Monday, February 1, 2016

In Which I Review Books

Here's what I read in January:



Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy—A novel about a girl, Alice, who is diagnosed with cancer and sets out to complete a rather unorthodox bucket list (for example, get revenge on an ex-boyfriend and her arch-nemesis), with the help of her friend, Harvey, a boy who has always had feelings for her. But after the scores are settled and she admits her true feelings for the boy, Alice doesn't die at all, but rather goes into remission and is forced to deal with the consequences of all she's done. It's an interesting read because I don't think it's a typical teen-with-cancer story, especially because the main character is oftentimes just so unlikable. I really felt bad for Harvey throughout most of this novel, and really wanted him to have a nicer friend/girlfriend.


Being Henry David by Cal Armistead— A story about a boy who wakes up in Penn Station with no memory of who he is. His only possession is a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau, so the boy decides to call himself Henry (Hank) and go to Walden Pond. It's a cool premise, and I was really drawn into the story because I wanted to know the truth about who this character really was, and what had really happened to him. There were parts where character interactions fell flat for me, but overall, another interesting read.


Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin—A story about a girl who falls on the stairs at school and wakes up with amnesia. She doesn't remember her boyfriend, or her parents' divorce, or her best friend, Will. There's a lot to like about this book—I especially liked Will—but I wasn't thrilled with the ending. I just needed a little more closure.


Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas—The fourth book in Maas's fantasy series about a teenage assassin. I have a love/hate relationship with both this character and this series. I thought this book was an improvement over the third installment, but it's definitely not as enjoyable as the second book. There is a lot of good stuff, and the world-building is amazing, but I did not care for the romantic relationship between Aelin and Rowan, or the set-up of a romantic relationship between Manon and Dorian. Nope. Not a fan. Stop it. All that said, I will read the next book when it shows itself.


The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins—Stories with unlikable/unreliable characters are always interesting, but overall, this story just didn't do anything for me. I feel like I'm completely in the minority here (which is fine place to be). I guess I just didn't like any of the characters enough.


Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone—I think you may have started a drinking game with these reviews and taken a shot every time I described a book as 'interesting.' If so, get ready for another shot because this book, too, was interesting. It tells the story of a girl with OCD struggling to keep her secret from her friends. She stumbles across a new group of students, and her life is transformed. There's a twist that I actually didn't see coming (unlike you, Girl on the Train). So while it's not a perfect story, it was an enjoyable read.


2016 Reading Goal: 60 books
Books read this month: 6
Books left to go: 54


Read anything interesting lately? Happy Monday, all!

24 comments:

  1. Wow, you are way ahead of me with reading. You've read some great books. Lately I've been gravitating towards reading more non-fiction. No idea why. Have a awesome week:)

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    1. I always start off strong in January, reading-wise. But it's generally followed by a steady decline.

      It's cool that you're reading a lot of non-fiction. I know I don't read nearly enough.

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  2. I really enjoyed THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN - I had to see what happened, even if I didn't really like the characters.

    Recently read - and loved! - the MG/YA novel THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH.

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    1. I wanted to see what happened there, too, if only to see if my suspicions about the truth of things was accurate. I got it mostly right.

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  3. So many books! I haven't read any books this year so far, although I've definitely got several on my shelves and my Kindle that need reading.

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    1. I have that, too, just so many books that are sitting around waiting to be read. I need to find a way to read more!

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  4. Awesome keeping on track with your reading goal! I had water to drink... does that count in the game? I recently read Heather Gardner's second Maguire's Corner book and loved it!

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    1. I read that one last year, and it was really great. I'm looking forward to the next book!

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  5. I'm still laughing after reading your review for Queen of Shadows. My daughter is obsessed with those books and loves Rowan. I'm kind of on your side of the thing. I liked the first two books so much more and don't care for the Rowan thing at all. I do like the Dorian/Manon twist. Dorian is such a blah character maybe this will give him some color.

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    1. I felt like the Dorian/Manon thing was forced onto us, but it will all depend on where and how it plays out. I just feel like Maas really wants all of her characters to end up with someone. And while that can be nice, I don't always think it's best for the story. But, you know, it's her story and not mine, so I'll just wait and see.

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  6. I love YA. Side Effects May Vary and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac sound good! I'm adding those to my list of books to read this year. Fun reviews!

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    1. I love YA, too. So many amazing authors creating so many amazing stories.

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  7. Some good books in there, and a few I haven't read and will be adding to my TBR pile. I don't think there are enough years left in my life to read everything on that pile and I'm a fast reader - my Goodreads goal is 175 books this year and I'm at 21.

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    1. 175??? I had a 100 book goal one year and just barely made it. I can't even fathom attempting 175. Wow!

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  8. All new to me.
    You are off to a great start this year.

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    1. I do tend to start off strong. It's maintaining this pace throughout the entire year that I struggle with. But hey, at the end of every month, I've at least read one cool book.

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  9. I can recommend The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero and The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett.

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    1. Oh, I don't know either of those. I'll definitely look them up. Thanks!

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  10. I don't usually like books where the MC has cancer, but I really like the twist on this one. And I really didn't like The Girl on the Train either. Being unlikable is one thing, but sometimes it just seems like the characters are complete jerks.

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    1. Yeah, the twist in that book is really what made me pick it up. I don't think you see that a lot in those type of stories.

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  11. Being Henry David sounds interesting. I've been a horrible reader lately :(

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    1. I was a horrible reader last year. I'd really like to make up for that this year.

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  12. Lately, I've had previously read books on the brain, so I've been rereading. It'll pass eventually.

    Notice the amnesia theme you had going? Does one of your characters end up with amnesia?

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    1. There are a few series that I like to reread at least every two years.

      And I did notice the amnesia theme. There are no amnesia plans for my books as of yet. Unless there are, and I've just forgotten them...

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