Skip to main content

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.

"You Matter"

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top Reads of 2018

This year's best of 2018 list has tons of new categories to fit all of the amazing books I read this year. I've had the chance to read so many advanced books and recent releases, so most of what I read were books that came out in 2018. I mostly choose contemporary, so I've started with my favorite debut as well as the best books in other genres I've ventured into. After that, I have smaller categories in the contemporary genre. I hope you find new books to love and give to your friends and family for the holidays. If you're interested in learning more about the books on the list, click their titles to go to my reviews. Let me know if these are some of your favorites in the comments, and tell me your favorite books!
Best In Genre Top Debut
Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell Nothing Left To Burn gave me the craziest book hangover. I was so immersed in the story, and I couldn't stop reading to do anything that I actually needed to be doing. There is a toxic relat…

The History of Jane Doe

The History of Jane Doe by Micheal Belanger (2018)
Overview: Ray knows the entire history of his hometown, Burgerville, Connecticut. He also knows lots of different tidbits about the world as well. But, for his first written account of history, the story must center on loss, why, and fleeting moments of happiness. He has to tell the story of his first girlfriend, hidden by the anonymity of the name Jane Doe. Told in Before and After chapters, Ray explores the highs and lows he had in his fleeting relationship with Jane and his recovery from crushing loss. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 Jane is coping with clinical depression that probably stems from a combination of family history and past trauma. She goes between trying to hide her scars and struggles and exposing them, tiny piece by piece to the people she loves.
Ray is fascinated by Jane and the way she looks at the world and the town he's lived in all his life with fresh eyes.
His friend, Simon, is dorky and not quite all together b…

The Dead Queen's Club

The Dead Queen's Club by Hannah Capin (January 29)
Overview: For fans of European history, specifically Henry VIII and his many wives, this is a treat. Modernized and set in high school, this version is the tale of all of Henry's living ex-girlfriends banding together to find the real reason behind the death of two of his former girlfriends, Anna Boleyn and Katie Howard. Narrated by Annie, better known as Cleves, the reader falls for Henry's charm but also sees the cracks growing in his perfect facade. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 Cleves has a authoritative voice that I very much enjoyed. She's outspoken and uncompromising as she makes a place for herself in her new school senior year. Even though she marches to the beat of her own drum, she's found a place for herself among the cheerleaders who genuinely love how unique she is; but it helps that she's already friends with Henry, football star who practically owns the school.
The other characters have their places a…

This Is Not a Test

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (326 pages)
Overview: Sloane wanted to end her life. And then the apocalypse came. Her focus suddenly turns to survival because that's what she's supposed to do. She finds a group of other teens from her school, and they survive in the infected city for seven days before finding shelter in the high school. With all the doors barricaded and the necessities provided, suddenly, there's room to think, reflect, and feel again, and their safe haven quickly turns into a cage. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 This cast has blown me away. Courtney Summers in general has done that with every aspect of the novel, but the characters are all so detailed and unique and flawed and emotional and broken. It makes for the perfect novel.
Sloane has recently had her sister leave without her, even though the plan was for them to escape their abusive father together. Without Lily, she feels her life has no point, but when it's seriously threatened, something co…

Valentines To My New Favorite Books

Over the last two-ish months since I posted my Best of 2018 list, I've found tons of amazing titles! Since they aren't 2019 releases, they won't be on my next year end list, so I thought I'd honor them by writing valentines to each of these amazing books!
I've also thrown in one bonus 2019 that I'll definitely be talking about all year long that you should preorder now!



Down And Across by Arvin Ahmadi This book just made me happy. Scott doesn't know where his life is headed, but, as the world is fascinated with grit (and loves to tell young people they have none), he decides to head to Georgetown to seek out the professor who is an expert in it. And then he doesn't take no for an answer till he scores himself somewhat of an internship. Along the way, he befriends a few college kids, starts working at a bar, and learns a thing or two about the world outside of high school. I love books that skew on the older end of YA and explore life outside of high sch…

Monday's Not Coming

Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
Overview: When Monday isn't there for a spinning hug with Claudia when she gets back from her summer in Georgia, Claudia knows something is wrong. When Monday isn't at the first, second, or third day of eighth grade, Claudia tells her parents they need to do something. But Monday lives in the projects with her single mother and her situation isn't something people talk about. It's Patti's business what she does with her kids. But when the stories about Monday's whereabouts keep changing and the police refuse to look into it, Claudia has to take matters into her own hands to find Monday. Overall: 4.5 

Characters: 5 The characters bound off the page. Claudia's voice is so strong, and her friendship with Monday is so honest. From the parents to her teachers to Monday herself, Claudia makes the characters around her come to life. Even minor characters have motivations and details.

Plot: 4 My advice is to ignore the cha…

Girl Made of Stars

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake (295 pages)
Overview: Mara's twin brother is accused of rape by her friend. Mara's attempt to go back to being best friends with her ex-girlfriend isn't working. Mara is so lost. Sisters, best friends, parents, and everyone at school have an opinion about what happened between Owen and Hannah in the woods. Mara's mom, who's always been a devout feminist, is suddenly vehemently denying that Owen is at fault. Mara isn't so sure. Even though she loves her twin and can't imagine him as a rapist, she knows her best friend would never lie. Overall: 5+++++

Characters: 5 Mara is a wonderful character. She's so honestly confused and torn up about what happened, but she quickly aligns with Hannah. Supporting her best friend becomes something for herself, as well, though, because Mara is a survivor too. She takes Hannah's pain like her own as everyone at school and home takes Owen's side. Mara has to come to terms w…

Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (372 pages)
Overview: Tash has a lot going on. Her family is unsettled with impending arrivals and sisters leaving the nest. She's co-running a You Tube production company that explodes with her best friend Jack, and she's grappling with her sexuality and the possibility that she's ace. New fame, new family, and possibly new romance all threaten to make Tash's world explode, but, somehow, she's keeping it all together. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 Tash is so amazing! She's a real human being that springs to life and invites you to see the world through her eyes. One thing that I particularly love is that, even though Tash doesn't believe it, you know she's smart by the way Ormsbee chooses the perfect words and mature sentence structure. Trying too hard to make characters smart is something a lot of authors falter with, but the execution of presenting Tash's personality is perfect. The way that Tash deals with her ch…

Immoral Code

Immoral Code by Lillian Clark (February 19) Overview: Five teens- one big heist. A group of friends band together to commit the ultimate in hacking to siphon off enough money to send their friend Bell to college at MIT. Because of her absent father's immense wealth, Bell gets rejected for financial aid at the school of her dreams. Not that her father is agreeing to pay any part of tuition, or even acknowledge her existence. Outraged at this, Nari, coding genius, creates a plan to play Robin Hood and ropes their other friends into risking jail time for Bell's dream. Will they pull off a job that would be ambitious for a team of professional hackers and con men or will they face the steep consequences and ruin five lives? Overall: 4

Characters: 4 There's a crowded stage when it comes to characters, but that doesn't mean that their individuality gets sacrificed. Bells is a science genius with a bright future despite having to fight against the near poverty her father sunk h…

Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett (417 pages)
Overview: Glamping should not include getting stranded in the middle of the woods with your ex-best friend. But life doesn't always go as it's supposed to. When Zorie agrees to go with her friend Regan and her crew on a summer camping trip, she doesn't know Lennon will be there, and she's certainly not expecting the group to abandon the two of them in the middle of the California wilderness, forced to complete a multi day track back to civilization. It turns out, though, that an adventure in the woods might be just what they need. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I thought that all of the characters, including the adults, were given dimension. I loved the parental dynamic between Lennon and his moms as well as Zorie's relationship with her step mom who never considered Zorie less than her own daughter.
Lennon and Zorie are also awesome characters. Zorie has to battle her intense anxiety and relinquish control while she's stuck in…