"I spent my life folded between the pages of books." -Tahereh Mafi

Some of my reviews are normal non-spoilery reviews. But some of reviews contain lots and lots of spoilers to help you (and me!) remember what happened when the next book in the series finally comes out. Both review types are clearly marked.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This book was an important look at bullying. Ashley is bullied by almost everyone at school. Her best friend Matt is usually able to offer a refuge, but even he doesn't believe her half the time. Her mom is awful and just wants Ashley to be "normal." There's a bit of a paranormal aspect to this book: Ashley sees a future version of herself in the mirror. This Older Ashley offers her guidance so that the younger Ashley's life doesn't turn out the same. 

I was really looking forward to this book, but it just kinda fell flat. I know that Ashley was going through a lot of emotional stuff, but I just didn't feel all that much emotion from her. 

But there just aren't enough books that address bullying as well as this book does. So I'd definitely still recommend it, especially for anyone that happens to be going through this type of thing.

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 5/5 stars

This was awesome! Sarah was an awesome heroine and part of me wishes this was a series so I could read more about her! (but standalones are so rare that I'm happy when I see one!)

In the beginning the premise reminded me a lot of Slated - a young female criminal is stripped of her memories in order to reform her. But this book went in a very different (and better) direction than Slated. Sarah has had her memories stripped and is still at the experimental hospital. And then soldiers come, shooting people. They're looking for someone - her! (obviously)

This book is action-packed! And it's very well-written action, which is pretty rare. There's also lots of twists, which were fun to try to figure out. And there was just enough romance - it wasn't the focus, but it was a nice complement to the story. And this sweet line: 

"Listen, I know all about you," he says. "You just meet me." "Maybe, but I still know something special when I see it."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 5/5 stars

I thought this would just be some fluffy ya contemporary. Holy fuck was I wrong! This book was so much better than I expected. So much more powerful and emotional. This book deals with so many issues. Popularity, bigotry, abuse. And it still manages to be mostly funny because Anika is funny. 

Anika is the third most popular girl at school. Her best friend Shelli is second most popular and her frenemy Becky is the most popular girl. Becky is a bitch. She's a bully just because she can be. Why would Anika and Shelli stay friends with her? Well, because if they're friends with her, they're not the ones getting bullied. 
"Look, if we cross Becky, forget it. She'll turn on us and it'll be, like, vicious. You know it will. It'll be like two seconds before I'm a total prostitute and you're like . . . the n-word."  
" The n-word?"
"Yup, the n-word. And she'll, like, add something. Like she'll call you a . . . a vampire n-word." 
See, the reason Anika can never be most popular is because she's half-Romanian. And the reason Shelli can't be is because she's a slut. 

On the first day of school, nerd Logan comes back with a hot new look. Anika is intrigued, but he's still a nerd. They end up kind of seeing each other, but no one can know or Becky would kill her. And then enter the popular guy, who Anika doesn't like as much as Logan, but who would ensure her popularity and safety from Becky. The plot seems predictable, but it's really not. I'm not going to give anything away, but I did not see the end coming. It just hit me with bunches of feels out of nowhere!!

I admit that I got a little freaked out in the beginning when Anika referred to Shelli as a slut. I hate slut-shaming. But there's really not any shaming. Anika and Shelli's friendship was awesome. They truly care for each other and support each other.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Liebster Award!!

Thanks to Benni at Benni's Book Biters, I have been nominated for a Liebster Award, a fun way to discover new blogs and connect with other bloggers.

The Liebster rules are thus:
  • Link and thank those who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions posed to you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers with fewer than 200 followers and ask them 11 questions. (I'm only nominating 7 because I didn't want to re-nominate people)
  • Inform them of nomination by commenting on one of their posts.

Questions Answered

Here are my answers to the 11 questions asked.

1. If you had to live in a book universe, which book’s universe would it be?

I read lots of dystopian and post-apocalyptic, so I definitely would not want to live in my favorite books!!
I would love to live in Wide Awake by David Levithan. It's a future America that's gotten through all the tough stuff that usually turns a society into a dystopian, but instead, this society has gotten better. Gay people are totally accepted (one's just been elected President!), people shop at malls and then donate all the money to charities. Totally a world I would want to live in!

2. Which two book characters would you choose to fight over your heart?

Warner from Shatter Me and Augustus from TFIOS. 
Warner is my ultimate book boyfriend. I mean, how can you not be in love with him?? There's this:
"I want want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head. I want to be that kind of friend. The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them. I want to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body. I want to know where to touch you. I want to know how to touch you. I want to convince you to design a smile just for me. Yes, I do want to be your friend. I want to be your best friend in the entire world."

Warner. Swoon.
And Gus. Well, Gus is just so damn sweet. And pretentious, which I kinda find adorable.

Of course, Warner would probably kill Gus and that would be sad. But that's part of the danger of falling in love with a murderer. 

3. Which book character would you choose as your best friend?

Kenji from Shatter Me!! 
He's hilarious, supportive, and honest. He never hesitates to tell Juliette the truth, even when she doesn't want to hear it.

4. What would you choose as your one superpower?

My favorite TV show of all time is Stargate SG-1. If you've never watched it, you should. Like immediately. It's awesome. In one episode, the team get these bracelets that give them super-speed and super-strength. The whole team is excited because with this extra power they'll be able to defeat the Goa'uld (the bad aliens). And Dr. Daniel Jackson is just so incredibly excited because this means he can read really fast.

So yeah, that's what I would choose. Dr. Jackson can read super fast and Major Carter is able to write a physics book in a couple hours. Who wouldn't want that superpower??

5. Is there an upcoming title/ARC that you want to read so badly you’d gladly embarrass yourself to get a copy now? What book, and how would you be willing to embarrass yourself?

There's several books I'm dying to come out. Like Dead of WinterThe Retribution of Mara DyerWinterThe Ruby Circle, and whatever the next Immortals After Dark book will be.

But embarrass myself to get it? Um... I think I can just wait patiently! lol

6. Would you name your children after your favorite book characters? If so, please divulge—at least one name for a girl, and one for a boy.

I don't think so. I don't want a name that too pop culture. Although I might do something a little less mainstream, like Eowyn (from LOTR). 

7. If you were forced to burn a book, which book would it be?

Burning a book?? I don't know if I could!! 

8. What book character would you bring back from the dead?

Spoiler if you haven't read Allegiant!!!!

Tris. I was sad for weeks after reading her death. My favorite books are my favorites because I can totally connect with the main character. And I totally connected with Tris. And then she dies. :(

9. What are your book faction allegiances? (E.g., Gryffindor, House Stark, Dauntless)

I know they were the enemy in the Divergent series, but I'd totally be Erudite. Getting to learn things all day?!?! Sign me up!!!

10. What book do you wish you wrote?

Well I don't write fiction. I am, however, finishing up my PhD in Political Science. I can only hope to write something as influential as The American Voter or Who Governs.

11. What has been your all-time most viewed blog post?

My very spoilery review/recap of Insurgent

My Nominees

  1. Lauren @ A Blonde Librarian
  2. Naban @ The Literary Oracle
  3. Lina @ bibliophilic geek
  4. czai @ The Blacksheep Project
  5. Jessica @ The Psychotic Nerd
  6. Ashley @ Books To The Tea
  7. Britnee @ Brittnee Bryan

My Eleven Questions

Finally, here are my 11 questions for my 11 nominees:
  1. What three books would you bring to a deserted island with you?

  2. What's your favorite genre?
  3. What’s your least favorite genre?

  4. Do you judge a book by its cover?

  5. What is your favorite time of day to read?

  6. Have you ever visited a book con or a book signing?

  7. Do you ever write in a book?

  8. Paperback or hardback or e-book?

  9. Buy books or library?
  10. Do you have a favorite villain?
  11. Who is your favorite book character and why?

Please comment below and link to your answers when you’re done! Would love to see them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

California by Edan Lepucki

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 2/5 stars

This book was difficult for me. I considered quitting a couple times. This book takes place in what is basically a post-apocalyptic America. When things started getting really bad, Cal and Frida left LA and made their home in the wilderness. They've been making a decent life for a couple years, but then Frida becomes pregnant and wants to find something better.

Bottom line: I hated Frida. Just hated her. She was such a worthless person. She suspects she's pregnant and yet still takes Vicodin when its offered because the apocalypse is depressing and she wants to escape. Seriously?? Could she be a shittier person? She tries to act like she's this enlightened, independent woman (by not taking her husband's last name or by complaining about how sexist the division of labor is in the apocalypse), but then she spouts shit like this:
Even when things got difficult between them, doing Cal's laundry made Frida feel a love so tender she could weep.
WTF? I love my husband and I occasionally do his laundry (we take turns like any good little feminist family), but I generally don't think about how much I love him while washing his damn clothes. My thoughts are usually more along the lines of "omg, am I done yet?" or "god, this sucks" or "seriously, everyone in this laundromat is fucking weird." And then there's stuff like this:
That first summer, a porcupine had walked into her path, quills up, and Frida sucked in her breath and turned around, ran back to the shed crying like a kid. She imagined coming upon a bigger, more dangerous animal, being eaten alive. 
Seriously, could Frida be more annoying? Oh yes, she actually can be! Instead of growing, she just gets worse as the book progresses. Often female characters aren't physically strong, but they're emotionally strong. Frida is neither. She's totally worthless. Why does Cal love her? Seriously, I have no idea. I spent the whole book trying to figure it out because Cal is a pretty decent guy.

Frida and Cal's relationship is strange. Sometimes they're depicted as being totally in love, but then other times they seem miserable. They constantly lie and keep things from each other. I imagine if it wasn't the apocalypse, they would have been divorced pretty early on. Mostly because Frida is not emotionally mature enough for a successful marriage.

The flashbacks in this book are really scattered and there were just too many of them. I'm fine with flashing back to the past - it's usually necessary in dystopians - but this was extreme. The first quarter of the book is basically Cal and Frida doing basic chores while thinking about past events. And just when you think something would actually happen, there's another flashback.

That being said, I actually did like the world building. And eventually some interesting things happen. But I'm not sure all of that was worth putting up with Frida.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This book was cute. It was very rooted in Jewish culture which was interesting. Even though there's lots of matchmaking, the main character doesn't have to bother with her own love interest. It's kind of refreshing to read a ya book that's not all about the MC hooking up with a guy (not that I don't like that too! But this is a nice change!).

There's some strange word play at times, which I actually kind of enjoyed. But I doubt everyone will. Example:
Thanks to the internet, we swam the waters of bridal magazines, wedding gowns, and floral arrangements like pros - we were like the sockeye salmon of wedding planning. 
Huh? Weird, but I like it.

My only real problems with this book are that most of the characters are unlikable and that everyone is so desperate and obsessed with getting married! I know, what else did I expect from a book about matchmaking? I just have a hard time understanding why being single at 28 is that big of a deal. I know it is for some people though. And apparently it is in the Jewish community.

I honestly didn't really like Raina. She's obsessed with the Red Sox. I guess it's supposed to give her personality or something, but she will just not shut up about the damn Red Sox. I know some pretty hardcore Cardinals fans, but none of them talk about it as much as she talks about the Red Sox. Too much!! She also constantly criticizes the appearance of all other women. Everyone. The popular girl at school, the random woman on the bus, the nerdy girl at school, the teachers, the principal. And she's generally not nice to people, unless she's making a match.

The rest of her family is pretty awful too. Her sister blames her for breaking up her engagement to a total douche. He broke off the engagement because Raina got kicked out of school and he decided he didn't want to be a part of her family because of it. Seriously? If I was engaged to a dude who said that about my little sister, I would have been glad to see him go! What a douche!

Overall it's cute, but I spent a lot of my time angry at most of the characters.

link to Goodreads

Sunday, September 7, 2014

After the End by Demitria Lunetta

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

I liked this book, despite the plot holes and the half-hearted love triangle. First problem: There was almost no recap of the previous book, which made things a bit difficult for me to follow at first. Things came back to me eventually, but it would have been nice to have a little more of a recap of the first book.

The good: I love Amy! I love how much ass she can kick and I love how compassionate and rational she is. She doesn't get easily distracted by cute guys like most ya heroines. Although she does occasionally make some questionable choices (like walking into a compound that obviously treats women like property or running around alone while she knows a brutal man is after her.), but what ya heroine doesn't??

I won't go much into the plot holes at the end because spoilers! But towards the end a couple things happen that just don't really make sense and seem to happen only because it's plot convenient or more interesting. But this book was enjoyable enough that I mostly found myself ignoring these plot holes so I could keep enjoying it!

The end was also really rushed, which I've been seeing a lot lately. Everything shouldn't be able to be fixed in two pages. It's like authors get tired and just want to wrap it all up as fast as possible!

link to Goodreads

Monday, September 1, 2014

Everything Changes by Samantha Hale

This review is spoiler free!!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This was a cute little coming-out/first love story. It wasn't very original - girl meets girl, starts to question her sexuality, starts dating girl, girlfriend wants her to come out, girl is afraid of what her friends will think. But despite its unoriginality, it was still cute and enjoyable.

My one issue with the book comes after when a boy kisses Raven at a party. Morgan gets upset and assumes that Raven was doing something to lead him on. It is not a girl's fault if a guy kisses her without consent. She was talking to him, which everyone in the book believes is her leading him on. Uh, I have friends that are men that I talk to for long periods of time and they don't try to kiss me. Talking is not flirting and is not an invitation for a kiss.