Book Review: The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

The Museum of Intangible ThingsTitle: The Museum of Intangible Things

Author: Wendy Wunder

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Publisher: Razor Bill

Publication Date: April 2014

Hardback: 292

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Borrowed from the library

Let’s start with a brief synopsis:

Loyalty. Envy. Obligation. Dreams. Disappointment. Fear. Negligence. Coping. Elation. Lust. Nature. Freedom. Heartbreak. Insouciance. Audacity. Gluttony. Belief. God. Karma. Knowing what you want (there is probably a French word for it). Saying Yes. Destiny. Truth. Devotion. Forgiveness. Life. Happiness (ever after).

Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them.

As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity, insouciancekarma, and even happiness.

What I thought:

Fair warning: This is not your typical YA road trip novel. I don’t want you to expect it to be something it’s not. I’m glad that I knew that it dealt A LOT with mental illness before I started, because it wasn’t what I expected from the cover and blurb, and I think I would have been a little taken aback at first when I found out.

This book was weird – it made me feel weird and the prose was weird. But I didn’t NOT like it, if that makes sense. I’m glad I read it and I flew through it pretty quickly.

It’s not a typical road trip that these two best friends have. Zoe is having one of her episodes that comes with being bi-polar. She is too amped up and with her mind focused on some very grandiose ideas, she feels she has to get away from her life and road trip across the country. Hannah is not getting what she wants out of life, so she decides to go with her best friend to both get away from her life and to protect Zoe. Their friendship was a little one-sided to me: Hannah cares deeply about Zoe and protects her constantly. But then it was strange because Hannah could tell that Zoe was spiraling but instead of doing something about it, she just says yes to everything Zoe wants to do even if it is dangerous and not a good idea. I just found myself wishing that what the characters decided to do was completely opposite from what they actually did. I don’t know if maybe that was the point, that they were doing the wrong things, but it was weird.

Then we have the characters themselves. I thought Zoe was fascinating. Well-developed, well-done, fun, real. I think that Wunder dealt with her mental illness in a realistic and serious way. I thought she was mesmerizing. You don’t really read that many books that deal with this, that have characters who have bi-polar disorder, so I really liked it because of that. I think her illness is what drives the story. But it was also really hard to read because of the subject matter, as I’m sure you can imagine. I just wanted her to get help, but she didn’t want it, and Hannah tries but gives up as soon as Zoe says no.

So… Hannah. She’s our narrator so we see everything from her point of view. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book where the narrator was so undeveloped. I’m not really sure how that happened. We get to know what is happening in her life, but Zoe is the focus so we don’t actually know Hannah. I thought she was too passive, too agreeable to Zoe’s foolish ideas. One of the characters that I genuinely loved was Zoe’s little brother, Noah. He’s a charming little boy with Asperger’s; this is where the museum of intangible things comes in: Zoe sets up a display for emotions like pride and sloth. I thought this was a uniquely creative idea and I enjoyed Noah’s character. Zoe continues to use this idea on her road trip with Hannah by teaching her new emotions she feels she needs to know so she can grow (like insouciance, or not giving a shit).

The writing style just wasn’t what I was expecting. I found myself really really enjoying it at times and then feeling strange about it other times. Let me give you a quote or two to show you some of the parts I loved:

She’s like a bullet just waiting for someone to pull a trigger. –Page 2

I’m not convinced she’s bipolar. I just think she’s more alive than the rest of us. –Page 9

The bottom line:

This book was weird. I liked it and I didn’t. I would recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary novels that are a little more serious or if you are interested in learning more about bi-polar disorder.

Rating: 6.5 – I really don’t know what to rate this.

Reading next: The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi

Top Ten Tuesday: Freebie – Books by British Authors Americans Should Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie! Pick your own topic!

So I spent a year living in Scotland pursuing my Master’s degree and while there I interned at several publishers and worked at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, so it’s safe to say that I read a lot of books. There are a bunch of British authors that I wish more Americans would read, and I thought it’d be awesome to use this freebie topic to showcase the Top Ten Books by British Authors I Wish More Americans Would Read. 🙂 A lot of them will probably be repeats from other TTTs, but that should show you how much I love them.

*All covers linked up to their corresponding Goodreads page.

1. Anything by Ian Rankin (start with The Falls if you want to try him, which I think everyone should)

The Falls

2. The Humans by Matt Haig (I’ve mentioned this book several times on my blog. READ IT!)

The Humans

3. Grow Up and Lolito by Ben Brooks


4. The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

The Universe versus Alex Woods

5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (I’ve mentioned this one a few times, too, but it’s beautiful and deserves the attention)

A Monster Calls

6. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman (This book is a retelling of the story of Christ. It was fascinating and unique; a quick read)

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

7. Laidlaw by William McIlvanney (okay, I’m sure a lot of people have read this, but maybe not so many people my age; this book has been cited by a lot of crime fiction authors as the foundation of crime fiction in the UK. Plus William McIlvanney is one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met)


8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

9. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

10. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (you know the story, but how many of you have actually read it?)

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde


Okay, he’s from New Zealand, but I read it while I was in Scotland: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison

the rosie project


Okay. So there are ten British books I think you should read. What did you do for TTT’s freebie topic? Link me to it below!

Book Review: Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig

Coin HeistTitle: Coin Heist

Author: Elisa Ludwig

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery

Publisher: Adaptive Studios

Publication Date: June 10, 2014

eBook: 225 pages

Stand alone or series: Standalone

How did I get this book: NetGalley

NOTE:I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Adaptive Studios for letting me read this.

This book is available as an eBook on Amazon HERE. It will be released on June 10th.

Let’s start with a brief synopsis:

The last place you’d expect to find a team of criminals is at a prestigious Philadelphia prep school. But on a class trip to the U.S. Mint – which prints a million new coins every 30 minutes – an overlooked security flaw becomes far too tempting for a small group of students to ignore.

United by dire circumstances, these unlikely allies – the slacker, the nerd, the athlete, and the “perfect” student – band together to attempt the impossible: rob the U.S. Mint. The diverse crew is forced to confront their true beliefs about each other and themselves as they do the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Elisa Ludwig’s Coin Heist is a fun, suspenseful, and compelling thriller, told from the revolving perspectives of four teens, each with their own motive for committing a crime that could change all of their lives for the better—if they can pull it off.

What I thought:

The Netgalley page for this title promised this book was “The Breakfast Club meets Ocean’s Eleven”, which is why I requested it. I LOVE both of those movies, so a book that was a combination of both? Sign me up!

Other than the fact that Coin Heist mentions Ocean’s Twelve at one point, I wouldn’t say this book is anything like it. I was bored throughout the whole thing. Honestly, the only reason I finished it was because I kind of felt obligated to as I received it for free.

Alice, Jason, Benny, and Dakota are four kids who go to the same private high school but they aren’t friends. They run in different circles, but after the school loses most of its money, they team up to rob a US mint. The novel switches between each of their perspectives with every chapter; I know this was an attempt to hear the story from these characters’ points of view and to find out why they were agreeing to do something like this, but none of the voices were unique. Each chapter felt like it was being told by the same character. When I read a book that changes perspectives, I expect to be able to know which character is narrating without the author having to tell me. I couldn’t tell in this book. Their voices were not original or unique, which made for a pretty bland experience for me. None of their emotions were true and I couldn’t relate to them at all. Their emotions were all flat and were described kind of clinically, and I just didn’t feel any of them. I could tell that the author tried to make them distinctive occasionally: Alice is the brain and a few times she comments on what’s happening through “social math” (describing life events and situations through math); Benny is Hispanic and once or twice he uses a Spanish word in his inner monologue instead of an English one. But neither of these things happened enough. Benny only does this about two times in the whole novel, and Alice’s “social math” isn’t really explained or used enough to make sense. I think that if these had been expanded upon, it could have made their voices really unique.

And then there’s the plot. Wait, what plot? This book is about a coin heist, right? Nothing actually happens until more than 75% of the way through! I was just bored. I will say that it was a really light read and I read it really quickly, so that was a plus. But other than that, I didn’t like this book. I thought the idea behind the book was super cool, and I was excited for it, but it just didn’t live up.

The bottom line:

This book was bland and boring, and it was pretty close to being a DNF for me several times. The characters’ perspectives were not distinct and the plot was practically non-existent.

Rating:  3 – Horrible; why am I reading this?

Reading next: The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder


Book review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

AttachmentsTitle: Attachments

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Contemporary, romance, comedy

Publisher: Dutton

Publication Date: April 2011

Hardback: 323

Stand alone or series: Standalone

How did I get this book: Borrowed from the library

This is the first book by Rainbow Rowell that I have read. I’ve heard A LOT about her and have wanted to try one of her books for a while. I was not disappointed.

Let’s start with a brief synopsis:

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . ”

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

What I thought:

I fell in love with this book the way I think you fall in love in real life (I don’t know for sure as I’ve never been in love), slowly, sweetly and uncontrollably until you realize you’re head over heels and gone forever. I don’t know if this actually makes sense.

Attachments begins in 1999 right before Y2K and during all of the madness leading up to that; you guys remember Y2K? It was so crazy. At The Courier, a small newspaper in Omaha, they are finally getting the internet and email, but the higher ups are worried about their employees not doing their jobs and wasting time online. So they hire Lincoln to monitor read their email. He hates his job and feels kind of like a Peeping Tom, but through it he finds Beth, a movie critic for the newspaper whose emails with her friend Jennifer are constantly being flagged by the internet software for their conversations about life, love, and stupid weddings. While reading their emails, Lincoln begins to fall in love with Beth, her humor, quirkiness, kindness. This romance was sweet, but decidedly creepy for me. I just imagined having someone I’ve never met reading my personal emails with my best friend (you know, if I was Beth) and having them fall in love with me. Okay, it’s sweet because he doesn’t actually know what Beth looks like and he still loves her, but wouldn’t that be a little weird?

The novel is written in a mix of chapters in Lincoln’s POV and chapters written entirely in the increasingly personal emails between Beth and Jennifer, a copyeditor at the newspaper. I seriously loved this modernized take on an epistolary novel (at least that’s what it made me think of). I also appreciated getting to know Beth and Jennifer through Lincoln’s eyes; it was easy to see what Lincoln liked about Beth: her conversations with Jennifer made me laugh out loud several times and they charmed me like they charmed Lincoln. But reading their emails while not actually getting any chapters from their perspective made you feel how Lincoln felt: a little creepy, like you’re peeking through a window at their private lives. I think this was a smart choice on Rowell’s part as you really relate to Lincoln this way.

I thought that Lincoln was funny and charismatic and charming and kind. He was a great character and I was rooting for him the whole time. He’s real and relatable. Sometimes though I just wanted to kick him in the butt: get up, go out, quit your job, do SOMETHING. I wanted him to change his life so that he could finally be happy. I was excited for him when he started doing things for himself like moving out of his mother’s house, making new friends, getting over his past. I thought his growth, while slow, was so real. He was still Lincoln at the end but he’d finally become his own person and was moving forward with his life. I loved that.

This book is open and honest, and I found myself engaged with the story right from the beginning. The dialogue is fantastic, especially between Beth and Jennifer; it’s delightful, funny, witty, and smart. I won’t give anything away, but I will say that I both liked and felt creeped out by the ending. However, the ending happened a little too quickly for me, I think. I was happy with the overall outcome because I was rooting for the romance, but I imagined myself in that situation and it was just weird. Weird in a good way? I don’t know. It happened very fast. Attachments is a really fun book but with serious moments and well-rounded, full characters.

The bottom line:

I was not disappointed with my first Rainbow Rowell book. I was engaged with the story and characters right from the beginning. Lincoln had me on his side the whole time and I was rooting for him when he began to develop. I will say I was a little creeped out some of the time, but I think that’s the way you’re supposed to feel. The ending was a little too quick for me, but this book is cute.

Rating: 8 – Freaking fantastic

Reading next: Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig

Life of a Blogger: 101 things I hate

Life of a Blogger is a weekly meme hosted by the bookish blog Novel Heartbeat. The meme is a way for bloggers to talk about non-bookish topics and get to know one another!

Life of a Blogger

Last week’s theme was 101 things I love. This week it’s 101 things I hate, but I try not to be that extreme with things, so I’m going to go with 101 things I seriously dislike. 🙂

Like last week, I’m just going to list them in the order they come to me, so they haven’t been prioritized or anything.

  1. When People Capitalize Every Letter In A Sentence
  2. People who have to one-up you
  3. Standard, generic rejection letters
  4. People who are rude for no reason
  5. Hot weather (I mean, like excessively hot. I live in MS. It’s too hot here)
  6. Racism
  7. Cherry flavored things
  8. Oranges
  9. Mayo
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Coconut
  12. HAMBURGERS/ground beef (I haven’t had a hamburger in approximately 7 years)
  13. Being a picky eater
  14. Hot tea (I’m a coffee drinker. My British friends are going to disown me)
  15. Not having a job
  16. Not being able to fly back to Scotland whenever I want
  17. Not being able to buy all of the books I want
  18. Applying for jobs
  19. Broken spines on books
  20. Dogeared pages in books
  21. The smell of cigarettes
  22. The smell of freshly cut grass
  23. Slow drivers
  24. Idiotic drivers
  25. People who get right on your bumper when you’re already over the speed limit
  26. Reality TV
  27. Being sick
  28. People who make plans and wait until the last minute to cancel
  29. Country music
  30. Buffering YouTube videos
  31. Sonic commercials (they are SO stupid)
  32. Bees/wasps/buzzing bugs
  33. Backseat drivers
  34. Scary movies based on true events
  35. When people are late
  36. When people use your when they meant you’re (also its/it’s and all those others)
  37. Bad grammar
  38. Bad punctuation
  39. Bad spelling
  40. Finding any/all of the previous three in a PUBLISHED book
  41. Waiting
  42. Texting to figure out a plan
  43. Constantly being interrupted while I’m reading (it’s obvious I don’t want to talk to you)
  44. Chapped lips
  45. When my nail polish chips
  46. Dr. Pepper
  47. Pepsi
  48. Mountain Dew
  49. Organic foods being so expensive
  50. Mumblers
  51. Finding hair in the drain
  52. Finding hair on my stuff (it’s obviously not mine)
  53. Finding hair in my food (DEFINITELY NOT MINE! EWW!)
  54. Finding hair on me (I think I got pretty lucky. Haha)
  55. Hairy chests
  56. Mannequins
  57. MANNEQUINS (purposely included them twice; I hate them that much. Especially the Old Navy ones)
  58. The Snuggy bear (that thing will eat you in your sleep)
  59. Dolls that come to life in movies
  60. Ignorance
  61. Second guessing myself
  62. Being scared to do something
  63. TV shows that promote idiotic behavior (16 and Pregnant, that stupid Mac Miller show, etc.)
  64. Cold showers
  65. Cheaters (in any area of life)
  66. Leggings as pants
  67. Wine
  68. Cold feet
  69. Feet
  70. Drunk drivers
  71. Waiting for Sherlock to come back
  72. People telling me they don’t read/don’t like to read (what do you do with your life?!)
  73. People who don’t have any books in their house (again, what do you do with your life?!)
  74. Tweets/Facebook posts/Instagram posts/etc. that just ask for likes or RTs
  75. The fact that no bands come near me for shows (I have to drive several hours for most shows)
  76. The fact that I live in MS
  77. Failing
  78. Feeling like I’ve failed
  79. Depression
  80. Knowing what I’m feeling is silly and not being able to change it
  81. Not being able to get a new tattoo
  82. Taylor Swift
  83. Coldplay
  84. Allergies
  85. Pollen
  86. Pretentious people
  88. The “YOLO” mindset
  89. The hipster mindset (I don’t necessarily have a problem with hipsters, just the way they get all upset when bands they supposedly like start getting recognition. You know what I mean?)
  90. Not being able to read all the books I want to read RIGHT NOW
  91. Whiny children
  92. The Miami Heat
  93. LeBron James
  94. Arrogance
  95. Inconsiderate people
  96. When people can’t put things back where they got them
  97. Tyler Perry movies
  98. Rape culture
  99. “Bald people are ugly/manly” jokes in movies/TV shows
  100. The fact I hold all my stress in the middle of my back
  101. Stress/anxiety

Geez! This was really hard, but it was pretty fun, too! It felt like letting something off my chest. What are some things that just get on your LAST. NERVE?

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys

Title: The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Supernatural/Paranormal

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication Date: September 2012

Paperback: 408

Stand alone or series: Start of a series

How did I get this book: Bought


Let’s start with a brief synopsis (from Goodreads):

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

What I thought:

It took me about 30-40 pages for me to get into this book, but once I did, I was hooked. I couldn’t read this book quickly, like I usually do, but it wasn’t because it was hard to read. It was because the prose made you slow down to savor the words and feel the magic surrounding them.

The Raven Boys is just gorgeous. There were several times that I got goosebumps because I could actually feel the magic in the book. The prose was absolutely beautiful. Let me give you a couple examples of this:

“This was a beautiful, old wood, all massive oak and ash trees finding footing among great slabs of cracked stone. Ferns sprang from rocks and verdant moss grew up the sides of the tree trucks. The air itself was scented with green and growing and water. The light was golden through the leaves. Everything was alive, alive.” – page 219

“The air moved slowly around his body, somehow tangible, gold-flaked, every dust mote a lantern.” –I’ve lost the page for this! L

“When Adam got to Cabeswater, it felt like a living being. The wind through the leaves was like the bellows of an exhaled breath and the hiss of the rain on the canopy like a sucked-in sigh.” – page 381

Asdfjkl; – so pretty! Safe to say I was captivated with the prose and it drew me in and wrapped around me like a warm blanket.

As for the characters: I loved them all! Stiefvater has a way of writing each of the characters so carefully that each of them feels developed even if they aren’t central to the story. Blue was fascinating: the daughter of a psychic who doesn’t have the abilities of the rest of her family, but amplifies the abilities of those who do. She was different and strange and wonderful. I found myself wanting to go on these adventures with the Raven Boys, and I was glad to put myself in Blue’s shoes to do so. And the Raven Boys – oh, man. They had such an air about them. They were real, quirky, relatable, sarcastic, and I loved them. Even Ronan.

The story was so unique and interesting, unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Maggie Stiefvater is a master storyteller, and I was very excited to read another book by her (I loved her Wolves of Mercy Falls series). I liked that though the romance was central to the summary, it was more like an underlying theme throughout the book. It was there, but it wasn’t being thrown at you. It made it more beautiful that way.

I will say that the book is one of those smoldering, slow to burn novels. It never feels boring or sluggish though. It’s just not going to give away its secrets all at once. This may bother some people, but I really enjoyed it. It felt even more powerful because of that. But it does take a bit to get into the story and might make it seem confusing at time because there is just so much happening.

Also, I won’t give anything away, but that last line?! I literally said “What?” out loud about ten times when I finished. You can ask my family. They were just staring at me, but they’re so used to outbursts like this that they just let it go. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.

The bottom line:

Magical, beautiful, smoldering, lovely. All words to describe this book. You can feel the magic in the narrative coming off of the book’s pages.

Rating: 9 – Practically perfect

Reading next: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell


Have you read The Raven Boys? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Bout of Books – Wrap up!

So I’m sure you noticed this past week I participated in Bout of Books, especially if you follow me on Twitter.

I had a blast! Though I didn’t reach my book goal because I was/still am sick, I thought I did pretty well anyway.

Here’s my wrap-up.

Books I read (these are all linked to my reviews):

  1. Gone by Michael Grant (558 pages)
  2. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (449 pages)
  3. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (308 pages)
  4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (234 pages)
  5. And I read half of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (I read 212 pages of 408)

I read a total of 1,761 pages! My goal was to read five books and post five reviews. I read 4.5 of 5, so that’s not too shabby. I also posted 4 of 5 reviews.

Challenges I participated in:

  1. Books I’m Looking Forward to
  2. Spell It Out
  3. Rainbow of Books

My goal was participate in at least two challenges, so I definitely met that goal. These challenges were really fun! I loved digging through my bookshelf to find all the colors of the rainbow and to spell out TARDIS with the first letter of titles!

Twitter chats:

I participated in the Saturday Bout of Books challenge on Twitters. I found some new, amazing book blogs/BookTube channels to follow, which is awesome! Here’s my favorite tweet (this was in response to what is your favorite mythical creature):

So funny. The Twitter chat was really fun, so I’m definitely glad I participated in it.

The bottom line:

Overall, I had a really great Bout of Books. I was sinusy sick for most of it, which sucked because I had a sinus headache pretty much the whole time I was reading. I’m really glad I participated in the readathon and I can’t wait for the next one! Did you participate in Bout of Books? Link me up to your wrap up post/video so I can see what you read!


Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay

Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Genre: Paranormal, young adult, romance

Publisher: Speak

Publication Date:

Paperback: 234

Stand alone or series: First in a series

How did I get this book: Borrowed


Let’s start with a brief synopsis (from the back cover):

On a day that started like any other…

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left—the most important decision she’ll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

What I thought:


Is that enough? Can I be done?

No? Okay, I’ll try to put into words how I feel.

I did not emotionally connect with this book. At all. There was one scene close to the middle that made me pretty sad, but mostly because I imagined what it would be like if that happened to me. I don’t want to give anything away, but I have a younger brother too, so I could relate. But I didn’t feel anything because the narrative made me feel that way, but rather because I could imagine it for myself.

Everything I read or heard about this book made it seem like I was going to cry and be devastated and that I would remember/be thinking about this book for a long time after I’d done reading it. In fact, the back cover quotes the Sacramento Bee as saying, “Long after its last moment, readers may find themselves dwelling on how the story resonates in their own lives.” Honestly, I doubt I’ll think about this book after I finish this review.

The “romance” in this novel is non-existent, at least to me, until the last 5 pages. The relationship has been having problems since the beginning; Mia actually says that. She says that her relationship with Adam started off rocky and that the last several months of their relationship has been problematic as well because they’ve been moving in different directions in life. Mia says that the middle of the relationship was wonderful; they were in love, blah blah blah. But the reader doesn’t actually see that.

Everything that the reader is supposed to feel in this novel is, I guess, implied, but even Mia doesn’t feel anything. In the state she’s in, she doesn’t feel: not the physical pain of her injuries nor the emotional pain of the tragedy that’s occurred. How in the world are WE supposed to feel anything if she doesn’t?? Seriously. I don’t get it. Also, you can’t tell me I’m supposed to be sad. You have to show me, you have to make me feel it through the narrative. I just didn’t, and, therefore, I didn’t connect.

I will say that If I Stay was an easy read. I read it quite quickly. For some reason I can’t actually explain, I will probably read the sequel. I guess it’s mostly because I’m curious. And because I know it’ll probably be as quick a read as this one was. The writing style was easy and simple, which was nice.

I honestly don’t know if maybe I just read this at the wrong time. Maybe after the other books I read this week, this one just didn’t live up to those or something. I do think this book was overrated, and that my opinion might have suffered from the hype surrounding it. It was not “devastating” as the synopsis said. Sad, sure, but only because of the subject matter and not from the way it made me feel. I was just kind of bored with it, to be honest.

The bottom line:

I couldn’t connect with this book. And if I can’t connect with it, I’m not going to like it.

Rating: 4 – Eh. This is bad.

Reading next: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Book Review: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

This was my third Bout of Books book! 🙂

The Eye of Minds


Title: The Eye of Minds

Author: James Dashner

Genre: Sci-fi, YA

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: October 2008

Hardback: 308

Stand alone or series: First in a series

How did I get this book: Bought


Let’s start with a brief synopsis (from Goodreads):

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

What I thought:

Okay, so I was kind of disappointed in this book, and because I am trying to finish/read most of If I Stay today, I’m going to make this review quick.

As you might have seen, I was a HUGE fan of Dashner’s Maze Runner series (you can read my review HERE), so I had been looking forward to reading this ever since I finished that.

I just don’t really know what to say about this book.

I REALLY liked the idea behind it, and I like the fact that Dashner just throws you into the world in each of his books. I think that’s cool because you are immersed in the story right away. Just like in TMR, the world is super interesting: you’ve got this VirtNet, which is a seriously fascinating virtual reality in which you can pretty much play whatever you want. You can play generic (in that we have so many of them already) games like shoot-em-up games, but then there’s Lifeblood, which is pretty much just playing life – you do what you do in the real world: get your hair cut, go out to eat, go to the park. At first I was like “what the heck is the point of this?” but then I realized if there was a game like this in our world, people would actually play this. Dashner’s got all the new tech/slang words like in TMR: the Coffin is what you lay in to Sink into the Virtnet; you go through a Portal to Lift yourself into the Wake (real life). I love that. I love being able to see this new world so clearly.

But then the world wasn’t really developed. At least, not the Wake, the real world outside of the VirtNet. Dashner makes it seem like the outside world is kind of screwed up, but there’s practically NOTHING about it. Michael, our main character, goes to school one day, but we don’t really get any descriptions (which I suppose makes sense in the end). I’m hoping that we get more of it in the subsequent novels, much like we did in the TMR series.

Also, I’m sorry to keep comparing it to that, but that’s what I was doing as I read it. Maybe that wasn’t fair, but this is the same author, right? I am surprised that this is what came AFTER TMR. This book seems less polished and well-done as TMR. It definitely felt like this was a less experienced Dashner, which doesn’t make sense. The writing style felt…well, clunky. There was a lot of repetition or sentences that didn’t need to be there.

Honestly, I hate this, but I just couldn’t care less about the characters. Michael is our main character, and I couldn’t get involved with him. I actually ended up like the secondary characters, Bryson and Sarah, more than Michael. And I didn’t even really care about them either. As I was reading, I was just thinking how much more I should have been involved with their emotions/plight. But I couldn’t. I didn’t relate to them at all. This sucks because I really did want to like them and care about them. The plot and what was happening to them was so interesting, but they weren’t. However, I did enjoy their sarcasm and they made me laugh a few times, which was good. And I will say part of the reason I want to read the next book is to find out what happened to Bryson and Sarah, so that’s something.

I do want to say though that I really loved the end. I wasn’t surprised with the twist we had in the middle of the book; I had actually predicted that one. But I can’t believe I didn’t see the end coming. It was perfect, such a good idea. I thought it wrapped up well and paved the way for the next book. Because of the ideas in the book and the ending, I know that I will buy the next book when it comes out this fall.

The bottom line:

Really interesting and cool ideas for the plot and world in which the novel is based. Not so great characters; I didn’t really care about them the way I wanted to. I’m kind of brokenhearted that I didn’t love this like I was hoping to. I do recommend reading it though and I will buy the next book when it comes out.

Rating: 6.5 – first time I’ve given a half point, but it wasn’t quite a 7 but wasn’t a 6 either.

Reading next: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Life of a Blogger: 101 things I love

Life of a Blogger is a weekly meme hosted by the bookish blog Novel Heartbeat. The meme is a way for bloggers to talk about non-bookish topics and get to know one another!

Normally you upload your post on Thursday, but I just found this meme (and it says you can upload it whenever you want). I thought this would be a fun way to talk about some things other than books. And I’m only a day late. This seemed like a fun challenge to come up with 101 things that I love.

I’m just going to list the things as they come to mind, so they’re in no particular order. Here we go:

  1. Coffee
  2. Books. Obviously.
  3. Burt’s Bees chapstick
  4. Mismatched socks
  5. My family
  6. Going to concerts
  7. Going to the movie theater
  8. Band t-shirts
  9. Blogging
  10. Talking about books
  11. Music (I have wide ranging tastes in music: post-hardcore, indie, pop punk, pop, oldies, some rap. No country)
  12. Lists
  13. Ampersands
  14. Tattoos
  15. Fall weather
  16. Coffee mugs
  17. Cheese
  18. Edinburgh, Scotland
  19. TARDIS-es (is that the plural? Or is it TARDI? Lol)
  20. Meeting authors and getting books signed
  21. Painting
  22. Superhero movies
  23. The fresh smell after it rains
  24. Making people laugh
  25. Tom and Jerry
  26. Bookish people
  27. Caddy Shack Peace Tea
  28. The sound of the coffee pot percolating
  29. Train rides by yourself
  30. The Neighbourhood
  31. Arrows
  32. Babies falling asleep on your chest
  33. The smell of freshly baked bread
  34. The smell of gasoline
  35. YouTubers
  36. Traveling
  37. Mangoes
  38. Converse
  39. Vans (I love both)
  40. Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch Ben & Jerry’s
  41. The color green
  42. Getting into bed after a long day
  43. Hot showers
  44. Big sweatshirts
  45. The Chicago Bulls
  46. Long drives alone
  47. Long drives with friends
  48. Meryl Streep
  49. Candles
  50. Things with mustaches
  51. Shooting hoops
  52. Killing zombies with my brother (CoD)
  53. Getting mail
  54. Painting my nails
  55. Meeting new people
  56. Oreos
  57. Walking/running
  58. Freckles
  59. Puppies
  60. Having no hair (yes, I love it. So many advantages)
  61. Random (but appreciated) encouragement from friends (Alex, I’m looking at you, kid)
  62. Sharpies
  63. Bagels with cream cheese
  64. Hugs
  65. AP Magazine
  66. Laughing
  67. Apple juice
  68. Harry Potter
  69. Ian Rankin
  70. Mississippi University for Women
  71. Mean Girls (the movie, not bitches)
  72. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  73. Pillows
  74. Dreamcatchers
  75. The sound of the tattoo gun
  76. Being crafty
  77. Crunchy Cheetos
  78. Dylan O’Brien
  79. Bates Motel
  80. Unique marketing campaigns (I’m a dork, I know)
  81. Learning new skills
  82. Villains (like Ben Linus in Lost. I LOVE him!)
  83. Loki
  84. Mythology
  85. Cheesy potato soup made by my mom
  86. Donnie Darko
  87. Twenty One Pilots
  88. Owls
  89. When authors favorite your tweets
  90. Getting new CD’s (yes, I prefer actual discs)
  91. Gary Oldman
  92. The warmth of a comforter right out of the dryer
  93. Waking up early (I’m a morning person)
  94. Losing yourself in a good book
  95. Edinburgh Castle
  96. Nando’s
  97. Psychological thriller movies
  98. Disney movies
  99. The song Weightless by All Time Low
  100. The number 8
  101. Being myself

Wow! This was harder than I thought it was going to be. What things would be on your list?