Skip to main content

Weekly Reviews and Recommendations: Week 12

Hello, everyone! Even being off school this week, I didn't realize how crazy my life could still be, so maybe I overestimated my ability for summer reading. I still haven't really found my summer groove yet and next week will still probably be crazy with my midweek travel, but, afterwards, when I get used to being back off and have more time on my hands, I'll work on my reading. Next week, at the very least, you can expect a review of Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl, which I'm super excited to start right after I get this up.


10 Things I Can See From Here  by Carrie Mac
Overview: Mac brings readers the story of Mave Glover. At sixteen, Mave has no interest in driving, crippling anxiety, and a brain filled with plenty of empty facts and stats about death rates and accident causes. She often scripts obituaries in her head when things go amiss, and she has a hard time just experiencing life. This is made even worse when her mother leaves for Hati with her much older boyfriend forcing her to take the Greyhound from her tiny Oregon town to her dad and her stepmother in Vancouver. Though she loves her stepmother and two younger brothers, with her stepmother pregnant and wanting a home birth and her father walking a precarious tightrope with alcohol and drug problems, six months seems like a forever long time to be cast away. While in Vancouver Mave rides the rollercoaster of current and past emotions, fears, and anxieties while also meeting new people to help her grow and work through her challenges. Overall: 4

Characters: 4.8 The characters were by far the best part of the book. Each was well crafted and fleshed out with plenty of dimension. In Vancouver, we see her father and his struggles, Claire dealing with raising a family and coping with her husband's problems while also giving Mave love and attention, and the boys who give Mave a much needed distraction. We also have her neighbors in the apartment next door and the girl from the ferry, Salix, who works to expand Mave's comfort zone.

Plot: 4 This is where the book irritates me. The plot that the reader is shown is well executed for the most part. Mave follows a logical growth path and it is shown in a constructive and honest way. Where this falls apart is in the last hundred pages or so. It is clear that the author starts rushing at that point and the anxiety, but not Mave's though, becomes tangible. I knew this was clearly not going to be given the time or pace it should when the birth, a major plot point yet only timed as the midway point of Mave's stay in Vancouver, comes in the last fifteen pages. The ending, and Mave's development, is far to rushed to be satisfactory. She suddenly makes leaps and bounds of progress inconsistent with her starting point or previous progress under the same conditions. With the story ending a day or two after the birth of Alice, the reader never learns anything more about Mave and Salix, whatever becomes of her mother and Reymond, and what happens to her Vancouver family. Overall, the first two-thirds was amazing but felt like an empty promise after finishing the book.

Writing: 4.2 Much like the plot, the first two-thirds was great and had me completely hooked. Mave was an engaging and immersive narrator- at the start of the book her anxiety was so strong and evident it started to tap into my own. Mave made me feel something and empathize with her until the story became rushed and sloppy. The beautiful storyline about Salix opening up Mave's world and getting her to release some of her anxieties could have been completely stunning, and readers do get an honest taste of that. It is clear that storyline was the intention, it was just hastily thrown together at the end and simply stated as if the author ran out of pages.

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…

Planes, Trains, and... Books

It's almost holiday time, and that means traveling for a lot of people. Since I'm leaving this weekend to go visit family for Thanksgiving, I thought I'd make a list of books for you guys that'll be perfect reads while you're flying, waiting in the airport, or hiding from relatives. If you're taking a car trip, check out the audiobook versions. Or, I guess, if you're fortunate enough to be able to read in the car, do that. I can't even look at Instagram without getting carsick.
So, without further ado, here's my list of perfect travel books that are lighthearted, page turning, or perfect escapes. I'll link to my reviews of each of the books so that you can read my full thoughts on each of the books.
Crying Laughing  by Lance Rubin I picked a lot of funny books for this list because they're my favorites to read while traveling. Even when books cross into difficult subject matter, the tone can keep a book perfectly poised as a light read. I lov…

The Reading, Writing, and Me Book Awards 2019

I read so many amazing books this year. Tons of debuts, tons of 2019 arrivals, but also ton of backlist books. I've made a list of my favorite books every year I've had the blog at the end of the year, and I always make the list full of superlatives, giving each book a specific award. I always struggle, though, with my top of 20-whatever list with not being able to honor backlist books that I didn't discover until this year. I want to scream about books I didn't know about when they were brand new, so this year we're going to do things a little differently. This year, for my named awards, I'm going to include both new and backlist books. The only rule is that I had to read them in 2019 or after the 2018 list came out. But I do want to honor this year specifically, so I will be taking ten books from this list and in the next week unveil my Top 10 of 2019. This will allow me to celebrate more books than ever. Carrying on from last year's tradition, I'm k…

What If It's Us

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (448 pages)
Overview: Ben and Arthur meet at the post office during a flashmob. Well, Arthur followed Ben into the post office because he thought he was and, and, just as they started talking, in true form with Arthur's New York fantasy, a flash mob erupted. When the boys and split up, Arthur loses his chance at connecting with Ben, but when he can't stop thinking about him, he explores ways to reconnect even in a city of a million empty faces like New York. Even if they can find each other, with Arthur going back to Georgia at the end of the summer, will it even be worth it? Overall: 4/5

Characters: 4.5 I'm not sure what to say about the characters. I liked them enough, but I didn't feel any real attachment to any of them. I liked the cast of friends, but they all lacked a certain weight that would give them a stronger sense of reality. My favorite relationship in the book was the friendship between Dylan and Ben.…

The Cheerleaders

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (372 pages)
Overview: Five years ago, five cheerleaders on the same high school squad died in three separate incidents, but how separate were they? That's what Monica wants to know. Her sister, Jen, was the last teen to die in the tragedy when she died by suicide, but Monica isn't convinced it was simply survivors guilt at play. She's also not convinced that Jack Canning was truly at fault for two girls murders or that the car accident that took the final two girls was really an accident. With an unlikely friend by her side, Monica sets out to dig up the truth about what really happened to those five girls even if it jeopardizes her own life. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved Monica's voice. Even though it's told in third person, her character really shined through. Despite making some poor choices and putting herself in dangerous situations, she does strive to do what she thinks will bring truth or justice. Ginny, a girl she connects…

Heroine

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis (417 pages) To Purchase From Your Local Bookstore (Affiliate Link)
TW: Depiction of opioid addiction 
Overview: Mickey has it all. She's on the best softball team in the county, she has a supportive best friend, and, even though her parents have recently gone through a divorce, they both want to support her. And then she and Carolina get into a car accident on the way home to watch Netflix and eat pizza, a regular Friday night. Mickey's leg is all but torn out of her body, and her hip has to be put together with screws. Carolina, the school's near famous pitcher, nearly destroys her arm. As the girls fight to be ready in time to play their senior softball season, Mickey falls down a dangerous road, slowly upping her intake of pain pills to get through the day and to quicken her pace through physical therapy. Even as she tells herself that it's just for softball, just for her team, just for her parents, as she gets further in and her dependency i…

Dumplin'

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (375 pages)
Overview: Willowdean "Dumplin'" is fat. It's something that she's come to accept about herself even after years of fad diets enforced by her mother and bullying at school. Aunt Lucy certainly helped with her self acceptance, and in cultivating her love of Dolly Parton, but Will is left rudderless after Lucy has a sudden heart attack. To reclaim a bit of confidence she'd lost, Will signs up for the Clover City Pageant. Though she's not the typical beauty queen, Will and her group of friends get to put their own stamp on her mother's beloved pageant. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 I like Willowdean. She lives in the place most of us do on the fine line between insecure and confident. Murphy does a great job building a crew of characters around Willowdean. It was fun to revisit the cast after I'd read Puddin', Murphy's forthcoming companion novel.

Plot: 4 While this book is mainly billed as being about a beaut…

Long Way Down

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (306 pages) Buy At Your Local Bookstore*
Overview: It's just one elevator ride. Just one elevator ride to the rest of Will's life. Eight floors takes so long when you're headed to kill someone. Even in revenge. Even for justice. Even when your brother was just murdered. It's even longer when every stop brings someone who's left your life back in. There's so much to learn before Will hits the lobby. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 Because of the atmosphere and the point of the story, we don't get super into the characters. They each represent a stop on a horrible cycle. It starts with Buck, Will's older brother, Shawn's, older brother figure. When Buck got killed, Shawn had to avenge his death, which got him killed. He also meets his Uncle Mark, an aspiring filmmaker who's death lead to Will's father's death because of the Rules. Each character doesn't exist to explore themselves or have their own motives- they…

Guest Post with Kristy Fairlamb

Today, I'm bringing you another guest post from an author! Kristy Fairlamb stopped by to talk about her top tips for writing and her writing process. Her novel, Lucid, recently came out. If you're interested in learning more or picking it up, check out my Indiebound link! (Affiliate Link).

Eight tips for writing a novel: Based on my vague understanding of the process after winging it and completing three manuscripts.  My first book, Lucid, has just been published, the sequel, Luminous, is mid-edits and the third, a standalone, is at the 2nddraft stage waiting until I’ve finished with the others. 
ONE:JUST WRITE I went to a writing class once and sat beside a lady who told me it was the sixth session she had attended. I asked what she was working on, she said nothing yet, she’s learning first.
I didn’t know how to write when I first started writing. I believe the best learning came after I’d written the first draft when I learnt everything I’d done wrong.
Don’t wait to write until yo…

Spotlight Review: All of This Is True: A Novel

All Of This Is True: A Novel by Lygia Day Peñaflor (May 15)
Overview: When bestselling author Fatima Ro's new book hits the shelves, of course her biggest (and best) fans are going to want to read it... until they realize its the thinly veiled story of the past few months of their lives complete with details that got their best friend Jonah beat into a coma. In the media frenzy that follows, the girls each take their turn at telling their own sides of the story. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Peñaflor has written quite the cast to fill her larger than life story, and they all play their roles perfectly. We probably get to know famed author Fatima Ro best, even though we never get to really see her side of the story beyond excerpts from her second novel. But the girls work together to shape the image of the young, intelligent, open minded author who welcomed them into their lives with accuracy. By the end of the novel, the reader realizes they would have fallen for Fatima's tricks too.