Back to back Young Adult novel reviews!

Hi book dragons!

I’m getting a head start on my summer reading list for my young adult literature class and I’m going to average two books a week.  So far, I’ve gotten through two great reads!  I have to write reviews on them anyway so I figure, why not also post them here so you guys can get ideas of the books I’m being forced to read! 

SPOILERS: I had to get specific in these reviews so there MAY be spoilers in them. No super heavy spoilers, though. 

The first book was called Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and I gave this book a 9/10.  I absolutely loved this novel. I felt an immediate connection to the main character, Ally, and her struggles during school with bullying and feeling inferior to her classmates. When I was in school, I struggled with my weight and I was also very smart and wore glasses. As one can imagine, I was bullied a lot throughout middle school and the beginning of high school before I lost the weight. I wish I would have had friends like Keisha and Albert, nor did I have teachers that cared as much about struggling students as Mr. Daniels. The fact that she had friends who were more 3D than most main character’s best friends in young adult novels made the novel that much better. I even felt a connection to Shay, the class bully. Not every novel will go into detail about the bully and go into backstory. Granted, I do wish they would have gotten a little more into her background, I do like how they explained why Shay was so mean.  I think this novel would be better received in a public library program instead of a school library setting. The reason I think this is because I spent most of my time in my school library and that only made the bullying worse. It’s difficult to make students really appreciate the lesson in a novel when it’s a lesson about school life when it’s not being received in a school setting. Using this novel in a public library setting such as a book club would be such a positive experience for children in middle school to fully understand the fact that everyone has their own personal struggles that could very well affect them in all aspects of their lives, including school. It’s very easy to fall into a mob mentality in schools and do what everyone else is doing, but this novel can open the doors to discussions about doing what is right and what is easy. I do think that it should also be required reading for adults looking to be teachers to students with learning impairments because Mr. Daniels is a fantastic role model for people trying to teach students with things such as dyslexia. 

The second book was Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman and I gave this one an 8/10.   I have always been a fan of psychological thrillers and I would definitely classify this novel as such. I was very confused as to what was happening for the first hundred or so pages. I thought that it would be back and forth between Caden’s real life and his imaginary life that he imagined to help him deal with some sort of traumatic experience. After finding out that his imaginary life on the ship and his real life were both the same experiences, but viewed differently, I got a new level of understanding of Caden. I was amazed at the parallels and had read it twice just to catch even more similarities. I highly enjoyed this novel and am excited to read his other novel, Scythe, also on the reading list.   The setting and writing style was a little off putting at first with the extremely short chapters and the blending of imaginary and real life near the end of the novel. After I realized that they were the same world viewed differently, I learned to love the back and forth. It made the reader really focus on what was happening and keep track of which characters corresponded to each other in each world. The characters were a little more difficult for me to relate to and like. I liked Caden and his little sister, but his two friends in school I had no feelings toward and most of the people on the ship as well as in the hospital I also had no feelings toward

Awake by Natasha Preston 7/10

Hi book dragons!

So, the last book I read by this author I didn’t end up liking very much.  This one I did like a lot more than the last one, but that’s not saying much.  This story was much different than the last and again, like the last book, I loved the idea of the story, and the first 2/3 of the book was awesome, but the ending happened way too quickly.  This book, however, had much more after the climax of the story instead of just ending like the last book did, but the climax took less than a chapter to get through.  This isn’t always a bad thing, but the build up was incredible for such a short explanation.  

It is a young adult book, so be ready for sappy lovey teenage romance.  I did like the two main characters ,though, so that helped me get past the romance garbage.  I also wasn’t a fan of the fact that some scenes took way too long to explain and dragged on and others, like the climax, took little to no time to explain.  

All in all, I enjoyed it.  Would I read it again? Probably not.  I do have one more book by her that I plan on reading and reviewing, so that’ll be coming eventually.  One of my summer classes has me reading about 3 young adult books a week, so I’ll definitely post those on here along with the reviews (probably in the form of the assignments I have to review the novels).

Thanks for reading and as always, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time.

My life as a female nerd.

Hi bookworms!

Firsly, I might change that to book dragons.  Dragons are much more badass than worms.  Secondly, this is clearly not going to be a book review.  Lately I have been so tired after work that I have been falling asleep right after work instead of reading for a bit before.  Book review of the book I’m currently reading will come next week!

If you know me personally, you know that I am a huge nerd.  I’m not just a book nerd, I dabble in a multitude of different nerd-doms.  To name a few: video games, comics, movies, horror, conventions, anime, table top games, dungeons and dragons, tattoos, books, crafting, sewing.  And I’m finding new things to be nerdy about every day!  

Being a female nerd in used-to-be-prodominately-male nerd-doms is sometimes not the easiest thing in the world.  But that’s not what I’m going to talk about.  I have met some of my best friends online while playing games or needing out about things.  I’ve recently gotten super into dungeons and dragons; specifically Critial Role on the Geek and Sundry Twitch channel.  It’s essentially a bunch of nerdy voice actors playing dungeons and dragons in front of a camera.  It has honestly saved my life as well as introduced me to a wonderful new world that I did not know I was into.

The characters are so easy to fall in love with and it’s immediately immersive.  This particular campaign has been going on for about three years now, I think, but they started streaming it about a year and a half in.  That being said, I was hooked after the first episode.  I’ve been binge watching and I’m already on episode thirty.  Each episode is around three to four hours long.  I literally cannot say enough amazing things about the show.  And before I get any of those types of comments, this is in no way sponsored.  

The other amazing thing about Critical Role is the fact that their fan base is amazing.  I have met amazing people on their Facebook group and the fan art and cosplay that comes out of this community is incredible.  I also love how amazing the cast is!  The first week that I started watching the show, Matthew Mercer liked my tweets about the show!  They are all very active on Twitter and it is so cool to see how interactive they are with their audiences. 

I hope that at least some of you try it out!  I’ve laughed and cried and fallen in love with all of their characters and it’s like they’re real and they’re my friends.  I can’t say more good things about them! 

And as always, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman 9/10

Hi bookworms!

I’m very happy to be sharing this book with all of you.  I unfortunately don’t know how to properly explain the plot in a way that I don’t give away any spoilers, but also make you want to read it.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes psychological thrillers.

This is the first book in a long time to actually make me physically nervous and afraid for the characters, not just the main character.  The art of making your reader fearful of the unknown was becoming a lost talent, but Malerman did it beautifully.

The plot was immediately immersive and the story was very suspenseful.  This was a book that I didn’t want to put down, but because I mainly read before I go to bed, it took me a few days to read it.  It honestly made me so afraid at some points that I had to stop reading it because it was dark in my house and I was alone.

I love the way it ended, I just wish it had gone a chapter further.  Hopefully this means we might get a sequel or a retelling through another character’s eyes.

Overall, it was wonderfully done and I highly recommend it.

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock 8/10

Hi bookworms!

This post is going up a day late because yesterday was my birthday 🙂
I’m not sorry about that.

The book I read before this one wasn’t the best and I was very pleased to have picked this book up next.  I actually ended up reading this book over a span of two days.  This book is about three different people who are living in Alaska and their individual struggles living there.  All of their stories mesh at the end, which I fully expected, but it was done in a good way.  You get to learn about the entire town through the individual stories and I liked how the author accomplished this.

I thoroughly enjoyed the ending and I’ll readily admit I cried at the end.

The only downside of this book for me was the fact that it was difficult to keep the characters straight.  By the end I think I got most of them down, but normally I need to keep notes to keep track of characters when there are more than a handful.  This might just be a personal gripe/issue that I have, but I had to go back quite a few times to remind myself of who the characters were.

The Cellar by Natasha Preston 5.5/10

Hi bookworms!

I just finished up The Cellar and I loved the story.  I did not love the execution of the story, unfortunately.  I understand this type of story is difficult to successfully write because it’s all very monotonous, but there are a few authors out there who can accomplish this wonderfully.  Unfortunately, I don’t think this author was able to pull it off.  I found myself skipping paragraphs and going back to see if I had missed anything and realizing that I never did miss anything.  I think that this was a good read for young adults, which is the targeted audience, and the message behind the story was great, I just wish it was excecuted a little bit better. 

I also hated the ending.  It ended far too soon and I wish she built up to the climax more.  The actual climax of the story lasted about a page and a half and then it just ended.  Bad endings ruin stories for me, so since the storytelling was lackluster, it made the poor ending even worse.

These are just my personal opinions.  Some of you might absolutely love this novel and think that I’m crazy, and that’s definitely okay!  I loved the story and I loved the idea.  I would most definitely read this same story told in Clover’s point of view to see more of his background and more of his side of the story. 

That’s all for me today!  Remember, I love you, you should love you, and I’ll talk to you next time 🙂

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney 8/10

Hi bookworms!

Jumping right into this, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I didn’t like any of the characters for most of the book and only tolerated one of them at the end.  I don’t believe, however, that liking or disliking the characters has anything to do with the rating of the story itself.  If anything, it makes it more impressive.  It’s not easy to create a good story and write a successful book with all characters that are unlike able.  Now, this isn’t to say that you won’t love the characters, you might, but I certainly did not like any of them.  

The pace was very well done, especially considering the fact that this was J.P. Delaney’s first ever psychological thriller.  She has written other books under other psuedo names, but this was her first time dabbling in the psychological thriller genre.  

The main thing I loved about this book was the title.  Going into this, you would think that the title means one thing and throughout the entire book you still think the title means a certain thing, but about ten pages before the end of the book you realize that the title has a completely different meaning.  I don’t think I’ve experienced another novel doing anything like this before. The plot twist at the end was also masterful.  I definitely hope that Delaney continues to write in this genre.  

Another thing I loved about the novel had nothing to do with the story itself.  It seems that when I ordered this book off of the Barnes and Noble website, I accidentally ordered it in a Large Print format.  It has honestly made my life reading without glasses possible and so much easier.  I honestly had no idea you could intentionally order a book with different font sizes, but now that I do, I’m going to try and get more books with large print.