Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June Reading Wrap Up

This month I read 9 books! Considering I only read 1 book last month, I think I did pretty well.

3/5 After reading To All the Boys I've Loved Before last year, I couldn't wait for the sequel. Unfortunately the novel was underwhelming and somewhat of a disappointment. What I loved in the first book was missing. There was less humor and the romance wasn't very interesting. In the first book I really enjoyed reading about the sisters' bond but this time the story focused more on the love triangle and the romance. My review here.

3.5/5 This wasn't my favorite Dessen novel but it was enjoyable nevertheless. I really enjoyed how it focused on familial relationship rather than the romance. I loved the amount of growth Ruby went through as a person. She overcame her flaws and changed so much from the start of the book. A lot of the characters were very flat and the romance wasn't particularly enjoyable. My review here.

3.5/5 This was definitely one of the better Dessen novels. It was a quick and enjoyable read. Remy was a pretty boring character but I really liked Dexter. The whole cast was really unique and interesting; it would have been nice to get to know them more. The plot, however, lacked depth and it needed something more than Remy overcoming her fear of love. My review here.

2.5/5 The book was engaging and interesting but a disappointment. The summary sells the book as one with a lot of email interaction between the main characters but the emails made up only about 2% of the novel. The characters were two-dimensional and boring. Graham was too perfect and Ellie was too stubborn. There was some casual misogyny which pissed me off. The book was entertaining but failed on many aspects. If only the book was as pretty as the cover. My review here.

5/5 I get why some people don't really like it, the first 200 pages were just okay, the main character is irritating, it might be slightly misogynistic, and there are quite a few cliches and things that don't really make sense but ohmygosh the last 100 pages were so emotional and just SO GOOD. I think people who are more empathetic and emotional would like this. Normally I would have given this book 3 stars but it gets 5 for what it made me feel.

1/5 I AM SO FUCKING HAPPY TO BE DONE WITH THIS DAMN BOOK. Tiger's Curse is one of the worst books I have ever read. I honestly pity those who actually liked this book. Like how can you consider this proper literature? The actual premise is interesting but it was executed so poorly. It took me an entire month to read this because it was so boring. The characters are so weird and not in a good way. Kelsey, the main character, is boring and bland and one of those "I'm not like other girls" female characters. It pisses me off when characters are like that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being into make up and "girly" things. Ren, the love interest who is also a tiger, is so fucking creepy. He LICKS her. Did I also mention that he's a tiger (as well as a man)? The book is basically about beastiality. I despise this book so much. It was recommended to me by a friend (who also hates the book but finds it funny to read) and I regret reading it so much. Life is too short for mediocre (and bad) books. Anyways, sorry for the rant, don't pick up this book.

4.25/5 I loved the book, but it was a disappointment. I expected so much more from a series that I loved so much. Maybe I just went in with my expectations too high, but I felt it could have been better. My review here.

4/5  I went in ready to hate this book. After reading The One, I was so disappointed in the series so I was surprised to find myself enjoying The Heir. It certainly wasn't the best book I've ever read but it was enjoyable nonetheless. My review here.

3.5/5 I was expecting a little bit more after hearing all the hype but I still really liked it.

Well, there's my wrap up! What books did you read this month?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held over at TheBrokeandtheBookish.

This week's topic is: top ten eight books i've read so far in 2015.

8. Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard

I really ejoyed this book! It was gripping and fun to read through. I really liked the characters and the plot. I enjoyed how the love triangle wasn't the main focus of the novel. The hype was a bit too strong, there were quite a few flaws, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. My review here.

7. The Blood of Olympus - Rick Riordan

I was somewhat disappointed in BoO because it was the finale to one of my favorite series but I still loved this book so much. It was fun and entertaining and I cried so much. My review here.

6. Slammed - Colleen Hoover

I love slam poetry so I really enjoyed this book. I didn't really get into it until the last 100 pages but ohmygosh I cried so much in those pages. Definitely recommend!

5. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

I had to read this for school and I wish I had read it sooner! It's a wonderful classic romance.

4. Hopeless - Colleen Hoover

Hopeless was so intense and amazing, I couldn't put it down. My review here.

3. It's Not Summer Without You - Jenny Han

It's Not Summer Without You is the second and my favorite of the Summer trilogy. It hit me real hard with the feels and I cried throughout the entire novel (which is always good).

2. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

Ready Player One blew me away. I've never been a huge fan of science fiction but wow this was amazing. It was action-packed, exciting, and unique. It was one of those books that I couldn't stop thinking about after I finished it. My review here.

1. These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

It's been 5 months since I've read These Broken Stars, and I still think about it. It's a wonderful blend of sci-fi and romance, though very romance-heavy. There is so much hype surrounding this novel, but it's hype well deserved. If you haven't read it, what are you doing? Go read it now. My review here.

What are your favorite reads of this year?

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Heir | Book Review

Title: The Heir
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #5
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen, 2015
Genre: Young Adults, Dystopian, Romance
Pages: 368
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.98/5
My Rating: 4/5

Twenty years after The One, it's time for Eadlyn, America's daughter, to have her own selection. She enters the Selection with hesitation but when she meets the men competing for her hand, her feelings change.

I went in ready to hate this book. After reading The One, I was so disappointed in the series so I was surprised to find myself enjoying The Heir. It certainly wasn't the best book I've ever read but it was enjoyable nonetheless. 

Eadlyn is a spoiled, snobby brat. Her attitude irritated me. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be a strong, independent female without being a bitch. Every time someone confronted Eadlyn, she would say something along the lines of "I'm going to be queen, the most powerful person in the world, so I can be a bitch if I want to". Umm no. Being queen doesn't make you special and it doesn't mean you can't respect others. Not everything is about you. Eadlyn does have a character arc and grows later, just not as much as I would have liked. America had no character development and was incredibly frustrating, where as Eadlyn is bitchy but at least grows a little.

Most of the characters I really enjoyed. I liked a lot of the boys, and once Eadlyn started going on dates I got more into the book. I also really liked the relationship between Eadlyn and her brother Ahren. However, Maxon and America, as 30-something-something-year-olds, didn't seem like themselves. Obviously people change as they get older but Maxon and America acted nothing like they did in the previous books.

For once, Cass didn't completely fail at mixing politics and romance. One of my main problems with the previous books was that it had a lot of potential to explore the world the characters were in and to delve deeper into the politics rather than focusing so much on the romance aspect. In The Heir, while I would have liked a little more, Cass does go further into the workings of the world. Eadlyn, as heir to the throne, has to deal with a lot of politics and we get to see a little bit of that.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It wasn't without it's faults but it was an interesting read and I look forward to the next book.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Blood of Olympus | Book Review

Title: The Blood of Olympus
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Heroes of Olympus #5
Publisher/Year: Disney-Hyperion, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Middle-Grade
Pages: 528 (Hardcover)
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.42/5
My Rating: 4.25/5

This is the fifth and final book of The Heroes of Olympus

Don't get me wrong, I loved the book, but it was a disappointment. I expected so much more from a series that I loved so much. Maybe I just went in with my expectations too high, but I felt it could have been better.

My first complaint was that there was barely any Percabeth. I love Percy and Annabeth so much, I wanted more of them. They stood at the sidelines in this book and I wish they had a bigger role. Yes, they had their series where they saved the world, but I wanted to see them save the world again. I didn't think that the last time I got to read from their point of view would be The House of Hades and I needed to be prepared for that. Without a point of view from Percy and Annabeth, the book lacked the necessary closure. I couldn't say a proper goodbye to two characters who I have been with for 10 books.

The main problem I had was that the book was rushed. Everything happened too fast, from the battles (which you should definitely read with intense battle music in the background) to the ending. The climax ended too easily. I was expecting more the characters to face more of a challenge when fighting Gaea. The actual ending, after Gaea is defeated (is that a spoiler? I mean it's to be expected), could have used 50 more pages to wrap things up better. I still have quite a few questions that I would like the answers to. The very last chapter of the book definitely should have been more than --- and ------ flying off into the sunset.

Now while I did think the book could have been better, there were some parts I did like. I really enjoyed reading from Nico (who is bae), Leo (also bae), and Reyna's point of view. It was great getting to learn more about Nico and Reyna. I laughed and smiled a lot as I read the book. The characters' sarcasm and sense of humor is perfect. I also just cried nonstop as I read the last 50 pages which is always good.

The Blood of Olympus could have been a better conclusion, however, The Heroes of Olympus as well as the Percy Jackson series will always have a special place in my heart. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry until The Sword of Summer comes out.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

This is What Happy Looks Like | Book Review

Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Series: Standalone
Publisher/Year: Headline, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.71/5
My Rating: 2.5/5
From Goodreads: "If fate sent you an email, would you answer?When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?"

I was engaged immediately. The prologue includes a series of witty emails sent back and forth between Graham and Ellie. The entire premise of the novel is that they met online and made a connection, and from that connection they meet each other and develop a relationship. Yet we only get about 2% of the online relationship they have. These characters forged a connection online so that when they meet in real life they already have a relationship in the works, one that, from the point of the reader, makes no sense. We don't get to see their relationship grow from more than just a casual email. The connection between the characters is there but since the development of that connection isn't shown, the reader can't see it and it makes their relationship feel very shallow and under-developed.

Without being able to read the emails that formed that relationship, it wasn't possible for me to get invested in the story and characters. I could't feel anything for them. Along with the lack of depth in the plot, the characters were very two-dimensional and boring. Graham was too "perfect" and Ellie was too stubborn. I mostly liked Graham, until he mentioned how Ellie was "different from other girls" (like how many times has that line been used before?) and went on to criticize women who wore makeup and "impossibly high heels". Because putting effort into how you look and being confident in makeup and high heels is something to be frowned upon.

Although, the novel is over 400 pages, things happened too fast. The characters didn't grow or develop at all. The problems that faced Graham and Ellie were fixed in the blink of an eye. There was no real conflict. The book was incredibly overdramatic. Both Graham and Ellie had parental problems which created many melodramatic scenes that were completely unnecessary. The major conflict in the book was too easily resolved. There was no real solution and no development between the characters. It all just went back to the way it was at the beginning of the novel.

Overall, This is What Happy Looks Like is a simple, light, and entertaining novel that fails on many aspects. If only the book was as pretty as the cover.

Monday, June 15, 2015

This Lullaby | Book Review

Title: This Lullaby
Author: Sarah Dessen
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Speak
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, 
Pages: 345 (Paperback)
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.05/5
My Rating: 3.5/5

From Goodreads: "She's got it all figured out. Or does she? When it comes to relationships, Remy's got a whole set of rules. Never get too serious. Never let him break your heart. And never, ever date a musician. But then Remy meets Dexter, and the rules don't seem to apply anymore. Could it be that she's starting to understand what all those love songs are about?"

This Lullaby is definitely one of the better Dessen novels. It was a quick read and I read it in one sitting. I really enjoyed the characters, especially Dexter. He was a fun, unique love interest and I wish we got to learn more about him. Remy, while not the most interesting or relatable character, was a great strong and independent female character. The whole cast was so unique and interesting, I just would have liked to learn more about them. Both Dexter and Remy have  intriguing and atypical friends but the reader doesn't get to learn too much about them, which makes sense as the book isn't about them but it would have been nice. 

I liked how Dessen portrayed Remy's broken family and the contrast between her brother and her sister was really well done. Remy's family is a big part of her life and her beliefs and it was interesting to learn about it. 

As with all Dessen novels, however, it had its fair share of problems. Ruby wasn't the most interesting character. Her view on love at first was interesting but it just became irritating. Some of the choices she made frustrated me and she didn't have much of a personality aside from being an anti-love control freak. 

The plot was weak as well. It lacked depth. The novel is essentially about Remy overcoming her fear of loving someone. It focused too much on the "love" aspect and I felt there could have been more beyond the plot. The climax was anti-climactic and the issue with Remy's mom just felt out of place and thrown in there to create drama and move forward the plot.

Again, an interesting read but not without its problems.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lock and Key | Book Review

Title: Lock and Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Speak
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 422 (Paperback)
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.02/5
My Rating: 3.5/5

From Goodreads: Unlock your heart and the rest will follow. Ruby is used to taking care of herself. But now that she's living with her sister, she's got her own room, she's going to a good school, and her future looks bright. Plus there's an adorable boy next door. Can Ruby learn to open her heart and let him in?

This wasn't my favorite Dessen novel but it was enjoyable nevertheless. I really enjoyed how it focused on familial relationship rather than the romance. A lot of YA novels tend to ignore the family but Lock and Key successfully made the family an important part of the plot. I loved the amount of growth Ruby went through as a person. She overcame her flaws and changed so much from the start of the book.

While I did enjoy the book, I did have a few problems. Nate, the love interest, was a very two-dimensional, "perfect" person. I didn't feel anything for him when, considering his situation, I should have. Nate and Ruby's relationship didn't seem right either. I didn't understand why they became a couple. They didn't have much of a connection. On the topic of characters, I couldn't connect with Ruby. She was a boring protagonist. In the novel there were a lot of stereotypes played out including the "I'm not like other girls" trope. Throughout the book Ruby kept on stating how she's "different" and "not like other girls" which irritated me. There's nothing wrong with being similar to the "other girls". Being different shouldn't be a big deal and is overplayed.

Another problem I had was that the themes were pushed too far and over the top. The theme of family was taken too far as Ruby had a literal school project about the meaning of family. This theme is explored throughout the novel but was overdone. 

I liked the book but the climax was too short and easily resolved. There wasn't much conflict and it was very unsatisfying. 

Lock and Key was an enjoyable read but it definitely wasn't perfect.