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

The Rosie Project coverThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
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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
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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 =) 

 

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]

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The Fox's Mask coverThe Fox’s Mask by Anna Frost @|www
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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!

 

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!

 

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart [thoughts]

We Were Liars cover We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Goodreads | Website | Twitter
Release Date: May 13th 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series: none

 

 

Goodreads description: A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE

I love E. Lockhart’s writing, and I of course saw a LOT of good reviews for We Were Liars before it came out, so it was an obvious go for me!

We Were Liars is about: A rich family that owns an island by Martha’s Vineyard and does rich family things. They are “perfect” and their life is a mess. Main character Cady is trying to piece together memories of an accident a few years ago and learns stuff she had forgotten about the family.

I have so many mixed feelings about this book. I saw a lot of hype and OMG!! about this book and the ENDING, but the twist was REALLY obvious to me. From the beginning, I had a good idea what was going on. I was actually hoping I was wrong so I could be all “OMG!!” too:

But it was what I thought it was. And that didn’t make the book bad or unenjoyable, but it did change the experience for me. Since I knew what was going on, I looked at events differently. I think some emotional attachment might have been lost, and I think if you’ve read it you might be able to see why. HOWEVER: I still really liked this book. It wasn’t what I expected and I wasn’t blown away, but I liked Cady and her journey a lot.

Cady went through a rough time, had to recover, and had to learn about herself and her family again. The view into a messed up family that pretends to be perfect but is really filled with bickering and pettiness was really insightful, because although not all families are horrible to each other, there are usually horrible moments in everyone’s life when you’re just like “WHY can’t everyone just be nice to each other?” And I think that’s a huge part of this book, looking at the why and trying to change things for the better, even if you go about it in a way that might add problems to your life.

The writing is amazing and there were a lot of quotes that were full of feeling and resonated. I didn’t save any particular ones (I tend to think I will go back and look through the book later but put it off and move on to the next book) but the writing is so lovely. And the island setting will make you wish you could fly somewhere nice and chill out on a private island. With books, of course!

rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I do think I would read We Were Liars again, I think it would benefit from a second read. I am pretty sure it’s going on my “buy list” even though I’m not dying for my own copy this second. I really like E. Lockhart’s writing and I definitely want to read anything she writes. I think this could be a good match for anyone who likes gritty stories, but if you’re good at figuring stories out, don’t hinge too much on the mystery/twist everyone raves about.

 

This is a really difficult book to talk about because of the setup and ending, so my review probably isn’t the best, sorry.

Have you read it? Were you shocked? Do you plan to read it?

 

 

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando [thoughts]

roomies coverRoomies by Sara Zarr @|www and Tara Altebrando @|www
Goodreads
Release Date: December 24th 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: none

Goodreads description: It’s time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they’ve never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

I decided to read Roomies because I saw some tweets about it, I mainly remember Estelle tweeting about it, and I saw it one day at the library and it called to me (as books do).

Roomies is about college roommates EB/Elizabeth and Lauren who are paired together potluck and get in contact with each other. They email and get to know one another, while not always understanding each other. They deal with big things going on in their lives. They learn things.

I really liked this book! I want to buy it and have it available to read again. It’s been a little while since I’ve read it but it deserves a post, so this review will probably be slightly vague. EB and Lauren are very different and coming from different places and situations. While EB is excited about her room assignment, Lauren wanted a single. She’s the oldest of several kids living in a cramped apartment and she wanted some space of her own. EB wants a friend, she’s moving across the country and won’t know anyone. They start emailing each other and it’s a rough, awkward start. But then they start to share pieces of their lives and little details, then bigger details and some pretty intense and huge details and things get sort of messy.

EB and Lauren were both really likable for me. At first I liked EB a lot more because Lauren seemed pretty snotty, but she grew on me! You get a good look at the family and background of both girls: EB lives alone with her serial-dater mom and feels alone, Lauren is close to her family, sometimes too close. Both girls deal with friendships and boy issues: I was a big fan of all the flirty buildup involved with both girls. I liked both boys a lot. Both girls have serious problems to deal with. Some of the details might seem unrealistic on the overview, but the book felt real and the characters felt real. I think both girls learned a lot about friendship and themselves. I wanted to hug them and help them, and I was slightly frustrated by how short it was and the ending because I wanted to see so much more of their friendship!

4 star rating

Roomies is on my “to buy” list! I wanted more of the story and characters, I was sad to see the end. I think it was fun and worth a read! I haven’t read anything else by either author but I’ve been wanting to read The Lucy Variations for a while and now I’m more interested in reading more from both authors!

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva [thoughts]

one man guy coverOne Man Guy by Michael Barakiva  www
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: May 27th 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Series: none

 

Goodreads description: Funny and heartfelt, One Man Guy serves up the raucous family humor and gentle romance of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as told with David Sedaris–style wit

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again

I chose to read this book because it sounded cute. That’s all the reason I need!

Alek is Armenian and his family is very serious about culture and background. They’re also pretty strict and make him go to summer school to stay in honors. He has a crush on the Ethan, a bad boy type. Romance and family issues ensue.

One Man Guy was pretty cute. I loved that Alek was Armenian, it was really interesting to read about Armenian culture and Alek’s exasperation with certain things his parents thought were serious. He got annoyed with how intense they were about social things that just seemed ridiculous to him. It was fun to watch him grasp and learn, and I really enjoyed the development between Alek and his brother Nik.

The romance between Ethan and Alek was mostly cute, but for some reason Ethan rubbed me slightly the wrong way. I should have written this review right after I read it, but it’s been a while so I don’t have examples. It could have been a personal thing, it wasn’t huge or I’d be able to remember it better. I also wasn’t a huge fan of Becky. She just annoyed me, but a lot. I’m sure the friend situation represented here might be common, but it didn’t sit well with me.

3 star rating

I enjoyed One Many Guy, but I don’t think it’s a book I’d want to pick up again. I re-skimmed some of it for this review (because I read it so long ago) and I didn’t feel super connected with it. But it is cute and it has depth and diversity, and it’s definitely worth a read, and I feel like my annoyances might be personal things that other people might not feel the same way about. I plan on reading more of Michael Barikiva’s work!

Have you read this one/Do you plan to?