Do you like to read?

Good. So do I. What started out as a place where I posted reviews, thoughts, and suggestions surrounding mostly young adult fiction has now turned into my personal venting space. I'm going to review books. I'm going to be honest. And I'm going to be snarky. You've been warned.

Oct 14, 2013

Revenge Wear Prada

Revenge Wears Prada isn't a young adult book, but I just couldn't resist writing a post dedicated to it. Why? Because it is utterly stupid.

You've probably heard about The Devil Wears Prada. You've probably even seen the movie with Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. Hoping to milk the cash cow that brought her success, Lauren Weisberger decided to write a sequel to The Devil Wears Prada...ten years later.

I didn't want to read this book. I had other things I was reading. And it was $12 -- yes, I'm that cheap. But my friend insisted we read the thing together. People never want to read things with me, so I caved.

My friend has since apologized for making me read it.

So why, you're probably asking, was this book so utterly stupid? Because it has nothing to do with the Devil, the Devil's revenge, or any revenge. It should have been called Where are They Now: Andy Sachs.

I guess I bought the path Andy's life had taken. So she never got to work for the New Yorker; neither do millions of other hopeful writers. Instead she made her living writing for blogs. Sure, that sounds believable. Whatever. I even bought the fact that she became best friends with her old Runway coworker, Emily, fell in love with a super rich publisher, and started her own wedding magazine. The problem I had with this story was how spineless Andy was. And how it had very little to do with Miranda. Seriously, if Weisberger wants to make some money, she should write a book about Miranda. Not Andy.

The book opens up with Andy about to get hitched. She finds a letter in her fiance's bag, and then proceeds to have anxiety about it for pretty much the entire book. Because of this letter, she can't trust her husband, but she marries him anyway. Seriously, what the hell? Either get over it, or leave the guy. I just couldn't sympathize her. I couldn't sympathize with her lack of trust for her millionaire husband who bends over backwards for her. Boo freaking hoo.

The main drama in this book surrounds Andy and Emily's wedding magazine, Andy's publisher husband (Max), and Miranda (or, more appropriately, Elias-Clark -- the Conde Nast of the Devil world). When the "betrayal" was revealed, I was angry. And not because I was so outraged by all the pieces of crap in Andy's life. I was angry that Weisberger thought I was dumb enough to believe that the people in Andy's life were suddenly that stupid and conniving.

By the end of the book, Andy just ends up where she left off at the end of the last book. Except she has a kid. Super. This book = big fat FAIL


In case you forgot what the hell The Devil Wears Prada is even about...

Oct 5, 2013

Enchant Me

I don't even know where to begin. When I first read about Enchant Me, I was intrigued. Like all books I read about and end up being duped by. The description felt fresh and unique. I've never read anything that had to do with druids and I like a good supernatural-with-a-splash-of-romance twist. Another plus -- I grew up around Steilacoom and was curious to see how it looked in a fictional world.

Well, I don't mean to come off as a huge jerk, but Enchant Me by Anne Violet was quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. I kept cringing as my eyes slid painfully over every word -- and not because there were monsters hiding in the bushes. I should have stopped reading, but 99 cents is 99 cents, and I wasn't going to waste it. Though I wish I would have bought a doughnut from the grocery store instead...

So what's Enchant Me about? A 17-year-old girl named Alexis. After she broke up with her boyfriend, the jaded ass spread rumors about her, turning her into a pariah. On top of that, Grannie Dearest told her she's about to gain some crazy druid powers, and it won't be a pleasant experience, either. Despite all of that, she happens to meet a gorgeous guy named Christian, and there's instant attraction. But all isn't what it seems. Christian has secrets of his own. And that jaded ex of hers? He isn't going to sit by and watch Alexis be happy.

See, that sounds interesting, right?

No, it's not. Nothing about this story worked for me. Not even the fact that the story took place in Steilacoom, a place I know and love. Maybe I'm overly sensitive because I know Steilacoom so well, but I think I'm allowed to be. Violet didn't do Steilacoom, or my favorite park, any justice. She could have described it so much better, brought it to life and really made it unique. Instead it just felt generic. And one last logistical issue: a whole bunch of teenagers aren't going to drive 40 minutes out to the boondocks of Graham for some party. At least no one I went to school with would, but maybe I wasn't cool in high school.

Sadly, the complaining doesn't end with location. None of the characters felt real and believable. Alexis is supposed to be an outsider at school, but it seemed as though really only three people had beef with her. She was given so many characteristics to make her unique that it felt forced. I don't care if she's a belly dancer if it doesn't add to the story and only seemed like an inserted afterthought. Oh, she bought a really expensive, fancy motorcycle without any help from her mom or obtaining a loan? Yeah right. It was hard to like her, especially when she kept making stupid decisions. Even the grandmother felt two-dimensional. Her only purpose was to spew information and tell Alexis how powerful she was without really painting any sort of picture. She just showed up with answers. How convenient. Convenient describes a lot of things that happened in Enchant Me.

Like Christian and his story. He felt like an old man, not a teenager. I kept expecting him to really be a vampire or some other immortal being. And saying that he, a senior in high school, had enough money from selling his art to have him set for life is a bunch of bull. But maybe I just don't know anything about art.

I couldn't believe how situations kept getting resolved -- or unresolved. The whole prom thing was ridiculous, and the end of the book felt anticlimactic. I don't care what happens to any of these characters. Even though I know the second book takes place in Ireland, a place I adore, I just don't care. Maybe I would if I was 14, but unfortunately I'm not.
And I'd really hope a 14-year-old would have better taste.


In case you were curious, my favorite park in Steilacoom, which is vaguely featured in this book, is Saltar's Point. Named after a guy you've never heard of until now (Captain John Saltar), one of the best things about this park is the bridge that goes over the train tracks.

Jul 12, 2013

The Fallen Star

Have you ever finished reading a book and sighed because you were thankful it was over? Well, that's what I did when I finished reading The Fallen Star. I guess I can't be too disappointed since this book was free, but I've read some of Jessica Sorensen's "new adult contemporary" books (that's a mouthful), and while they weren't the best books I've ever read, they weren't the worst either -- just good, trashy fun -- and I guess that's what I was expecting from The Fallen Star.

Nope. Wrong.

So what's this book about? I think you can guess from the title. But more specifically, a teenager named Gemma who has weird violet eyes and has never felt emotion until one day she feels a "prickling sensation" on the back of her neck, and has her first real human emotion. According to Gemma, "it was weird," and her life was never the same after that. She lives with her cold, always pissed off grandparents who won't ever talk about her dead parents, or really anything important. And then she meets the new guy at school, Alex, and feels all of these crazy, new emotions. Which would be great, if Alex didn't act like he hated her. And then the secrets -- and near-death experiences -- keep coming. It looks like little Gemma has a star's energy inside her. Oh, and she's the key to saving the world. No big deal.

I think it was the whole star element that made me decide I'd give this book a shot. There's only so many stories about angels, demons, vampires, witches, and fairies that you can read without hating them all.

Oh wait, this book has all of those characters, too. Fantastic.

If you've read Cassandra Clare's books, this feels like a bad take of her Shadowhunter world. There's even tattoos. I mean, I get the appeal. Clare is having a lot of success with her weird, overly populated world, but The Fallen Star's world was just bad. And cheap.

This book was plagued with terrible dialogue and a lack of characters. Or good characters. Alex isn't that much older than Gemma, but at some times, he acts like he's her parent, and then he goes back to jealous boyfriend/protector. And since I don't have daddy issues, it wasn't an attractive trait. At one point in the story, Alex is stressing out because he can't contact the 3 other people he knows. If he's part of this society that protects the world from things that aren't supposed to exist, wouldn't there be more people he'd know, more people that could tell him what to do? I guess not. My mistake.

And the Death Walkers. They are supposed to be so incredibly scary and evil (obviously, with a name like Death Walkers). Well, they weren't. For being demons or whatever, they were pretty stupid and really sucked at playing hide and seek. I don't know about you, but if I'm looking for some teenager that I could suck the soul out of, I'd definitely look in all of the closed bedrooms first. The ending -- which was full of Death Walkers -- was supposed to be dramatic and intense, but it felt rushed and stale. When someone says, "You're going to let him detach my soul," it seems like you should really care if it happens or not.

Meh. Gemma used the word "prickle" so many times that maybe if her soul got detached, she'd learn how to use a thesaurus. 

This book ends in a kind of annoying, sort of cliff hanger. But since we're all logical beings with brains, you can figure out what doesn't happen in the next book. I won't be reading it.

Jun 26, 2013

I'm back, with a New Sensation

Reading. I'm always doing it, and I'm always thinking about it. If I had a book I could eat when I was done reading it, I think I'd be set for life. No matter how many books I have waiting to be read, I can't seem to keep myself from obsessing over Amazon and Goodreads, browsing and researching things to read in the future until I have a list I'll never get through. It's like the song that never ends and that creepy lamb puppet. Except with books.

Though I've dedicated this blog to (mostly) young adult books, I do read other genres. I think I would have given up on reading if I didn't. Which brings me to my point. I've been inspired by all the gawd awful young adult books I've read over the past year to start up my blog again. It's probably my own fault for putting my faith in a 99 cent book from a new author, but I like to give people a chance. Yet time and time again, I'm left disappointed by lack of story or overall crappiness of the writing. I know most of these books are aimed at 13-year-old girls (which I most definitely am not), but does that mean a story can't be written well or be thought-provoking? Does that mean a story can automatically be predictable? Do we really want to teach young people that it's okay to publish crap just because you finished writing a story, or do we want to show them that it's okay to raise the bar? I admit I'm a critical reader (Maybe because I studied literature for 4 years? I don't know, just a hunch). It's not enough to have a decent story and okay writing skills. I want to read something entertaining that I won't want to put down -- because I actually like the story, not because it's a train wreck and I can't look away. I understand the writing world is a hard, cruel place, which is way I've decided I won't bog down Amazon and Goodreads reviews by venting my frustration (unless the book is full of review liars). That's what I'll use my blog for -- my own personal venting space.

So get ready, people. I'm going to be honest. And I'm not going to hold back.

Stay tuned.

Jun 25, 2013

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

This one was published awhile ago, but in case you haven't gotten a chance to check it out, I present The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. I decided to read this book because it had a slew of good reviews and seemed unlike any other YA book I'd been reading. What I liked most was how Elisa was not the usual main character. She's not thin and people don't lay down and grovel over her beauty like so many other books. What she is, though, is a princess. And the "chosen" one.

This is not-so-typical coming of age story. It's about a girl who's destined for greatness, but doesn't realize it. She lives in her older sister's shadow and fears she'll never measure up. Even with the godstone in her belly, she doesn't have faith in herself. But she does have faith in food.

Her life changes when she finds out she's to be secretly married to a king who's country needs the support of her homeland. She's reluctant, but has no choice in the matter. And just as she's settling into her new life as a secret queen, she's kidnapped. And is forever changed.

This book is a hard one for me to review. I didn't hate it, but I didn't really like it, either. Sure, I enjoyed watching Elisa's transformation from unsure girl who finds comfort in food to a confident woman with the ability to lead. And like I expected, it wasn't like other YA books I've read and wasn't centered around some stupid, unbelievable love story. There were even a few plot twists that I didn't see coming. One of the biggest perks for me was that even though this is the first in a series, there was no annoying cliffhanger.

So what was my problem? I'm not sure. Even though so much happened, I still found the story boring. It took me forever to read, which is unusual. I tend to read fast, even when I hate things. I just didn't really care what happened to some of the characters. Even when there was a scene full of action, I felt myself skimming. And okay, the ending with the godstones was kind of lackluster.

The religious references didn't bother me. The writing style was fine. It just wasn't for me. But with that said, if you're looking for something a little different and enjoy reading about royalty, kidnappings, and touches of magic, this one might be for you.

Jul 13, 2012

Here (On the Otherside)

Like most YA books I've been reading, I found this one on Amazon. The description and reviews of it reminded me of the TV show, Fringe, which is by far one of my favorite shows. This seemed like it was going to be a great book.

Here by Denise Grover Swank is told from Julia's point of view. Julia lives in guilt after she survives a car accident that killed her best friend, Monica. Life just isn't the same and Julia disengages from school and her family. Her peers brand her as the crazy girl. In addition to her new, gloomy outlook on life, Julia has been having dreams where she dies and Monica lives. She also has a new talent for drawing and wears a bracelet engraved with her name that no one had ever seen before the accident, and she has no idea how she got it.

Then there's Evan, the most popular, attractive guy in school. Before the accident, he never gave Julia the time of day. Now he's volunteering to tutor her, sneaking her glances whenever he can, and going against high school hierarchy to be with her. But the really weird thing is that his interest in her didn't come about until after he disappeared for two days and came back wearing the pedant she's been absentmindedly drawing. Coincidence? Probably not.

And just when things can't get any weirder, he takes her to a place where Monica is alive. And no, it's not exactly the Twilight Zone.

Before I read the actual book, I read a lot about the book. I wouldn't recommend doing that. I knew what was coming. Because of that, the mystery leading up to the big reveal was pretty much blown for me. Don't let that happen to you. I think it will be more exciting the less you know.

So despite that, what did I think? Well, I have mixed feelings. I was expecting something really sci-fi-y, and what I got was some weird love triangle that was really over the top. I ultimately felt bad for Julia for getting yanked around, which she allowed to happen because she was already such an emotional wreck. I think my problem was that I was just expecting too much. I was also confused by Reece's first appearance. Apparently Julia had never seen him before, but he was acting like they knew each other. That wasn't the case, though. They really had just met. It didn't fit. I'm not really for declaring "teams" when it comes to love triangles, but in this case, I really like Reece a hell of a lot more than I like Evan.

This is book one in the On the Other Side series. I don't know when the next book will come out, but I'm on the fence about reading it. I have so many other books on my reading list that we'll see if I'm still invested when the next book comes out. The book didn't end on some crazy cliffhanger, so I wasn't left annoyed -- just curious. But I'm not sure if that curiosity is enough.


Haven't seen Fringe? Well you should! Dr. Walter Bishop is the best character. He's a little crazy, a little goofy, and really likes food and LSD. Even so, he's a brilliant scientist that knows all about weird, crazy stuff.