Skip to main content

Weekly Reviews and Recommendations: Week 9

On account of getting out of school early every day this week, I have four books to share with you this week. All of these were solid reads, but I found Under the Rose-Tainted Skies to be absolutely spectacular.
I thought my favorite Kate Spade notebook summed up these books lovely protagonists. 


Under the Rose- Tainted Skies by Louise Gornoll (https://www.amazon.com/Under-Rose-Tainted-Skies-Louise-Gornall-ebook/dp/B01912OSG4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494770309&sr=8-1&keywords=under+the+rose+tainted+sky 
This was such an amazing book I wrote an article entirely dedicated to it. You can view that here: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/05/standout-book-under-rose-tainted-skies.html

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (https://www.amazon.com/Always-Forever-Lara-Loved-Before-ebook/dp/B01GD9DP08/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494770360&sr=8-1&keywords=always+and+forever+lara+jean
Overview: For the last installment of Jenny Han's Laura Jean series, she takes us through Lara Jean's senior year at warp speed. We see her relationship with her sisters and with Peter again as well as her baking obsession that has been taken to a new level. The readers get to go through all the important senior year highlights from college acceptance letters to prom to the senior trip to graduation to beach week along with another very surprise. Fans of the series will be thrilled to have one final chance to enjoy Lara Jean and her family and watch her make the transition to adult life. Overall: 3.8

Characters: 3.6 These are the same characters we have met in books one and two with their stories continued. Unfortunately, this time around I felt that the characters were a little flat and lacked a bit of continual development. It seemed like Han tried to give Lara Jean the chance to grow with the idea of splitting up for college and facing the world, but it didn't seem all there yet. Peter's storyline with accepting his absentee father's attempt at a closer relationship runs much the same course. I did like getting to see more of Kitty and her and Peter's relationship, but I felt Margo was entirely flat this time and only used as a device to combat Trina (or Ms. Rothchild). Speaking of which, I thought that Trina's development and her place in the family was nicely tied together in this final book. Last thought on the characters: Where in the world was Gen? She was such a central part of the last book, and she was only mentioned in passing maybe twice.

Plot: 3.7 The plot felt like Han just jumped from one big senior event to another. The book didn't carry the same flow and that the sequel had. Not getting to see the normal rhythm of life and just cutting from one major moment to the next really took away the genuine feeling I loved about Han's books. While the plot did seem a bit stale and forced, there were some good scenes that felt more like the old books. Really, the end of this book made me question more what happens next than the last one.

Writing: 3.5 Unfortunately, Han didn't nail the smooth transition like the last book.  Perhaps it was because there was a longer period of time between the last two books, but it really took a little over half the book to find her groove. But when it got there, the book reminded me why I loved the Lara Jean books. Until then, though, there is a bit of oddly stilted language and reliance on the old, basic character patterns. Overall, I'm not going to be disappointed about getting one last Lara Jean book, I just had high expectations based on the last book.
Here are where you can find my reviews of the last two books: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/03/reading-reviews-and-recommendations.html and http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/04/weekly-book-reviews-and-recommendations.html

Wanderlost by Jen Malone (https://www.amazon.com/Wanderlost-Jen-Malone-ebook/dp/B0151VATPS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494770398&sr=8-1&keywords=wanderlost
Overview: This is the story of Aubree who gets pulled into leading a group of six senior citizens around Europe after her older sister Elizabeth who had the job gets arrested at a party. Because it was Aubree's party and Elizabeth's future job is on the line based on the tour, Aubree goes in her place. As Elizabeth. Despite losing her binder and cellphone, realizing the bus driver doesn't speak English, and realize the company's owner's mother is on her tour, Aubree actually starts to enjoy herself. It only gets better when the boy she checked in with on the phone from the tour company winds out on her tour. The only problem left is that Sam thinks he's in love with Elizabeth. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 The cast of tour geriatrics, bus driver, and two teenagers make a fun cast to travel with. Of course, you get romance between Aubree and Sam, but I find the more satisfying characters and stories among the unique senior citizen characters. You can tell where Malone tries to add a bit of depth and internal struggle with the characters, though the premise didn't really lend itself to much internal depth or struggle.

Plot: 4.5 This is what makes the book fun. The reader gets to enjoy all the places that the tour travels over their month long trip and the craziness that ensues at each tour stop along the way.

Writing: 4 This was a fun story with simple writing and fast paced action. This was definitely one of those just for fun reads that is perfect to get out of your reading rut. It has all the elements of a fun, action packed YA novel. Not every book needs to make you cry.


This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp ( https://www.amazon.com/This-Where-Ends-Marieke-Nijkamp-ebook/dp/B0108GOLTG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494770427&sr=8-1&keywords=this+is+where+it+ends)
Overview: Nijkamp's story takes place at Opportunity High School during the few minutes before during and after a school shooting. Through the eyes of five high schoolers, each with their own unique connections to each other and the shorter, Nijkamp shows us the panic, terror, and questioning that goes on when each student, all in different parts of the school, hear the opening shot. This unique book about a very topical subject in society right now brings a good narrative, I just don't feel it reached it's full potential. Overall: 3.8

Characters: 3.5 I honestly enjoyed Nijkamp's characters. I found many of them interesting and different from many characters I'd read about before. The problem was that because this story takes place over about and hour and a half, you never get to really know the characters despite the authors best efforts. I found Ty's character fascinating and would have loved to have that explored a bit more. It seems that she tried to build depth and bring the characters to life through flashbacks, but they, though they were interesting, stayed flat. 

Plot: 4 This is where the book excels. Given what is happening in the news, this is a unique exploration that seems very honest and true. The action is fascinating and keeps the reader reading. 

Writing: 3 Unfortunately, this story that had limitless potential fell flat for me. The characters seemed a bit cardboard and lacked depth. The writing followed this as well where the book was never able to carry the level of intensity and emotion a story like this deserves. It felt very removed from the immediacy of the plot. Also, getting introduced to so many POVs was very confusing at the start of the book, and I felt that Nijkamp missed out on an opportunity by not including one from Ty. Overall, it was an interesting, unique, quick read, but I felt like it didn't excel as much as I thought it would.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

YA You Need To Read: April 2021

It's already April! School has been super super hectic, and I'm starting my old job as a bookseller again, so I haven't had much time for reading lately (ironic, I know), but I did want to talk about some books coming out in April that I can't wait to read (one day) that might inspire you to pick them up. I particularly can't wait for My Epic Spring Break Up! It's been on my list for a while now (I mean, look at that cover), but I also found some new books that hadn't been on my radar while browsing around the internet that I wanted to bring to your attention.  Let me know in the comments what April books you can't wait for!  Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Kahn  April 6th Zara has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas for a while. She's always dealt with the Islamophobia that's rampant in her high school, but when the star football player gets suspended, Zara becomes the target of a racist attack by the rest of the team that puts her and her family'

Once Upon a Quinceañera

Once Upon a Quinceañera   by Monica Gomez-Hera Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC so I could share my honest thoughts with all of you! Overview: Carmen hasn't graduated high school, even though it's the summer after senior year. When her senior project fell through, Carmen has to scramble to complete the project over the summer. That means no college (not that she applied) and no future plans beyond becoming a Dream (floating around in a Belle costume at children's parties) with her best friend Waverley. So maybe it's not the summer Carmen wanted, but it's fine. At least until her ex-boyfriend who ruined everything, Mauro, also shows up on the team and then they get assigned to work her nemesis and younger cousin's quinceañera, which becomes the big event of the summer. Nothing ever quite goes to plan for Carmen, does it? Overall: 4 Characters: 4 I enjoyed hanging out with Carmen for a while. She's super witty and cynical in a way that I

Olivia Rodrigo'a SOUR As YA Books: Track By Track

This list turned out to be much harder to make than I anticipated when I came up with the idea last week. I set out to match songs to SOUR because what goes better with an album written by a 17/18 year old than YA books, but it turns out that YA books are just too hopeful for this album. Unlike many of these songs, I couldn't find books where the characters ended the book totally despondent and broken up. It took a bit of brainstorming, but I think I found a book to match the essence of each SOUR track. Le me know in the comments which songs on SOUR are your favorite. Mine are "brutal", "favorite crime", "deja vu", and "jealousy, jealousy".  1. "brutal" : War and Speech   by Don Zolidis War and Speech just radiates the same badass, discontented with teenage life energy as "brutal". This was the first book that popped into my mind when I thought about making this post. Just look at the cover. Sydney's life has been fa

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi: YA Book Review

  Yolk  by Mary H.K. Choi Overview: Jayne is in fashion school in NYC. Well, she's enrolled. It's debatable how often she actually attends. June has a fancy job in finance, or that's what everyone thinks. But when June gets cancer, the estranged sisters are pulled together because June needs Jayne's identity to get treatment. By pretending to be her sister to get the life-saving procedure, June is forced to come clean and pull Jayne back into her orbit. Though their relationship stays rocky, they're suddenly glued together, forced to admit that their respective glamorous lives are actually filled with roaches and trauma and missteps. Overall: 5+++ This book made me happy cry (that's never happened while reading) and sad cry. Characters: 5 The book is told from Jayne's perspective in an extremely close first person. This book has plot. Things happen in the way that life happens, but it's mostly just characters getting split open and probed for all their w

My First Time Trying a Book Box: Literati Luminary Book Club Review

I am incredibly excited for today's blog posts because I'm working with Literati to share my experience with their Luminary Book Club. If you've been keeping up with my posts, I recently talked about how book clubs are an amazing way to fend off a reading slump, especially when life gets super hectic, and even with a super long TBR, I've still felt lost when I go to pick out my next read. I'm so grateful to Literati for sending me a book box and sponsoring this post!  On top of feeling stuck with choosing what to read, I've also been trying to explore more genres and the world outside of YA. YA has been my home base for so long that I always get overwhelmed trying to figure out what I want to read in other genres. Luckily, Literati had just what I needed. I got the chance to choose from 13 different book clubs all curated by Luminaries who are amazing, award winning writers, thought leaders, and artists you most definitely know like Malala and her Fearless cl

Halsey's I Would Leave Me If I Could Poetry Review

  I Would Leave Me If I Could  by Halsey  I've started this review a couple times and scrapped all of them. I've written hundreds of reviews before, and this is the first time I have absolutely no clue how to review a book. It's not just because it's poetry. And it's not because I don't have thoughts on every single poem. I've read the book twice and scrubbed a million notes around her words and highlighted every poem on my second read through. I have so many favorites, and my heart feels like it's going to burst after finishing each poem. Halsey exceeded every expectation I had set to the high bar of her music. I almost feel like this book is too good for my review to remotely do it justice, so I don't even know where to begin.  This book is extremely vulnerable. Halsey has never held back on telling the ugly truth in her lyrics, but the poetry takes it so much farther. She has space to tell the entire story, fewer constraints than what will fit in

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: Adult Literature Reviewed

  Everything I Never Told You  by Celeste Ng (Just a warning, this review will have some degree of spoilers cause I don't know how to write a full review without them) Overview: Lydia is dead. Just turned 16 and already gone. With no close friends to point to a possible explanation and no leads, her family is left confused, forced to confront a world without their favorite daughter. Instead of a murder mystery, what unfolds is a heartbreaking story of a family in 1970s Ohio forced to confront every tiny, fractured web that led up to Lydia death. Bouncing around with no bounds for time, space, or narrator, we hear stories from Nath, Lydia, and Hannah's childhoods, Marilyn's young adulthood, and Jame's struggles to rise through the ranks as a Chinese American professor in small town Ohio. What it leaves is a heartbreaking portrait of how little we might truly know about the people we sleep in the same house with every single night. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 This is a hard

What's on my YA TBR: September 2021 Edition

September is always a magical, busy time in bookland because there are always a million books releasing to get ready for the holiday rush. That's how this list wound up featuring 7 books. There are a couple like Never Saw You Coming  and As If On Cue  that I've had my eyes on for almost a year, and then there are some new discoveries that I'm super super excited about. From heartfelt contemporaries to K-Pop to a musical anthology and a summer camp of animators, there's something for everyone on this list. I haven't been this excited about a TBR of books in a while, and I'm sad that with starting school, it'll probably take me a while to get through them, but I'm hoping my local library will pick up copies soon. Speaking of which, I have tons of new libraries to explore around campus! As always, I want to make it as easy as possible to preorder these books and connect with the authors who wrote them! If you click the link in the title of each book, it wil

Fresh by Margot Wood: YA Book Review

  Fresh  by Margot Wood Get a Copy (this is an affiliate link. purchasing through this bookshop link helps support indie bookstores and this blog at no cost to you) Overview: Elliot isn't really sure why she's going to college. It's the next step that people take in life, I guess. She also isn't sure why she's at Emerson. It sounded better than Ohio State. She has no plan, no clue and how to approach college life. Quickly, Elliot gets sucked into a whirlwind of all the worst college tropes- the endless cereal bar, hooking up with everyone in the Little Building, not paying attention in any of her that classes she doesn't really want to be in anyway... the list goes on. She quickly forms a tight group of friends on her floor, but even those connections get tested as the year progresses. Eventually, Elliot is forced to realize that she needs to care about the academic side of college, and she craves closer connections than a trail of hook ups. Elliot, like most co

Swimming Lessons By Lili Reinhart Poetry Review

  Swimming Lessons  by Lili Reinhart  Overall: 5 This is the first poetry book I've ever read in its entirety outside of Shel Silverstein, so I've checked off one of my reading goals for the year with this one. I've now read a graphic novel and a book of poetry. I've been anticipating Swimming Lessons  so long that I can't believe it's actually in my hands. I've been a fan of Lili since Riverdale, and I've continued to be a fan of hers even when the show got a bit too ridiculous for me to keep watching every week. I've been excited for the chance to get to see something completely created a controlled by Lili.  I'm not sure what I expected from Swimming Lessons . I think I had almost no idea what it would be like or the topics it would cover. After the first couple poems, I was completely hooked. In the intro, Lili prefaces the collection by noting that poetry has always given her solace in knowing other people felt the same specific emotions tha