Book Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

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Info: 356 pages, hardcover, Contemporary YA/Magical Realism, published September 18th, 2012

Synopsis: Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge.

KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.

LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.

MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.

None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.

With an alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently…” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.

Why I Picked This Book: I love Jenny Han, and this synopsis sounds like Pretty Little Liars meets Dawson’s Creek. Ye please!

First Impressions: What a pretty cover. I’d keep this just for the cover.

What I Liked: The characters were so distinct, so voiced. I never had to flip to the start of the chapter to see which girl was speaking. I love books like this, the teenage girls deal with intrigue and mysteries and revenge.

What I Didn’t Like: I didn’t realize that there was a Carrie element to the story? I expected just regular old contemporary, but I probably should have done more research. I’ll finish the series though. It’s not really a deal breaker.

Rating and Recommendations: If you like Pretty Little Liars and need something to read after that series, this is the series for you!

3. Really Enjoyed It

Final Thoughts: I would like to see it done without the telekinesis, but I’m not so turned off by it that I’ll stop reading the books. Just took me off guard, which would have been prevented by me doing any kind of research.

Sound off in the comments: What did you think of this book? Did you like the magic aspect? Are you going to finish the series?

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Favorite Things Friday 10.23.15

Favorite Things Friday

Hey y’all! Now that I’m officially off of my hiatus, it’s time to catch up a bit. And what better way to do that than talking about the stuff I’m loving this week?

Lipton Mixed Berry Green Tea

I go through phases with this tea where I drink nothing but or don’t touch it for months. I’m on my third case over the month, so I might be stopping soon. But seriously, ice cold green tea is SO refreshing.

New Bookshelves (!!!)

I got the first set of new bookshelves for my apartment, and I am in love! It’s the first time I’ve ever had matching bookcases, and I don’t know how I functioned without. Here’s a pic:

Bookshelves

I still need a couple more bookshelves, but it feels so good to have most of my books with me again. If you want to see the shelves I got, here’s the link (mine are rodeo oak).

Jane the Virgin

If you haven’t seen this show, you need to do that right now. The first season is on Netflix and season two just started a couple of weeks ago. It’s amazing!! You know that quote from TFioS about reading a book that fills you with evangelical zeal and you can’t rest until everyone around you has read it? Change that to TV shows and it totally applies here.

Bitter and Sick by One Two

THIS SONG IS GORGEOUS. GO LISTEN TO IT RIGHT NOW. I’ll even make it easy for you. Click here.

That’s all for this week, y’all! What are your favorite things this week? Do we have any in common? Sound off in the comments!

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Bookworm Quirks: Deal Breakers, or, How to Make Sure I Don’t Finish Your Book

Deal Breakers

Hey y’all! Today I want to talk about things that make me put books in my DNF pile. We all have them, and for some of us, they’re more important than our keywords.

Unnecessary Love Triangles/Instalove

Don’t we all hate these? No one reads a book and thinks, “Yeah, this plot is fast-paced, great dialogue, believable characters. But you know what would make me love it more? If the main character fell in love at first sight with TWO people, and then had to pick between them over the course of three books/four movies!” I have a lot of bones to pick with Divergent, but at least there wasn’t some dumb third party getting between Tris and Four.

Inappropriate treatment of rape/abuse/assault/harassment/stalking/etc

These are huge problems today, and it drives me up the wall when writers act like it’s either no big deal or romantic (Twilight and 50 Shades, I’m looking at you). Readers are impressionable, especially at the MG/YA stage, and these kinds of books are so so bad for society. Just…ugh. If I was dumb enough to be pro-banning books, I’d be looking at those.

Books that are prejudiced/anti-feminist

This is totally a preference one for me, because I can’t stand a book that doesn’t empower people to be who they are and make wise decisions. In The Infinite Moment of Us bu Lauren Myracle, she romanticizes condomless sex (!!!), there’s the stereotypical crazy ex-girlfriend, and one character tells the main guy that women like men to take charge in the bedroom. While it’s believable for her character to say that, I feel like Myracle should be more aware of her audience of young girls and should at the very least discuss the dangers of condomless sex in her author’s note or provide a list of further reading. I don’t know, it really irked me and I’ve decided to take an indefinite break from her books.

Books written by men that can’t write a convincing woman to save their lives/reduce all female characters to static

I’m looking at you, Andrew Smith. #WingerForWorstBookEver2k15

Building Suspense Out of Lack of Information

I was really excited about Maze Runner, and I (stupidly) bought the whole series when it was on sale on Amazon. DUMB. After the first book, I took the whole set and put them up for sale at my sister’s bookstore. The whole book relies on suspense that is only gained by withholding information for the sake of suspense. Here’s a sample:

Thomas: Who are you?
Everyone else: Not telling.
Thomas: Where are we?
Everyone else: Not telling.
Thomas: What do these words you all keep saying mean?? What’s a greenie?!
Everyone else: Not telling, greenie.

IT’S SO FRUSTRATING. It’s lazy storytelling at its best. It’s one of the few cases of the movie being better than the book, and I fell asleep for about twenty minutes (Not from lack of interest, the theater had those super comfy recliner couch things and I hadn’t had a nap).

Inconsistency/Plot Holes

I hate when authors ignore established facts for the sake of plot. Is it that hard to go back and reread your books before you start the next one?

Those are a few of my reading deal breakers. What are yours? Do we have any in common? Are any of these things that you love to read? Let me know in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Wishes I’d Ask the Book Genie to Grant Me

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Wishes I’d Ask the Book Genie to Grant

Go to Hogwarts
Obviously! Who doesn’t want this?!

That the Library of Alexandria survived
I can’t think about this for too long without hurting.

Everything on my Amazon and Goodreads wishlists
The (crazily expensive) dream, am I right?

That the whole world would have a voracious appetite for reading
Think of all the demands for great stories! Book clubs would be so much more popular, it would be so much easier to find new book friends, and libraries would have endless support.

A MARAUDERS SERIES
PLEASE, JKR. -insert heart eyes emojis-

The series as told from Draco’s perspective
Was there any doubt that this would show up on this list?

Also from Neville’s perspective
I’m so predictable.

More Pride and Prejudice please!!
I know this is one of the most adapted works, but I can’t get enough!

More diverse books!!
We always need this! Never enough!

To be able to enter a book (Mary Poppins Style!)
Last but not least, every bookworm’s dream come true.

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Book Review: Winger by Andrew Smith

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Info: 439 pages, hardback, Contemporary YA, published May 14, 2013

Synopsis: Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids in the Pacific Northwest. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

Why I Picked This Book: My sister and I attended NTTBF this year, and it was amazing. We met the coolest book rep ever, Mary from Simon and Shuster. She gave my sister this book as part of their ‘Tell Me What You Like to Read, Leave with a Free Book!’ promo at the festival. Since this book has been on my TBR for a while, I read it immediately after her.

First Impressions: This cover is striking (Get it? Striking? He was in a violent encounter.) It shows immediately the kind of position Ryan Dean West has in the world: not on the top. I love the sharp focus, intense colors, everything about this cover.

What I Liked: This might be the shortest WIL I’ll ever write. Illustrations. That’s about it. It ends as a kind of ‘issue book’, but I don’t even know, you guys.

What I Didn’t Like: EVERYTHING. I HATED THIS BOOK. My notes while reading this are covered in questions marks and exclamation points. Here’s a glimpse.

-pg 64: I’m giving this book until page 100 to interest me/not remind me of Looking for Alaska. This makes me never want a 14 year old son.

-Can we stop with over-hyphenated-sentences-that-make-me-want-to-scream?!?! (Seriously, y’all. Like entire paragraphs of them. AUGHHHH.)

-SO SICK of literally every female character being described with her hotness level EVERY TIME THEY ARE INTRODUCED.
pg 64: “so-not-hot-you-should-never-look-at-her-when-you-have-a-hangover Mrs.Singer”
pg 64: “scary-hot Megan Renshaw”
pg 65: “ultrahot Annie…Annie came running up behind me, fantastically perfect in her school shirt.”

-Do we have to constantly describe everyone’s outfits?! Did I accidentally grab a printed copy of My Immortal?!?!

I don’t know if I have enough words to describe the anger I felt at my sister for making me finish this book. The number of times she told me “The last 40 pages make it so worth it!!” is probably in the double digits. She was wrong.

The synopsis makes it sound like this big ordeal happens in the middle of the book and we see the aftermath. Wrong. I’m assuming this is what we get in the sequel, but I don’t hate myself enough to put myself through another book by Andrew Smith to see if I’m right. To be fair, the main character did change…after 400 pages of the same sexist, self-absorbed drivel. It’s written as stream of consciousness, so we get every. single. thought. of every. single. moment. It felt like so much lead up for an ending that felt tacked on at an effort to be poignant and meaningful. Didn’t work.

Rating and Recommendations: If you have someone that you hate, make them read this book. If you’re looking to gauge how much you hate yourself, see how far you can get in this book. Seriously, just read Looking for Alaska. It’s way better.

8. Worst Book Ever

Final Thoughts: I’m never even glancing at another book by this author. He’s been hailed for this book, and I gave him a chance after the whole ‘writing girls is hard’ debacle. That’s a week and 400+ pages I’ll never get back.

Sound off in the comments: What did you think of this book? Am I alone in hating it so vehemently?

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Book Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

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Info: 371 pages, paperback, Contemporary YA, published April 6th, 2006

Synopsis: Annabel Green is “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s what she portrays in her modeling shoots. But Annabel’s life is far from perfect. Her friendship with Sophie ended bitterly, and her older sister’s eating disorder is weighing down the entire family. Isolated and ostracized at school and at home, Annabel retreats into silent acceptance. Then she meets Owen–-intense, music obsessed, and determined to always tell the truth. And with his guidance, Annabel learns to just listen to herself and gains the courage to speak honestly. But will she be able to tell everyone what really happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends?

Why I Chose This Book: I was selling books and CDs at Half Price, and had some time to kill. Obviously, that wasn’t difficult! I love the clearance section at this particular store, but this was the only book that looked interesting. It was only a dollar, so it was an easy choice.

First Impressions: This could be the cover for any book published in the early 2000’s. Very generic, very YA romance. With the artistry of the content, I would have loved to see a better cover. This is the kind of book I feel so stereotypical for reading, so I don’t want to be seen reading it. If that makes any sense?

What I Liked: I know I say this a lot, but everything. I’ve only read one Dessen book before, and I let hype get to me so of course it was a let down. I should probably reread that book now that I’ve given her a second chance to blow my freakin mind. I loved this book. I laughed, I cried, I skyped my boyfriend because it made me miss him so much. I don’t know if anyone writes falling in love like Dessen does. She knows exactly how it feels, how it makes your heart soar and fall at the smallest word. While I was reading and making notes, I couldn’t stop raving. I have notes that say “pg 331-333: *******’s reading. Tears. Crying. Sobbing. Why.” and “Okay. Phew. Teary for last 150 pages, but when not full out avoiding a breakdown, SO GOOD.” I seriously have at least five characters names with hearts everywhere. This book just…I cannot describe the experience of reading it.

What I Didn’t Like: That it ended? I don’t even need this section for this book.

Ratings and Recommendations: If you like YA romance at all, please read this book. If you like reading books that strike a cord and make you feel more than you want to, read this. Just read it.

2. Loved It

Final Thoughts: Obviously, music is a big part of this book. There were a couple places where the music I was listening to just synced so well with the book.

Chapter 12: the runway show. Listen to Arrival of the Birds by Cinematic Orchestra from the Crimson Wing
Page 327: ‘tentative, careful peace’. Listen to The Theory of Everything by Johann Johannsson

Sound off in the comments: Have you read this book? What did you think? What’s your favorite novel by Sarah Dessen?

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