Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: Transparent

Title Transparent (Transparent 1)
By Natalie Whipple
Genre YA Supernatural
Pages 350

Synopsis
Even in a world full of people with abilities, Fiona's is unique. She's invisible.  As a leader of a crime syndicate with the power to sway woman to do as he pleases, Fiona's father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years. But when he tells Fiona she's going to have to kill for him it's too much. Fiona and her mother go on the run. Trying to hide in a small town, Fiona begins making friends for the first time in her life. But even being invisible isn't enough to hide forever.

First Sentence It's a good thing summers in Vegas are so hot, considering how often I walk the streets naked.


What it has going for it
I'm a huge fan of X-Men so any book with characters with super powers appeals to me right away. That doesn't mean I'll automatically like the book, though. Transparent, thankfully, I ended up loving. In fact, after I finished it, I woke up the next morning and was heartbroken that I couldn't keep reading the story. I missed it. The book starts out showing us just how dangerous Fiona's life is and while, after her escape things calm down and become more character driven, that danger still lurks throughout the story. I'm not usually a character girl. I'm all about plot, but the characters in this one were great. Each with their own fleshed out personalities, with the exception of Graham, but more about that later. The slow build romance just tugged at my inner swoony girl. I loved it! I think it was probably the best part of the story. Which says something, because I'm not the biggest fan of romance. All in all, this story just makes you care. I'll miss the characters. Thank goodness there's a sequel.

What's lacking
The writing...it's not perfect. This is obviously Whipple's first book. There's a LOT of telling not showing and that underlying "yeah right" feeling going on sometimes. And Graham just drove me crazy. Not because he was the "villain" but because he was just so cliche. Saturday morning cartoon cliche. All that was so easily overlooked, though. Something about this book just works and makes you love it.

Yea or Nay?
Yes. Exciting, fun and romantic I'd highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What Does It All Mean?!


One of my absolute favorite things about reading is how books can mean such different things to different people. After participating in a read a long where the questions was asked, "If there's a lesson to be learned from this story, what do you think it is?" and reading everyone's different responses, I was just blown away. I mean, check out my friend's responses. 


"Everything is not always as it seems."
                            ...Suey from It's All About Books

"Don’t trust what someone tells you unless it’s from the source. Also, don’t be afraid to give people a second chance. Some may surprise you and others may not."
                           ...Jenni from JenniElyse.com

"Be kind. Be genuine. Don’t act different in front of different audiences."
                           ...Jessica from The Bluestocking Society

and my own thoughts...

"You can't spend your whole life making everyone else happy. At some point you need to think of yourself."


Crazy huh? And then my friend from Bookmark Dragon posted this thought...

Edmund Wilson

“No two persons ever read the same book.”


― Edmund Wilson

Very true indeed. 



I know! Bad childhood memories just resurfaced, right? Hopefully not. That's why required reading always bugged me. (now, technically I was home schooled and did not experience it myself but I have many a friend who did)  You have this crotchety English teacher who insists you read a book. So, you read the book and, hey, maybe it wasn't so bad. You go to class all ready to discuss, or you write your paper on the book only to be mentally and verbally backhanded by your teacher who claims that She/He is the only one that knows what the author was really trying to say and what the book is really about! Well, I don't know about you, but that's not what reading is about. Not to me, at least.

Books are to be experienced. They mean something different to everyone that reads them and may even mean something completely different on a reread years later. That's why I love reading so much. It's why I love talking about books with other book lovers. Books are awesome! Am I right?!

So what about you,  did you have a scary English teacher that insisted they and only they knew what the book was really about? Or did you have an awesome teacher that let you interpret books any way you wished?

And next time you are with someone that read the same book as you, ask them what they thought the message to the book was. It's pretty cool to get other's perspectives!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Stitching Snow

Title Stitching Snow
By R.C. Lewis
Genre YA Fantasy Retelling
Pages 338


Synopsis
When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.  (From Goodreads)

First Sentence It took me seventeen seconds to decide Jarom Thacker's reputation as the sharpest fighter on Thanda had been exaggerated.



What it has going for it
I first heard of Stitching Snow from a blogging and IRL friend Jenni. She raved about this book. I knew it was a retelling but I didn't realize it was a retelling set in a scifi world much like The Lunar Chronicles. That being said, make no mistake this is not a ripoff of Meyer's work. This story is unique. The wold is unique and the retelling is done so subtly it feels fresh! A gigantic accomplishment, if you ask me. I loved Essie, our main character, she was braver than she believed her self to be. She was always determined to do what was right even if she was scared spitless. The adventure was awesome as well. The best part, really. Joining Essie in her journey from world to world to the final show down with the evil queen was just plain fun! I'll definitely be picking up any other book Lewis writes, starting with her sequel/companion novel Spinning Stars a retelling of The Wild Swans.

What's lacking
Stitching Snow was great, guys, but it wasn't perfect. The only things that really bugged be were 1) I just couldn't get on board with the love interest Dane. He bothered me, I won't say more because it's really not a reflection on the book. It was just a presonal preference thing. 2) The story was great but there was a choppiness to it that was a little jarring. I don't know how to describe it, really, it just didn't flow from scene to scene very well. Still, I believe, that this minute detail was due more to this being Lewis' first novel than anything else and I believe and hope that choppy feel will be absent in her next book.

Yea or Nay?
If you love retellings with awesome kickass heroines than look no further.  

Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Not In The Script

Title Not in the Script
By Amy Finnegan
Genre NA contemporary
Pages 392


First sentence "Celebrity Seeker claims that I'm dating Troy again," I say as I skim the pages of the gossip magazine.


Synopsis
When Emma Taylor, famous actress, starts a new TV series and discovers that her new costar is "The Bod", who's real name is Jake, who's also the guy her best friend Rachel has obsessed over for years things might get complicated. Emma's sworn to not get into anymore relationships with costars but there's no denying her growing attraction to Jake. Can Emma hold to her vow to not get into a relationship with a costar? And if she does how will she tell Rachel? Can their friendship survive?



What it has going for it
If you read my Read Along Discussions, you probably can tell this wasn't a favorite book. However, I didn't outright hate the book and there was one good thing about it. The peek behind the scenes of a Hollywood TV series was so fun. Especially since the author's brother has been in the industry for years sharing stories and Amy, herself, has been on the set of the TV shows Parenthood and Parks and Recreation. So you know this glimpse of Hollywood is legit.

What's lacking
Where do I begin? There were just too many things about this one that bothered me. I couldn't get invested in any of the characters. None of them felt real to me. I wanted to like them. I wanted to like the book. All my book club friends loved it. I just couldn't get on board, I guess. The book, while perfectly clean and great to recommend to younger audiences without fear of exposure to "scary" scenes, was almost too clean. Everyone knows Hollywood is far from squeaky clean. The author even omitted swearwords. Now that's fine but it just didn't ring true to me. But my biggest hangup with the book was it's length and lack of plot. 392 pages with only a tiny, minor plot conflict was just too long! And don't believe all those people that tell you that this one had a slow building romance because it simply isn't true. The characters are instantly attracted to each other and admit as much. They even start hanging out almost immediately. But, because of the tiny little plot hiccups, they don't officially become a couple. That's not slow burning romance, people, don't be fooled!

Yea or Nay
This book takes light and fluffy up a notch to cotton candy. Sweet and cute but no substance!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Utah Book Month Read Along


Our read along of Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan is at an end. Now we get to have book club with the author tonight! How exciting is that?!  Here's my answers to the second half discussion questions. 

1. Have your opinions of any of the characters changed from the first half?
Not really. I was hoping Brett might be used in a more clever way.

2. Would you watch Coyote Hills?
I have no idea. That's one of the things that bugged me. I had no idea what it was about. It sounds like a 90210 or something so probably not.

3. Did everything go down like you thought it would?
Oh yes, a little too predictable.

4. If there's a lesson to be learned from this story, what do you think it is?
You can't spend your whole life making everyone else happy. At some point you need to think of yourself. 

5. How do you feel about the portrayal of the parents of these characters?
Emma's mother as her manager and the problems it was causing could have been used in a more exciting, add to the plot, kind of way but that too was smoothed over all sweetly. 

6. What parts felt realistic and what parts felt unrealistic?
I feel bad, I really do but the whole thing just felt too neat and tidy and unrealistic. 

7. What was your favorite part?
I liked when Emma and Jake went stargazing together and finally kissed.

8. Who was your favorite character?
Probably one of Jake's friends. 

9. Do you have a favorite quote from the book?
Not one that comes to mind.

10. If you were in charge of a sequel, what major plot would you include?
I really don't think she left things open for a sequel. The drama of Emma firing her mother could have been something left hanging. Using Brett in the way I wanted her too could have left things more open. Honestly, though. I was fine having this one just be a stand alone.