Reading

The Great Godden – Meg Rosoff | A Book Review

The Great Godden - Meg Rosoff

Title: The Great Godden

Author: Meg Rosoff

Genre: Contemporary (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s about a family who spends the summer at a holiday house by the sea. When the Godden brothers in Kit and Hugo arrive, everything changes. This coming of age novel explores the loss of innocence.

I received an advanced reader copy from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The cover is interesting and drew me in. I remember reading the premise and wondering what would happen. It starts off slow, establishing the setting and introducing the different family members.

Characters: Even though the story is told from the narrator’s point of view, they are never identified by name or gender. This was an interesting choice by the author that added another layer to the story in my opinion.

The narrator’s family includes their parents, Mattie, Tamsin, and Alex who each have individual interests. I was intrigued by the two brothers who are two complete opposites: Kit is sexy, Hugo is surly.

Quote:

“After all, most of getting something is really wanting it.”

Writing: The simple writing and short chapters make it an easy read at less than 200 pages. I felt like the story focuses more on the characters than the plot, especially in the beginning. Not a lot happens at first and then everything changes all at once.

Final thoughts: The ending was quick and unexpected. I wouldn’t have minded if the author spent more time exploring the effects of the event on everyone. If you enjoy a coming of age novel about relationships and romance, consider picking up The Great Godden.


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Reading

Everything I Thought I Knew – Shannon Takaoka | A Book Review

Everything I Thought I Knew - Shannon Takaoka

Title: Everything I Thought I Knew

Author: Shannon Takaoka

Genre: Contemporary (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s a standalone novel that follows seventeen-year-old Chloe who gets a heart transplant. She finds herself stuck in summer school and wanting to surf. Chloe also begins to have the same recurring nightmare about crashing a motorcycle in a tunnel. She remembers memories that aren’t her own, which makes her question everything she thought she knew.

I received an advanced reader copy from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The cover is beautiful. I was intrigued by the premise because I haven’t read anything quite like it. I found myself getting more and more interested in the story.

Characters: Chloe is a likeable and relatable teenager. She faces many challenges after getting a new heart. I enjoyed her character development as well as her interactions with family members and friends.

Quote:

“Live your life for you without the burden of also living your life for someone else.”

Writing: It’s a little over 300 pages long. The story is mainly told in Chloe’s point of view. I liked that the author included chapter titles.

Final thoughts: I wasn’t sure how the novel was going to end, so the ending took me by surprise. There were some twists and turns I didn’t see coming. I highly recommend Everything I Thought I Knew for fans of realistic young adult novels about life and love.


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Reading

You Must Not Miss – Katrina Leno | A Book Review

You Must Not Miss - Katrina Leno

Title: You Must Not Miss

Author: Katrina Leno

Genre: Young Adult

About the book: It’s a standalone novel about a teenager named Magpie Lewis who creates a world called Near that comes to life.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The premise sounded interesting. I like the title, cover, and chapter titles.

I didn’t quite know what I was getting into, but the beginning does a good job in setting up the rest of the novel.

Characters: Magpie could be considered an anti-hero. I’m all for anti-heroes, and I felt like she was more relatable than likeable. She is a teen who has been wronged by everyone around her and wants to get revenge.

I kept reading Magpie as Maggie, but I appreciate more uncommon or unique names, especially if they have a special meaning to the story. It took me a while to warm up to her. I didn’t connect with Magpie right away. By the end, I finally understood where her anger came from.

I’m a fan of the diversity with transgender and bisexual characters.

Quote:

“Everybody has a reason to want to change their lives.”

Writing: Leno doesn’t hold back. She explores a lot of important issues. There is also mention of sexual assault. There’s a bit of romance but not too much.

Final thoughts: The ending is weird in a good way. I’m still not sure what to make of it.

The novel isn’t for everyone, but if you love anti-heroes seeking revenge in a contemporary setting with fantastical elements, don’t miss You Must Not Miss.


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Reading

Those Girls – Lauren Saft | A Book Review

Those Girls - Lauren Saft

Title: Those Girls

Author: Lauren Saft

Genre: Young Adult

About the book: It’s a standalone debut novel.

First impressions: The premise of three girls making their way through high school seemed promising. It had potential to explore both platonic and romantic relationships. I think I went in expecting more depth, but even the beginning left me a bit disappointed. Then again, I didn’t expect the novel to cover such mature themes.

Characters: Alex, Mollie, and Veronica are so flawed I didn’t care much for them. Of the three, I liked Alex the most. The characters seem to be extreme, exaggerated versions of people in real life, and their actions felt too unrealistic. The girls are toxic and terrible to each other. I’m not sure how they’re even friends. For me, the book lacked character development.

Quote:

“You don’t do this for them; you do it for you.”

Writing: There’s a lot of eye-rolling from various characters. Some of the lines made me want to roll my eyes. The writing could’ve been better. Also, these girls swear a lot. I feel the author could’ve scaled back on the swearing, and it wouldn’t have affected the story.

Final thoughts: For better or worse, I found the novel nothing like my own high school experience. It might have been better off spending more time on real friendships rather than romantic relationships.

These Girls is a short read, but it’s not for everyone.


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Reading

Game’s End – Natasha Deen | A Book Review

Game's End - Natasha Deen

Title: Game’s End

Author: Natasha Deen

Genre: YA Paranormal

About the book: The third novel in a trilogy. I received a copy through the Goodreads giveaway program.

First impressions: It took me time to get into the story’s world. I haven’t read the first two books, so I didn’t know what happened previously. But once I got caught up and had a better sense of the world, I enjoyed the plot more.

Summary: Maggie Jackson has a lot on her plate. She’s a guardian helping people transition from one plane of existence to another. But when more people start dying, Magge finds herself at the center of it all.

Characters: I like the cast of characters because they’re different and flawed in their own way. They also develop over the course of the novel. Maggie is the female protagonist. Like the author, she’s a person of colour. I liked the banter between the group of friends: Maggie, Nell, Craig, and Serge. The varying relationship dynamics work well together.

Quote:

“Sometimes trying to avoid your destiny brings you to it.”

Conflict: In hindsight, I probably should’ve read the first two books before this one. I still understood the plot about soul-eaters, but having more backstory might have helped me better appreciate the book as a whole.

Writing: The language is simple and straightforward. Deen does a good job on the dialogue. I wouldn’t have minded more description or worldbuilding. Even though I spotted a couple of formatting errors and missing punctuation marks, there aren’t any major errors.

Final thoughts: The ending answers some questions, yet poses new ones. If you’re looking for a quick read with supernatural elements, give Game’s End a try.


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Reading

Legend – Marie Lu | A Book Review

Legend - Marie Lu

Title: Legend

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: Science Fiction (Young Adult)

About the book: Legend is the first novel in a trilogy. Prodigy and Champion are the second and third books. The nation is at war. Metias is murdered and Day is suspected of killing him. But as Day tries to save his family and June tries to catch the most wanted criminal in the country, both teens start to uncover the truth behind what their country is really up to.

First impressions: I had high hopes for the book. It’s shorter than I thought at about 300 pages, especially considering the genre. Part of the reason why I purchased Legend was because my friend likes Lu. I’ve also been meaning to read some of her work, since I see pictures of her books online all the time. At the outset, I think the story started off promising. It had potential to be so much more, though.

Characters: The novel is told in first person point of view, both Day’s and June’s. As much as I enjoy books told in alternating viewpoints, I tend to like reading one side over the other. So I found myself looking forward to hearing Day’s side of the story more, as he’s the wanted criminal people are after, despite the fact he isn’t an evil or terrible guy. That said, I wanted more character development from everyone, not just the main characters but the secondary ones as well. Of course, there’s some romance between the main characters, and their relationship blossoms quicker than I wanted for their feelings to be believable. At least, they don’t fall in love right away. In fact, for about half the book, June thinks Day murdered her brother, Metias, so she seeks to avenge his death by bringing Day in. Overall, both characters are likeable, even quite similar. They’re motivated by different reasons, yet ultimately the two are just trying to do what they think is right.

Quote:

“Logic will save you when nothing else will.”

Writing: While the story is well-written, I felt like the book lacked in world-building. I wish Lu included more description of people or places. The story advanced at a good pace, but I found myself anticipating what would happen next and being right. So some surprising twists or turns would have been nice. The action scenes (thinks chases and fights) are great, but I didn’t get a good enough sense of where things were taking place.

Final thoughts: Although we don’t get a ton of answers in this novel, I assume we’ll learn more about the secrets and lies the country’s government is keeping as the series goes on. Even though I found Legend predictable at times, it’s still a fun, quick YA read. I tend to enjoy dystopian stories and this wasn’t a bad one. Not the best I’ve ever read but still worth checking out.

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Blogging · Reading · Writing

If You Could Only…

If you could only write books in one genre, which category would you select?

Contemporary. Does that count as a genre? If not, then YA. And if you don’t consider either one to be a genre, too bad.

If you could only purchase one non-essential item (and multiples of it), what would you buy?

Books are essential. I don’t have nearly enough, said every book lover ever.

If you could only read books specific to one genre, which one would you pick?

Mystery. I love them even though sometimes I can’t stand not knowing whodunit though I’m becoming much better at guessing the culprit earlier on rather than be blindsided during the big reveal. Mystery done right is great. Mystery done not so right isn’t so great. It’s a healthy relationship regardless, I promise.

If you could only spend your entire day in one place, where would it be?

A bookstore. I’d eat, sleep, work, read, write, and blog there. What could be better?

If you could only blog about one topic, which one would you choose?

Writing. I can’t help but link everything back to writing.

Just a few questions I created and my answers to go along with them. As always you are welcome to use them however you like.

Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015: What Am I Working On

I thought I’d share a bit about my current project because I haven’t really talked about it.

What is it called?

I haven’t thought of a title yet.

What is it about?

I’m going to give generalities rather than particulars or specifics because I’m still writing the first draft and things change all the time. The story revolves around relationships binding a family together and how love can push people away yet bring them together at the same time.

Which genre?

I thought it was going to be YA, but it’s turning into a more mature read. So OYA? Older young adult.

Which POV?

First person but the chapters alternate in viewpoints between a few of my characters.

Who’s the main character?

An eighteen year old girl. Names are tentative and subject to change at any notice. I’m calling her Lily as of right now.

Who’s your favourite character?

I like writing Andy’s parts. He’s a young boy who takes more than he should. I’m leaving it at that.

Favourite sentence or passage so far?

Completely unedited: “I feel like I’m suffocating. But maybe drowning is the better word.

I’d love to know more about your current project. Create a blog post about it or leave a comment down below.

You’re working on something, right? I’m kidding. Of course you are. You’re a writer after all.