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Sputnik Sweetheart
Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel
The Orphan Master's Son

Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)

Steelheart (Reckoners, #1) - Brandon Sanderson Really enjoyed it, but it was VERY predictable. I saw the major twist from a mile away.4/5


Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell 4.5/5Review to come~

Not a Drop to Drink

Not a Drop to Drink - It was pretty good, but will it sit with me for long? No.But hip hip hooray for that romance. Creepy with side of satisfying.

All Our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill After I initially finished ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, I realized something peculiar. The one thing I remembered more than anything – and mind you, this was within ten minutes of finishing the book – was the time travel system. ALL OUR YESTERDAYS is a book about two versions of one girl (16 year old Marina and I assume 20 year old Em) as they come to terms with the fact their friend James is a soon to be homicidal maniac. Well, it’s kind of like that. Em has tried 14 times so far with Finn, James’ other former best friend, to kill the Doctor (aka James age 22).I apologize if that’s a spoiler, but I thought it was pretty damn obvious from like page 10. I’ll just repost my time travel deconstruction so that you can see why this book has stuck with me, probably for the wrong reasons. More than the characters or the pacing or the plot itself (which were mostly good, but not without their flaws), I kept thinking about the time travel system in ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. You guys, I think this book itself is a paradox because the time travel aspects don't really make much sense. If you go back in time 15 times to kill various people before you die, then the paradox ends after that event. Therefore, those people would be dead when you then went back and killed another person, or created another event. Therefore, 15 events would have happened in one timeline, or else you're just creating a multitude of multiverses existing on parallel levels, which is a whole 'nother thing completely. They would have just created 15 different universes based on 15 different events, including a lot of murders of innocent people just like they were playing with ingredients in a failed recipe. The science does not account for how time goes back weeks after the paradox ends and that timeline is completed (apparently with Em and Finn 2.0 dead) to therefore erase everything that happened to create another timeline. So judging by the number of times different people went back, there would be several hundred if not thousand timelines, each with a tiny difference, but each would then be erased if another person went back in time. And it's not like they make a to do list for each time traveling hitman to complete everything, or else killing all these people would then not work. Also, even using the same science as seen in ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, the ending makes no sense. It wouldn't happen that way. But I'm not going to spoil that, but be prepared to roll your eyes at the convenience.Yeah, I’m having problems here, but let’s just deal with the rest of this very interesting debut science fiction thriller by Cristin Terrill, a book with a great deal of hype (it was a BEA Buzz Book) and for good reason.EVERYTHING BUT THE TIME TRAVELI’ll start with the pacing, which was pretty on point except for a few lulls. The story is quick, action-packed, and I finished it pretty damn fast once I got into the story. Admittedly, this took a while. I put the book down, got back to it, put it down again, and then finally returned for one last crack at it all. I finished the last 200 pages in one sitting. Beyond that, I just couldn’t with the characters. From their motivations to their character changes, it just didn’t seem to make much sense. Beyond that, Marina’s friends just plain pissed me off with their classism and complete disregard for humanity. But that was probably their intent. Whatever. Ignore that.Something about this book felt so right, but it felt so off. It was well-written, that was for sure, and the sheer imagination of some of the aspects blew me away. And it really was thrilling. I predicted parts of it, but it was exciting nevertheless. I enjoyed ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, and Terrill definitely has talent, but this book just was confusing, plain and simple, from the time travel to the characters to the fact they built a super collider in like…two years. Is that even possible? I highly doubt it.Oh, and to wrap this up quickly, I probably won’t read the sequel. This book was a perfect little wrapped up standalone, and unless the Terminator shows up and tells Marina, “Come with me if you want to hasta la vista,” I’m just going to pretend it was a standalone.VERDICT: Saddled with a time travel system that still confuses the crap out of me, ALL OUR YESTERDAYS is a book with an amazing, exciting premise. The problem is that maybe some of this just goes over my head, leaving me dwelling on what I shouldn’t, leaving the book a disappointment.This review brought to you by the girl who wanted to be an astrophysicist before they told her her math wasn't that good and said she'd make a good politician instead.


Deeper - Blue Ashcroft Rainn Wilson called. He wants his name back.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Love love looooove.Review to come.

The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything - Robyn Schneider THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING is a fairly heavily hyped book, and the comparisons it has brought to John Green are very apt. Also, I’d throw in a comparison to (500) Days of Summer – there is a similar tone and similar characters, such as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and the depressed guy who is a West Coast Hipster who listens to Arcade Fire and other bands that he self-labels as being hipster. I don’t know, Arcade Fire is Canadian. I just always thought Canadians were like that.At the end of the day, the problem with THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING rested mainly on one big glaring issue – I never connected with Ezra, our main character, or the cast that surrounded him, from his love interest and court mandated pixie Cassidy to his parents to the jocks to the nerds. Likewise, his issues never seemed relevant, from his health issues to his romance to his friend issues. They just seemed like rich white kid problems, problems that weren’t really problems, just tiny bumps in the road.Also, this book commits the cardinal sin for character deaths, but I am not going to spoil that for you. No, that ruins the surprise.HIPSTERFIC…FOR TEENS!As I’ve said, this one really reminded me of a more depressing version of (500) Days of Summer, complete with a twee Manic Pixie Dream Girl who wears men’s clothes (ironically), is like an emo poster child minus the bad looks, and knows Morse code. It seems like a hobby Zooey Deschanel would take up. Although, this isn’t true, because Cassidy wasn’t a properly defined character – she was everything and nothing at the same time, a poorly defined liar who was built on lies. Schneider wasted opportunities with her characters to go beyond the tropes and create a well-defined, well-progressing cast, and instead fell back into the same tropes of a Green novel mixed with a much more whiny set of (500) Days of Summer lookalikes.When you dislike the characters, namely their actions, their motivations, and their personalities, it isn’t a good sign. Sometimes you can love a book despite the flaws of the characters – think AMERICAN PSYCHO – but this one isn’t the case. I just wanted to smack some sense into Ezra and tell him that Cassidy was no good for him, that the jerks from the tennis team were no good for him, that even some of his nerd friends just didn’t mesh with me.JOHN GREEN 2.0If you are a fan of John Green, you’re going to love this book. It’s perfect for fans of Green’s, and in fact can at times seem like it’s trying too hard to follow in those footsteps. With me not being a fan and all, I feel like I was automatically at a disadvantage for this one. I went in with lowered expectations and came out liking the book, but never loving it. I never truly connected. Then again, I was never an upper middle class male tennis star in high school. But that’s not an excuse, is it?VERDICT: Maybe I just didn’t get the appeal of this one, but THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING didn’t gel with me. It was too pretentious, too twee, too desperate to be John Green in a year without a John Green book. But it was still a good entry in the contemporary YA market. Just not great.

The Bone Season (Scion 1)

The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon Very imaginative, yes, but the writing was just not executed well. Needed a lot more polishing and probably about 100 pages chopped. Kinda sorta disappointed, because I'm still totally confused over a bunch of stuff.Review to come.

Sad Desk Salad: A Novel

Sad Desk Salad - Jessica Grose I’m not quite sure how I came across SAD DESK SALAD, but I believe it involved shopping on Amazon many months ago while half asleep, mindlessly clicking and inevitably buying something I didn’t mean to. In my haze, I forgot to return it, and in the end found SAD DESK SALAD by Jessica Grose sitting on my Kindle as I browsed through. After finishing HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE? by Sheila Heti, honestly the written equivalent of the show Girls (by the way, Lena Dunham is not the voice of my generation, so critics can stuff it), I was looking for something in the same category – twentysomethings dealing with issues beyond which bad boy to make out with and brood over.SAD DESK SALAD can be described as Girls meets the internet gossip community Oh No They Didn’t. It’s about a Brooklyn hipster who writes for a juicy gossip blog who uncovers via email the link to a Sarah Palin-type’s daughter doing coke and getting naked on camera. Our hipster protagonist decides to post the clip, and all hell breaks loose in the form of her boyfriend getting worried, the pressure of sudden fame, the pressure of sudden hatred, and more.OKAY, FINE, IT’S THE NOVELIZATION OF JEZEBELAuthor Grose is a former staff writer for Jezebel, the women-centric gossip blog that gets its fair share of love and hate. Chick Habit in SAD DESK SALAD is basically Jezebel except much snarkier, unless Jezebel has suddenly morphed into a website known more for its bitchery than its content. I have to admit it – although she was a complete mess of a person, a woman who needed a stern talking to by her mother and not just an excuse for her to think about her actions, I actually liked our heroine Alex. The people in her life, from her boss to her boyfriend to her friends? Not so much. Beyond our heroine and her issues, the rest of the characters are completely two dimensional and But I’ll just admit it. This book is a train wreck, but you know train wrecks. You see the train spinning out of control, bursting into flames, hurtling bits of metal and steel everywhere, but you can’t look away from the crash. Would I suggest this book? Maybe, if you’re looking for super light. But otherwise, there isn’t a lot to say. It’s ultimately a forgettable, yet temporarily amusing, escape. That’s about it.VERDICT: Yes, it’s not the most well-written book in the world – far from it, actually. But SAD DESK SALAD’s exploits and fun and enticing, keeping you reading to find out what ridiculous thing happens next.

Midnight Frost

Midnight Frost - This series might be one of the cheesiest in YA right now, but I do enjoy it. Except for the horrible villain banter. Ew. No thanks.Review to come.

How Should a Person Be?

How Should a Person Be? - Sheila Heti Continuing from last week, where I reviewed the subpar SAD DESK SALAD by Jessica Grose, I’m just now reviewing HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE? by Sheila Heti. It’s in the same vein of book – hipster fiction about twentysomethings who have lost their way in life before their lives have even really begun. (Note – I don’t really care for Girls. This is just to prove my point that if you like Girls, you will probably enjoy this book, which is basically Girls personified in book form.)HIPSTERFICHOW SHOULD A PERSON BE? is genuinely an interesting book about a young woman, a fictionalized (I think) version of the author Heti herself. Our fictional version of Heti is a struggling writer who is trying to come up with a play that she took on as a commission, all while dealing with a failed marriage at such a young age, the troubles of friendship, and a massive case of writer’s block. She’s egotistical, full of herself, arrogant, and a horrible friend, but I couldn’t help but like Sheila. At the end of the day, she’s just a woman like me, trying to find herself amid the chaos of her twenties.But at the end of the day, this book is about hipsters – people who ironically enjoy stuff, drink PBR, and would fit in well in Brooklyn if this book didn’t take place in Toronto. They are artists, bohemians, and nobodies, people who are convinced they’re the next great artists and writers only to just be mediocre. Really, I have no clue why I liked Sheila. Or why I liked this book. This book was made of things that should have angered me, pissed me off, and left me desperate to erase this book from my memory, but what did I go and do? I went and enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading about characters my age having realistic life experiences and not overindulgent romances, characters that have actual problems with themselves and their friendships and romances that can’t be fixed with sex. This is New Adult minus the romance with a hefty dose of reality, with a hint of eyeroll thrown in.WHY DID I LIKE THIS? NO IDEAI don’t know why I enjoyed this one as much as I did. It was superficial, inane, and disjointed, filled with random asides about giving BJs and going to Miami for an art show, but I liked it. This is once again a book where I can’t really tell you WHY I liked it. Just that I liked it, and it confounds me. But if you like Girls, check this one out. You’re sure to enjoy.VERDICT: I don’t know why I liked it, but hey, if you like Lena Dunham, you’ll love this. Probably.

How to Love

How to Love - Katie Cotugno I HATE the last page, it's such bullshit just to conform to YA standards, but otherwise very well done. A little notch for the good pile for Alloy. 4/5, maybe 3.5 - I can't with that ending, and Reena being a self-centered numbskull. Review to come

The Burning Sky

The Burning Sky - sooooooo good
After the End (After the End, #1) - Amy Plum So... It's The Village/Running Out of Time? Okay. Probably will skip this one.

The Madman's Daughter

The Madman's Daughter - THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER came to me with strong recommendations, and on top of that a strong desire on my part to read it. The author is named Megan and is from NC and wanted to be a Foreign Service Officer! Just like me! And I’m a sucker for historical gothic scary tales, but something about it made it sit on my shelf. And sit. And keep sitting. I didn’t end up reading this one until almost six months after its release, while the cover for the sequel tempted me online.While the novel in the end fell short for me, I will give it a few great things. For older teens, and younger ones that have strong stomachs, THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER has parts that are deep, revolting, and horrific. At its heart, it still is a story about a mad scientist who turns animals into people for his own goals (he wants to play God). The problem, though, is that at times the story focuses way too much on the romance and not enough on the heart of the situation. Herein lies our problem.NOT AS MUCH SCARY AS GORYI expected that THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER was a retelling of THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU. What I didn’t expect was that it was basically just THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU YA-ified, with lots of kissing and clothes and less a questioning of morals in the pursuit of science. THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU was written during a time of changing views and ethics in science and medicine, giving it a tinge of philosophy to it. THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER seemed to be an excuse for a romance with a horror backdrop, albeit with clean writing and an attention to detail. Shepherd, in her debut, proves that she can write. It’s just that the story fell short for me.Things happen in THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, but at times they felt inconsequential, like they were just there to increase the length. Scenes where we meander around in the woods, or tales of life on the boat, just got old and bored me, even if the writing was lovely. At other times, the plot gripped me and refused to let me go. I read over 250 pages in one sitting, glued to my chair, until the story wandered again and I put it aside for another story.When this book is on, it’s ON. The problem is, it’s off just as much as it is on. When it’s good, it’s a very well-written retelling, but when it’s less than good, it’s bordering on pointless.ROMANCE OVER PLOTI’ll just admit it – I didn’t like either love interest, Montgomery and Edward. Both seemed to lack personality, and what personality they had consisted of the same usual YA tropes – acting like they knew exactly what was best for our heroine Juliet. As for the twist, I saw it coming from the moment the first hint was dropped, and this includes both twists. There are a few. Sure, I can see why people would be surprised by it, and if you didn’t catch the foreshadowing it would definitely be a shock, but I wasn’t surprised, I wasn’t delighted, I was just, “Oh, I called that a long time ago. Huh.” It was kind of disappointing, you know? I went into THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER expecting romance – YA these days isn’t YA without romance – but with a heavy dose of creepy gothic historical fiction. What I found instead was a romantic love triangle, with the pairing easily seen early on, that was light on the romance and heavy on the love triangle. But you know what? I’m keen on reading the sequel, HER DARK CURIOSITY, given the synopsis. Even if mixing retellings might get tedious. VERDICT: Beleaguered by an overemphasis on romance than what could have been a perfectly gory good time, and by sticking too close to the original story (except with more romance), THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER falls short of being a great story by a wide margin. But will I read the sequel? Maybe. Definitely maybe.♥♥♥ - THREE HEARTS

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick Maybe it would make sense to start this review by mentioning that this book was honestly never on my radar before I found a stack of ARCs sitting at ALA 2013 Chicago. Something about the sheer size of the pile drew me in and convinced me to take a copy of this new, very hyped contemporary story about a teenage boy who has decided to make his 18th birthday the day where he shoots his former best friend and then commits suicide. The concept alone had me hooked, and when I finally picked this one out of the box of goodies, I dove into it based on the synopsis alone, which had me psyched. Was FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK the contemporary young adult book I’ve spent my whole life waiting for? Sadly, not really, but it was an interesting and engrossing story about a boy and the ways his world around him has failed him. Even if the novel itself did seem like a thinly veiled attempt at replicating the success of John Green, albeit in an even darker, more depressing way.MEET LEONARDLeonard Peacock definitely was one of the more interesting characters I’ve met in young adult fiction. Here we have an outcast who has a very bad background, seeing as how his mother totally forgets he exists and his father bailed on the family thanks to the feds being onto him. His best friend is the elderly next door neighbor he watches old movies with, a very racist and homophobic next door neighbor at that.Although Leonard comes off as a John Green hero about 90% of the time, complete with rambling footnotes that scream hipster, complete with a quirky romance with a girl he had no right messing with, I really enjoyed him. Maybe it was because I saw something of me in him, a kid left behind by the world, betrayed by a best friend and abandoned by the school, left to be a forgotten quirky loner on the outskirts of everything. This book will appeal to fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, for more than just the suicide angle, but definitely to the John Green crowd. The more that I think about it, the more that it seems I should be giving this a three, but in my head it deserves a four. It’s compelling, it’s unique, and it’s deceptive as you dive into the issues and realize the specifics. It’s strange, this book, but a book worth reading for sure.A WHOLE HOST OF ISSUESMy biggest problem with FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK was the fact that a lot of the issues were skimmed over. We never find out what happened to Asher and why he suddenly ditched Leonard beside the road, besides a very short explanation that is very vague and deliberately not revealing. On top of this, the ending… I seriously thought that there was more after that, but nope, it wraps up and you’re left in the middle of a scene, wondering what happens, wondering if Leonard’s life really wraps up like the film cut off during a movie.I wish that Quick had done a better job of wrapping up the threads instead of just leaving the ending VERY open to interpretation. It was very frustrating, especially given the circumstances leading up to it. And I wish that maybe it had taken the concept of mental illness more seriously, instead of using it as a very easily forgotten concept instead of a possible reality. But otherwise, this novel was enjoyable. Well, not enjoyable. It’s not very enjoyable to watch a teenage boy plot to murder someone for revenge for something that happened years ago, or to plot to kill himself with his grandfather’s war gun out of some sick sense that he is delivering justice to the world. But it was engrossing and I flew through the pages. That counts for something, right?VERDICT: Although very consuming and interesting, FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK falls flat on certain levels, such as the conclusion and the explanations. I wanted more than what it had to give, but what it gave makes for a very compelling novel about friendships and mental health.♥♥♥♥ - FOUR HEARTS