Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Burn for Burn | Book Review

Title: Burn for Burn
Author: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Series: Burn for Burn #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 358 (Hardcover)
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.89/5
My Rating: 3/5

After a series of unfortunate events, Lillia, Mary, and Kat team up to get revenge on people who wronged them.

This book was a dissapointment. I've heard a lot of good things but I hated the plot and the characters. Still, I thought it was a decent book. The writing is fine, nothing special but not bad. It was a pretty quick read and I was somewhat entertained.

However, Burn for Burn had a lot of flaws. The characters really annoyed me. They stuck almost completely to their stereotypes. There was nothing unique about these characters whatsoever. They just made bad decision after bad decision. I also did not enjoy the plot. The whole story is about getting revenge on people who wronged them. Yes, getting revenge instead of communicating and talking it out when there's only one year left of seeing these people while also risking not getting into college is definitely a good idea. I just don't understand why people don't COMMUNICATE. Sure words don't always get through to people. But the characters are never going to see the people they hate after the school year ends! The reasons for revenge were also mostly unjustified. Lillia and Kat bully and hurt their enemies horribly. Yes, they're not the nicest people but you shouldn't stoop down to their level! Mary was the only one whose revenge was justified but what she did was still wrong.

I felt the characters went through no character development or growth. They just got more and more irritating and immature as the book went on. The length of the book was unnecessary as well. It's a fairly large book and felt dragged on. I think the series should just be one 500 page book rather than 3 books.

The paranormal aspect of the book also really through me off. I don't think it fits with the story and feel of the book.

I got incredibly frustrated and annoyed throughout the entirety of the book. That being said, I do plan on reading the next in the series. Life is too short to read mediocre books, but after reading the plot summary of what happens in the next two books, I'm very intrigued and confused so I'll just try to read them as quickly as possible.

Sorry that this became more of a rant rather than a review. ^^

Until Next Time,

Monday, March 23, 2015

Insurgent Movie Review and Discussion (Spoilers)

Insurgent was a disappointment. It was enjoyable to watch but after I thought about it, I realized how much I didn't like it. I'd give Insurgent an 8/10 as a movie but a 6/10 as a book-to-movie adaptation.

My first problem was that the movie was really disjointed. It didn't flow well and was very cluttered. The script wasn't very good either. A lot of the dialogue was awkward and uncharacteristic. I expected to love Four and Tris as I did in the book, however, in the movie Peter was my favorite character, someone I loathed and despised in the book. I enjoyed the humor he added but it was much too uncharacteristic.

Shailene and Ansel's acting was on point. The acting overall was great. It was the script and directing that ruined the movie for me. Too many liberties were taken and the story was changed drastically. In the movie, there was a never a box, Tris just underwent experiments. Many minor, but important, characters were taken out or overshadowed. For example, I was so excited when I heard that Uriah was cast for Insurgent. I had loved him in the book but he had about 3 lines and then just died in the movie. Marlene had no lines, but when she died in the movie, the audience is supposed to feel sad. Christina had a much bigger role in the book. Her conflict and anger towards Tris was supposed to isolate her. Tris showed no real regret for killing Will and her PTSD was overshadowed. Tori, again, had about 2 lines and served no purpose. She was supposed to kill Jeanine, not Four's mom-sister. On that note, the actress chosen to play Evelyn was a terrible choice. Her acting was great, but she looks much too young to play Four's mother. When Evelyn came back into play, it was supposed to be a big deal. Not just "oh yeah, btw my mom's actually alive."

Another thing that really bothered me was the head-massager-face-scanning-things. You can't tell what a person's faction is by scanning their face. Factions are a choice, not something genetic. And no one is just 10% divergent. Either you're divergent or you're not.

If I hadn't read the books, I'm sure I would have really liked the movie. However, being a big fan of the series, this movie ruined the book. I was really frustrated and while I enjoyed watching it in the theater with my friends, it probably won't be as good the second time.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

We Should Hang Out Sometime | Book Review

Title: We Should Hang Out Sometime
Author: Josh Sundquist
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Non Fiction, Humor
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.87/5
My Rating: 3/5

Josh realizes at the age of 25 that he has never had a girlfriend. To figure out the reason behind this, he looks back on his past relationships and tracks down the girls he previously liked.

This was the Booksplosion book of the month.

So I'll start with what I liked:
1. The tone of the book and the way it was written. It was very lighthearted and funny. It read just like fiction and it had a great conversational tone. It was quite sweet and awkward as well. The writing was well done and Sundquist's personality and humor really showed through.

2. The premise of the book. I thought it was a really interesting and unique idea.

3. The way Sunquist views his disability. He has a very positive outlook on life and didn't really view his disability as a bad thing.

4. The graphics. While they didn't add a whole lot to the story, they were fun and entertaining to read.

5. The sense of catharsis at the end. It was a mostly satisfying ending. I thought it could've been a bit longer but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Now what I didn't like:
1. The low-key sexism and misogynistic views hidden under humor. At times it seemed like Sunquist was very bitter and thought all girls should like him (although he sort of goes over that in the end). He also mentioned the "friend zone" a few times which threw me off and made me really uncomfortable.

2. "Notice: not a yes-or-no question. So she couldn't reject it." He tries to force girls to be with him by telling/asking them something that they can't say no to without seeming stuck-up and rude. Instead of just letting them decide if they want to hang out with him, he gives them no choice.

3. The stalking. It was just creepy. He does acknowledge the creepiness at one point, but it wasn't enough. He essentially stalked all the girls he had liked over the years just so he could get unsatisfying answers from them, which leads me to my next point.

4. The investigations. I felt most of them lacked any real value and offered slight satisfaction at best.

I'm not completely sure what to think about this book. I did enjoy it while I read it, but the more I think about it, the stranger it gets. Overall, I'll say it's a decent book. It's not horrible, but it's not great. I liked it on the surface level but when I really thought about it I saw all the problems with it.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hopeless | Series Review

From Goodreads: Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies... That's what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in he she's never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and sometimes about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Hopeless was incredibly intense and nothing like what I expected. The story was so intriguing and unique. It was nothing like I've read before. I loved how the story progressed and it flowed very well. Character development is a very important part of a book for me and Sky successfully grows as a character. The book was so emotional and gripping, I couldn't stop reading. At some points I had to take a break so I could stop crying. My only problem was that I couldn't really connect with Sky. 4.75/5 stars.

In Losing Hope,  really enjoyed reading from Holder's point of view. It was interesting seeing everything he felt in Hopeless. I did think, however, that it was a bit rushed. Some parts of Hopeless were skipped in Losing Hope and while I understand that Hoover probably didn't want the book to get too repetitive, I felt it would flow better had those parts been included. I also wish Holden went through a little more character growth. Throughout the book he just went on and on about how much he loved Sky and nothing else. This book wasn't particularly special but I did enjoy it a lot (I mean, I did spend the last 20 pages sobbing). 4/5 stars.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series. It was a quick read and just what I was in the mood for.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Books I'd Save in a Fire | Top 5 Wednesday

This weeks topic is "Books You Would Save in a Fire".

The first book I would save is Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. This book is my number one favorite book in the entire universe. I love is so so so much and I need it in my life.

The next book I would save is Darkwood by M.E. Breen. This is another favorite of mine. I read this book when I was 10 (11? 12?) and I've loved it ever since. It's not one most people know about (and I like it that way) but it's wonderful.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is another childhood favorite. Love love love.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is...amazing. I found this gem while in an airport bookstore a couple years back and I'm so glad I made the choice to buy it. It's an amazing, heart wrenching book that is also a fantastic movie and I can't live without it.

I can't think of a fifth book to put on this list and since, hypothetically, there's a fire in my house, and because I'm extremely indecisive person, I would just take these four books and run rather than die choosing a fifth book.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 2, 2015

February Wrap Up

This month I read 5 books and 1 novella.

The first book I read last month was Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. This was my first Colleen Hoover book and I was very pleased. The story was incredibly intense and nothing like what I expected. My only problem was that I couldn't really connect with Sky so I gave it 4.75/5 stars.

Next I read This Night So Dark and This Shattered World, #1.5 and #2 of the Starbound series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. I gave them both 4/5 stars. The novella was very interesting and provided a connection between the first and second books. This Shattered World wasn't as good as These Broken Stars but it was still enjoyable.

The next book I read was Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? I haven't read nonfiction in a very long time so this was a bit new to me. In the beginning I got a little bored but overall the book was interesting, well written, and comedic. 4/5 stars

I had to read Hamlet for school and I didn't really like it. It definitely wasn't horrible, but I found the plot to be boring at times and the characters annoyed me. 3/5 stars.

The last book I read in February was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Technically I finished this March 1st but since I read the majority of it in February, I'm going to include it in this wrap up. Ready Player One is the first legitimate science fiction novel I've read and I loved it. It was fast-paced, action-packed, intriguing, and funny. The plot was and world building was incredibly and I loved the characters. 4.5/5 stars. Full review here.

Until Next Time,

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ready Player One | Book Review

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Random House NY
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 374 (Hardcover)
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.31/5
My Rating: 4.5/5

It's 2044 and the world has gone to shit. All the environmental problems we ignore today have gotten worse and there is an energy crisis going on. In this world, everyone uses OASIS, an online virtual reality where people can escape from their boring lives without ever having to leave their home. When the creator of OASIS dies, he creates a contest in which the winner will win his entire fortune. For 5 years after his death, no one has been able to figure out his puzzle, until Wade Watts does. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was action-packed, fast paced, and unique. Ready Player One is the first legitimate sci-fi books I've read, the others being mostly dystopian. 

What I liked most was the world in which the story takes place. The OASIS is such an interesting, boundless place. It's a world where anything and everything happens. Cline did a great job with the world building. It was a little hard to understand at first and having the first 70 pages be only world building didn't help. I think it would have been better to space those 70 pages between plot, but I eventually understood it. 

The "Hunt" was a great plot device that allowed the story to keep progressing. There was always something happening, some problem to be solved. There was never a dull moment.

The characters were all very unique and I loved the unconventionality of them. They're not the typical young adult characters and I really enjoyed that. They kept the book from becoming too dark and added light-hearted humor.

I was fascinated by the social conscience of this book. Normally when technology is an important factor, books romanticize it and ignore all the bad qualities. However, Cline repeatedly talks about the degradation of society and reality through the use of the internet and online world. He doesn't fail to acknowledge that while the OASIS is a spectacular place, it also forces people away from human interaction, something very relevant in today's world.

My only problem was the romance. I felt the two characters had no real chemistry. Yes, Wade has had a crush on Art3mis for many years, but they never had any real conversations that were explored in the book. There were many "montages" in the book stating that they talked a lot and went on dates, but it failed to provide the connection one feels when two characters are in love.

Despite, the romance I really enjoyed this book. It's a bit difficult to get into but definitely give it a try!

Thanks for reading!