Book Review: “I Take You” by Eliza Kennedy.

Recommended beverage while reading: Straight vodka. It’s the only way to get through this one.

Overall Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Meet Lily Wilder: New Yorker, lawyer extraordinaire, blushing bride. And totally incapable of being faithful to one man.

Lily’s fiancé Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and has no business getting married. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights—and mornings, and afternoons—of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet.

Unapologetically sexy with the ribald humor of Bridesmaids, this joyously provocative debut introduces a self-assured protagonist you won’t soon forget. (Goodreads)

Alright, fellow bloggers. Brace yourselves for this one. I received “I Take You” by Eliza Kennedy as my first book as a new member for Blogging for Books. While I may have hated this book, I am definitely still grateful that they sent it to me for free. So, truly, thank you.

Now. We begin.

I was hoping for a light chick lit read with this one, and in some ways it was. But seriously, Kennedy couldn’t have written a more deplorable character. I can’t even say why, really. She drinks, does drugs, cheats constantly, is annoying as all hell. All of this I’ve read in other characters and didn’t find them nearly as repulsive. So why was Lily so terrible? Eventually I came to the conclusion that maybe it was because she was terrible without having a greater purpose.

You know how books generally serve some greater purpose? Or at least make some sort of point by not having a greater purpose? Yeah, not with this one. Eventually, it seems to try to make the point for sexual empowerment for women. Hey, I’m all for it. But it felt completely fake and like it was being used just to try to make this an actual book. I learned nothing from this book (other than a few new drinks I might want to try the next time I go out), and that’s irritating.

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I literally threw this book across the room when I finished. Never done that before. So I guess I can be grateful that I got at least a new experience out of this read?

What’s even more irritating? That Lily seemed to come to these grand realizations about herself and by the end finally decided that maybe she wanted to change, and nothing did. Nothing mattered. It was like saying, “Hey I just made you read over 300 pages just so that nothing can happen.”

I just can’t with this book. I seriously can’t even gather my thoughts enough to write a decent scathing review. Honestly, I don’t even really want it to be scathing because I know it takes guts for an author to write a book and put it out there. It does – and I applaud Kennedy for that. But I hated Lily and all the other characters so much that I can hardly write a mild-mannered review let alone a nice one. So angry and semi-scathing it is.

I would not recommend this to anyone. I’m sorry.

Book Review: “Landline” by Rainbow Rowell

Recommended beverage while reading: Coffee! Choose your own cream and sugar, or just leave it black.

Overall Rating: 3 stars.

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.IMG_20150711_120012Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

(Goodreads)

Landline was the only Rowell I had left to read. I got really lucky and a friend of mine found a couple of copies in the bargain section at Barnes & Noble, and so my collection was thus completed! I loved every one of her other books. Fangirl will always be my favorite, followed closely by Attachments and then by Eleanor & Park.

Unfortunately, this one kind of let me down. Don’t get me wrong — I still liked it. But to sound pretentious: I didn’t love it. My expectations will always be very high regarding Rainbow Rowell’s books, though, so if they’re anything but amazing, it’ll be a letdown.

It’s hard to expand on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much, other than to say that I simply didn’t like Georgie or Neal. That’s hard for me to believe because I love pretty much all of Rowell’s character. They’re always well-written and multifaceted. Buuuuut, Georgie was irritating beyond belief. I just couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t decide whether she was completely selfish or just plain crazy. On top of that, Neal just fell flat for me. He had hints of being a complicated person, but none of it was truly demonstrated. Does that make sense?

While I may not have enjoyed the characters as much as I hoped to, I did enjoy other aspects of it. Rainbow’s writing will always be wonderful, and she writes realistic characters (so realistic that I feel I can say, ‘these people and I would never be friends’) and realistic relationships. Also, just the plot was an interesting concept. I liked that it didn’t delve to far into the mechanics of a time traveling phone and that Georgie didn’t really focus on it as much as she could have. She was, of course, freaked out by it, but that didn’t really hinder the movement of the story.

So overall, it was pretty good. 3 stars isn’t bad, right? I’m glad I’ve finally made it through all Rainbow Rowell’s books (Carry On coming soon, though!!) and I’ve definitely read many worse books. (How’s that for a glowing recommendation?)

Book Review: “The Devil You Know”, by Trish Doller

Recommended Beverage While Reading: Go to Starbucks and get a Venti Black Tea Lemonade with 3 pumps of mango. Do it.

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with devilher dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. (Goodreads)

The day before yesterday, I was reading in the park with a friend and, stupidly, left my back-up book in the car. I say stupidly because I knew I only had about eighty pages left in Grave Mercy and would need another book to read when I finished. Derp. Anyway, I finished it, of course, and then immediately started scrolling through OverDrive to find a library book I could download ASAP. Hence, The Devil You Know. I recognized it from entering a giveaway on Goodreads, so I figured I might as well go for it. This is what happens when you forget your back-up book — you make poor decisions like this. Do not forget your back-up book.

So basically, I really didn’t like this book. Yes, I read it in only a few hours so I didn’t waste much time on it, but I could’ve used that time reading Kurt Vonnegut, so really it wasn’t worth it. What didn’t I like about it? It’s billed as being a book “that will keep readers on the edge of their seats” but I knew what was going to happen from about page 15 because that is how fast she meets and decides to trust these to random boys. Which is my absolute main problem.

Arcadia is in most respects an intelligent and mature girl. She reads a lot of books, has a job, takes care of both her father and her 4 year old brother, and knows how to take care of herself. Theoretically. I hate when characters are described to be intelligent or mature or whatever and the entire book is based on them not being these things. Arcadia meets two rando-s and decides to run off with them after talking to one for 5 minutes and the other for 15. I mean….seriously? That does not make you intelligent or responsible, that just makes you dumb. Yes, we are all allowed moments of stupidity and I don’t begrudge her that option. But the issue is that she continuously makes this same stupid decision. She’s offered the option to go back home at least three times and she never takes it. Umm, wat?

Now, you may think I hated Arcadia, then. That is, weirdly, not the case. I think that her decision to go with Noah and Matt was out of character and I hated it, but Cadie herself wasn’t annoying. Shocking, I know! Female leads in contemporary YA novels are usually the epitome of annoying, but Cadie was okay — it was just her decisions that weren’t. So I liked that I wasn’t irritated by her, but I also liked that she wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself. **Spoilery** She has her first sexual experience with one of these strange dudes, which (in my opinion) is irresponsible, but it is completely her own decision and she’s totally allowed to make it. She knows this and doesn’t apologize for losing her virginity. Yay for characters who don’t suffer from Catholic Guilt!

So yeah. There were a few aspects that were okay, but overall I just couldn’t get over the poor decision to run off with a couple of strange (though mightily attractive) dudes. If you read this and like it, I recommend Stolen by Lucy Christopher. The writing is better, the suspense is better, and it’s just entirely more gripping.

Book Review: “Grave Mercy”, by Robin LaFevers

Recommended Beverage While Reading: Black iced coffee. It makes sense when the main character is the daughter of death. ;]d

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart? (Goodreads)

IMG_20150706_125303A few months back I stopped in a thrift store to kills some time because, let’s face it, you can find some amazing books in them. I feel that bookworms don’t utilize thrift stores often enough — but at the same time I really can’t complain because it means more for me. #greedy

Anyway, I finally got around to reading it with a couple of my fellow bookstagrammers (check them out @readersoftheworld and @livelovereadya). Knocking out that TBR slowly but surely (actually, to be perfectly real with you, the TBR will never, ever be “knocked out”).

My thoughts, over all, are that I liked it. It wasn’t the best book ever, but by no means was it the worst. It didn’t feel especially special to me, to sound a bit pretentious. There are aspects of it I really liked and others that were just “meh”, and sadly, the “meh” bits overshadowed the other parts.

So what was mediocre about it? I mean, based on the blurb, it sounds like everything I’d want. A bit of Sherwood Smith, Sarah J Maas, and Kristin Cashore, all rolled into one but with the added bonus of being set in our same world. What could go wrong? I don’t know about you, but for some reason I thought this would be a little heavier on the fighting and badassery than on the courtly intrigue. Alas, it was not. Don’t get me wrong, I love courtly intrigue. It’s what I liked about Game of Thrones and about the Crown Duel duology. However, this wasn’t done nearly as well as the aforementioned titles. I wasn’t surprised by much that happened in this book and none of the “twists” actually felt as such.

Though I may have found this book predictable, it wasn’t bad. Actually, as I said before, there were some parts that I found really enjoyable. What I enjoyed most was Ismae’s growth into a character who understands that she can serve her god, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be by the set guidelines of her convent. She is beholden to a power higher than those of mortals and doesn’t apologize for recognizing that there are ways to honor him other than vengeance. Bonus: I didn’t find her character annoying, as is so often the case in YA for me. The way I judge whether a book is worth recommending is whether or not I find the main heroine irritating, because it happens way too often.

I also liked the magical elements of this book. They weren’t overly heavy-handed but still managed to play a large role in the book. It was nice that there wasn’t a whole lot of back-story into how Ismae’s powers worked and that even though she didn’t fully understand them herself, she didn’t really feel the need to understand them. Rather, she saw them as a gift and accepted them as a part of herself.

TL;DR: Read this if you really enjoy politics-heavy historical fiction and/or courtly intrigue. Not the best book ever, but still worth reading and I will be continuing the series!

June 2015 Wrap-Up!

Okay, so I’ve been massively failing at this whole blogging thing for the last month or so. The only excuse I can come up with is that I’ve started a new job and I’ve been working more than “usual”. But really, that’s not even a good excuse because I’m still not working all that much. So whatever! I hope to jump back into things, and first things first: The June Wrap-Up! This month I read a total of 10 things, breaking down into 1 ebook, 1 audiobook, and 8 physical books. I didn’t read any graphic novels this month which is why my number is lower than it has bee lately. That being said, I’ve still managed to meet my goal for the whole year (75 books) in the first 6 months. As such, I’m bumping my goal up to 120!

Moving on….

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, JK RowlingIMG_20150625_112326

A couple weeks ago I was possessed by a sudden and somewhat alarming urge to reread the Harry Potter books. Yes, I’ve read them multiple times, but that was years ago and I’ve been meaning to reread them to see if they truly stand the test of time. Of course they do. Because obviously. 5 stars.

2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, JK Rowling

This is probably my least favorite of the books and I’ve never been able to say why exactly. Of course, by “least favorite” I mean it’s a 4.5 star read for me. So don’t hate me.

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling

This one is probably my second-to-last favorite. Yeah, whatever! That’s just how it is man. Of course, I love that Harry gets to have a family again for a while. And let’s just sit here and appreciate Lupin for a few minutes…..Done? I knew you’d understand.

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling

GoF always has been and always will be my favorite HP book. It was the first truly “long” book of the series and we got so much more detail out of it. I love the World Cup bit because we get to see the wizarding world on a grander scope. And the Triwizard Tournament, of course, introduces the crazy revelation that there are more wizarding schools out there. And, as a 13 year old reading this book my mind was completely blown by Moody’s not being Moody. And, to be honest, I was a little heartbroken, because he would’ve been such a great teacher had he not been a murderous, insane Death Eater with a daddy complex. But I digress. 5 stars.

5. Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella

Fun fact: Over the last couple months I’ve acquired 6 Sophie Kinsella books. Even more fun fact: I’ve read zero of them. That is, up until I decided to finally get it over with and read this one. I loved the movie and hoped to love the book just as much. The book was good…but not as good. It was funny and Becky was a well-written character, but she was so well-written that I actually disliked her. In the movie she has a pretty big change of heart but in the book it’s not so much. I guess it makes sense, though, because it’s quite a long series and there has to be some development. 3.5 stars.

6. Bone Gap, Laura Ruby

So, reading the blurb of this book doesn’t really give you an accurate depiction of what 51MFlEQtt-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_it’ll be like. I know when I read it, I thought it would be a bit more like Christopher’s Stolen, but it really wasn’t. It really, really wasn’t. And I am perfectly okay with that. The fact that we aren’t really aware of how much magic realism will be in the book makes for a surprising turn of events. I will say, however, that if you’re looking for a book that doesn’t leave anything unexplained, this is not the book for you. By the time it’s over all you can really do is be happy it ended the way it did and block out the billions of questions that are actually plaguing you. I happen to enjoy those kinds of books. 4 stars.

7. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, Angela Carter

If you like fairytale retellings, you’ll probably enjoy this IMG_20150617_121639one to some extent. On the one hand, I liked her take on some of these stories and I liked that her style changed throughout the collection (at times hilarious and at others so “out there” I had a hard time following the story). On the other, it was as I said, hard to follow. Perhaps I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for this collection when I read it. I really liked a couple of the stories, and the others were either alright or just not to my taste. 3.5 stars.

8. Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy #2), Stephen King

Some of you may be aware that I’m a rather big fan of King. I feel that he can write most any genre and you will enjoy it and still be able to tell it was a King novel. When I read the first one last year, I loved it and I forced my mom to read it about a month ago, too. IMG_20150623_111305She’s a big fan of James Patterson and I thought that perhaps she would enjoy a Stephen King crime fiction/thriller and she did. A lot. I, however, hate James Patterson, and I still love it. What makes this so much better than a Patterson novel is that it’s just more complex. Twists all over the place and connections you didn’t see coming. It’s hard for me to find a novel that keeps me on my toes, but these books do it. What I loved about this one was that it was purely crime fiction/thriller up until the last five pages of the book — which is when the King we are more familiar with comes out. I can’t wait to see what happens with the next one. 4.5 stars

9. A History of Glitter and Blood, Hannah Moskowitz

I got this as a galley from NetGalley about a month ago. And, honestly, I can’t even really review this book. It was just…so bad. I gave it 2.5 stars because I appreciated what it was trying to do. If I were to give it a real review though it would be maybe a 1.5. It’s confusing and hard to follow and you get no explanation or background whatsoever. While the lack of explanation worked for Bone Gap, I feel that in a fantasy novel, such a style is going to be pretty difficult to pull off. In a world where there aren’t even humans and every race is something strange, it’d be nice to have some background information rather than just a perspective written by one of the main characters in the form of a poorly written history book/diary/who even knows. And, if you read it, it makes sense why it’s written in this weird way, you know? But just because I understand what Moskowitz was trying to convey doesn’t mean I have to like it. 2.5 stars.

10. Woman with a Secret (Spilling CID #9), Sophie Hannah

I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and wasn’t aware that this was the ninth in a series until I finished the book. Honestly, that should tell you something. I didn’t have IMG_20150602_105624trouble following anything and it was still an enjoyable read. Yeah, afterwards, I could tell that there was some minor character storylines that I had missed out on, but it wasn’t anything too major. If you’re a fan of crime fiction, I think you’d like this one. It’s a mashup of different POVs, newspaper articles, emails, etc. and Hannah pulls it off really well. I’d suggest this to fans of BBC crime shows like Luther and Wire in the Blood or even people who like Criminal Minds or Law & Order. 3.5 stars.

So there you have it! June Wrap-up in all its glory! I hope to post more often this month now that I’ve gotten better into the swing of things at work. I make no promises though, because who the hell knows, haha.

May Wrap-up!

The last couple months I’ve been doing really well as far as reading goes and kind of expected my pace to slow down, which is why I didn’t post a bi-weekly wrap-up this month. Buuuut, I apparently didn’t really realize how many books I was reading because it did turn out to be a semi-significant number: 15! I tried to take a step back from the graphic novels this month, but I still read 5. So, basically, I didn’t anticipate anything really well. Anyway, let’s get started shall we?

1. The Orphan Queen, Jodi Meadows

Full review here. Basically, I loved this book. Jodi Meadows is seriously talented and I recommend her to fans of Sarah J Maas (let’s face it, who isn’t?) or who just want something unique. What I love about her style is that it appears to be cliche, but it actually takes typical plot devices and twists them into something just…better. 4.5 stars.

IMG_20150506_1047052. The Wicked Will Rise, Danielle Paige

Full review here. I gave this book a high rating mostly because of the potential it had. What kept it from being as good as the first book was the fact that it felt very much like a filler novel. Almost like a novella and the ideas weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been. Which is a shame, because it could have been truly epic. As it was, though, it left me wanting more in both good and bad ways. Will I be reading the next one? Of course! Amy is still bad ass and I love the twisted world of Oz. 4 stars.

3. The Glass Arrow, Kristen Simmons

Full review here. So this is a YA novel loosely based on The Handmaid’s Tale. Having never read that one, though, I can’t say how accurate that is. If they are at all similar, though, I’m going to have to add it to the top of my TBR because this book was stellar. I liked that Aya was a strong character but that the scope of the book was minimal. She was made more realistic by the fact that she didn’t set out to change the world, but rather to change hers. That’s the way things work. One person does not change the entirety of a culture, but they can set some things in motion by being examples to others. I also really enjoyed that this was a stand-alone because it was well-rounded and though I did feel a little sad at its ending, it made sense. 4.75 stars.

4. A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J MaasIMG_20150506_122812

Full incoherent review here. Now that I’ve had a couple weeks to gather my thoughts on this book I have some difficult things to admit. Was it as good as Throne of Glass? No, it wasn’t. Did I love the Feyre as much as Celaena? I did not. BUT, it was still amazing. Because that’s just the way Maas rolls. While Tamlin and Feyre fell a little flat for me, I feel that Feyre will become more developed in the next book and if the next one heads in the direction I feel it will, Tamlin will become less relevant anyway. This book was super fast-paced — so much so that it could have been a stand alone aside from a few loose ends left by the end of the book. And you know what? I liked that. It had it’s own story and it was a nice introduction into the Fey world before things get crazy in the next books. 5 stars.

5. Hausfrau, Jill Alexander Essbaum

IMG_20150510_112013I initially added this book to my Goodreads TBR based purely on the cover. No shame. It’s still one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve seen. And the book was splendid as well. I thought it would be one of those books that took me a week to finally get through, but (as per usual) I was wrong. I flew through this book and had trouble putting it down. It wasn’t action-packed and wasn’t super exciting, but it was thought-provoking and intuitive. Read this for the writing, because it is abundantly apparent that Essbaum is an experienced poet. And the final line was like a punch in the face in the best way possible. Trigger warnings for abuse and depression, though. So if those things sit the wrong way with you, I really don’t recommend it. I found it’s depiction of depression to be insightful. I have multiple friends who battle depression to varying IMG_20150512_114956degrees and this book helped me see how they might feel. 4 stars.

6. Boxers, Gene Luen Yang

I’ve seen this all over the place and people generally seem to love it. I was kind of “eh” about it though. I enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t rooting for any particular side and that it showed you that both sides in a war do awful things. However, I wasn’t super attached to any of the characters and, to be honest, didn’t enjoy the art that much. 3 stars.

7. The Enchanted, Rene Denfeld

IMG_20150514_140005This book went in a direction that I didn’t expect. I figured it would be magic realism maybe? Maybe it was a little bit. Whatever. All I know is that I was surprised by the route the plot went and I loved this book. This, like Hausfrau, has a really unique and poetic style. And again, like Essbaum’s novel, it gave us an insight into mental disorders. The main character inspired so much sympathy in me and yet left me conflicted due to the horror of his crimes. Read this book for it’s writing. It’s short and I read it in one go. Just bite the bullet and do it. 4.5 stars.

8. Stephen King’s N., Marc Guggenheim

I’m up for reading most anything written by Stephen King. I’m pretty vocal about my love for him. But this graphic novel fell flat for me. True, it was originally a short story and it was merely adapted into a graphic novel. It probably should have stayed a story. Part of King’s talent is to write simply but vividly enough to convey the proper amount of horror in a given situation. In graphic novel form, that chilling tone is lost. I wasn’t scared at all and found the GN a little hard to follow. 3 stars.

9. Ragnar’s Daughter, Aliza Rudman

I won this in a Goodreads giveaway quite a while ago and only just now got around to it. It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, I’ll be honest. It definitely felt like a first attempt at a novel by a young author. I thought the main character was a little volatile and that the world and romantic aspects were a little underdeveloped. But, I give props for potential. If Rudman went back and maybe fleshed things out a bit more or perhaps upped the formality of this book, it could be amazing. Even so, I’d be happy to read the sequel. It was a really fast read and I did like the characters, even if they seemed a bit immature at times. 3 stars.

10. Sappho: A New Translation, Sappho, trans. by Mary BarnardIMG_20150515_100814

It’s hard to give a star-based rating to a book of poetry, but I’ll try anyway. I really enjoyed this little book. A lot of her poetry has been lost and most of what’s left is just fragments, but they’re still lovely to read. I actually tabbed this book (something I rarely do), and was marking almost every other page for poems/snippets I loved. I do recommend this one to anyone trying to get into poetry! 4 stars.

11. Deadly Class, Rick Remender

Yet another grapIMG_20150518_142046hic novel I’ve seen all over the place. And yet another I was disappointed by. Honestly, I kind of hated all of the characters. I assume that’s part of the point, but even that won’t sway my rating of this one. The art was really good, however, and it’s an interesting story! Beware of drug-use and sex and violence. If those aren’t your thing (though, really, what graphic novel doesn’t have those nowadays), then I don’t recommend it. 3 stars.

12. October Faction Vol. 1, Steve Niles

I got this as a galley from Netgalley, so one of my main issues may not be with the actual graphic novel. My biggest problem was the fact that the art was way too dark. I could hardly discern what was going on. So maybe it was just a problem with the galley I got? I’m not sure. What little I could see of the art was good, though. I did also take issue with the pacing and just overall exposition. It jumped around and was pretty hard to follow and not a lot was explained. Points for unique story, though! 3 stars.

13. Bodies, Si Spencer

Another galley from Netgalley. This was one of the few reads I’ve ever given 1 star. Seriously, guys, it was terrible. It’s a shame because it could have been really cool. The art was alright, but nothing special, but the main problem was the fact that it made no sense whatsoever. I could follow the plot for about three pages and then it would jump to something else and I’d have to start all over. It felt like it was supposed to have some grand message but if it did, it was completely and utterly lost on me. I feel bad for giving such a bad review, but it’s the truth. 1 star.

14. Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter

I’ve seen this book around for years and I’ve always wanted to reaIMG_20150522_131959d it, but always kind of held back for whatever reason. I thought it would remind me a bit of Under the Tuscan Sun or even Eat Pray Love, and in some ways it did. But saying it was like those also kind of does it a disservice. Don’t get me wrong, I love both of the others, but Beautiful Ruins is it’s own thing. It covers generations and thousands of miles and follows so many characters and it’s just lovely. Having grown up watching movies from the 50s and 60s, I loved knowing all the movie stars mentioned and having some idea of the way things worked back then. And I liked that it was realistic in saying that happily endings don’t always happen — or at least they change. Dreams don’t always come true, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live a happy and fulfilled life. 4.5 stars.

15. Bell Weather, Dennis Mahoney

IMG_20150527_102228This was another ARC I won in a giveaway and decided to knock off my TBR. It’s being released July 7th, so be sure to keep an eye out for it! Because, yes, I recommend this book. It was one of those rare books where the world is perhaps not as well-developed as it should be and where the romantic interest just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and it still managed to be a really good read! We’re given just enough information to know that this world is different from ours and it piques your interest so that you want to know more. That we’re denied that is kind of frustrating, but understandable. It’s not really a mark against the book, but more illustrative of how good it is. I knocked off a star because, like I said, the romantic bits didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and because I didn’t feel like the characters were appealing people. Which sounds bad, but isn’t actually that distracting. So make sure to pick this book up, guys! 4 stars

Well there you have it. I don’t expect anyone to get to the end of this, frankly, but I had fun writing it nonetheless! Hope you’re all having a good week! 🙂

Why I Read

I figured, what with running a book blog and a bookstagram (either of which can be considered at least marginally successful) I should probably address the question every bookworm has heard multiple times in their life: “Why do you read?”

Whenever I’m asked this question, I tend to just kind of stare at the person and bumble out a super general and nonspecific answer. “Well it’s fun.” “It’s something to do to keep the boredom at bay.” “It takes me to a different world that’s more interesting than reality.”

All of which is true, but none of the above accurately convey just what reading means to me. And what’s more, the answer is complicated and highly personal. I don’t like sharing the things I most love with most people. I won’t watch movies I love with just anyone. If I’ve watched things like The Lord of the Rings or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty or Midnight in Paris or The Breakfast Club or even Memoirs of a Geisha with you, know that I consider you a very good friend.

So it goes with reading. If I don’t trust you completely (and that’s not to say that you’re untrustworthy — it’s simply that I’m a very introverted person and don’t open up to people lightly) or don’t know you well, then I’m not going to try to explain something that means so much to me. Because what if it doesn’t come out right? What if I make reading/certain movies/music look lame? They don’t deserve that.

And that kind of illustrates what they mean to me. Books aren’t really books for me — they’re friends. I have emotional relationships with not just characters in books but the books themselves. They’re something more than words on a page and they’ve got personalities of their own. I feel grateful to them for taking me to other places or introducing me to new kinds of people and for teaching me how to be stronger.

When I buy new books, or even borrow them from the library, I lug them around with me for a while. Or I’ll look through them each individually. Or I’ll go about my business, but surrounded by my new acquisitions. Kind of like I’m welcoming them into the family. Does that sound weird? I know it might to a non-reader, but I’ve a feeling a lot of bookworms do it. I keep all my books out in the open because when I look at them I’m not seeing books, I’m seeing new adventures and people to meet and places to go and things to learn.

The fact that I’m posting this for everyone to read is kind of in opposition to everything I’ve been saying, isn’t it? I suppose I feel comfortable doing it because 1. Anyone who reads this probably feels the way I do, so I don’t have to worry about being judged or reflecting badly on the reading world. 2. I don’t have to explain to anyone in particular, which is nice because I’m far better at writing my feelings than verbalizing them.

I recently read The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld, and it was beautiful — the writing was superb and read like poetry. But to get to the point, there was a character who loved reading beyond most anything else. And even though he was on death row for committing despicable crimes, he still understood and conveyed wonderfully the beauty of reading:

After a time, it seemed that the world inside the books became my world. So when I thought of my childhood, it was dandelion wine and ice cream on a summer porch, like Ray Bradbury, and catching catfish with Huck Finn. My own memories receded and the book memories became the real memories, far more than the outside, far more even than in here.

So yes. I love reading. Plain and simple.

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