Friday, January 24, 2014
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Miles Halter, later known as Pudge, life has been one big nonevent and he goes to Culver Creek Boarding School in search of his Great Perhaps. Miles is obsessed with famous last words and Francois Rabelais has inspired him to go out and seek one. His life turns upside when he meets Alaska Young. She’s clever, funny, and everything Miles could ask for in a girl, but she’s also self-destructive and screwed up. But one night and one mistake leads Miles into the “After” and his life will never be the same. I loved TFIOS and I was so excited to jump into another Green book especially this one since it was his debut and I’ve been recommended this book countless times since fifth grade. I don’t really know how I feel about Looking for Alaska. In some parts it’s a wonderful book and in others it’s a dull fest of who-the-hell-cares. Green’s humorous writing does make LfA a lot more enjoyable, but sometimes I found myself even getting bored with that. I have several problems with LFA and I wish they weren’t there because this had lots of potential to be amazing, but I just wasn’t blown away.
The main male character is Miles. I liked Miles. He was a pretty cool guy, but sometimes his mindset became just… obnoxious repetitive and the more I think about for the longest time Culver Creek was a pretty lame school where nothing freaking happened. Maybe Miles’s Great Perhaps wasn’t all that great. My favorite thing about Miles though is his obsession with famous last words. I loved reading about different famous peoples’ dying words and how funny or meaningful they could be. It was completely fascinating. I do have one HUGE complaint about Miles though. That whole last stint of pages at the end of the book seems completely unrealistic and his thoughts just don’t really fit into his personality. If Alaska was musing I would’ve found it more believable, but the ending was just so Green and not enough Miles. It was thought provoking, but I was also really put off by it. Because I did love how Green decided to end LFA, but I didn’t love how it seemed so uncharacteristic.
Swoon Worthy Scale: 7
The main female character is Alaska. Here’s my thing about Alaska. I really dug her sometimes and then other times I just wanted to dig up her stash of liquor and hit her with the bottle she kept hidden.
She was just so overwhelming. She was a good character, don’t get me wrong. I loved her story and I understood why she was so messed up and completely self-destructive, but I didn’t really like Alaska. It bothered me quite a bit when I was reading how I disliked her a lot sometimes. My biggest problem with Alaska was how she treated Miles. I personally don’t think she ever cared about him at all. Not even as a friend. She was far too self-destructive and selfish to.
Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 6
The Villain- Oh, Alaska. You know what they say you are your greatest enemy and you destroyed everyone around you.
Villain Scale: 8 (I guess)
I did love Miles’s friends though. The Colonel, Takumi, and even Lara were my favorite part of the novel. They were all funny and the Colonel will forever be my favorite character in this book because he was brilliantly hilarious and the prank that he and Miles masterminded in the end in honor of Alaska was one of my favorite scenes and I’ve never laughed as hard as I did when reading a prank before.
Character Scale: 8
My dilemmas with LFA seem very small in comparison to the good things this book does have to offer, but they also handicapped the book for me. I wasn’t particularly blown away until the last 100 pages and then I was just absolutely in love with the book. It became suspenseful and thoughtful and funny. I do recommend LFA, but I would recommend reading it before TFIOS because this book would be much more enjoyable if read before the amazing-ness TFIOS brings.
Cover Thoughts: I love the cover. It’s so simple and the subtle smoke is just very eye-catching. I really like it!
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
First book in the Between duo
Violet White misses her grandmother, Freddie, terribly. Her parents are absent and she lives all alone with her twin brother in their sprawling mansion by the sea. They are struggling for money and River West shows up ready to rent the guest house. But terrible things begin happening in their small little town. Things that shouldn’t normally be happening. Children are claiming to see the devil, people are killing themselves, and everything seems to be pointing to River. Is River the Devil? The man Freddie always warned her about? Violet knows she should stay away from River, but kissing in cemeteries and sleeping in a boy’s bed has never been more tempting or fun. First book of 2014 complete! Whoohoo! It took me forever to finish this because I just seemed to always get distracted or never have time to read. This book was a lot darker than I had thought it would be. Most “dark” YA isn’t all that dark, but this was pretty gritty and spine chilling. BtDatDBS was a book that easily grabbed my attention and kept me guessing. For once we are introduced to something completely new. When I say completely new, I mean you literally won’t be able to guess about what paranormal things are lurking in this book no matter how many books or how familiar you are with all things creeptastic.
The main female character is Violet. Violet is probably one of my favorite YA heroines as of late. She is bookish, passionate, odd, and curious. She references old tales, poems, stories, and lore and it made the book so quirky and I loved hearing about the horrible things that Violet found fascinating no matter how morbid the story may be. A Rose for Emily for instance was one of my favorite stories Violet talked about along with the man who slit his lover’s throat who later turned out to be a lot closer to Violet’s family. It was so interesting how everything connected. While Violet really ticked me off towards the end because of her crappy judgment, I do still like her and she still remains to be awesome. I think the reason why I really like Violet is because she reminds me of myself.
Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 9.5
The main male character is River. I don’t know whether I want to swoon when it comes to River or scream. I’ve never been so conflicted about a male lead before. I love and adore River, but he is a horrible human being and a monster. He irked me quite a bit, but then he would also manage to sweep me off my feet with his sweet talk.
Basically, River pretty much had me an emotional wreck. And hey look it's my husband.^_^
Swoon Worthy Scale: 9.5
The Villain- I can’t ruin it. I can’t even discuss it, but I’ll leave you with this. There’s children missing, a devil sighting, a suicide in the middle of town, a ghost of a dead aunt, red heads being stoned and burned alive for being witches, people getting hit by trains, people attempting to kill each other, and my personal favorite, parents bludgeoning their kid with a baseball bat because they think they are a rat. If that doesn’t scare you then you are probably as crazy as the people in this book.
Villain Scale: 10
I really liked Violet’s brother, Luke, even if he was a bit of an ass. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Sunshine, but she did grow on me at some point. River brother, Neely, was an interesting throw into the mix and I like him quite a bit. Jack, a little kid who becomes a huge party of Violet’s life, is one of my favorites in this book.
Character Scale: 8.5
River and Violet’s romance is also something I want to be touched on more in the next book. It was there, but I wanted more a lot more. I was pretty blown away by this book to say the least and if all the horrible things I mentioned didn’t peak your interest then this book might not be for you. On the darker side of things, I can’t wait for the second book and I hope it’s as violent and nightmarishly gothic as the first!
You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…
Cover Thoughts: This is one of my favorite covers! It’s so pretty and just perfect. I love the colors and the darkness. It’s so gothic and perfect.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Just Like Fate by Suzanne Young and Cat Patrick
Caroline’s life could change based on one huge decision. Her grandmother is sick and on the brink of death. Her decision is based on one night of her friend offering to attend a party. Should Caroline stay or should she go? If she stays, she gets to finally be with her longtime crush, Joel, but if she goes she meets the guy who could be the love of her life, Chris. Two different paths and two different guys, where do they lead to and which is the better path? I read this book months ago free on PulseIt.com. I’m so behind on reviews and I always seem to be busy and never have time to sit down and write. I miss just writing a lot of reviews and reading like crazy, but alas high school, guard, and Driver’s Ed are taking up my current schedule. While I read this book months ago (September) I still remember it quite clearly. I love the subject of parallel universes. I find it fascinating how one simple choice is a doorway to a new life. I’ve often thought about how different my life would be if I hadn’t done certain things. It’s weird. Here’s an example, when I was in eighth grade they announced for all eighth grade girls to go to the gym. I didn’t want to have to bring books and the gym was gross and I hated going in there. I could’ve not gone, and then I wouldn’t have joined color guard. It’s weird how one simple decision changes the course of your life. I plan for high school was to be invisible, but I’m not invisible. I like to perform and be the certain of attention and guard is perfect for me. So this book, obviously really got me thinking and I just loved the concept and the writing. Usually dual authors don’t work for me. It is just such a bore and you can tell the writing in certain parts is different, but I read this book in a day.
The main female character is Caroline. There are two sides to Caroline. The side of her staying and the side of her going. I think after having read this book so long ago, it’s easier for me to reflect about which character was better. Staying by her grandmother’s side was the better choice, but it also made her character a bit of a jumbled annoying mess who I didn’t care reading for. The side of her going was the chapters that drew me and made me want more. She wasn’t a nice character, but she had more character growth.
Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: Staying- 7.5 Going-8.5
The main male characters are Joel and Chris. I adore Chris. He was funny and just absolutely fun. I couldn’t get enough of him and then things happened and I hated him and then loved him again. Joel on the other hand was a character I just couldn’t stand. I didn’t like him or how he treated Caroline. I didn’t like him at ALL! I had an extreme dislike for him.
Swoon Worthy Scale: Joel- 1 Chris- 9
The Villain- I guess, Caroline is her own worst enemy, but that’s a topic that I’ve covered before about contemporaries and their villains.
Villain Scale: 7
I enjoyed how all the characters played into each other. I didn’t really like Caroline’s best friend and I hate loathed her sister at first, but I always had a different opinion on the characters. It made for a very authentic parallel universe.
Character Scale: 8
Overall, I know this story isn’t completely sophisticated and probably not the most amazing parallel story ever, but I really enjoyed it. I thought it was fun, quick, and I was immersed in the story.
Cover Thoughts: I really like the cover. I don’t like the girls hair because it looks really greasy, but I like the concept of one path opening your eyes and another keeping them closed. It fits the story arc completely.
Sorry for my absence! School is quite hectic and I won't be around as much as I was, but I will most often on breaks on Sundays! :)