Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

3/5

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Now. I don’t want to trash this book, because I didn’t hate it. Sometimes I just get it into my head that I didn’t like a book and I begin to hate it more than I actually did (if that makes sense). This book was just so hyped that unless I absolutely loved it chances were that I would feel disappointed.

The problem is, that I can’t actually comment on anything technically wrong with this book. The writing style was okay, the story line was okay, the characters and their development were okay. The one thing I could possibly say is the length of the book seemed titanic. By the time I got halfway I felt like I should be nearing the end. The bottom line is that sometimes there is just something and although you aren’t sure what it is, that you didn’t like – this is one of those times.

I feel like I need to inject more positivity into my life and say some good things about this book. You know what? There are some things that I did like!

  • The love interest was a really nice guy!!!!!! Like really nice!!! It was quite refreshing after the abundance of assholes that seem to have taken over YA, for the protagonist to fall for a very friendly, very smiley guy who guy who didn’t look like a fricking underwear model.
  • Oops… I was going to make a list but now I have realised I can’t think of anything else I loved about this book.

I really did want to love this book. I have read quite a lot of fanfiction and this idea seemed so cute! Unfortunately, even that aspect of the book didn’t excite me. In all honesty, it was an okay read. Just okay. I probably would’ve given it 2 stars had it of not been for the lovely dovely boy!

So yeah, to sum that up: I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. However, due to the enormous amount of great reviews this book has received, there is a great chance that if you read it you’ll love it. Based on my opinion I wouldn’t recommend it, but based on other people’s I would.

Intangible (Piercing the Veil #1) by C.A. Gray

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Intangible by C.A. Gray

4/5

Peter Stewart grew up on a unique version of the Arthurian legends taught him by his father, a harebrained quantum physicist who asserts that anything is possible. But Peter disbelieves anything which cannot be scientifically explained, despite a nagging sense that there is more to the world than meets the eye. 

Lily Portman is an orphan with a secret: she can see creatures that are invisible to everyone else. These creatures control every human being she has ever met to varying degrees… until she meets Peter and his father. 

When a mysterious stranger stages an accident which nearly costs Peter and Lily their lives, suddenly Lily learns that she is not crazy after all, and Peter discovers the truth of his father’s stories… including the existence of Arthur’s ancient nemesis, one who calls himself the Shadow Lord, and a prophecy with implications so profound that it will alter not only the course of their lives, but potentially the fate of the world.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Arthurian legends have never interested me in the slightest. In fact up until now, all I could have to you about King Arthur is that he had something to do with a round table. And so when I received this book I can tell you that if I had anything else on hand to read, reading this book would have been postponed. However, I was very pleasantly shocked by this book!

The novel follows a modern-day 14 year old science nerd called Peter, who after an “accident” caused by a stranger, finds out that all of the bedtime stories told by his father were true. If you are a bit hesitant to read about a 14 year old boy, I initially felt the same, but my opinion quickly changed. Regardless of age and gender, I still think you can enjoy this book. Having never read any books based around Arthurian legends, I found the story line very unique. And because of this it was a very refreshing change from books that I usually read.

The characters were fantastic in the sense that they were believable. Their reactions to things that were happening and what they were discovering were all understandable. I quite liked Peter as the hero of the story because growing up he wouldn’t have seemed very heroic with him being a weedy unpopular kid. (Who doesn’t like an underdog?) The only thing remarkable about him was his extreme intelligence. His knowledge of science actually played into the story very well as it was used to somehow make the fantasy element logical. Peter wasn’t the only interesting character, others were also great such as Lily, a girl who had dealt seeing things that no one else could her whole life and yet still remained a strong girl who was very sure of herself and her sanity.

Gray created a world so believable that at times I had to remind myself that I was reading fiction. Remind myself that there is no “Ancient Tongue” for me to control things and no little invisible creatures wrapped around me telling me what to think (and I am still reassuring myself of this now). I have a lot of reverence for Gray for truly making you consider that anything is possible.

What was also nice about this book was that it wasn’t completely predictable. While I admit I did partially guess what the twist at the end was, it didn’t occur to me until very near the end. One thing that does irk me a bit, was that it was never made clear who was aware of this twist (for example, if the others involved knew about it). Hopefully that will become clear in the next book.

Speaking of the end, I can’t decide whether I am very disappointed with it, or I admire Gray for finding a way of definitely getting me to read the next book. At any rate, I will certainly be reading the rest of the series when it becomes available.

If you haven’t read this book, you should give it a shot.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

1/5

“When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know… 

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end”

To put it lightly, I hated this book, and it is such a shame because I was so excited to read it. The only thing more terrible than this book, was perhaps the movie. I am a relatively fast reader, but I kid you not this took me a month because I kept on putting it down and forcing myself to pick it back up again. I realise that by this point a lot of people have read this one, but I feel quite strongly and couldn’t resist reviewing.

I will start by praising the author for creating a story I remember well despite reading it a few months ago now. However, it wasn’t exactly memorable for the right reasons:

First off, I found the narration irritating. The third person point of view made it difficult for me to conjure any kind of feelings for the characters other than distaste. To me the whole book felt impersonal and not at all emotive.

Secondly, I found the language features such as the similes stupid. “The night had gotten even hotter, and running home felt like swimming as fast as she could through boiling soup.” I am sorry. But this sucks. How does this give me any indication of what it felt like other than it being hot (which I got from the words hotter and boiling)? Why was the reference to soup necessary? I have never swam in soup so I am quite oblivious as to how this feels. Was it chunky leek and potato soup? Because I am sure that swimming in soup with big bits of potato would be different than in a smooth tomato soup. I will stop rambling on about soup now. But do you get my point? The simile added nothing enlightening to the description. And this is just one example of the irritating and useless language techniques.

I don’t even want to get into the unlikable cast of characters. I literally can’t think of one person in the entire book that I liked. Usually a book has at least one redeeming character. Not this book. Not one.

As if all that isn’t enough, my moral alarms started sounding. Why an author would even consider putting any kind of incest in a young adult book (or any book) is beyond me. What is the world coming to?

I have to say that it was not any one of these things I found most shocking about this book. Instead it is the incredible number of people of people who love it. Surely I can’t be the only one that feels this way! Comments anyone?

 

Misjudged by Sarah Elizabeth

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Misjudged by Sarah Elizabeth

1.5/5

It was one night. 

One night of pure intimacy, with a guy she knew nothing about, that couldn’t have prepared her for the next chapter in her life.

But will it be for better, or for worse?

Eighteen year old Alexis Harper is a smart, attractive and ambitious young woman with great friends, a doting father and a scholarship at one of Washington State’s most prestigious Performing Arts Colleges.

When the mysterious stranger makes his arrival in her life, she’s captivated by him. She’s intrigued by his past and more so by what the future could possibly hold for them.

Meet Brandon Taylor. 

A damaged and confused twenty year old who is grieving for the life he once had.

He didn’t think for one moment that he could ever find happiness, and he didn’t want to. He was happy living within the high walls he’d barricaded around himself. It felt safe.

When Alexis and Brandon’s worlds collide, nobody could have prepared them for the emotional rollercoaster they were about to board together.

With love, loss, deceit and betrayal abound, it’s pretty hard to trust even those closest to you, as both Brandon and Alexis are soon to find out.

I read this one quite a while ago, but in the interest of starting my blog I figured I’d post this review. Be aware that this one isn’t going to be singing the book’s praises.

I absolutely hated the beginning. I just thought it was ridiculous. In fact I very nearly stopped reading it after two chapters. I don’t consider talking about the first chapter a spoiler but if you do, stop reading.

So it starts off with Alexis, who is the typical innocent young woman every novel of this kind seems to feature. She goes to a college masquerade, meets this guy, they basically talk for a while, then he calls her beautiful a million times (despite her wearing a mask the whole time), he fingers her for her first time and gives her her first orgasm, and leaves. They never exchange names in this time.

It may be just me, but I find it highly unlikely that a girl who obviously thinks intimacy is special (considering her still being an absolute virgin) would just fool around with a guy whose name she doesn’t even know…

Anyway their interactions during the next couple of chapters irritated the heck out of me. They end up meeting properly (and finally find out each others names) because it turns out that they have mutual friends, and then obviously realise that they had already met unknowingly. After a few annoying, “I want you, but I can’t have you” and “It didn’t mean anything, I don’t like you” conversations resulting in Alexis feeling distraught, the story finally looks up. You begin to find out what makes Brandon (aka Mr. Operation Orgasm – yep that was in the book) tick. I have to say though I was pleasantly surprised, if I remember correctly, that the reasons he has for being such a screwed up individual didn’t completely suck.

I think I should mention as well that Brandon and Alexis are hot and cold throughout the book. So much so that I lost count of how many times they were off and then on again. Which is another thing that got on my nerves. Can’t we read a book featuring a damaged character without stupid break ups and make ups every two seconds?

While I have to admit that there were moments that I really enjoyed in this book and I was almost tempted to give it a 2.5/5 because of them (which may not seem high but for this book trust me it is), there were still more problems. For instance, (SPOILER ALERT!) at the end of the book she realises that she still didn’t know his surname or if he even had a family. This was after she had fallen in love with him. She hardly knew anything about him.

I think it’s time that the authors of these types of books step up their game.

Has anyone else read it? What do you guys think? Feel free to leave a comment.

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

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As it is my very first review posted on here (woo!) I thought I would get started by telling you about book I love!

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

5/5

“Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

It’s not what you know–or when you see–that matters. It’s about a journey.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie’s off-campus housing falls through, her mother’s old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side … and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there’s that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That’s because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie’s suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that … well … doesn’t quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.”

I started reading this book thinking that this would be a cute, fun, little read. The reviews seemed promising so I figured I’d give it a go. But wow! I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do!

The writing had a nice flow and a unique humour, both of which made it lovely to read. It was, as I anticipated, quite an easy read, and despite dealing with some heavy topics was quite light and fun! To my surprise the book didn’t go down the route I initially thought it would before reading, and that made it -oh- so much better!

The story follows Julie as she navigates her way as a college freshman and as the house guest to a slightly (read: very) interesting family. The book focuses on her efforts to help the family (primarily the 13 year old girl) get through their issues without even knowing the source of the issues, and the development of an online relationship with Finn, the travelling brother. As the book unfolds, we learn that while Julie seeks to help the Watkins, her family life isn’t perfect either as she struggles to cope with her disappointing, unavailable (physically and emotionally) father.

What made this book so good (other than the wonderful storyline) were the fantastic characters. Julie: the enthusiastic problem solver, Finn: the fun, adventurous older brother/love interest, and Matt: the very intelligent brother pushed into the role of his younger sister’s parent due to their distant parents. And lest us forget, Celeste: the somewhat quirky younger sister.  I spent the whole book puzzling about how her older brother going on holiday would cause her to behave so unusually, however I can’t deny that she and her odd ways grew on me.

I could happily continue to rave about this book, I can’t do that however without giving away spoilers!

Anyway, I’m finished rambling and leave with a message: read the book.