Feb 12, 2018

Review | When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: May 30, 2017 by Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover/Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. 

Thoughts: This was a really cute contemporary, and a little different than others I've read. We follow Dimple who is ready to take on the world and become a successful woman which does not involve getting married and settling down the way her parents expect her to. We also follow Rishi who believes his parents know best and will do anything to please them, which means going to a school and following a career he's not passionate about. He's also more than ready to fall in love with Dimple, who they've tried to set him up with.

Their relationship doesn't have the best start since Dimple is totally against it, but in order to win the competition they are there for, they have to work together. Of course, they friendship becomes more and overall, the story wraps up nicely. It's a cute story, it didn't offer much and it was predictable, but I really enjoyed it because their interactions felt realistic. It could be that I read this after reading too much horror, and it felt like a breath of fresh air. Overall though, it's a cute story and I really liked it.

Feb 10, 2018

Review | Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Title: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Series: N/A
Genre: Anthologies - Horror
Publication: November 9, 2010 by Scribner Book Company
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: A new collection of four never-before-published stories from Stephen King.

1922: The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father.

Big Driver: Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.

Fair Extension: Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay.

A Good Marriage: Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of more than twenty years than she would have liked to know when she literally stumbles upon a box under a worktable in their garage.

Thoughts: I only picked this up to read 1922 because of the new movie adaptation on Netflix. I ended up reading all the stories and am glad I did, because I really enjoyed them.

This was a pretty creepy story about a man who murders his wife in order to keep the land they live on and the aftermath of that murder. Its an interesting story, especially the turns it takes regarding his son and the ending left my skin crawling. There is some sort of paranormal type aspects, but otherwise, it's more of a simple kind of story.

Rating: ★★★★★

Big Driver
I didn't realize what this story is about, but there should be some trigger warnings for this one I believe. It is quite gruesome and mostly a story of revenge, but I found it a little disturbing and almost wish I would've skipped it.

Rating: ★★★

Fair Extension
This story was really short and I felt really unsatisfied with the way it ended, seeing as the "price to pay" didn't turn out that bad for the protagonist. I just found this one a little weird.

Rating: ★★★

A Good Marriage
I watched the movie adaptation and sort of remembered what this one was about, but still found it suspenseful and I was really worried about what the wife had discovered and how it would affect her life. I didn't really like the ending though, but I don't know why.

Rating: ★★★★

Overall I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed all the stories to some extent and appreciated the variety in them. I am really looking forward in checking out more of SK short stories.

Feb 9, 2018

Review | The Green Mile by Stephen King

Title: The Green Mile by Stephen King
Series: #1-6
Genre: Fiction - Fantasy
Format: Audiobook/Paperback
Source: Library/Borrowed

SynopsisWelcome to Cold Mountain Penitentiary, home to the Depression-worn men of E Block. Convicted killers all, each awaits his turn to walk "the Green Mile," the lime-colored linoleum corridor leading to a final meeting with Old Sparky, Cold Mountain's electric chair. Prison guard Paul Edgecombe has seen his share of oddities over the years working the Mile, but he's never seen anything like John Coffey--a man with the body of a giant and the mind of a child, condemned for a crime terrifying in its violence and shocking in its depravity. And in this place of ultimate retribution, Edgecombe is about to discover the terrible, wondrous truth about John Coffey--a truth that will challenge his most cherished beliefs....

Thoughts: There's a lot I can say about this one, but first, let me say this is one of my new Stephen King favorites. This one isn't a horror or a thriller the way its categorized on Goodreads. This one is about a set of characters that you will come to really love. This is a sad story with lots of happy little moments sprinkled in.

The Green Mile is about friendship, very difficult ones at that, as it takes place in a state penitentiary where criminals await their turn on old sparky (the electric chair). I knew what was going to happen because I'd seen the movie countless times, but this book still broke my heart and made me cry. I still tear up to think about it, even though it has been a few months now. There are small but important details that they don't add in the movie but add more to the story, so I am glad I finally gave the book a chance.

This is definitely an amazing book and one of King's best. The book-to-movie adaptation is also an amazing one.

Feb 8, 2018

Review | Gerald's Game by Stephen King

Title: Gerald's Game by Stephen King
Series: N/A
Genre: Thriller/Horror
Publication: September 1, 1992 by Smithmark Publishers
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Stephen King cranks up the suspense in a different kind of bedtime story. A game of seduction between a husband and wife goes horribly awry when the husband dies. But the nightmare has just begun...

Thoughts: Gerald's Game started off...exciting enough. Jessie and Gerald have taken a trip to their secluded lake house to spice up their marriage. Unfortunately, Gerald has a heart attack leaving Jessie handcuffed to the bed. I was really drawn into the story at the beginning, but being in Jessie's head was a little overwhelming which seemed like a good thing at first but later was just too much.

The story added on a few more elements too, with unexpected visitors and possible hallucinations. I was more intrigued to see whether Jessie would figure a way out or not, and was actually creeped out enough to put down the book for a while. The ending, however, felt sort of rushed and unsatisfying. I don't know what it was about this book that sort of left me disappointed.

Feb 7, 2018

Review | The Long Walk by Richard Bachman

Title: The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
Series: N/A
Genre: Dystopia/Thriller
Publication: January 1, 2016 by Scribner
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as "The Long Walk." If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying.

Thoughts: The Long Walk is by far one of the creepiest Richard Bachman/Stephen King books I've read up to this point and I loved it. There's not much I can say without giving the whole premise of the book away, which I knew nothing about before reading this.

Like the quick synopsis explains, The Long Walk is a marathon of sorts where 100 young guys start walking. The reasoning behind the walk itself is never really explained, but the way the story unfolds is really terrifying. And while there is only one protagonist, we get an in-depth look at so many of the boys walking.

The story is pretty simple since all they are doing is walking, but the ending is left with a sort of cliff-hanger that left me feeling scared. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, it's one of my new SK favorites and one of my favorites of 2017. I definitely recommend this to fans of Stephen King, it's strange and creeps up on you.

Jan 18, 2018

Quick Reviews #13 | A Stranger in the House by Sheri Lapena // Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

A Stranger in the House by Sheri Lapena

Synopsis: Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There's a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good. 

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won't stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet. 

Quick Thoughts: I was expecting a lot more when I picked this up, but A Stranger in the House was such a disappointment. The writing felt really choppy, the characters weren't interesting or likable, and the plot fell really flat after the initial excitement of the mystery wore off. I am not sure if I want to read any more of Sheri Lapena's work since this is her second book, and did not seem that great. I really wanted to love this but struggled to finish it.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

Quick Thoughts: I want to say that I did like this but I am only including it in this edition of quick reviews because I don't have much to say about it. This book was obviously hyped up because it was the newest John Green book and we haven't seen a book written by him in a while. I was excited but felt like nothing really happened in this book, and it wasn't life-changing as most people made it seem. But I can say that is most likely due to my lack of connection with the protagonist, as she suffers from anxiety and a lot of people were excited about an #ownvoices book on this topic. I still enjoyed it, just not as much as everyone else.

Jan 15, 2018

Review | Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Title: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Series: N/A
Genre: Nonfiction - Autobiography
Publication: November 15th 2016 by Touchstone Books
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

Thoughts: I'd been eyeing this for a while, since it was published actually, but I don't normally read non-fiction so I didn't give it a shot until now because I was planning on going to watch Pitch Perfect 3 (which I didn't) and I am glad I got around to it.

While Anna Kendrick's life isn't particularly interesting, and she hasn't done too much in her acting career, she is a down-to-earth actress and reminded me that actors are just regular people too. She's so honest in this book about everything, from how she became an actress, to her upbringing, to guys and dating, etc. that when I was done, I felt like she and I were really good friends. I went and followed her on all her social medias and wanted to just say hi to her because it felt natural. Her biography exposed her life and personality, and I just want to chat with her every day.

I can't say that the whole biography was great. While it was awesome to learn about her, and listening to her audiobook was actually awesome because it was like she was telling me all these stories over a phone call, I felt that the writing was sort of all over the place. Her anecdotes kept flip flopping back and forth, and there was no actual time line she followed because she focused on sections of specific topics which kept bringing her back to events she had already discussed. The end of the book also had tons of small sections of things, and it almost felt like I was listening to a dictionary definition of that specific topic. The sections had a tiny story and then the next section began, and it sort of felt like filler because she needed more pages to get the book published.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It wasn't the greatest biography I've read but the experience of listening to the author read her own biography has left me wanting more and I have already picked up another. So thanks for that, Anna.