July 27, 2017

The Crowns of Croswald: Unboxing Video!

I was contacted by author D. E. Night's publicist the other day about her upcoming middle-grade fantasy The Crowns of Croswald, with an offer to send me a "magical book surprise." Of course, with that description, how could I resist?

So without further ado, here is the unboxing that I filmed! Thanks very much to D. E. Night and her publicist for sending this my way :)


July 24, 2017

The Fault in Our Stars: A Rambling Review

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

11870085I'm no longer practically the last person on Earth to have not read this book! This is one of those books that I think is objectively quite well-written, but I just didn't emotionally connect with, personally. (No, it did not make me cry.) Hazel was a likeable protagonist who felt human and distinctive, and since she is the narrator we get to know her the best; yet even so, I still didn't feel as close to her as I would have liked.

A lot of this book is composed of conversation and Hazel's musings, so not that much really happens plot-wise (except for a few key events). I knew going into it about the spoiler ending (has anyone managed to escape that spoiler by now?) so that was not a surprise.

I found some of the philosophical observations on life a tad lofty and pretentious at times (which at least the characters are aware of), but I did find a lot of them true to life, acknowledging human reactions that often get swept under the rug or covered up by our society. That was one of the things I liked best about this book, that it was quite blunt about how it cut through the "socially acceptable" layer of human responses to get at how people actually think and feel.

3.5 shooting stars.



July 17, 2017

My Life Next Door: A Rambling Review

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

12294652This contemporary YA novel has gotten quite a bit of hype and I know a lot of people loved it, but unfortunately I didn't fall head-over-heels for it. I mostly liked the main character Samantha, whose voice was relatable and felt realistic as a teen's. Jase, on the other hand, while sweet and rather mature for a teenage guy, seemed a little too perfect; he never made mistakes and always appeared to know best, and it came off as a bit holier-than-thou at times (especially when all the other teens were making mistakes left, right, and center). I did enjoy the general dynamic of the Garrett family and the contrast to Samantha's, and found it interesting how entrenched she becomes in their life, which is unusual to see in a YA novel.

I felt kind of like this novel was split into 2 different parts: the lighter, bubblier, falling-in-love section that spans the first two-thirds of the story, and then the darker, heavier, angstier section of the last third. It was a little strange to suddenly have the story change direction and tone, and become much more serious. I thought Samantha's conundrum was a difficult one to face, and I liked the fact that the book was posing some moral questions and forcing her to think about what she believed in, but I also felt like it didn't exactly fit with the rest of the story that had come before.

Also, what an awful example some of the adults in this story set. I mean, just terrible. *shakes head*



 

July 14, 2017

The Book Lode (25)

I have not been able to resist the siren call of Book Outlet's amazing deals, and this book haul vlog is the result:


Books bought:

Proposal by Meg Cabot
Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O'Neill
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery
Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien
Strangely Beautiful by Leanna Renee Hieber
The Time Traveler's Almanac by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer (Eds.)
The Complete Plays of William Shakespeare
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Defiance by C. J. Redwine
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Sold for Endless Rue by Madeleine E. Robins

July 6, 2017

The Song Rising: A Rambling Review (Adult)

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

So, that was intense. The second half of the book really amped up the stakes and I felt like I was right there with Paige. I was a little disappointed with the lack of development of the Paige/Warden relationship (and that Warden didn't get a larger role, because I love his character). It seemed like they were getting emotionally separated to increase the drama more than because it would have naturally stemmed from the characters themselves (although Paige is, admittedly, rather closed-off, so it wasn't a huge stretch). (Why can those two not just TALK everything out??)

This book feels more like a "stepping stone" book than the previous ones have. A lot of the first half was chasing information down and rehashing conversations; however, things really picked up in the second half. I liked how Paige ended up playing such a pivotal role in the climax. There was also a reveal there that I definitely did not see coming.

Also, I enjoyed getting to see voyant communities outside of London, and it looks like we'll get to see some more of that in the next book! I think I didn't like this book quite as much as the previous two but I'm still looking forward to seeing what happens next.

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