Weekly Book Reviews and Recommendations: Week 5
This week has been a bit crazy. With a four day weekend because of Easter, I thought I'd get some extra reading done. Lo and behold, that's not exactly what happened. I was way busier than I thought I'd be, but better late than never, I guess. Anyway, I read three great books this week that were all very different but also very good in their own rights.
1) Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow (406 pages)
This book was so beautiful and amazing that I had to write a Standout Review for it. I published that earlier in the week, and you can check it out here: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/04/standout-book-girl-in-pieces.html
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (337 pages)
Overview: P.S. I Still Love You is the second installment of Jenny Han's YA series. (You can check out my review of the first book To All The Boys I've Loved Before here: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/03/reading-reviews-and-recommendations.html ) In this book, we catch up with Laura Jean right where the last book left off as she wades through her new relationship with Peter, deals with some pesky issues that can't seem to go away from the past, and keeps her family (and the Bellview Retirement Home) running. This book has the same feel and charm of the last book. Overall: 4.5
Characters: 4.5 Han does a nice job of making all of her characters feel real and relatable. Each is vibrant and has their own distinct traits, quirks, and habits. She writes all the different dynamics between each character well along with adding and building on them from the last book. I have always enjoyed reading about and related to Laura Jean, and the second book didn't disappoint me with any of the characters.
Plot: 4 These books are the story of Laura Jean Song Covey. We see her work through school and relationships with her friend and boyfriend. We see her take leadership at the retirement home and in her own family in an attempt to fill the hole their mother left. Every action and feeling is authentic to the characters and to teenage life. While, by nature, a story like this doesn't have the chance to go for the emotional gut bunch or the deep contemplation of serious issues, it is still a great read worth every second I spent reading it because it speaks to and works a different part of by brain that is less empathy to another life and runs much closer to my own. Also, it's nice to read feel good books. After each of Han's books that I have read I've always felt refreshed and energized.
Writing: 4.5 I give Han props for her work with this book. Usually, second books are never as good as the first ones, but not for Han. She picks the story up exactly where it left off with no excess backstory, recapping, or over explaining. It is as if they just cut the original book in half, which is how I think sequels should be though they rarely are. Though, admittedly, I did have a few seconds of wondering "Who's xyz" I always remembered very quickly, but I prefer making my memory recall work a bit than getting a page about each character we already know. The same goes for the plot. Han did not fall victim to the normal decline of the plot either. The characters, actions, and the stories that unfolded felt authentic to Laura Jean. Of course, I am now very exited to see what Han can do with the third and final installment Always and Forever Laura Jean which comes out on May 2.
|I love the doodles!|
Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin (345 pages)
Overview: In a world where everyone knows when they are going to die, Denton Little is approaching his expiration date after only 17 years of life. Knowing in advance has its advantages, it also creates new problems. Meeting Denton two days before his death date, the book follows him all the way through midnight of the fateful day. As there is a second one (Denton Little's Still Not Dead) you can probably guess the ending. But regardless, that oddly isn't really the point in the grand scheme of things. Overall: 4.5
Characters: 4.5 Denton had me laughing the whole way through. He has the perfect sense of humor and attitude to make such a depressingly premised book a comedy. His perfectly chosen friend Palo, his parents, and neighbor Millie, all perfectly complement the story and are well crafted.
Plot: 4.5 This is one of the more original ideas I've seen in a while. The story falls into a slightly tweaked world that has the advancement of knowing when you die. Aside from that, it is pretty much a contemporary novel which makes it the perfect read for me by adding a bit of foreign interest while well within the modern, convention world. As for the actual plot, I thought the book displayed a well crafted story with more twists and turns than I anticipated. I never got bored or felt like something was too predictable.
Writing: 4.5 Ruben writes with a heaping tablespoon of humor and sarcasm which I love. After reading a slew of serious, emotional novels or even ones so close to life and romance centered, this was the perfect refresher. Though I not only laughed, the book does raise some interesting questions to think about even if it is entirely light hearted and action packed. But the book does not rely solely on laughs. The plot structuring is well done, always taking the story in directions I did not anticipate. And the characters and world was well developed and described. Overall great job. Fun, lighthearted read with substance.
Random Note: Lance Rubin is also very funny and entertaining in real life. He really brought energy to the book con panel. And he also, in my opinion, did the best job of reading an excerpt. I noticed he narrates his own audiobooks, so I definitely think that's worth checking out if you are looking for an audiobook to listen to and laugh with.