Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green.


Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Published: September 22, 2009
Publisher: Speak.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life — dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge — he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues — and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

picadillypink In reading The Fault in Our Stars, I discovered John Green. I found him to be a bit pretentious (okay, a lot pretentious) but the way he crafted his world, and his way with words won me over. The Fault in Our Stars reads like a movie, and I’m glad I experienced both mediums. Curiosity got the better of me, and after a friend’s non stop barrage of tweets about Green’s other works I picked up Paper Towns from the library. I let it sit around for a few days before I picked it up and started to read.

Almost instantly I’m greeted by the same prose, the same slightly overbearing pontification of word-smithing, and yet I chug on. I try to connect with the plot, with the characters with this whirlwind of a hope of a chance of a female named Margo Roth Spiegleman and her ever present, yet cast aside straight man Q. Let me tell you, if I have to read the words Margo Roth Spiegleman again, it’ll be all too soon. What frustrates me so much with this novel is the time Q spends chasing this girl and she’s not even what he really wants. Q doesn’t even know what he wants (and here in might be the main purpose behind the story–but still).

What I take out of it, is it’s a love letter and a goodbye note left by Margo Roth Spiegleman to Q. I really like the reaction she has later on in the book. She’s wanting to be free from the societal bounds she’s put on herself–and I think Q and the Scooby Gang going after her completely undermines that. It’s a drawn out process and maddening in it’s plodding progression. Yes, it’s a coming of age story, yes it’s the last hurrah before graduating high school and stepping into the grand void of the unknown.

I wanted to love this book so hard. I wanted it to be something that after reading I went out and purchased and put on my shelf, like I did with TFiOS. I also tried really hard to keep from drawing comparisons of the two, but they just kept happening. Things would creep in, details, narrative nuances that I couldn’t help but notice. I prefer TFiOS, though I can’t deny that Paper Towns is well written and there’s an audience for it, it just didn’t happen to float my boat.

This particular quote has stuck with me though, and I can’t seem to shake it.

“– I mean at some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you’ll look back down and see that you floated away, too.” I liken this as a warning to Q, not to get so wrapped up in Margo, but at this point there’s really no turning back. Not for Q, or the reader.

Overall: pink3 Would I recommend this? Yes. Would I own this? No. I am going to read Green’s other works though.

Book Review: Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz


Title: Teeth
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Published: January 1st 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Be careful what you believe in.

Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.

picadillypink I am really conflicted when it comes to this book. I really like a lot of aspects of it, and then there are a few things that just drive me absolutely crazy about it. I’m going to start with the things that I did like about it. I really love the character of Rudy and how he changes through the novel. He cares so deeply for his little brother, and the sacrifice that comes with caring for a sick relative really shines through–as does the guilt of wanting to have some sort of life outside of being a caretaker. His interactions with the other characters is amazing. I love the slow burn between him and Diana and how their relationship changes, becomes something that neither of them are ready for. Despite that I think the real ‘relationship’ is between him and Teeth. What he does for Teeth in the last third of the book and how he helps him speaks so much about the way Rudy operates and the base intentions of his actions.

Speaking of, Teeth is a really interesting character. I haven’t come across anything quite like him in the books I’ve read. I guessed his origin pretty quickly, though how he came to be is quite possibly one of the weirdest conception stories in the world. I love the friendship that they build and I felt for the little one-sided romantic feelings that Teeth had toward Rudy. I think that he and Rudy play similar roles: misunderstood, protector, wanting more for themselves. Unfortunately things don’t always work out nicely. Teeth suffers in this book and there are some rather disturbing ideas (though never explicitly shown, there is mention of rape and forced oral sex). Which brings me to one of the major things I had a problem with.

I don’t like non-consensual sex as a plot device. And while it’s not explicitly shown, it’s implied through dialogue and some imagery between Teeth and a couple of the fishermen. I don’t know where it fits in, and I think the story would have been just the same without the sexual violence. I also feel that the book could have been longer. I want to know more about the world, the island and why certain things work the way that they do.

Overall pink5 amazing characters and relationships make this story.

Book Review: Chime by Franny Billingsley


Title: Chime.
Author: Franny Billingsley
Published: April 12th 2012
Publisher: Speak

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Briony has a secret. It is a secret that killed her stepmother, ruined her sister’s mind, and will end her life, if anyone were to know. She has powers. Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and a great mane of tawny hair. He is as natural as the sun, and he treats her as if she is extraordinary. And everything starts to change . . . Chime is a haunting, brilliantly written novel that will stay with you–its magic, its romance, its world like none other.

picadillypink
Kristen from the Book Monsters sent me this book in our swap (along with Fangirl) and I found myself quickly getting swept up in the story. Chime is very layered and interesting. I would actually compare it to The Scarlet Letter (yes that classic that most of us were forced to read in middle/high school). Briony is a wonderful character, strong and focused in her goals. She has a few desires and more than a few secrets. She’s dark and mysterious and little by little we’re shown her world and what’s going on. Things are done a certain way with roles being fulfilled. Until Eldric comes along and shakes everything loose. He’s everything she’s not. Goodness and light with a streak of wonder and adventure. He challenges her and I think they make a great pair. They balance each other well. The characters in this book are some that I’ve never seen before. Their interactions are amazing and electrifying. No one is who they really seem to be, and each character, even the most minor grows and changes as the story goes on.

I really enjoyed the mythos and superstitions of this world. The magic aspect and magic v. religion/faith. It takes a really interesting turn especially in the last few chapters. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t but there are quite a few shockers that left me reeling.

There is one thing that kept me from rating this book higher. Briony’s narrative took me a very long time to get into. She’s very flighty and changes the subject and goes off on mental soliloquies and tangents that have absolutely nothing to do with what’s currently happening in the novel. It’s a little too jumpy and sporadic, but given time and patience it’s enjoyable.

Overall pink3 strong characters, beautiful imagery, but a flighty narrator creates flow issues. Would recommend to someone looking for a different take on witches with a bit of a historical twist. Thanks so much Kristen.

Book Review: The Outside by Laura Bickle


Title The Outside (The Hallowed Ones #2)
Author: Laura Bickle
Published: September 3rd 2013
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

The Summary:
One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…

After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

picadillypink
I have mixed feelings about The Outside. On one hand I really enjoyed it–when I sat back and just read it for entertainment’s sake. On the other hand I was rolling my eyes at the ‘cure’ against the vampires and the fact that even in the most basic sense it wouldn’t work. There’s just no way that the way the glowing people got their glow would work in any stretch of reality. Not to mention the positive/negative thoughts influencing the environment and in turn humanity v. vampires. My science brain was side eyeing most of this story pretty hard.

I do really love the different explorations of faith v the vampires. The Pentecostal Pastor encounter was terrifying, though the snakebite that one of the characters endures and then is healed simply by prayer? Oh, my science brain started to roll its eyes once more. The Catholic take was amazing, and really well written. I liked how Katie was exposed to different faiths, in a way affirming her own faith. Yes there is a lot of religious tones in this story, and often the reader is smacked over the head with them. But Kate is experiencing the world for the first time, and the world is going up in flames. She’s going to cling to what gives her comfort–her faith, and the Amish take on God and faith.

There’s lots of character growth. Katie grows as a person and starts to form her own world view. Alex bothered me for about 90% of this book, most of the times I found him condescending and overbearing, up to and including his want to make bend to his will in a rather serious situation. Elijah makes an appearance and his character doesn’t bother me as much this time. He too grows and changes for the better. These characters are scared, and it shows. People do rash things in drastic situations, and this is what adds realism to this story. I was happy with the way the story ended, but I found that there’s a third book coming out, so I’m interested to see where the series goes from here.

Overall pink3 If you can ignore the weird science/overblown faith and read it for enjoyments/continuation sake it’s entertaining.

Book Review: Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann


Title: Cryer’s Cross
Author: Lisa McMann
Published: February 8th 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a Did not finish

Summary:
Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer’s Cross, Montana, but she also longs for something more. She knows the chances of going to school in New York are small, but she’s not the type to give up easily. Even though it will mean leaving Nico, the world’s sweetest boyfriend, behind.

But when Cryer’s Cross is rocked by unspeakable tragedy, Kendall shoves her dreams aside and focuses on just one goal: help find her missing friends. Even if it means spending time with the one boy she shouldn’t get close to… the one boy who makes her question everything she feels for Nico.

Determined to help and to stay true to the boy she’s always loved, Kendall keeps up the search–and stumbles upon some frightening local history. She knows she can’t stop digging, but Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried….

picadillypink This book had some potential. A main character with OCD? Sounds interesting. Mystery and scary stuff going down in a small town? All for it. Unfortunately this book just gave me a lot of frustration and it didn’t live up to what it was promising. I couldn’t get through it. I got eight chapters in and started skimming the rest of it. The actual culprit behind the evil going on in the town, while ridiculous can work. Spirits, could essentially attach themselves to inanimate objects. However, the way people are dying is absolutely laughable. I’m really glad I got this as a library book, because I would have been really upset if I had paid for this. The tenses change non stop, and the narration tone shifts from Kendall to something else. Just not for me.

Overall: pinkdnf Bad writing, bad plot and a terrible misrepresentation of OCD. Skip this book please.

Book Review: As You Turn Away by Molli Moran


Title: As You Turn Away
Author: Molli Moran
Published: March 1, 2014
Publisher: Self through Amazon.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis
Two hearts, one life-changing summer, and a long-awaited second chance…

When Quinnlan Reynolds left home at 18, she escaped her small, Georgia town and her suffocating upbringing. She started a new life as a ballerina, and tasted freedom for the first time. But four years later, her first visit home turns tragic. Reeling, Quinn tries to piece her life back together again. But doing so is easier said than done when sexy Jonah Walker saunters back into her life.

Quinn shattered Jonah’s heart once, so getting involved with her isn’t something he’s sure he’s ready to do again. He became someone he didn’t recognize when he left home. He’s spent the last years burying his pain by keeping everyone in his life at arm’s length. Now he needs to get to know his family again, and finally become who he wants to be.

But neither Quinn or Jonah can stay away from each other, especially when old feelings resurface. Something is pulling them back together, and they can’t deny their chemistry for long. One Georgia summer could change both their lives forever, if they can work through their past to have a future together.

picadillypink I participated in the cover reveal for this a couple of months ago, and I was really excited and interested by the blurb I got to post along with the beautiful cover. (I’m supposed to be posting another blurb, but I can’t. I can’t. I just wanted to get this review up and my thoughts out before my brain melted.) I sat up and read this after a very long day at the hospital with my mom–it’s way past my bedtime but yeah. As You Turn Away is the debut book from blogger turned author Molli Moran.

It’s a bittersweet story of good girl meets baddish boy and they fall in love and break each other’s hearts. Our story picks up after not seeing each other for four years, finding themselves back in their small town in Georgia. Tragedy brings them together once more, and I like the slow build of their relationship. Their fear is real, their pain is real, and Molli did a good job addressing both aspects of this. There’s drama in this story, but it’s not over the top. It feels real and organic and isn’t in there just to throw a wrench into Quinn and Jonah’s lives. There’s building of trust, both with each other and their respective families–again, making this seem so real. The characters are believable and I connected easily with them. One thing I did like that Molli did was weave together present day narrative with flash backs that told more of Quinn and Jonah’s story. It added a depth to it and made it all that more richer. I would have liked the story to go on a little longer.

Overall: pink4. There’s a down home genuine southern feeling to this story. I felt as though I was coming home along with the two main characters. It’s a great read, a wonderful story and I like that the ending is happy and positive without throwing a massive bow on the end of it (HAHA no spoilers.) And I did notice the little “Walker boys #1” tagline under the main title. I want more. I love Jonah, and I love Ethan but let me tell you Reece stole my heart. I’m sorry. I’ve always had a thing for the older brother type and Molli wrote him well.

You can reach out to Molli through various social media:
Twitter
Website

Add: As You Turn Away on Goodreads

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of As You Turn Away by the author for review.

Book Review: The Broken Hearted by Amelia Kahaney


Title: The Brokenhearted (Brokenhearted #1)
Author: Amelia Kahaney
Published: October 8th 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen

Rating kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Summary:
A teenage girl is transformed into a reluctant superhero and must balance her old life with the dark secret of who she has become.

Prima ballerina Anthem Fleet is closely guarded by her parents in their penthouse apartment. But when she meets the handsome Gavin at a party on the wrong side of town, she is immediately drawn into his dangerous world. Then, in a tragic accident, Anthem falls to her death. She awakes in an underground lab, with a bionic heart ticking in her chest. As she navigates her new life, she uncovers the sinister truth behind those she trusted the most, and the chilling secret of her family lineage…and her duty to uphold it.

The Dark Knight meets Cinder in this gripping and cinematic story of heartbreak and revenge. From Alloy Entertainment, this inventive new superhero story is sure to captivate any reader.

picadillypink

“Dark Knight meets Cinder”….that’s a strong promise, which sadly doesn’t deliver. There were good points to this book, the overall premise is something really neat, and I loved the character of Ford. However, in this case the negative far outweighs the good. It moves too quickly, leaves too many questions unanswered, Anthem is a super sparkly heroine who gets abilities after her human heart is replaced with a bionic one. There’s not one but three love interests in here, two are horrible, and one is so underdeveloped and just thrown in there for kicks. I wanted a slower build with this book. There’s some seriously interesting history and world building, but the focus turns instead onto Anthem and her newest party trick.

Also, the story just ends. Anthem is moving to do something, and then nothing. The book just ends. I abhor cliffhangers, and this was like the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. There is a sequel, and I’m sorry, but Ford’s just not worth it.

Overall: pink2 Predictable with a heroine who is constantly developing new abilities? No thanks. Even the ‘big twist’ wasn’t that much of a surprise.

Cover Reveal: As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

Title: AS YOU TURN AWAY (The Walker Boys #1)
Tentative release date: March 1, 2014

When Quinnlan Reynolds left home at 18, she escaped her small, Georgia town and her suffocating upbringing. She started a new life as a ballerina, and tasted freedom for the first time. But four years later, her first visit home turns tragic. Reeling, Quinn tries to piece her life back together again. But doing so is easier said than done when sexy Jonah Walker saunters back into her life.

Quinn shattered Jonah’s heart once, so getting involved with her isn’t something he’s sure he’s ready to do again. He became someone he didn’t recognize when he left home. He’s spent the last years burying his pain by keeping everyone in his life at arm’s length. Now he needs to get to know his family again, and finally become who he wants to be.

But neither Quinn or Jonah can stay away from each other, especially when old feelings resurface. Something is pulling them back together, and they can’t deny their chemistry for long. One Georgia summer could change both their lives forever, if they can work through their past to have a future together.

Find it and add it on Goodreads here: As You Turn Away

Isn’t it just a beautiful cover? Marie designed the cover for Ms. Moran and I have to say it’s gorgeous and compelling.

smalllightpinkdivider

I have an excerpt to share!

Continue reading