Stuck in the Middle Feelings: The Rosie Project and Night Film

The Rosie Project coverThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Goodreads | Twitter | Website
Release Date: October 1st 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: Don Tillman #1

Goodreads description: An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

I’ve seen a lot of positive responses to The Rosie Project, but I think that maybe this just wasn’t a “me” book. I’m not sure if it was my mood or the writing, but I didn’t really connect with Don. I didn’t dislike it, but there were a few times I felt a little frustrated. Overall, it was sweet, if a little predictable. I actually really liked Rosie. I liked that Don learned about himself and learned that his strict way of doing things wasn’t always the best way. I like that he learned to relax and have some fun.

If you’re interested in this one, I would recommend reading it. If you need more encouragement, I would definitely read Jen or Christina’s review.  I think it’s a good book, it just didn’t click for me.

 

Night Film coverNight Film by Marisha Pessl
Goodreads | Twitter | Website
Release Date: July 1st 2014
Publisher: Random House
Series: none

Goodreads description: 
Everybody has a Cordova story. Cult horror director Stanislas Cordova hasn’t been seen in public since 1977. To his fans he is an engima. To journalist Scott McGrath he is the enemy. To Ashley he was a father.

On a damp October night the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her suicide appears to be the latest tragedy to hit a severely cursed dynasty.
For McGrath, another death connected to the legendary director seems more than a coincidence. Driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth, he finds himself pulled into a hypnotic, disorientating world, where almost everyone seems afraid.
The last time McGrath got close to exposing Cordova, he lost his marriage and his career. This time he could lost his grip on reality.

ONCE WE FACE OUR DEEPEST FEARS, WHAT LIES ON THE OTHER SIDE?

I learned about Night Film from a blogger who closed her blog since she posted about it, and then I saw a lot of buzz in general and my friend said it was a total mindfuck.

Ehhhhhhhhh. This one is more difficult, and while I didn’t hate it, it’s weighs slightly more on the negative side of the scale than neutral. It felt a bit slow to get into for me. The mystery was intriguing and drawing, but it wasn’t exactly thrilling for me. There were specific parts of the story that were thrilling and some that definitely got my heart racing, but as a whole, it was kind of tiring.

It’s been a while (a month, I think) since I read this one, so I can’t remember the side character’s names, but they were my favorite part of the story. They were more earnest and real. McGrath seems to think he knows everything, that he can expose the truth because the truth is in this small range of possibility. He isn’t open minded, which clouds his judgment. There was one part, regarding his daughter, that really enraged me and made me want to punch him. He doesn’t do anything bad, he’s just thoughtless and stupid.

I don’t want to say too much about the ending because I don’t want to ruin, but even though it was the only way it really could have ended, it was kind of disappointing for me. This book wasn’t a waste of my time, but it was a really big book and an investment, and enjoying it more would have been nice.

Should you check this one out? I would check out reviews on GR, and if you like twisted thrillers, probably. I do think I tend to be overly picky and impatient, and once I got annoyed with McGrath about his daughter my patience was very thin.

Nantucket Red by Leila Howland [quick thoughts]

Nantucket Red coverNantucket Red by Leila Howland
Goodreads | @ | www
Release Date: May 13th 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Series: Nantucket #2

Goodreads description: Cricket Thompson’s lifetime of overachieving has paid off: she’s headed to Brown University in the fall, with a spot on the lacrosse team and a scholarship that covers almost everything. Who knew living in the dorm cost money? An Ivy League education seems to mean living at home for the next four years.

When Cricket is offered the chance to earn enough cash to afford a real college experience, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But the faraway island challenges Cricket in ways she hadn’t anticipated. It’s hard to focus on earning money for next year, when she finds her world opening up in entirely new ways-to art, to travel, and, most unexpectedly, to a future completely different from the one she has been working toward her whole life. A friendship blossoms with Ben, the gorgeous surfer and bartender who encourages Cricket to be free, even as she smarts at the pain of seeing Zack, her first love, falling for her worst enemy.

But one night, when Cricket finally lets herself break all her own rules, she realizes she may have ruined her carefully constructed future with one impulsive decision. Cricket must dig deep to fight for her future, discovering that success isn’t just about reaching goals, but also about listening to what she’s been trying to ignore-her own heart.

I wanted to read Nantucket Red since I learned about it. I really enjoyed Nantucket Blue and I was interested to see what else might happen.

In this book, Cricket makes more mistakes and I really like that. She isn’t perfect, but that makes her so much more real. I like Cricket so much. She learned more about herself and relationships with friends and guys. She learned about difficult situations. I really like that she learned that changing her mind and not having everything planned out is okay. It felt really fitting for her. I liked watching her brave life, make mistakes, and learn so much about listening to herself. I love that she explored and got to be a little carefree.

I did have some issues: sometimes her mistakes were very easily fixed, even kinda major ones. I would have liked to see her have to work a little bit more to make it work out. And there was one obstacle for her and a guy that felt off for me. It was a pretty serious one, but I think it should have been handled differently. That part kind of seemed easy in the end, too.

“What do you think?” I asked when I stepped out of the dressing room.

“Hot,” Jules said.”

“Red hot,” Jennie echoed.

“It’s actually kind of conservative,” I said, turning around in front of the three-way mirror, noting its full coverage of boobs and butt and the innocent boys at the hips.

“But that’s what makes it hot,” Jules said. “It leaves something to the imagination. It’s asking the world, Good girl or bad girl?” She stood behind me, took out my ponytail, and shook my hair over my shoulders.

“Girls can be both,” I said.

“Of course. We women are very complex.”

“Guys are, too,” I said, thinking of Zack, so sweet one day and so harsh the next.

“Yes, humankind is full of contradictions. We could write a thesis, but I’d rather go to the beach,” Jules said.

I really enjoyed Cricket and Nantucket Red. I think Leila Howland’s writing is so lovely, and I’ll be watching out for anything else she writes. If you like contemporary YA with mistakes and learning and great characters, I think you should check out this series!

The Passage [thoughts]

The Passage coverThe Passage by Justin Cronin
Goodreads
Release Date: June 8th 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Book
Series: The Passage #1

Goodreads description: An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

Why I read this: I chose The Passage at complete random. I had been reading a lot of YA and I was just in a place where I needed something different. I’ve heard random good things about The Passage in the past and knew it was popular, saw it on Overdrive and took the plunge. It is a long book and a challenging journey, but one I’m glad I took. And shoutout again to Andi from Estella’s Revenge for encouraging me on the journey!

The Passage is sort of about vampires. It revolves around vampires and an apocalyptic end to society. But it’s about a lot more than that, too.  It’s about humanity, love, loyalty, loss, survival, etc etc. It’s a human story, at heart. I don’t think people that are off vampires or usually against them would have many issues with this book, because the vampire aspect is handled a bit differently. They aren’t your typical vampires and it’s very psychological and mental, it makes you think. The way the book is written put me in the mind of World War Z and the first Dark Tower book, The Gunslinger, and made me want to jump into the rest of the series (at the time of writing this, I still haven’t. Oops. Soon though. Soon.)

How I feel about it:

I have all the feelings for The Passage. I don’t even know how to convey them, so this might get a little bit messy. There was so much setup to this world that I was a little bit frustrated by all the details and all the things going on. And some of it felt fragmented to me, but now that I’ve read the whole thing, it makes more sense why certain aspects needed to be that way. I loved the feel of the story from the beginning, but my love of the atmosphere and feel grew as the story progressed. The book begins in modern times and goes through the vampire event, then you read about the time after, where there are survivors and vampires. You don’t get all the details, of why or how, but I suspect more will come in the second book.

This book made me surprisingly emotional and I cried several times for different reasons. Loss, separation, happiness. I was surprised by how much I grew to love the characters and how important they became to me. I was attached. I loved reading about how the problem got started and how humans reacted, but the after and survival aspects were so compelling. It’s interesting reading/watching different types of after-disaster scenarios and seeing how people think the world might react. It looks at human nature and the will to survive. It shows that even in the worst of situations, humans still want to live and love and make things better.

I feel like I could read The Passage again at some point, and it would be really enjoyable on the second/more read. It seems like a book that might be even better when you know what’s going on and can just watch it unfold, knowing which details are important. It’s not one I’m aching to buy, but I hope to pick it up at some point. I want to read The Twelve, I had downloaded it on Overdrive and read a few chapters but I think I might wait a while longer, but I definitely want to see more of these characters and learn more about the world. I recommend it to anyone who likes eerie/gritty, end of society/survival stories with realistic relationships and human experiences but some unrealistic and sort of weird stuff going on too, ha =) 

 

Happy 4th of July! [America]

source

Independence Day is a pretty awesome holiday in my opinion. America isn’t perfect, but compared to a lot of places, it is pretty nice. And there is so much to love about it, including the fact that we can keep striving to make it so much better.

When I was little, my town always had a fireworks display at the football stadium (I’m pretty sure they might still have it, but I don’t live there anymore!) and I loved them, without totally understanding what Independence was. As I grew up and learned more about the American Revolution, I had a lot of different feelings, but let’s face it, fireworks are pretty. I know they scare animals (I’m actually dog-sitting for some dogs that hate them right now!) and veterans have problems with them, which sucks. I wish there was a way to make quieter ones.

This year, I’m all alone on the 4th, which is kind of sad. I love big things on the 4th. One time my grandpa took us out on his boat and we watched lake fireworks right under them – it was AMAZING. Last year I watched some in Minnesota with the niecelets. There are tons of fireworks things around OKC, but I’m slightly iffy on navigating the traffic on my own, especially when people might be partying. SO I might just hang out and watch The Twilight Zone marathon! Annnnd look for awesome tacky patriotic and slightly mocking tumblr posts with eagles and flags and such.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite Independence Day related things:

Movies:

Independence Day – not surprising considering the gif (I made that gif, btw). Aliens, America, that speech. We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight! AND the dog doesn’t die.

The Patriot – Militia and Heath Ledger. Bam.

update: A mini-series I need to watch: John Adams a gifset to show you its lure is here.

Books:

I haven’t read enough Revolution era books, that I can think of anyway. I do appreciate America and the Revolution but I read a lot more historical fiction and non about other countries. The two I can think of are for younger readers:

Time Enough for Drums by Ann Rinaldi – I was never a huge Rinaldi fan as  a whole, but I did love this book.

The American Girl Felicity series

Music

This playlist on Spotify has a lot of awesome songs that about America. I found out about it thanks to @thatsostelle.

Anti-fourth:

I also saw this Anti-4th movie article link, which goes hand-in-hand with feeling fed up with the country. Sometimes it helps to rage at the problem before you try to steer positive. I can think of more spec fics and dystopians that add to the negative, but I won’t go into that at the moment!

What movies and books about America do you love? Do you enjoy reading/watching about the American Revolution? Do you have any recommendations for me? OR do you have any negative/subversive recs you want to share? 

Or if you’re not American (or are and have an interest in other countries) is there a book/movie about your country/country’s revolution/etc that you want to rec me?

I’m sure there have been and will be plenty of posts similar to this (probably better) with recs, and if you happen to see one and think of it, can you link me/tweet it at me? 

ALSO: tell me your plans/traditions/the best 4th of July you’ve ever had! Even if you get to this post late!

What Happened in June [recap]

What went down in June?

Books Read:

I didn’t really keep a list of what I read, oops. I had some more DNFs too.

  1. Nantucket Red by Leila Howland
  2. Enclave by Ann Aguirre
  3. Outpost by Ann Aguirre
  4. Horde by Ann Aguirre
  5. The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
  6. When You Were Mine by Rebecca Searle
  7. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
  8. Foreplay by Sophie Jordan
  9. The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
  10. The Mistress Trilogy by Tracy Anne Warren
  11. Tempted by His Target by Jill Sorenson
  12. Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

I think my favorite read in June was The Reece Malcolm List! July TBR: The Rosie Project (already started it), The Girl With All the Gifts, Pointe, annd maybe the next Dark Tower book. And other than that, who knows?

 

Posts in June:

Other things:

>>In the beginning of June I got a new tablet! It’s a Samsung Tab 4. I had a giftcard from sending my Nexus back. I really like it! I use it mainly to read ebooks on Overdrive and Kindle. I can use Google Books, Nook, and other things (I’m pretty sure Kobo has an app) too. Now it’s easier for me to get things from Netgalley (though I don’t do a lot of that) because if the choice is PDF vs Kindle, I can choose Kindle and read on my tablet!

>>Game of Thrones ended! Waiting a whole year sucks. I wish they had longer seasons. I wish D&D weren’t devoid of human emotions and didn’t thrive on the pain of fans. I read about Michelle Fairley confirming that [spoiler redacted] would not be happening in the show, at all. Lame.

>>I watched all of The 100 and it is all CW and it has its problems, but I actually like it.

General Plans for July: Hopefully finding an apartment and getting settled! Trying to defeat my nemesis, 2048. Maybe watching Brooklyn 99 again?

How was your June? What was your favorite book from June? Do you have anything awesome on your July TBR? Any awesome plans for July? Anything else to share?

Identity and Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft [thoughts]

I received a copy of Identity, and the the first book, Loyalty, from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was asked to review Identity, and it was the second book in the series, and I didn’t really want to jump in without knowing what was going on. However, I think it would be more than okay to read Identity without reading Loyalty first. I am glad I read Loyalty first, because it helped me get a feel for Fina and her family. Since I read both, I’m going to give a short review of Loyalty and more on Identity!

Loyalty Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft
June 18th 2013 Putnam Adult
Fina Ludlow #1
Goodreads|Amazon|Book Depository

Goodreads description: The Ludlows are a hard-charging family, and patriarch Carl Ludlow treats his offspring like employees—which they are. But his daughter, Fina, is a bit of a black sheep. A law school dropout, her father keeps her in the fold as the firm’s private investigator, working alongside her brothers.

Juggling her family of high-powered (and highly dysfunctional) attorneys, the cops and Boston’s criminal element is usually something Fina does without breaking a sweat. But when her sister-in-law disappears, she’s caught up in a case unlike any she’s encountered before.

Carl wants things resolved without police interference, but the deeper Fina digs, the more impossible that seems. The Ludlows close ranks, and her brother Rand and his unruly teenage daughter Haley grow mysteriously distant from the family. As Fina unearths more dirt, the demands of family loyalty intensify. But Fina is after the truth—no matter the cost.

The Ludlows are known for their law firm and less-than-reputable acts on behalf of clients. Fina works as their private investigator, a part of the family but also apart from it. She’s used to helping with cases, but this case is a lot more personal for the Ludlows. Fina’s sister-in-law is missing and her niece is involved in some sketchy business, making it more important to Fina. She’s determined to find out what happened and help her family, but she has to find the truth, even if unearthing it isn’t as loyal as expected.

I liked Fina. She’s abrupt, but she’s kind of fun. Sometimes she came off a little too strong, but she could be funny too. She cared about her family but she also cared about the truth. She worked hard, even when it was dangerous. She’s interesting and layered. I really liked that she had two sort-of-boyfriends/friends-with-benefits, because it was casual but she cared about both of them, and she was free to decide what everything was and they let her.

The story in Loyalty was kind of easy figure out, there are a lot of clues directing you straight to the X. It was still interesting to watch Fina arrive at the spot, and it was also interesting to see how she handled surprises that popped up in her way. There are many questions about loyalty, not just with Fina and her family but with other characters in the book.

identity cover Identity by Ingrid Throft
June 26th 2014 (expected) by Putnam Adult
Fina Ludlow #2
Goodreads|Amazon|Book Depository

Goodreads description: Firecracker P.I. Fina Ludlow returns in the next hard-driving entry in the acclaimed series by Ingrid Thoft.

It’s been a couple months since Fina’s last big case—the one that exposed dark family secrets and called Fina’s family loyalty into question—but there’s no rest for the weary, especially when your boss is Carl Ludlow.

Renata Sanchez, a single mother by choice, wants to learn the identity of her daughter Rosie’s sperm donor. A confidentiality agreement and Rosie’s reticence might deter other mothers, but not Renata, nor Carl, who’s convinced that lawsuits involving cryobanks and sperm donors will be “the next big thing.” Fina uncovers the donor’s identity, but the solution to that mystery is just the beginning: within hours of the case going public, Rosie’s donor turns up dead.

Fina didn’t sign on for a murder investigation, but she can’t walk away from a death she may have set in motion. She digs deeper and discovers that DNA doesn’t tell the whole story and sometimes, cracking that code can have deadly consequences

I enjoyed Identity more than Loyalty. For one thing, it wasn’t as easy for me to figure out “whodunnit,” I kind of has a theory but I wasn’t sure at all. There were several viable suspects. I thought the mystery was handled a lot better in this book.

I liked Fina more this time around, too. She’s still protective of her niece, Hayley. This is one of the best parts of the book for me. She cares a lot about Hayley and is very serious about keeping her safe. She’s still snarky and tough. I love that her job is dangerous and the fact that she’s a female doesn’t stop her from getting the shit kicked out of her, it makes the story feel more real. I also love her personal life drama. I feel like we get to know one guy a bit better than the other, even though she’s with the other one more. I  thin I like one more than the other, and this book ended with things kind of undecided for them.

The investigating part is intense and messy, and sometimes the writing was a little off-point for me. There’s a lot of talk about food, Fina eats a LOT. This brings a realistic feel, but it also crowds the story a bit. There’s also a lot of description of what people wear and how they look, and if it is relevant to investigating, that’s fine, but sometimes it just felt like it was personal commentary that was slightly overwhelming. I did enjoy–and laugh–at some of her personal commentary, so I don’t want it all gone. I just wish it were cleaned up a little.

The people she was investigating were more interesting this time, and the sideline story of a family friend played into the Identity theme and was also interesting for me. It seemed kind of handy to have it happen at the same time, but oh well. The cryokids were intriguing, as was their situation. The investigation opened a lot of questions into the donor’s personal life and background and that was an interesting ride. Fina has to deal with the rich, the shady, and the angry. She uncovers the truth and also uncovers some other shocking details relevant to the case/lives of those involved.

Fina is kick-ass. Sometimes it seems to be too much, but I don’t know, I ended up wanting more and thinking about this book during the day when I wasn’t reading it. It gets messy and overloaded at points, but overall it’s an enjoyable story. I’m not sure I would read it again, but I’m glad I read it and will read more of Fina’s adventures in shady investigating when they come out! So, if you like snarky females who aren’t afraid of the dark and dangerous but also have caring sides, you should check this one out!

The Fox’s Mask by Anna Frost [blog tour + giveaway]

The Fox's Mask tour banner

 

The Fox's Mask coverThe Fox’s Mask by Anna Frost @|www
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Blurb: Demon hunter Akakiba keeps many secrets from his human companion. The fact he’s a werefox isn’t the worst one.

In feudal Japan, magic is dying. As a demon hunter, Akakiba finds this problematic. The evil he’s been trained to destroy is disappearing and, along with it, the shape-shifting abilities of the clan he left behind. With his only companion, a determined young human named Yuki, Akakiba traverses the country slaying demons and performing odd jobs.

But when an army of demon possessed humans masses to exterminate his clan, Akakiba must put aside old feuds and protect his family–all while hiding an important secret from Yuki. Will they find a way to defeat the demon possessed before it’s too late? With magic dwindling, will it matter either way?

I received an ecopy of this book from the offer in exchange for an honest review!

I’m not sure if I would have picked out The Fox’s Mask to read on my own, which is one of the great things about book blogging! I haven’t read many (if any) books that take place and incorporate Japanese culture, and I’m always open to more LGBT reads.

Akakiba is a demon hunter, and he kind of ambles around looking for stuff to do. He has a companion named Yuki who he saved and began teaching. They do a lot of odd jobs like help take care of dragon eggs for poor villages. When Akakiba’s clan and family is under attack, he must do what he can to help them (obviously) and this opens up parts of his life he’s kept hidden to Yuki.

Akakiba’s clan has a lot of secrets and they’re special and magical in a world that’s losing magic. Because they are, they’re targets for demons. Akakiba has been away from his family for a long time, and when he returns, he has to face some unpleasant realities of his past. Yuki is even more curious about Akakiba, and wants to know more about his family and his past. Akakiba’s family wants him to be a part of the clan and they’re very interested in his new friend.

I enjoyed The Fox’s Mask! The one thing I kind of had an issue with was some of the demon POV stuff, sometimes I was really confused by what was happening, but I think that was more on me! I loved the setting and that it took place in Japan, and there were dragons, demons, werefoxes. The protective spirits and magic that were missing were really interesting. I loved the relationships, and the twists and turns of the story. The final twist was exciting and heightened my interest: it wasn’t completely shocking because of other events in the story, but it wasn’t something I expected and added a lot to the story. I’m interested to see where the story goes in The Fox’s Quest!

Be sure to click and check out the giveaway for a $30 Amazon or B&N gift card, ran by Anna::

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The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith [thoughts]

The Geography of You and Me coverThe Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Goodreads | @ | www
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Poppy
Series: none!

Goodreads description: Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too

I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and liked-not-loved it, but The Geography of You and Me sounded interesting and I saw some love for it from Estelle (hm, she must write great reviews because I seem to link back to her a lot!) and I remember Gaby tweeting about it (but that’s a link to a post including it, because I’m too lazy to find the tweets) .

Lucy lives in a nice building in NYC. One day while in the elevator with a boy she’s seen around, a blackout hits and the elevator stalls. She’s stuck with a stranger-a cute one. They have very different stories and backgrounds, but they spend the day together and fall asleep on the roof. After the day, things go differently than planned but they keep thinking of one another.

If you were to ask me to describe this book in one word, I think I’d say “warm.” I really liked it, and even though I read some awesome reviews for it, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. But these two characters were real, with real issues, real ways of dealing with them, real emotions, and it made me smile and it made me hurt and holy run-on sentence, this is me gushing about this book! I really liked it.

Lucy loves her city but she’s lonely. Her twin brothers are off to college and her parents travel constantly. She doesn’t have any close friends and spends a lot of her time on the edges. When she meets E, she explains how sad this is in a way she’s never really had to face before. After the blackout, her parents kind of freak out about her being there alone and being stuck and trauma and invite her to come to Europe (London, actually). She’s excited, because she has always wanted to go on one of their trips. She opens up about some things with her parents and it changes things immensely. I really love books where characters actually talk out problems because sometimes life is like that and sometimes I just wish life was like that. It’s not always easy to say what you really mean, but sometimes when things are important to you, you can do it. And I really appreciate the movements made in this book on both parts. I loved how involved her parents were, and the discoveries you make later on about how assumptions guided silence for so long and how her mom was more observant than she expected and it made a huge difference for words to actually be spoken.

Owen and his dad are going through a tough time and figuring out how to make life work. They have to learn about each other and skirt some issues and eventually talk about important things. I really liked their relationship, but I don’t want to get as long about it. But it meant a lot to me that both Lucy and Owen were close with their parents and felt like it was important to make connections and talk to their parents.

And the relationship? I really liked that too. To me, it felt like an instant connection, because I don’t feel like either one of them thought it was love. It’s just like when you meet someone and spend some time with them and really enjoy them and keep thinking about them. It’s not love, but you’re connected. And they have a difficult time keeping up the connection, but they find some ways, and when they meet again it isn’t perfect, but it’s messy and real and the messy parts made me love the book all the more. I loved that they just kept thinking about each other while traveling and their connection was great.

4 star rating

I definitely want to read The Geography of You and Me again, and it’s going on my “buy” list. I really felt connected to it, even though both characters were very different from me and in different situations. It’s cute and sweet, but it is also so much more than that. It’s got depth and meaning, and it’s genuine and warm. It makes me want to revisit Statistical and give This is What Happy Looks Like and some of her other books a try. I really recommend this one to anyone. I’m sure it’s not for everyone and Jen E. Smith’s books seem to be kind of hit or miss, but I really liked this one! If you like contemps with real emotion and a genuine feeling, depth, growth, traveling and development, The Geography of You and Me might be for you!

 

Tagged – The Book Blogger’s Test

The awesome Cayce from Fighting Dreamer tagged me in this test! I really like reading posts like this with fun answers but I’m pretty terrible at thinking up answers, though later I will think of several fitting ones!

What are your top three book pet hates?

1. Text/chat speak in texts. This might have been fitting at the beginning of texting when texts could only be so long and you were charged per text, but now I can write a novel through text and I don’t text with anyone who says “what time will u be here?” or “what r u doing?” unless they’re being ironic. I know some people probably do text this way, and I know people tweet and type that way on facebook, but it still bugs me.

2. Guys that are overly OVERLY affectionate. Sometimes when guys are super gushy in books, it just makes me roll my eyes. I think it has a lot to do with the writing, and makes the emotion feel less than genuine to me, which makes it all fall flat. I know guys can be affectionate, but I don’t always believe the writing.

3.Language that doesn’t fit the character. When a character is narrating but the author uses words they wouldn’t know/shows information they wouldn’t have. Sometimes it’s easy to tell that what’s going on doesn’t fit the character’s way of telling the story, so I’ll wish the author had written it a different way, or figured something else out. ALSO when some characters use super correct grammar and you can tell they wouldn’t normally. A lot of people don’t give a flip about who/whom in everyday conversation, so why would a random teenager just use whom?

Describe your perfect reading spot.

My bed, haha. I read the most in bed. I like reading at night before I sleep!

Tell us three book confessions.

I have no idea! I am bad at confessions, so these will be lame.

1. I am really weird about spoilers for books I am excited about  but don’t really care about random books. But sometimes reading spoilers for books I don’t care about will make me more interested in them.

2.  I always feel really negative and picky about books because I dislike a lot of popular ones.  I like to pick apart movies, even ones I really love. But I’m not as negative as I seem!

3. I used to drop books in the bathtub. I don’t really use the tub anymore/have a nice one but I still have the curled remains of one of the victims. I also dropped a portable cd player in the bath one time. Luckily it wasn’t dangerous.

When was the last time you cried during a book?

I think it was in The Passage. I was surprisingly leaky in that book! I didn’t expect to grow so fond of the story/characters and care so much about everything.
How many books are on your bedside table?

4! I just cleaned it off! My current read: Horde by Ann Aguirre, When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle, The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding, and the second Dark Tower book, which I am definitely starting after those!

table books

 

What is your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?

Lately I haven’t been snacking at all while reading, but probably chips, plain potato chips and dip, or Hershey’s kisses.

 

Name three books you would recommend to everyone.

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

2. Harry Potter! I was a hold out for a long time (I read them in 2012) and they’re so much fun, so people not wanting to be a part of it or just putting it off should just jump in!

3. Um. Lord of the Rings? I have no idea.
Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase.

Right now I’m living with my amazing sister and her amazing family and haven’t unpacked my books (though I’ve been here long enough that I probably should have) so this is my shelf right now:

messy bookshelf

It’s a mess! The top one is weirdly shorter so the second on usually holds my favorites and right now it has games and my awesome lampshade. The top shelf has the Dark Tower series. Both Raven Cycle books are there because my sister recently read and returned them. My Geography book that needs to be sold is on the top, and my Teen Wolf s1 and s2 dvds are also there. So, it’s not a look at my favorites but it’s a look at something! And the picture is bad because it was my phone and the lighting was weird!
Write how much books mean to you in just three words.

lovely company always  >> ??
What is your biggest reading secret?

Um, I don’t think I really have one? Maybe the amount of smut/romance I read but I don’t think it’s a “secret” I just don’t review it because I am worse at talking about it? Maybe I should try sometime, though.

 

I hate tagging people because I never feel like anyone will be like “Yay! She tagged me!” So I’m just going to tag Danielle from The Book Barn (whenever she has time) because I think she might actually like to do this and I would enjoy reading her answers. And if you’re interested in filling it out, you can be tagged from me and share your post with me so I can read it because I really enjoy reading them!

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski [thoughts]

The Winner's CurseThe Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
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Release Date:March 4th 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #1

Goodreads description: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart

I didn’t really know what The Winner’s Curse was about, but it got a lot of buzz and I was interested.

The Winner’s Curse is about war! Kestrel (oh that name. It had a point but still.) is from a country/society that invaded another country and took it over. They live in their houses and use the people as slaves. Kestrel is a general’s daughter in a highly militaristic society. Arin, a slave she acquires, is…well, a slave. He doesn’t like the people that conquered his land, because really, who would? But they are interested in each other, of course.

Overall, I really liked this book. It was engaging and I was entertained. Kestrel isn’t amazingly skilled at every aspect of life, she’s actually bad at fighting and her father wants her to join the military. She’s good at strategy but she doesn’t want to join up and fight. She also doesn’t want to get married, but those are her only choices. She’s defiant, but she’s vulnerable too.

Arin is a slave and he’s understandably angry. His way of life has changed and now he’s a slave, along with his people. Every day he sees the remnants of his society under the power of violent conquerors. When he’s sold to Kestrel, he’s resistant, but his interest in her grows. I was kind of pleasantly surprised by Arin’s story, I loved that there was stuff going on I didn’t see coming, and it felt realistic.

Their romance was kind of weird for me. I couldn’t always understand why they were drawn together. I wasn’t completely against it, and I could like it at certain points, but I wasn’t completely sold.

I liked seeing the story from both sets of eyes. I liked the world and there were several things going on I didn’t expect. My major issue with it is something I could rant about but don’t want to spoil for anyone, and it might not be as huge for everyone else: towards the end a turn in the book kind of made everything fall apart for me. It kind of tore at some of the ideas the book had built up earlier. I couldn’t take the twist seriously and it bummed me out on the book,. and it’s something the next book will build on, so I’m not very sure about that. But I’m still interested in the world and characters and I want to see what else can happen.

rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Despite my big issue with part of the ending, I liked this book and this world! I want to read it again at some point and I will keep reading the series. It’s not a case of love but it is a lot of like and appreciation! I’ve actually read The Shadow Society by Rutkoski and I think I gave it 3 stars (before blogging), so I think she’s talented and I’m interested in her work. If you like war, especially if you’re interested in ancient Rome/Greece and strategy and difficult romances, I think you’d enjoy this one!