27 August 2014

Review: From This Day

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Nora Roberts
Format: Paperback
Pages: 216 (Are you sure Goodreads? It felt more like a novella.)
Rating: 3 out of 10**

Summary (From This Goodreads page): Like the lovely Vermont inn she managed, B. J. Clark was charming and old-fashioned. And she had no intention of allowing the new owner, hotel tycoon Taylor Reynolds, to modernize her beloved inn and destroy its uniqueness. Taylor lived a fast-paced, high-tech sophisticated life. But his fascination with this innocent enchantress made him long to live in B. J.'s arms from this day until forever.

What I think: Let me start off my saying that I don't have a problem with romance novels in general. This novel, though, really gets me going. The feminist in me wants to hit the author over the head with her own book. Here's why:

Did the main character have to be confused with a child at first? How many times do you want to talk about how innocent she looks? That's gross. Like for real. The guy is attracted to basically a teenager at the beginning, is that it? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

What else? You want more? How about the fact that he constantly get angry at her (later explained away)? How about the fact that he says he'll win her in the end? This sounds like a certain Robin Thicke song that got a lot of flack and, you know what, still ew! 

See, the end was the worst part. Of course it was! How could it not be when the guy knew what he wanted and got it? Even while reading this novel I was taking note of all the ew factors. Ask Kristen. I was complaining the whole time about how inappropriate it was. It really upset me (see the last five "ew's").

Basically: Ew...I don't know what to say except that women's rights may have been set back because of this novel. I would have rather he swooped in to save the damsel in distress while she wore a mini-skirt and five inch heels...No, maybe not. 

The novel was an easy enough read. I got a two in one book. My aunt gave it to me hand-me-down. I would not have spent money on it otherwise. Such a disappointment.

This is also the most harsh review I've ever written. I thought I got over this while on vacation but I guess I didn't. All that pent up anger is coming out now...

How about the author takes the books, rearranges some things, changes the characters a little bit, but keeps the plot and gives it back.

22 August 2014

Review: If I Stay

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Gayle Forman
Format: eBook
Pages: 262
Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (I hope Goodreads stays): On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

So: Kristen gave me this novel and warned me not to read it when I was around other people because I would cry. I didn't cry but I came very close. This novel made me really consider my life and what I would do in the main character's situation. It was hard to imagine but this novel is written beautifully. I don't usually like flashbacks but in this novel, they were not only necessary but perfectly placed in the story to further it. You have to pay a little bit more attention to this novel because of how the main character thinks and bounces back to the past but it's worth it.

I really fell in love with the characters. I felt their pain but still wanted to laugh at some of the funny things they did. What I laughed at wasn't always funny. Sometimes they needed to do what they did and I laughed in disbelief. I want someone to fight for me like that...also, her boyfriend rocks...literally and figuratively. 

The idea for this novel was wonderful...wonderfully sad, I suppose. It really is just a beautiful story, a beautiful novel. I wish that I could tell you more about it but I don't want to give too much away. I think that if you enjoy young adult fiction at all than you should at least pick up this book at the store and look at it. Just look at it. I ask nothing else of you. 

Conclusion: This novel was really unique. I've never read another book like it so I'm glad I took the time to read it. Tears were close to falling a few times so read it alone but make sure to go read it. I'm sure the movie will be awesome. I already got my hands on the sequel!

Already read If I Stay? Check out Kristen's review for its sequel, Where She Went, which Kristen enjoyed even more!

Special Note: Today this book has been released as a movie. Go show your support at your local movie theater. Kristen and I will be checking it out soon!

19 August 2014

Review: Headhunter (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation #11)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Greg Cox
Format: Paperback
Pages: 343
Rating: 6 out of 10 (only cause it's not a reread kind of book for me)

Summary (hunted down on Goodreads): A package bearing no return address arrives at the Anthropology Department of the University of. Nevada...and a shocking discovery is made upon opening the box: a genuine shrunken head. At first, Gil Grissom and his team of crime scene investigators -- Catherine Willows, Warrick Brown, Nick Stokes, and Greg Sanders -- consider this merely an oddity, a grisly relic from the past. But when all the evidence points to the fact that it's really the result of a gruesome modern-day murder, suspicions run high that a brutal serial killer with an unorthodox modus operandi may now be on the loose...

Thoughts from inside my head: Ah CSI books...sometimes they are good, other times not so much. I'm very picky about my CSI books. Different authors for each means different writing styles and different ways of describing things or writing action or doing this or saying that. It can really wear you down after **Goes to count how many CSI like novels she has** like 20ish books. 

This novel was written really well. I learned a great deal about the whole culture/history tie in thing they had going on. One of my favourite things about this novel is that you don't know who it is right from the beginning and spend the rest of the novel trying to catch them. By "you" I mean the CSI's. I guess who it was but I was just lucky, I usually don't when reading. Something is always held back to keep the murderer just out of reach. In this novel it wasn't frustrating; it was perfect. It kept you interesting, bouncing around the "who did it?" 

CSI books really need to stop picking on the Anthropology department! In the last one I read the Anthro department was involved and now it is again. On behalf of all Anthro majors (myself included), knock it off CSI! We know stuff...we could get away with kill you. Anyway...Bones is still on the air and only 1/3 CSI's is left so eat it. You're just jealous and it's unbecoming.

I would have liked to have a little bit more about why the killer did what they did. There is a little bit mentioned but I think it could have been better. Call in the BAU if you have to (CROSSOVER!!) but do something. I believed you, I just wanted a bit more explanation. Run with it.

So: What I've learned from this review is that I watch too many TV shows about crime/murder and that I also read about it (See my reviews for Kathy Reichs and Criminal Minds, CSI, CSI: Miami, and CSI: NY). I think maybe I should try to branch out. You, though? You should read the CSI book if you like the TV show. This was one of the better CSI novels I've read. CSI: Miami ones are still the best however.

15 August 2014

Review: 1984

[The cover looks super sketchy to me in the editing box because it's white. I'm sorry if it still looks bizarre on the home page.]
Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: George Orwell
Format: Really old, hand-me-down paperback
Pages: 326
Rating (based on nothing more than how much I liked it, entertainment value): 7.5 out of 10

Summary (I'm watching you Goodreads): Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. 

While 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is more timely that ever. 1984 presents a "negative utopia", that is at once a startling and haunting vision of the world — so powerful that it's completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of entire generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions — a legacy that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

Thoughts: I despise reviewing classics or super famous works because, really, who am I to say anything about novels like this. I wish I could write something that was profound but I really doubt that I have anything to say that hasn't already been said...not that I have anything intelligent to say about this novel at all.

My dad warned me that I wouldn't like it at all but a hundred pages in and I was pretty interested in what was happening. The world was interesting. I enjoyed  was intrigued by the idea of the novel. It was scary how similar it is to present day. I mean, there isn't as much censorship though it exists. I could connect it a lot to things that were happening in the world today. It was really terrifying actually. I was impressed by Orwell's ability to predict the future.

This novel, to me, was like the young adult of the classics. It felt more like a dystopian novel that I might read now than something that was written in 1948. It didn't seem like other classics I've read in the past that are so complicated as to be un-understandable. It wasn't impossible for me to understand the language in this novel either, thank God. My problem with classics is that they are always a million pages and impossible to follow the dialogue because I don't speak 1800, heck I hardly speak 2014! This novel didn't have the same problem for me.

If you are on the boarder about whether or not you want to read this novel. I think you should do it. It was scary and could happen in the future. So much of it was like present day. It was easy to understand. If you haven't spent a lot of time reading classics because they seem like too much of an undertaking, this is the book for you. It's just long enough, just short enough, just easy enough to follow along with. 

The end nearly broke my heart in two. It wasn't the "aw" kind of heartbreak. It was the "really?" and "I can't take this" and the "Why would the author do this to me?" kind of heartbreak. Nobody can claim that the author didn't stick to the true story, the heart of the story, or that he did what he had to do. That said, after reading Harry Potter and The Hunger Games and Divergent, the ending was a bit of a let down. Yet, what was I expecting? A modern ending on an old novel? That just doesn't happen. If it did, the story would be lost.

So: This is the easiest to read classic I've read yet. It was like the YA of classics which was a nice break for me while on vacation (I hadn't opened the novel yet and was very worried I would hate it and not be able to follow what was happening). Stick with it and let me know what you think about it! 

10 August 2014

Review: Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls 3.5)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Format: ebook
Pages: 368 (?) (My ereader is on the otherside of the room and if you think I'm getting up to check the page count you are so very wrong. This page count via a random edition of this book on Goodreads)
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (Love Goodreads): A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy. 

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

Thoughts: I read The Wolves of Mercy Falls about a million years ago in book time so I hardly remembered it. This series made me want to go back to the series. I think I will right before school starts. I remembered that I liked them a lot (except that the font matched the cover colours and that drove me bonkers). You don't really need to remember much about the series to read this novel. The 3.5 suggests that it's a novella but I was happy to find out that it was a full length novel. The numbering is really screwy...

It was nice to be back into the world in which the story took place. I mean, the setting was different and there were only a few characters carried over but still. I thought that it was very well written and the characters were sufficiently fleshed out. It reminded me why I loved this author so much...so I bought a few more of her novels...

The only problem I really had with it was that I may have read it too fast. It seemed to jump a little bit. I honestly believe that this was my own fault, not the author's. It seemed stretched out at times. Again, probably an interpretation problem.

There were many times when I wanted to punch Cole in the face. I would have liked to get a little bit more of the emotion behind his character though. I could follow what was happening and why it was but I want to hear more about it from his perspective. I thought the ending was too fast, too sudden for me. This is basically the problem I had with Cole. Give me just a little bit more of a glimpse into Isabel's thought process here.Any issues I had with this, I think would be corrected a little bit by reading this novel right after rereading The Wolves of Mercy Falls because you would already have a solid idea of the state of mind of the two main characters.

If you read the rest of the series it makes sense to continue on with this novel. If you haven't this novel has some potential to be a stand alone, I guess. I'm not sure how much you will take from it without the previous novels but that's up to you. I recommend that you read the main series before reading this...like closely before... enjoy!

5 August 2014

Review: Happenstance

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Jamie McGuire
Format: ebook/novella
Pages: 100
Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads): Erin Easter, one of three Erins in the small senior class of rural Blackwell High School who not only share a first name, but also their birthday. Erin Easter, raised by a neglectful single mom, keeps to herself and admires Weston Gates from afar. The other Erins, Erin A. and Erin M. are the darlings of the community: daughters of the two wealthiest families in town, best friends, cheerleaders, and everything Erin Easter isn't--and they never let her forget it. Erin A. has even claimed Weston since the 8th grade.

Weston is a well-liked star athlete, and the son of two prominent attorneys. He struggles daily with the pressures of living up to his family name and secretly empathizes with Erin Easter's feeling that she belongs somewhere else; in a different life. Not until he begins sneaking nights out with Erin does he gain the courage to buck expectations and acknowledge his feelings ... both for his future, and for her.

But when a shocking tragedy rocks the tiny town, Erin's life is turned upside down in the best way possible. But when the truth is revealed and everything Erin thinks she wanted falls into her lap, life only becomes more complicated.

My thoughts: This was another novella that could be a full length novel. I think it loses something because it isn't. Kristen informs me that this is to be a series or is a series or whatever which is nice; however, I forgot what it was about after reading it. There wasn't enough of it to stick with me for the week I was camping. I lost it. It was in one eye out the other, as it were... I wish that it was more. This novel itself could have been expanded to a full length, still ending in the same spot for future novels. Perhaps, I imagine the author with more free time than they really have. I'm not sure but it still makes me sad to read short novella's like this when they could be so much more. I know it's the author's choice but I'm still sad about it.

Having a book be so short, you get thrown too fast into the action. Everything happens far too quickly. I don't get a feel for the characters fast enough. I can't figure out exactly what's happening fast enough and everything seems fake. This isn't because it is, I just don't have the time in this novel to figure it all out.

Also, I don't trust whatshisface...Weston. Nope. Too fast. All of it is too fast. Sigh. I don't know what else to say?

The idea was wonderful and the writing was good. It was entertaining and a fast read. It wasn't a waste of the 45 minutes it took to read it. The potential was there...

Check it out? Give it the hour you need to read it.
I think I'll be looking for the next one in the series just to find out what happens.

2 August 2014

Review: Finding Cinderellla

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Colleen Hoover
Format: ebook/novella
Pages: 90
Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (found on Goodreads): A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love comes with conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. Daniel soon realizes the way he pretended to feel about Cinderella and the way he really feels about Six may not be so different after all. Especially when the two loves of his life end up being one in the same.

Unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens it.

Sometimes I think...
The summary of this novel is almost longer than the bloody book is!
Anyway, this novella is not at all what I expected. I wish it would have been a full length story because I would have read it no questions asked. I believe there was enough material here to expand on that it could have been a full novel. Thinking about it makes me sad because I love Colleen Hoover. She is wonderful. Her books are super entertaining; her novellas are no different, apparently.

The characters were basically perfect. My only thing is that there could have been so much more to them if Hoover had given herself the time to dive into each character.

HOLY UNFORESEEN PLOT TWIST! I'm not usually surprised but this one got me. In my mind, this was so much out of nowhere that I had to put the ereader down for a moment to compose myself. How did I not see it coming? I don't know. It was a good twist.

Again, the novel could have really looked at how the plot twist affected the characters but the author did wonderful with the time she did have. I believed that the characters would react the way they did. 

This novel, though not consistently happy during the novel, made me happy while I was reading it. I would reread this one. I think I will. That's how good I thought it was. And anyway, it's only 90 pages so what have you got to lose? One recommendation: read Hopeless (or whatever the first one was, I get the two confused constantly...) first.

Read it.

1 August 2014

Upcoming Book Movies

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Richard C. Morais
August 8

The Giver
Lois Lowry
August 15

If I Stay
Gayle Forman
August 22

What Kelsey is excited for:
The Best of Me
Nicholas Sparks
October 17

What Kristen is UBER excited for:
Suzanne Collins
November 21
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