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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Everything, Everying by Nicola Yoon -- A Review




Summary: A girl is allergic to everything and lives in a vacuum sealed house that she hasn't ever left. A "hawt" boy moves in next door and she decides to do some crazy stuff.

 2.5/5 Stars

I did NOT like this book. I was so disappointed by it...I hadn't hear anything bad about this book since it came out in 2015.  

Things I didn't like about this book

I didn't care about the characters. I don't know....I just felt like I didn't know them. I don't really know why I felt this way. Maybe I felt they were underdeveloped? Maybe they were just kind of shallow? I felt like they were just kind of there. 

Insta-love. This book was so insta-love I couldn't even handle it. I hoped beyond all hope that it wouldn't be...but everything happened so fast. I don't even think I was 15% in? Maybe even less? Who knows. It was like, "boy moves in....we saw each other and we are now in love." I didn't think it was necessary.  Insta-love is rarely necessary. And it wasn't even cute love. Like sometimes you read about couples and it makes you squee and feel all warm and fuzzy inside...like "God....I want that too." I didn't feel anything. If you are going to do something poopy like insta-love, make it squee-worthy.  

Shitty family dynamic...standard, "abusive drunk dad beats my mom and it wasn't always like that..." kind of thing. But I don't think that was necessary either. Like...it didn't really do anything for Olly's character. He didn't have any issues with love or relationships...it didn't do anything...Only one time did it do something, but I think the events could have happened with out the whole shitty family background idea.

The ending and the pacing. Though the book was a quick read, (about two days of non-committed reading) everything happened too quickly and the really good stuff didn't happen until about 60% into the story.  Which, in my opinion, is kinda poopy.  I also didn't really like how it ended. Like the last page or so.  I felt like things weren't really resolved and everything was a bit convenient.

Things I did like about this book

It was a really fast read. The chapters were super short and there were some neat illustrations and some charts and such. I appreciated that.

The writing was decent. It was descriptive and painted pictures when it needed to. Sometimes, it was a bit flat, but all in all it was enjoyable.

I liked the last 100 pages. It was a good ending (minus the above mentioned problems) and that helped with the rating.

This book was pretty typical YA for me. I liked bits of it, but it just wasn't for me. I am glad I didn't buy this book and I am also glad that I had a chance to try it out. YA contemporary is really hit or miss for me. This was a huge miss...



So hello again....long time no update. I just got back from three months in Nagasaki, Japan and I hadn't been reading too much.  I have been 30% into A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin for the past two months and not reading much else. Now that I am home again and have full access to my library and the local library, I'm starting to read again. Hopefully these will be more frequent...but I always say that....Hahaha!

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch -- Another DNF in the year of the great DNFing





So I made it through 149 pages of this book and I officially decided to DNF this book. It breaks my heart...but I couldn't do it anymore. *sigh*
When I am reading a book that I'm not really feeling, I usually scroll through the reviews (on Goodreads) and see what the general consensus is. All I could see were stars for days. Everyone LOVED this book: A 4 star review over here, a 5 star review over there....boy did I feel like a complete ass. How could I have these feelings when everyone was so in love with this book...So when I found some 3 star and DNF ratings, I clicked on them. As you do. That is the moment I decided that I needed to just put the book down and call it quits. I felt like the DNF/low star reviews understood my soul. Kindred spirits. Though, unfortunately, their reviews were quite harsh and maybe a bit mean and degrading at times, I completely understood where they were coming from. So I'm going to stop my blabbering and get to the heart of the matter.

First off, this book is quite non-linear. We start off at various stages of Lamora's life and for the first chunk of the book I had no idea how old he was or where we were. I don't mind a flash back here or there, but when you can't tell which is past or present, it gets a bit tricky for me to follow. It took me forever to realize that even in the present time he wasn't a child. As the main story started to progress, I thought he was still a kid.....I was like, "DAMN! This Don Lorenzo is getting played by a child!!" Maybe I missed the part where Scott Lynch mentioned that he wasn't a kid...I mean...there was so much going on, I'm not surprised I did miss it. I would have liked to have just started Locke Lamora's life from the beginning. I would have liked to know more about his time with chains and how he got to be this amazing thief, but it was scattered through all of the boring bits. I thought that maybe Lynch thought his childhood wasn't important, but he kept revisiting it at weird points, so it must have been.

I also felt nothing for the characters...I mean, I had no reason to. I knew next to nothing about them. This is a thing that authors do that sometimes really bothers me. I'm very excited to learn about your characters and have strong emotions for them, but I need to know them first. There was a scene where the Gentlemen Bastards were arguing at the dinner table and it got quite heated...but I didn't really even know why it was a thing. I didn't know the characters. Just meh.

The world. This is a love/hate for me. I hate nothing more than being thrown into a world and then expected to know things. I don't understand your world or your government or how things work, so I can't be expected to understand why certain things are happening. The world was rich and I feel like I could see Camorr and smell it and feel it. One thing Lynch does is describe very well. I was definitely there with the characters...but I was so totally lost.

Speaking of descriptions...There was so much describing going on that I often felt like I was pulled out of the story to be shown something or told about something. I wanted things to move forward, but the descriptions kind of got in the way. Like I said before, all of my senses were engaged. I could feel the fabric of Locke Lamora's coat and see the glowing glass towers...but it was too much.

Scott Lynch is quite a funny guy though. There were a lot of chuckles along the way and I appreciated that. And like I said, he is very descriptive. But this book wasn't for me. Even as I write this review and all of the frustrating thoughts get puked out, I still can't help but feel sad that I didn't finish this book and that I didn't enjoy it. The reviews were great and he's a fellow Wisconsinite (yay Wisconsin authors!) but that being said, I don't really regret DNF'ing this book. I know so many people out there enjoy it and I know many more will enjoy it as well.






Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Absolute Boyfriend by Yuu Watase - A Series Review (Spoiler Free)


Shy high school student Riko Izawa aches for a boyfriend but guys just won't look her way. Then one day she signs up for a three-day trial of a mysterious "lover figurine," and the next thing she knows, a cute naked guy is delivered to her doorstep--and he wants to be her boyfriend!
Has Riko died and gone to heaven? The cute naked guy turns out to be smart, super nice, stylish and a gourmet chef. Plus, he looks like a million bucks.... Trouble is, that's about what he's going to cost Riko because she didn't return him in time! (From Goodreads.com)
I rated this series about a 4.5 out of 5 stars (There are 6 volumes and it is a complete series)
This series is pretty cute. I was really craving a light shoujo series that doesn't take much thought and had a squee-worthy romance.  This delivered just that. For starters...I have been a huge fan of Watase Yuu's work for a long time. I think she writes amazing stories and her art style is perfection.  Her characters are adorable and her men are perfection.  I had started this series a long time ago, and recently decided to pick up the last three issues and binge read it. I have read bits of her other series and have enjoyed them as well, but this is the only one that I've finished.
I really enjoyed all of the characters. Riiko is your typical derpy, flat chested girl who feels like she needs a boyfriend and always gets rejected. You know, your standard shoujo female. I could see that she might annoy a lot of people, but I found her to be ok. For the most part. She definitely had her moments when I wanted to hit her (like her indecision over who she loved more).  The love interests were fantastic, and added a lot to the series.  This was the kind of series where you kind of wanted to cheer for both of the guys.
I was annoyed by the indecision that was the driving point of this series (I'm glad that it was short for that reason). I also like that the story wasn't all about sex. Yes, it was important, but a lot of the story is Riiko saying she isn't interested in sex until she falls in love (not lust). 
I think the best part was the ending though. It was a super bittersweet ending but I think it was well done.  And like I said, it ended at a good time. Any longer and I think I would have become disinterested.  All in all, I really enjoyed this series. It's nice and easy to read and full of good feels. Would highly recommend for lovers of shoujo manga!
I hope you pick it up at some point!
Until next time!~ Tschüss!~

Ai Ore Volume 1 by Mayu Shinjo - A Review



Ai Ore by Mayu Shinjo (Volume 1)

Mizuki is the female “prince” of her all-girls school and the lead guitarist in an all-girl rock band. Akira is the male “princess” of his all-boys school and wants to join her band. Love may be on his mind, but romance is difficult when everyone keeps mistaking Mizuki for a boy and Akira for a girl!

When the lead singer of Blaue Rosen announces she is moving overseas, Akira does all he can to convince Mizuki and her bandmates to let him join. But will a resistant Mizuki allow him into her band, much less her heart? (from Goodreads.com)

I rated this book 1 out of 5 stars...


Boy was this manga disappointing on SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many different levels. 

Let us start out with a positive or two:

First of all, I liked the art. The cover art is pretty cute and the character designs and their outfits are fantastic...it was pretty hard to tell who was who though. I also really liked that this artist dressed up her characters in popular goth/punk/lolita brand names.  She mentioned h. naoto a couple of times and a lot of the girls who were going to the concert were wearing lolita clothing. Which I really enjoyed, and it initially got me interested in this manga.

Now for the negatives...

I thought this manga was going to be about the band. It was a main focus of the first part of manga but once Akira joins the band and they see the former leader off, the band doesn't really isn't a thing anymore.  I thought it was going to be Mizuki and Akira working to try and make the band good again, but it was insta-love and just really weird. I felt really awkward. 

The characters were also very wishy washy.  Akira flipped his character as soon as he joined the band and Mizuki was an odd character. Yes, she was tsundre, but I don't think she was a convincing one. But maybe that's just me. 

The thing that REALLY pissed me off was the amount of rape in this book.  Rape is never ok. I realize that Japan has some...interesting...views on rape. The whole, "we act like we don't want it, but we actually do," that's one thing..and it happens in this manga...but there are scenes in this manga where Mizuki is drugged and almost rapped by one of her female upperclassmen and then a male upperclassmen attempts to join in. After the attempted rape is stopped, Akira decides to get back at the woman who tried to rape Mizuki by having one of his guy "friends" rape her as revenge. His dad is a member of the yakuza so it's ok, right? No.  He didn't want to do it, but Akira promised him that if he raped her, he could touch him...ok....so I thought maybe he'd go to a certain point, prove that attempting to rape someone is bad and then leave. Well no. They didn't show it, but it was implied and it wasn't ok. Rape is bad, and it DEFINITELY shouldn't be used as a way to exact revenge or teach someone a lesson.  NOT OK.

Needless to say, I will not be continuing this series, nor will I be supporting the author or offering it as a suggestion for someone who wants to read manga. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Night Film by Marisha Pessl--DNF Review




On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more. (Taken from Goodreads.com)


I DNF'd this book at about 230 pages.

I was so hyped up for this book and was bored. What kind of murder mystery thriller is boring? I get that it's slow going and it's very character driven...but the characters were so flat and uninteresting. I didn't care what happened to any of them to be perfectly honest.

I think the premise is really good...I love most of the things this book was about. Murder, crazy cult films, curses and possibly witchcraft, multimedia story telling and all that jazz. But for me, it was done in a way that when we found new clues and met new people with information, I was like...."Wooo?" I had nothing to get excited about. I didn't even care about trying to solve the mystery on my own either. I just wanted something interesting. ANYTHING. I couldn't even find the book app so that I could find the hidden messages in the ravens (or were they crows? Whatever). I don't know if it was because I was using an android (though they said there was an app for android) or because no one used it, but I couldn't find it anywhere and it was a huge disappointment...

I also thought that the writing was a bit much. Yes, it was really poetic and lovely to read, but sometimes I felt like it was trying to hard to be poignant and evoke feelings. It just ended up being wordy to me and taking me out of the story. She found ways to describe anything and everything, even if it didn't need a Film-noir-esque description. It felt like an old detective drama.

I tried so many times to read this book, and I just don't think it's going to happen. At first it was curiosity that kept me reading. I was bored, but I hoped that it would pick up. I mean, I DID want to know what happened to Ashley and meet her crazy family. But then I realized that I don't even really care what happened to her and I didn't want to meet her dad and his crazy followers. Maybe it's just not my genre or maybe it's just me (because again I'm in the minority). Maybe I have become too over critical of the things I've been reading? I don't know, but either way, I do not regret my choice to DNF this.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo --Yet Another DNF--







Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
 

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first. (Taken from Goodreads.com)

I DNF'd this book 342 pages in (73%)


I know I am in the minority with this review...HUGE minority. I have seen nothing but 3-5 star rave reviews.

*a la Linkin Park* I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end I just couldn't do it.

A lot of people said this book was slow going in the beginning, but once the heisty stuff starts, it is really good. I read adult fantasy, I am used to slow going books, so I wasn't too worried. I had enjoyed Shadow and Bone, but when people were buzzing this book saying it was Bardugo's best book yet, I was pretty excited to pick up this beautiful book. I was let down...hard.

Let's start out with something positive: World building, again, I thought was pretty good. I really liked getting to know Kerch and the other countries that weren't Ravka. The world was expanded and I was hungry for more information about this world. I still wanted a lot more, but what I got was fine.

I also thought there was some good quotable moments and nice images that she had created though her writing, but these were the only things that were positive...unfortunately.

On to the negatives: Characters. Everyone says this is a character driven novel and that the characters help you get through the first half of the book (the tedious bits). I really didn't like any of the characters. Everyone was a cliche of a character that has been written multiple times in YA literature. There was not one character that I liked even a little bit. Their dialogue was dull and their emotions didn't seem real to me.

The flashbacks. Oh the flashbacks...These were the most annoying parts of the entire book. At first I didn't mind them because I had hoped that they would get me interested in the characters more. I hoped that they would give me insight to the characters and that it would make me feel for them when others didn't understand them...or just make me feel things in general. Well, needless to say, they didn't make me feel any different about the characters. Then there were flashbacks mixed in when things were getting started. By the point that things start moving, you want them to hurry up and go already, but then something would be happening and you would be all, "oh wow! Now what?!" turn the page, flashback....It totally took you out of the moment and totally quelled whatever excitement you may have started to get. The flashback were usually noted by a little crow that split the page up...I began to hate those little crows, and I would get annoyed every time I saw one, even if it didn't lead to a flashback.

ROMANCE: Dear YA authors, not every book needs a romance. If you are going to add romance, make it bloody good, or something to move the story along. Don't just put it in there to have it in there. K thanks, bye. This book had two separate romances and maybe a third? or a triangle? I don't know what was up with that, as I didn't get that far, and personally I don't really care. But they were both angsty and full of dumb sexual tension that I found super annoying. It totally took away from EVERYTHING that was going on. The romance between Nina and Matthias was kind of a plot point...but I hated every moment of it. I am sure younger audiences might have enjoyed this, but I hated it.

I was so bored and annoyed with everything, that when I got to the actual heist-y, action-y part of the book, I didn't care. I was skimming, and even while skimming I was annoyed and bored. I hated the characters so much, I didn't care what happened to them. I just wanted them to stop. Everything they did annoyed me and things that were supposed to surprise me or frustrate me (as in frustration for the characters' situation), didn't. They only left me rolling my eyes and counting pages/chapter to see how much more I had to read.

I really really REALLY wanted to like this book....Not only is it gorgeous, but I did enjoy Shadow and Bone. Oh well...

This is very surely becoming the year of the DNF. What a crappy trend...

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo --A Review--



Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart. (Taken from Goodreads.com)

I gave this book 5/5 stars

(revision: I am down grading this to a 4) 

I actually really liked this book. I had heard a lot of mixed reviews on this book, so I went in with zero expectations, and I loved it! I haven't stayed up until 2 AM reading since the Harry Potter books were coming out. That says something.

That being said, here is what I enjoyed about the book: I loved the world. I loved that this was a fantasy novel that didn't take place in a "British" modeled society. It takes place in a "Russian" type of setting and I found it fascinating. Leigh Bardugo created a very cool magic system that I really wanted to learn more about (hopefully we do in the next two books). I just couldn't get enough of the world and the magic.

Also, being the language nerd that I am, I LOVED that Bardugo used Russian words (or I am assuming they are...as I don't speak a lick of it) and other languages. It made the world feel more real and fleshed out. I also felt like the surrounding countries and their languages helped to make this world more real. These things really made the book so great for me.

Of course, I found a lot of flaws with this book as well. I didn't get enough of the magic system. There were more things I wanted to learn about it, more theory, I suppose, and see other Grisha using their powers (not just the Darkling and Alina).

Another thing that left me kind of 'meh' were the characters. I didn't really care about them/for them too much. I thought a lot of them accepted things too easily, or resisted things too much. Also, Bardugo did something I hate......F***in' love triangles....why....geh...I hate them. XP Especially because the characters were only mildly interesting (one more so than the other, but I don't want to give away too many details). Even though I didn't really care about the characters, I was interested to see what was going to happen to them.

I really did enjoy this book, and I am interested to see what happens next. I am going to continue to keep my expectations low (maybe only stay excited to get back into the world, haha).