Just Words on a Page

I am a Reference Librarian at a community college and an avid reader. These are my thoughts, reviews, ideas, comments, and everyday musings.
Go Set a Watchman - Harper Lee

I finished Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and it took me over a week (which is a long time for me) and I don’t really know how I feel about it. I absolutely love To Kill a Mockingbird and in no way did Go Set a Watchman change that- it actually enforced it. I know have a deeper appreciation for TKaM and its underlying narrative, issues, symbolism, and overall feeling. I’ve read TKaM over and over (at least 5 times) and each time I find something new/different to enjoy. GSaW is NOT a sequel, in the truest sense, to TKaM- yes it takes place after TKaM, Scout is grown up and the characters have evolved with the times but it’s a drastically different story. I had a hard time keeping the two separate- I didn’t want to compare them, TKaM is wonderful and I don’t think GSaW could ever truly compete with it. The biggest issue I had with GSaW is the time jumps, the entire book is set within a week (or less) but there are flashbacks to Scout’s childhood. The flashbacks got so confusing because there was no indication of when then were happening- I could only tell because Jem was alive. I struggled with how many stars to give this book- 3 or 4? Three because I enjoyed it  but I probably won’t read again anytime soon. Four because I love TKaM and Harper Lee. I ultimately settled on four because I love TKaM.

 

Overall: 3/5 for the book, 4/5 because I love Harper Lee  


SRP Goal: 12/20

TV vs Book

The Surgeon - Tess Gerritsen

Short review today...


I fell in love with the TNT tv series- Rizzoli and Isles, I’ve watched every episode and can’t wait for more. So naturally, I decided to read the books that inspired the tv show (why I didn’t read them first, I don’t know- that is so un-librarian of me). I read the first in the series, The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen and was surprised by how different it was (though I guess I shouldn’t have been- it’s a trend Hollywood tends to follow). I enjoyed the book once I got over expecting to read the plot of the tv series in book form.


Book Rizzoli (BKR) was a minor character compared to TV Rizzoli (TVR)- she was timid and unsure of her place in the Boston Police Department. She wasn’t the strong, independent, forceful, woman that she is on TNT- but that means she has room to grow throughout the book series. Maura Isles isn’t even in the first book (sadly, she’s one of my favorite characters) but according to the synopsis for the second in the series, I’ll meet her soon! I definitely enjoyed the backstory to Hoyt and how he “learned” his signature serial-killer ways. He plays such an integral part to the TV series and while they give you enough history to understand his mentality and issues, you never truly learn how he came to be “The Surgeon.” I think I will continue reading the series (this was a fast read- I finished it in two days)- I really want to see how Rizzoli becomes “Rizzoli” and I really want to meet Dr. Isles!

Overall: 3/5

SRP Goal: 11/20

Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel - Jessica Knoll

I want to know who decides how to market books because sometimes they are right on the nose and other times they aren’t even in the same universe….


I just finished Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll and it is marketed as crime-fiction, thriller, suspense, mystery, “the next Gone Girl or Girl on the Train” and while yes it does have a crime in it and have some horrific moments, a small mystery and a bit of suspense- it’s not exactly the same (at least in my opinion). No two books will be exactly the same, there may (and will) be some similarities and I don’t see very many between Luckiest Girl Alive and GG/GotT. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like Luckiest Girl Alive- I did but I think I would’ve enjoyed it more had I not been expecting something along the lines of Girl on the Train. Luckiest Girl Alive was a coming of age-dealing with your past-accepting yourself for who you are type of story- not a thriller.


Ani (TifAni FaNelli) reinvents herself after a horrible (and I mean horrible) high school experience. She’s engaged to one of New Yorks wealthiest men and is working as a writer/editor for a magazine- a far cry from the “poor” girl of high school. A TV studio approached her about producing a documentary about her high school experience- she says yes, much to the dismay of her fiance. Through flashbacks (the novel is told entirely from Ani’s POV) we find out what exactly happened to her during high school. Her fiance doesn’t support/believe/care/trust/want his “image” damaged by her past so he tries to get her to hide certain aspects of what happen from the producers/public. All of this drama culminates (not a very big climax in terms of plot but more along the lines of personal growth) for Ani and she ultimately has to decide how much of her past deserves to be heard.


At first I found Ani an annoying bitch- she judged people based on looks and how much money she thought they had but after learning/reading about her past, it became obvious to me that that was the only way she knew how to deal with people who were “better” than her. As the novel progressed, she didn’t grow or have an “ah-ha” moment where she realized she shouldn’t judge people for what they look like but she did realize that she should stop punishing herself for things she had no control over and that ultimately is what she’s judging people on- the things they/she can control: looks, money.


After writing this review, I think I will reread this book and, now that I know not to expect GotT, I might actually enjoy it a lot more than I did initially.


Overall: 4/5


SRP Goal: 10/20 (half-way there!)

Hugo and Rose

Hugo & Rose - Bridget  Foley

I read Hugo & Rose by Bridget Foley last week (sadly this isn't about Ron and Hermione's kids)  and I didn’t have very high expectations (nothing against this book, just not my normal genre) and I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed this book- it wasn’t a page-turner but it did keep my attention and I did was fascinated by the intricate (yet not) plot.  Rose, a wife and mother, is disappointed with her life. She feels ordinary- especially compared to her extraordinary life she leads in her dreams. Every night, Rose dreams about an adventurous island she shares with Hugo- a boy who she’s grown up with in  her dreams. BUT when she accidently meets him in real life, what happens when dreams and reality collide? “Their chance encounter begins a cascade of questions, lies, and a dangerous obsession that threatens to topple everything she knows. Is she willing to let go of everything she holds dear to understand their extraordinary connection? And will it lead her to discover who she truly wants to be?” (From Amazon)


I struggled figuring out whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars. I ultimately landed on 3.5 and only because I related to Rose so much- I may not have kids but I’ve been in the position where I’ve questioned my life decisions and if I was who I was supposed to be, if I’ve ended up where I was meant to be or if I’ve taken a detour and this (encounter, issue, person, job, school, major, etc.) is supposed to get me back on track. Its something everyone deals with and this novel depicts it perfectly. Rose struggles with her decisions, she loves her family, but she’s not happy with herself. She’s unfulfilled and doesn’t feel satisfied in her decisions - so when her “what if” comes along, it throws Rose for a loop and she starts to question her life. I may not have enjoyed every aspect of this novel but overall, it was a good story and very relatable. Every person (woman or man) can relate to Rose and her situation (even if you’re not a wife/mother/homemaker)- if you’re not satisfied in your life and wondering what would happen if something changed or if it was meant to be different- Rose embodies these feelings perfectly.



Overall: 3.5


SRP Goal: 9/20

Interesting Concept

Disclaimer: A Novel - Renée Knight

I finished Disclaimer by Renee Knight and was satisfied with the overall story and ending, though at times the pacing as a tad slow. The concept (a tad Inception-y) of a book within a book was interesting and could've gone either way- really horrible or really well. It landed towards the really well end of the spectrum. The main character, Catherine, finds a copy of a book The Perfect Stranger on her bedside table and picks it up to read, not knowing that it is a re-telling of one of the darkest times in her life 20 years ago. The only other person who knows about this is dead- who wrote the book?! 

The entire book is told through multiple points of view- its starts out with just two (Catherine and the Author) and then two more are added about half way through the book (Catherine's son and husband). It got kind of confusing- there wasn't a huge difference between the voices so until you got to a name or place, it was hard distinguishing who was telling that particular aspect. It also time-hopped and that just added another level of confusion because at first it started out as a memory but then it became present tense and towards the end of the flashback it became a memory again but nothing changes textually (though in hindsight, I guess this is how it happens when you're talking about memories- it starts out past tense and then you get into the moment and switch to present tense).

I was very satisfied with the plot twists and the ending- by the end of it I wanted to punch a specific character (I won't say who so I don't give anything away) but lets just say he/she is an ASS. 

Overall: 3/5

SRP Goal: 8/20

SPOILER ALERT!

Magonia

Magonia - Maria Dahvana Headley

I read Magonia in one day… and that is not because I couldn’t put it down. It was because I wanted to put it down but I also wanted to see how it ended so I skimmed a few pages here and there to get to the ending faster. I just could not get into this book- I thought the main character was whiny, self-entitled, and unrelatable. Maybe because I’m not a teenager anymore or maybe because I’m not typically into fantasy but either way- I just didn’t like this book.

 

The premise sounded really interesting (though who decided to compare it to The Fault in Our Stars needs to be fired):

Maria Dahvana Headley's soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy where Neil Gaiman's Stardust meets John Green's The Fault in Our Stars in a story about a girl caught between two worlds . . . two races . . . and two destinies.

 

Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

 

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who's always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

 

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza's hands lies fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

But the execution of the story/plot was done horribly. Like I said, the main character was relatable and whiny which made the book hard to get through. The fact that she felt the need to tell the reader that she was dying or was supposed to die soon on every other page got so frustrating that I started to wish she would die just to get some relief. I did tear up when she died but not because SHE died but because of the way the author portrayed her family during the process. Having lost someone close to me, I felt every emotion Aza’s parents were feeling and it made it that much more real. Though when Aza woke up alive on a floating ship in the sky, I thought she would’ve matured or at least death would’ve made her less whiny- but nope. All she wanted to do was “go back home, go back to her boyfriend, see her family.” I get it- you got ripped away from everything you ever knew but you need to learn to ADAPT- YOU’RE ON A FLYING SHIP IN THE SKY! THERE ARE WHALES MADE OF CLOUDS FOLLOWING YOU AROUND! THIS SHOULD BE AWESOME but instead Aza makes it sound like it is the worst thing that could ever happen to her ever.

 

Overall: 2/5

 

SRP Goal: 7/20

The Rook

The Rook - Daniel O'Malley

I finished The Rook by Daniel O’Malley last night and I fell in love or really strong like- I haven’t decided which yet. I had been hunting for this book for awhile (in a previous post, I mentioned how I went to 4 Barnes & Noble stores and 3 Half Price Books to locate a copy of this title) and finally got to it in my pile. I was super excited to read it but I didn’t have my hopes up- I’ve been let down way too many times by recommendations based off my love of The Night Circus and Harry Potter. I went into this story with reservations and thinking it wasn’t going to live up-to the hype but I was wrong. This story is AMAZING. I adored the main character Myfanwy Thomas- especially after she woke up as a new person, the “old” Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) sounded rather boring and meek- not strong enough to carry this story. I loved the supernatural secret service- which is saying something because I was very weary of this aspect. I am definitely not a  fan of the X-Files and from the blurb on the back, that’s what the supernatural aspect sounded liked it was going to be and even though it was similar, The Chequy is a way more sophisticated entity than the FBI in the X-Files.

 

There were so many details about both Myfanwy and the Chequy but because of the pacing, I never felt like I was being bogged down with all the information. I never wanted to put this book down- it grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go! I will definitely re-read this before the second one in the series comes out.

 

Overall: 4/5

SPOILER ALERT!

Not what I was expecting

All the Rage - Courtney Summers

I finished All the Rage by Courtney Summers last night.

It was an intense read- I had to take a few hours to process. It deals with some tough topics- rape, death, social cliques, and bullying are just a few of the big issues. The book flap summary:

The sheriff's son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything-friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy's only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn't speak up. Nobody believed her the first time-and they certainly won't now-but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

made the book sound like it would be about the aftermath of Romy Grey’s rape, the disappearance a classmate and the sexual assault of another girl- all related to Kellan Turner, the sheriff’s son. I thought the three crimes would show the town what a monster he really is- the multiple assaults, the disappearance- all would be linked back to him with evidence and witnesses.


SPOILERS AHEAD


If that is what you thought the book is/was going to be, then you’re in for disappointment/shock/frustration because that is not what it was at all. Nope. Not one bit.

Kellan doesn’t even make an appearance in the book- NOT ONCE. He’s mentioned three times by name and hinted at quite a few more times but the reader is never introduced to him outright. He is in no way connected to the disappearance of Romy’s classmate and the second sexual assault is mentioned twice, both in passing. Nothing is ever done about Romy’s rape- she reports it but the town turns against her because Kellan is the golden boy and can do no wrong. Everyone at school hates her because they think Kellan moved away because of her accusation. She is shunned and bullied by the student body- at one point the “popular girls” steal her underwear and put them on the school mascot. They spread rumors around that Romy was “asking for it” because she had a crush at Kellan. NO ONE EVER ASKS TO BE RAPED. EVER. High school was pure hell for Romy because of something that she had no control over. I ended up despising the town, and that was the point of the story, but it also shows how easy it is to jump to a bandwagon based on a single side of the story (not that I’m saying you should EVER be supporting the rapist) but when you can’t comprehend someone's actions- it is easy to just ignore the problem and pretend it didn’t happen.

I felt the book flap was very misleading- even now, having read the novel- I don’t think it describes what happens accurately. 80% of the book focuses on the missing classmate (who used to be Romy’s best friend but turned against her after Romy reported the rape) and what happened to her- though it turns out she died trying to protect Romy from a second rape by a different boy.

If I had been correctly informed of what this book was about, I think I would’ve enjoyed it more but because I was expecting something different- I felt disheartened (and kinda lied to).


Overall: 3/5 - If I got the story I was expecting, I would’ve given it 4/5 - I really enjoyed Summers’ writing style and the issues NEED to be tackled- especially for young adults.


SRP Goal: 5/20

Where They Found Her

Where They Found Her - Kimberly McCreight

I finished Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight in two days- well technically three but that is only because I had to work. I really enjoyed 99% of it. The last 1% felt rushed and inconsistent with the rest of the story.

I read this book because I really enjoyed Girl on the Train- it was supposed to be a similar style: multiple points of view, semi-unreliable narrator(s), mystery, thriller, psychological aspects, and drama. I loved the mystery, the back story and the multiple formats- the story was told through four women's point of view but through newspaper articles, online comments, journal entries, narration, and therapy transcripts. I thought it added an extra level of dimension- not only did you get to read the multiple POV, but you get the community reaction to the “murder” in the newspaper comments and the blog comments.

Like I said, I enjoyed 99% of this book but the last 1% felt rushed, forced, and too neatly tied up. There were multiple storylines present in the novel and I thought the ending would combine a majority of them- and it did but it shoved a random character into the mess that didn’t need to be there. After the all the hurt, confusion, mystery, and twists/turns- there needed to be some storylines left open and not tied into a neat little bow. Not everything in life works out like that and books shouldn’t either- especially ones that are supposed to reflect everyday life or could be something that happens in your neighborhood. I wish the ending could be re-written to reflect how life really is- messy and incomplete. When reading a book that is supposed to reflect life, the ending should too. 


Overall: 3.5/5

SRP Goal: 4/20

Based on previous reading choices...

I find it amusing (and probably no one else does but, hey this is my blog so I’ll share it anyway) that I read Gone Girl and did NOT like it at all but I am reading all these books based on recommendations from the Gone Girl author (Girl on the Train, Where They Found Her, Luckiest Girl Alive, Disclaimer, Method 15/33). I found the characters in GG annoying, angry, backstabbing, heartless, and unrelatable- I know that this was the point of the book but for me personally, I need to care about a character in the book or get attached (even minimally) to someone in the story to really feel like I am apart of the plot. For Gone Girl- I hated the main characters and hated the circumstances they put themselves into and the only character I felt for (SPOILER) was the unborn child of Nick and Amy because of their psychotic-ness and destructive relationship- never a healthy combination to raise a child in. But despite not liking GG (I gave it 3 stars- really a 2.5, but you can’t give half-stars on Goodreads) I am really enjoying the titles I’ve found based on the unreliable narrator, suspense, mystery, drama, etc. recommendations from it.


Take Girl on the Train, for example. I read it in three days- over vacation (much to my husband's dismay) and loved it.


I am currently reading Where They Found Her and can’t put it down- I read 220 pages in twenty-four hours.


I am anxiously awaiting Luckiest Girl Alive, Disclaimer, and Method 15/33 from the library- so I can’t exactly comment on how much I like or dislike those titles but from the blurbs and reviews, they sound good.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green, David Levithan

I finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan and as much as love John Green, this book wasn't my favorite. Don't get me wrong, it was a good book but I am not a fan of David Levithan's writing style so every  time it switched to his chapter I felt like I was being taken out of the story a little bit. I know why they chose to write it that way- each author writing from a different Will Grayson's point-of-view, it just wasn't something I particularly enjoyed. I do like the themes in WG,WG- friendship, identity, inner strength, coming of age, and dealing with everyday high school issues and I really like the way Green and Levithan handled the semi-tough issues (coming out, break-ups, depression, online dating and cat-fishing). I am a huge fan of John Green and will continue to read anything he publishes but having read one and a half (I read Every Day  and I consider WG,WG half-his, since he wrote half the chapters) of Levithan's works, I really like the story lines and subject matter but can not get over his writing style. It's just not my cup of tea. I might try again in the future- give it a few months/years and read another of his books to see if my opinion changes. 

Overall: 3/5

SRP Goal: 3/20

Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep - S.J.  Watson

I finished Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson two days ago and I am just now finding the time to sit down and write a review. 

Where do I start? This book was recommended to me because I liked Girl on the Train (thanks Amazon!) and the synopsis sounded interesting- a women with severe  amnesia wakes up everyday not knowing where she is or what time period it is because of an "accident" that caused severe brain damage and put her in a coma for months. Unreliable narrator (for obvious reasons), suspense and mystery made it seem like a good combination. 
It was a good book but at times it felt like it was trying too hard to be something it wasn't. It was trying to add way more suspense or thrills where there shouldn't have been and adding sexual tension where it wasn't necessary. The thing that bugged me the most about this book though was the fact that a majority of it was supposed to be the main characters journal entries- to remind herself of what happens each day to hopefully help her memory return- BUT there was no difference style/voice-wise between the journal and the rest of the novel. I found it very frustrating and difficult to jump between the two when there was no discernible difference between them. The journal entries read like third-person-ominsinciant point-of-view, instead of first person. There were things that Christine mentioned that as a first person narrator, she shouldn't have know about- especially if she had amnesia and couldn't form new memories or remember a majority of her past. The premise of the novel was good, but the execution needed work.

Overall: 3/5


SRP Goal: 2/20

SPOILER ALERT!

Summer Reading! and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Jesse Andrews

When you're laid up in bed for 24hours because of a medical procedure, what do you do to pass the time (besides Netflix).... you read an entire book! I read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews while I was confined to my bed/couch not able to move much. Review to come later in the post.

I joined an online Summer Reading Program since most libraries don't like when their staff/librarians join their programs (seems a tad mean to me- telling your staff they can't participate. They should be allowed to participate if they want but not eligible for the prizes-  but hey, I don't make the rules). I am super excited to join this SRP- especially since a majority of the participants are librarians and fellow book lovers! Its nice to see what other librarians are reading and what they think of the titles. Since I work in an academic library, we don't really have a popular collection (i.e. current fiction) so unless it pops up on my Goodreads or Amazon recommendations, I tend to miss out on some good titles. My goal this summer (May 30-August 29) is 20 books. 


Onto my first review for the SRP!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl reminds me, at first of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (loved this book)- mainly because of the cancer aspect and characters in high-school. That is where the comparison ends. Fault in Our Stars this book is not. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is told from Greg's point of view (the "Me" in the title)- a loner by his own admission, just trying to survive high-school under the radar. Earl is his "co-worker"- they make films together; he is also Greg's only friend but he will never admit that out loud. The Dying Girl is Rachel, diagnosed with leukemia during her (I assume senior year of high-shool, though its never really mentioned). This is FIOS for guys- its not a sappy, romantic, heartbreaking, love story. Its a humorous, realistic depiction of a guy who's semi-friend gets cancer and is forced to deal with it.  Greg is self-centered but what high-school senior isn't?
One of my favorite lines/sections came towards the end of the book when Rachel (and I hope I'm not giving anything away as its in the TITLE of the book but if I am SPOILER AHEAD!!!) decides to stop receiving chemo and head home. 
Greg is sitting with Rachel in her room and this is his inner monologue:
"You're probably hoping that I was sitting there overflowing with love and tenderness. Maybe you should think about switching to a different book. Even to, like, an owner's manual to a refrigerator or something. That would be more heartwarming than this. Because mostly I was feeling resentful and annoyed. I was resentful at Rachel for deciding to die. How stupid does that sound? There's a decent chance that I'm not even a human being. Anyway, yeah, I was pissed that she was just going to die." (pg 261-262)
I read that paragraph and thought, "that is an honest reaction- how many friends and family members of cancer patients have thought this and felt horrible afterward because its not what "you're supposed to think" or that "they aren't being supportive of the decision"

Overall: 3/5

SRP Goal: 1/20

Crimson Bound

Crimson Bound - Rosamund Hodge

I've been reading Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge and I'm about 150 pages (out of roughly 450) in and I just can't seem to get through it. Its a retelling/mash-up of Little Red Riding Hood and Girl with No Hands- its an interesting mashup and concept so in theory it would be an interesting book. Not so much. I find the main character to be very whiny and self-sacrificing to the point of being annoying- especially since every other paragraph is about how shes going to sacrifice her life to kill (or try to kill) the Devourer and prevent the Endless Night. 

Boring. Oh so boring... 

EDIT:

I finished this book... finally (it took a week- which is long for me) and boy am I glad I did. I finished it and was actually excited about finishing it. That is sad- you should never be excited about finishing a book- as a reader, you should want to stay engrossed and in love with the written words. I know not every book will capture your imagination but I always enjoy reading- this book made me wish I could give up on books easier than I do. 

I had such high expectations for this book- I loved Cruel Beauty- but Crimson Bound fell short. I'll give Rosamund Hodge another chance (mainly because I loved Cruel Beauty so much) 

Overall: 2/5

The Magician's Lie: A Novel - Greer Macallister 99 Days - Katie Cotugno The Kiss of Deception - Mary E. Pearson Landline: A Novel - Rainbow Rowell Mr. Kiss and Tell - Jennifer Graham, Rob Thomas The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins The Heir - Kiera Cass The Eternity Key - Bree Despain

Six weeks worth of reviews...

So in the past six weeks I've read 8 books- I won't write a full review for all of them but I will summarize my thoughts and overall reaction for each:

The Magicians Lie by Greer MaCallister
I was eagerly anticipating this book- the Amazon blurb “Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in The Magician's Lie, a debut novel in which the country's most notorious female illusionist stands accused of her husband's murder - and she has only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence” made it sound so exciting! It jumped from past to present, in alternating chapters leading up to the night of the murder and what happens immediately after. It was a quick read and I enjoyed the character building- the relationships are at the center of the story and are ultimately what drives the plot forward. I might read this one again. Overall: 3.5/5 

99 Days by Katie Coutgno
A teenager has to endure one last summer in her hometown before heading off to college- one last summer as the most hated girl in town. Insert teenage love triangle, subsequent drama, and lack of friends. You get 99 Days. Overall a good story- very predictable. Molly, the main character, was a tad whiny. There were times I wanted to shake her and say “you brought this on yourself” or “grow up and deal with the choices you made” but she is a teenager after all. Typical teen love triangle,angst, drama, friendships, and backstabbing. Overall: 3/5

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
On the day of her wedding, Princess Lia flees from an arranged marriage to a distant village with her best friend and handmaiden. The two handsome men, one a the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill the princess, track the two girls to the village. The entire time I was reading this I couldn’t figure out what the magical “gift” Lia was supposed to have- I spent the entire novel confused about this. Maybe I missed it but even so, the “gift” was a major part of the plot and should have been flushed out more. Also the love triangle was a frustrating and a bit forced between Lia and the two boys- she just seems disinterested the entire time- until she finds out who they really are and then it turns into “love”. Overall: 3/5

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
I’ve read all of Rowell’s books- she can do no wrong. They are fun, quick reads and Landline is no exception. The characters are well developed and the intenseness of the marriage falling apart actually leaves you wondering if and how they will ever work through their problems. The premise- a phone that can call into the past- its very cool, I mean who wouldn’t want to call past selves or past loves and try to right wrongs and fix past mistakes to potentially fix the future?! Truth be told, I will probably read all of Rowell’s novels again- especially when I’m looking for something quick and fun. Overall: 3.5/5

Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas
I was (and still am) a huge fan of Veronica Mars: I was heartbroken when they canceled the tv series;I was overjoyed when the movie came out; and ecstatic when I found out the creator was going to use books as a way to continue the story after the movie. I read the first VM book (The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line) and was pleasantly surprised at how similar it was to both the tv series and the movie. The witty dialog was present- it read just like an episode or movie (which could be a bad thing in future books- becoming too cookie-cutter). The second book, Mr. Kiss and Tell, was very similar to the first- it read just like an episode or movie script. It was a quick read with all the witty banter between characters Mars fans have come to love. I will continue to read the series- even if it becomes cookie cutter, they’re quick, fun reads. Overall: 3/5

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I read this book while on vacation- I couldn’t put it down! The twists, the turns, the unreliable narrator, the anticipation, the questions, the conclusion- this book kept you guessing after every chapter. The main narrator, alcoholic Rachel is so unreliable that everything you know and learn has to be taken at face value- not to mention questioned heavily based on what you know and learn from the people she interacts with. This book has been compared to Gone Girl (both have unreliable narrators, females at the center of missing person cases) but I did not like Gone Girl at all- I found the two characters annoying and frustrating. I was weary of Girl on the Train because of this but boy was I wrong- I thoroughly enjoyed it and though I don’t know if I will read it again (the ending and the twists/turns are spoiled now) I did give it a 4/5 because 1) I couldn’t put it down and 2) I was so surprised at the ending! Overall: 4/5

The Heir by Kiera Cass
I read The Selection series last year- I enjoyed the breath of fresh air this series brought to YA. There was no killing (Divergent trilogy, Hunger Games trilogy), the love triangle wasn’t at the forefront of the story (yes, it played a big role but it wasn’t a distraction), the main female character was strong- and could stand on her own two feet- she didn’t need a man to rescue her. I was looking forward to the continuation of the series, America and Maxon’s daughter is now participating in her own selection. Eadlyn is a spitfire- doesn’t take no for an answer and is a strong, independent person (much stronger than her mother)- she actually has a bit of an edge to her- talking back to her father the king, not wanting to put on a show for the kingdom but not understanding why her kingdom actually hates her (she acts like she’s better than everybody else- she is a princess after all). It leaves plenty of room for Eadlyn to grow and mature as a character and for her to come into her own- hopefully there are more than three books in this series, as I feel three books wouldn’t be enough to fully flush out all of her potential. Overall: 3/5

The Eternity Key by Bree Despain
I enjoyed the first book (The Shadow Prince) and was impatiently awaiting the second title- The Eternity Key. I was(n’t) disappointed. I put the (n’t) in parentheses because I could’ve done without Toby’s POV- had that been taken out of the second book, I would’ve given it a 4/5. Toby’s POV added nothing to the story other than a whiny teenage voice who was jealous of Haden and wanted his sister back. The reader learned nothing of importance from his POV alone that we wouldn’t have gotten from other characters- he was only necessary for the last 1/16th of the book. I wish I could’ve skipped his chapters (and I could’ve because, like I said, everything you learned from his POV, you got from other characters as well). BUT HOLY MOLY- that ending! That twist! I was so surprised at the shocking turn- I had to read it over twice. Not to mention the cliffhanger ending- how can an author do that to their readers!? I will definitely read number 3 (and 4 and 5- if Ms. Despain is kind enough to continue the series) Overall: 3/5

The Wicked Will Rise

The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die) - Danielle  Paige

I just finished reading The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige, sequel to Dorothy Must Die

First reaction: I WANT MORE! WHYYY do I have to wait an ENTIRE YEAR before I get the next book?!

Second reaction, after giving myself time to cope: Why do books need to be series- why can't they just come out all at once?

24hrs after finishing: I guess I get the waiting part- gotta keep the fans and readers interested somehow. 

Needless to say, I loved this book. I plan on re-reading the two titles  before the third one comes out next spring. 

Onto the review:

The Wicked Will Rise picks up right where Dorothy Must Die left off. The Revolutionary Order of the Wicked stormed the Emerald Place hoping to kill Dorothy and free Oz... they weren't so lucky. Dorothy is harder to kill than they thought and after a tough battle, the Order is forced to retreat and re-group. Unfortunately even that doesn't go as planned. The Order is separated and now Amy is on her own, with the not-so helpful princess of Oz. The two journey across Oz in search of the Order and a way to defeat Dorothy. 

Amy spends some time questioning who she is, why she is here and what her true goals are (like any frustrated, lost teenager). She gets a little annoying with the "am I wicked?" thought- especially after she dabbles in truly dark magic. Of course, there is a small love triangle (it must be a requirement for YA authors)- but it doesn't last very long.  There is betrayal, drama, mystery, and action, lots of action. It ends on a cliff-hanger, leaving the reader begging for more- especially with the plot twist. It is not for younger grades- I recommend grades 9+ (for foul language usage). I thought it was a bit predictable, but the overall story and plot were well done. It was page turning, exciting, and fast-paced- I read it in two days.  

Overall: 4/5