterization, humor, and a real adolescent’s voice to this multileveled story about the desire to be perfect in an imperfect world.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

I randomly picked this one up from the library recently, but it was an okay listen for me.

One: I wasn’t expecting Isabelle to be so young- granted, she’s 13, but I assumed that she would be a lot older. Still, it’s nice to see a book focused on a middle school character, instead of one in high school, which seems to be a lot more common.

Two: I didn’t feel like Isabelle moved up the social ladder at all.  Sitting at the popular for all of two weeks…we don’t see much change in Isabelle’s social status as result, and she’s more on the periphery than anything else.

Three: At one point Ashley is bleeding from her mouth after we see both girls purge.  Nothing happens with this, and it seemed like a random thing to bring up, only for Ashley to be perfectly fine.  It’s explained away as “it happens sometimes, it’s no big deal.”  I really expected Ashley to end up in the hospital or something.

Four: I did like seeing how Isabelle changed over the course of the book.  By the end of the book, she was starting to deal with the death of her father, and she got to the point where she went over a day without throwing up, and I like seeing that change in her.

Five: Danielle Ferland seem to narrate a teenage girl pretty well, but there was nothing about her performance that really stood out to me.  I wouldn’t avoid any books narrated by her, but I’m also not running out to see what else she’s narrated.

Six: This has more to do with the actual CD’s I checked out with the library, but there were a couple tracks on the last disk that were a little funky, and went super fast, so there are a few minutes I ended up missing…including the very end.  I should probably say something when I return it.

Seven: Isabelle goes to group therapy, and Trish wants to see her individually…but it seems like no one ever mentions anything to Isabelle’s mom.  Really?  You want to see her more, and yet you only ask Isabelle, a 13-year-old girl, about it?  That seems a little weird to me.

Eight: It seemed pretty open-ended, with not a lot of resolution, which is fine, but…I don’t know.  I think I wanted more of a conclusion.  Or even a longer book, because it wasn’t much over 4 hours, and maybe things could have been a little more resolved then they were in the book.

Nine: Her dad’s death was super-vague.  She only mentioned he died unexpectedly, and that he was sick but they didn’t know about it, so that was really weird.  Did the mom know, and not give her kids more information, or did everyone just get taken off-guard.  There was just something off about his death.

Ten: How she treated her little sister.  I’m an only child so sibling relationships are completely foreign to me, but I thought Isabelle treated her younger sister (by three years) sort of mean.

Eleven: The fact that a 13 year-old and ten-year-old are making themselves pizza from scratch and mac and cheese and have to feed themselves because their mom still cries herself to sleep at night and randomly sleeps during the day…they weren’t completely on their own, and their mom didn’t completely check out.  But they were still on their own a lot, which is weird because their mom is a college professor teaching a couple classes. The mom also seems to constantly grading papers (understandable, given it’s English she teaches).  And I’m sure the mom has meetings and office hours, but there was something off about the mom too.  Besides grieving, something didn’t fit quite right.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

2 stars.  I wanted to like it more, but it was just okay.

Book Review: OCD, The Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn

OCD, The Dude And Me CoverBook: OCD, The Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn

Published March 2013 by Dial Books|234 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Blog Graphic-What It's About

With frizzy orange hair, a plus-sized body, sarcastic demeanor, and “unique learning profile,” Danielle Levine doesn’t fit in even at her alternative high school. While navigating her doomed social life, she writes scathing, self-aware, and sometimes downright raunchy essays for English class. As a result of her unfiltered writing style, she is forced to see the school psychologist and enroll in a “social skills” class. But when she meets Daniel, another social misfit who is obsessed with the cult classic film The Big Lebowski, Danielle’s resolve to keep everyone at arm’s length starts to crumble.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

I didn’t like OCD, The Dude And Me as much as I thought I would.  It really seemed like a book I would like, but I ended up being slightly disappointed.

For one thing, she doesn’t seem to be OCD at all, which is weird for a couple reasons.  One, we see her inner thoughts, so it’s weird that it doesn’t come up.  And two, other than needing her books to organized in a certain way, and being upset that they get knocked over and doesn’t have time to re-organize, or a reference to flicking a light switch on and off…I didn’t get the OCD part of it all.  She definitely has social anxiety, and possibly PTSD, but OCD seems random.  Because of the diary/essay format, she comes across as quirky more than anything else.

Two: I didn’t get her obsession with The Big Lebowski, which only shows up in the last third of the book, and for no reason.  If she’s so obsessed with it, why did it randomly come up?  I’ve never actually seen The Big Lebowski, so unless there are references in the book I’m not picking up on because of that, it seems to be a non-factor.

Three: For someone who’s supposed to be a senior in high school, she writes a lot younger than that.  The whole prom thing was slightly confusing, because I really forgot most of the time that she was older than she sounded.

Four: The essay and diary format was interesting but it felt like overkill and a little too much.  Granted, there were a few times where I couldn’t help but laugh, but it would randomly switch between essays, journal entries, notes, and letters, and it felt really jumbled and not very coherent.  Which is sort of understandable, given we get some inner thoughts, and it flowed okay, but not well enough.

Five: We don’t see much reflection or change in Danielle.  She seems to remain pretty much the same the entire book, and she fell pretty flat.  Also, for someone who hasn’t had a friend in years, she seemed to get close to Daniel pretty fast, which is surprising, considering she seems to have a lot of anxiety about talking to people. Maybe it’s because of the format, but given the format, I felt like we should have seen even a slightly different Danielle by the end of the book.

Six: What is so alternative about this high school?  All of the kids seem to be be perfectly fine, and it didn’t make sense why it was so alternative, because really, it came across as your typical high school.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

2 stars.  It was okay, but not the book I expected.  I’m feeling pretty ambivalent about the book.

Book Review: The Appearance Of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe

The Appearance Of Annie Van Sinderen CoverBook: The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe

Published September 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons|379 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Mystery/Ghost StoriesBlog Graphic-What It's About

It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.

As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose-petal lips and her entrancing glow. There’s just something about her that he can’t put his finger on, something faraway and otherworldly that compels him to fall even deeper. Annie’s from the city, and yet she seems just as out of place as Wes feels. Lost in the chaos of the busy city streets, she’s been searching for something—a missing ring. And now Annie is running out of time and needs Wes’s help. As they search together, Annie and Wes uncover secrets lurking around every corner, secrets that will reveal the truth of Annie’s dark past.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

After reading Conversion a couple of years ago, I was really interested to see what else Howe would come up with. When I saw a copy of Annie Van Sinderen at the library, I knew I had to read it.

What I find most interesting about Annie is that it’s a ghost story that never mentions the word ghost.  It’s interesting that she can be seen by only a few people, and it makes you wonder why they can see her, and no one else can.  I did like that Wes and his friends were able to help her and figure out what was going on.  And why she’s still around.

I thought Annie was the most interesting character, and how she went in between present and past to be really interesting, especially once we got past the set-up/introducing of everyone.  Her story and everything that happened up to her death was very realistic, and even though I probably won’t read anything history-related soon, I still really want to read something historical.  Going in and out of past and present worked better than I thought it would, and it was a really nice surprise.  I’m also glad we got to see both past and present, because it made Annie’s story and how it connected to the present have a lot more depth.  I’m really glad we see how she ended up staying behind as a ghost.

It is interesting that it took so long for someone to see Annie.  I mean, there must have been people who could her before, right?  So what it is about 2015 that’s so special?  Because of Maddie?  I think I would have liked more of something about why now and not before.

It did start off pretty slow, but I think it’s because of everything that had to be introduced in order for the story to make sense, and I can’t think of a better way to tell the story.  It does pick up the pace after a while, though, once you get through the first part, it’s a really interesting read.

I didn’t find the other characters particularly interesting, but Maddie had a lot of potential, and I wish we saw more of her.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

3 stars.  Even though I liked it, it didn’t grab me the way Conversion did, and I wish things were tied up a little more than it was.