Monday, December 28, 2015

Somewhere in Between

by Katie Li

Summary from GoodReads

Two friends find a portal to another dimension and use this “in-between place” to avoid the stress of their everyday lives. What they don’t realize is that every time they enter, they alter reality.

Pseudo-punk Magnolia and underachieving gamer-geek Rom are two unlikely friends who only hang out during their walks home together after school. When they find the a portal that leads to different worlds, they use the “in-between place” as an escape from their lives in high school, then later, after college. 

Their visits through the portal bring them teetering along a tight-rope of fantasy and reality, where they don't always believe what is in front of them, not even their feelings for each other. 

The book is about changes—the ones that you can control, and the ones that you can’t. It’s about commitment and friendship. It’s about the stages in between where you have nothing but the unknown ahead of you.

Inspired by the work of Haruki Murakami and films like Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind, Somewhere In Between is metaphysical coming-of-age story about defining love and finding yourself.

Thoughts on the Book

I received this book from NetGalley, I loved the cover and the premise sounded very interesting.

My Review

This book had a lot of jumping between the present - the reunion of Magnolia and Rom, and the past - when Magnolia and Rom first started to become friends.

I half loved this book and half was annoyed by it.  The jumping back and forth got very confusing, but that could have just been the formatting of the ebook.  The end bugged me though, I might need to reread it, I can't figure out exactly what happened, what was real and what wasn't, and at what point in their lives are these two?  But that could be the entire point of the story.

Magnolia was a very weak and insecure person, while at the same time she was fantastically unique, smart, and fun.  In trying avoid dealing with people she ended up ingraining herself with a bad group of people and she wasn't able to extricate herself from them.  Rom on the other hand was unforgivably himself even though he tended to be very shy.  He never tried to change himself for other people for any reason, either people appreciated who he was and were his friends, or they didn't and he didn't spare them a second thought.

I loved the story of the two friends despite the jumpy way it was told.  The end, when both fought their demons and realized exactly what they meant to each other was fantastic.  I love how Magnolia was back in the past of the day that she made the biggest mistake of her life, while Rom's was in the present debating whether or not he should make the biggest mistake of his life.

I give this a 8/10.  I loved it, but it was somewhat difficult to read and the ending was half awesome and half "so what happened?".

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Clockwork Orange

by Anthony Burgess

Summary from GoodReads

A vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick's magnificent film of the same title.

In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to "redeem" him—the novel asks, "At what cost?"

This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked".

Thoughts on the Book

I've been wanting to read this one for a while.  I've heard nothing but good/crazy things about the movie, and I have a firm policy of book before movie, since 99.99999998% of the time the book is far better.  My friend recently read it, which rekindled my desire to read it, so he lent it to me and I immediately dove in not knowing what to expect from it at all other than amazingness.  Well, and a warning that the beginning is rough to get through due to the slang.

My Review

This book is about a teenager, Alex, who lives in a dismal future world where he is a victim of society.

The beginning was difficult to get through, both the slang and the subject matter.  Alex is painted right away as a character that you cannot like.  He thrills in beating up old men and gang raping women, not to mention mugging everyone in between.  That is all the first third of the book.  Once you finally get through that he's in prison and then being brainwashed, then the final third of the book is him struggling against his instincts and the effects of being brainwashed as well as getting his comeuppance, which does not teach him a single thing.  The last chapter, which was removed from the original US printing redeemed the entire story for me.  This last part was also left out of the movie.

There were no characters that I enjoyed reading about, Alex was awful, as were his droogs.  The only one that was even remotely okay was Pete, only because he mostly hung back in the first third of the book and when he made his reappearance in the last chapter he was extremely likeable.  Of the other two Georgie was awful, and got what he deserved, and Dim was the absolute worst and unfortunately the last we see of him he's happy as can be fully abusing his power.  As for other characters, when F. Alexander returned I thought he would be the one character I could like, but sadly he was quickly revealed to be an awful person, but he at least had cause for it.  His friends however were even worse.

The story is very bleak, especially without the last chapter which offers a glimmer of hope for the future.  This book isn't the greatest of stories, it's more of a anecdote of the time in which it was written.  For me A Clockwork Orange is another one of those books that people love and clamor about that I just don't get, like A Catcher in the Rye.  Granted, I did like this one far better than the latter.

Overall I give this a 7/10.  It was a good story, and as I've said the last chapter is why, I can't fathom why the New York publishers didn't want to print it, the rest of the world did!  Now I have to watch the movie, maybe then I'll understand some of the hype around it...

Friday, December 4, 2015


by Marissa Meyer

Summary from GoodReads

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Thoughts on the Book

This book made an appearance as a Waiting on Wednesday.  I read Cinder back when it was first published, and I've been hooked to the series ever since.  I remember when Cress came out we had a bad snow storm, and I had to force myself to put the book down so I could shovel.  Fortunately Winter didn't come out in February, so I didn't have to worry about shoveling snow, just raking leaves.

My Review

This book continues shortly after where Cress leaves off, but with no major developments to the story.  Everyone is still in the Rampion plotting except for Scarlet who's making friends with a wolf.

This book really introduced a new character, Winter, who was pretty awesome.  She was so smart and intuitive and really played up her lunar sickness to make herself seem pathetic and unremarkable.  We got to see a lot of returning characters as well.  Thorne was as awesome as always, as were Cinder, Iko, Scarlet, and Kai.  We got to learn a lot more about other characters like Jacin and Wolf as well as see Cress really grow - be heroic.

Reading this book I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  Some authors it's obvious they won't be killing anyone off, other authors you know no one is safe.  But with Meyer, she wasn't shy of killing characters, so you just didn't know who would survive.  Some characters were obvious she wouldn't be killing, but others, there was no coming back from what was done to them, so how could they all have a happy ending?

The ending was perfect for the series, as epic and amazing as the previous books.  Meyer did a fantastic job of tying everything together while leaving plenty of unknowns to ponder and imagine the conclusions.  I would love to read a novella that takes place years later just to see where everyone ended up and what exactly happened with everything in the works.

I give this a 10/10.  I absolutely loved this book!  What a fantastic conclusion to the series!  Pretty sure the Lunar Chronicles just made it into my top 5 favorite series ever written.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday [27]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating

This week I am waiting on Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (May 31, 2016)

Summary from GoodReads

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.

Why I'm Waiting

Illuminae was so amazing, I'm banking on that anything by Kristoff would be at least half as good, which would still be an awesome read.  Not to mention it just sounds amazing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday [26]

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that allows bloggers to share their top ten lists for that week’s topics

Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels I'm Looking Forward To

1 - Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira - January 12, 2016

2 - The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright - January 18, 2016

3 - The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry - January 26, 2016

4 - Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto - February 2, 2016

5 - The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig - Febrary 16, 2016

6 - The Smell of Other People's Houses  by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock - February 23, 2016

7 - After the Woods by Kim Savage - February 23, 2016

8 - Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie - March 1, 2016

9 - Unicorn Tracks by Julie Ember - April 21, 2016

10 - Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh - September 2016