Jan 13, 2015

Review | 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Title: 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult - Science Fiction/Fantasy
Publication: September 17, 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.

Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo.

Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.

By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

Thoughts: This was one of those books that I was a little hesitant to read. I am not much of a science fiction fan when it comes to books, because they get a little confusing, but I really like McNeil's stuff, it's fun and she's just an awesome person, so I feel like my like for her books also comes from me liking her as a person (I've met her 3 times already.) I previously read Ten and enjoyed it, because of the classic I think.

Jumping into 3:59 made me realize two things: 1) I am still terrible at science and trying to wrap my brain around the way things work in this book, scientifically, was impossible; and 2) I knew it was predictable kind of story, but still didn't know what to expect. Basically, from reading the synopsis, you get the main idea of what happens in the entire book. And not much else happens, other than that. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, just that if the summary sounds like something you'll enjoy, then you most likely will.

The book opens up pretty much with Josie hating how her life is going because of several things (boyfriend cheating, betraying best friend, parents divorcing, etc.) so the chance to switch lives with Jo seems perfect. Except, obviously things aren't always what they seem...predictable right? Not only that, but Josie gets trapped by Jo in her alternate world so now she spends a good portion of her time trying to convince the right people that she is in fact another person and needs to get back to her other world. A few mysteries are solved, a few tragedies are overcome, and in the end, it all wraps up pretty nicely if not a bit sad. You get the last glimmer of hope in the last few pages that might leave readers wondering if there will be a second part (will there be??) and the end.

While I still love McNeil's writing, I wasn't able to attach myself to any of these characters. Yes, I felt a little bad for everyone I was supposed to feel bad for and so on, but I felt very meh about everyone. I was more interested in how the author would make the story unique in such a predictable plot and she did by adding a bit of suspense and some horror elements as well. So, for the most part, I did enjoy 3:59 but not as much as I was originally hoping.

Jan 9, 2015

Literary Fashion | Charlotte's Web

Sometime last year I decided to start up a new feature, Literary Fashion. While I've never considered myself to be very stylish or fashionable, I found it to be quite fun to put these outfits together. The normally match what the main character wears or match the cover somehow, and lately I started putting a few more together. Here's one of the older ones I done that I really liked, inspired by Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.
I wanted to keep the outfit relatively simple, and while the dress mostly represents what Fern wears in the book, but the accessories basically focus more on the animals. I really enjoyed creating this one because it was a fun, simple look but it came out kind of classy and I liked that.

Jan 7, 2015

Review | The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Omg, a review, finally! Sort of. It's been so long that I've written my actual thoughts on a book that I am quite rusty and it's been such a long while that I actually read this book (almost a whole year!) that this will probably be pretty terrible anyways. So let me just ramble a bit while I get the hang of things again.

The main reason why I picked up The Perks of Being a Wallflower was because my brother adores the movie. Like any pesky brother, he continued to bug me about the movie long after he'd seen it, because he wanted me to watch it with him. Really, desperately needed me to see it. My mom watched it with him also, and adored it as well. I'd heard of the book, and it has great rave reviews but it never truly caught my interest. But of course, being the book nerd that I am, I had to read the book before watching this movie and since I was tired of my brother annoying me each time we were going to watch a movie by suggesting (read: pestering) that we should watch TPofBaW, I finally decided to give it a try.

Surprisingly, I finished it quickly. I can be a terribly slow reader and maybe I only finished it fast because I sort of was being pushed and shoved to read it (I do believe I work best under pressure, but that could also be my procrastinating ways talking)...where was I? Oh yes, I finished it pretty fast, at my reading rate. And what did I think of it? I mean it was good, but it wasn't...fantastic. At least not to me. I guess with books that are so hyped up like this one it's difficult to not expect the best. And sometimes when you expect something so great, you're left disappointed. Which was kind of how this worked out for me.

I liked Charlie, that's probably the best thing I'll be able to say about this book at the moment (with my bad memory and all,) and I felt for the kid you know? But I didn't feel for him. I liked the characters and some parts were sad, and the writing was unique, but again...this book was sort of forgettable for me. Some books stick with you, and that's what makes them amazing. This one, not so much.

And what about the movie? I think I liked it more. That doesn't usually happen to us book lovers right? But in the rare cases that it does, I think it's because the story is compressed and told at a faster rate, and just left with the main points. Sometimes that's just necessary with some books. Very rarely though.

Jan 3, 2015

Back to it and a happy new year!

I seem to have missed posting for the exact first day of the new year the last couple of years, but that's okay. Hey I'm here, I'm blogging again! I decided to actually dedicate some time to blogging. Even though I said I was, I really wasn't. I also jumped back on the social media bandwagon. I had deleted my Instagram, so I created a new one, especially because I noticed all these awesome tags and all these bookstagram accounts that I wanted to follow. So hey, follow me on my new account @ohoodlesofbooks. I'm just starting off there, but honestly, I'm kind of addicted to that app so I'll definitely be posting plenty.

In other news, 2014 was a good year for me. It was a year of lots of changes, lots of new friendships, and a lot of growing up for me. It was definitely the first year in a long time where I read the least (only 8 books!) and I neglected the blog a lot. It was because I became so busy just focusing on myself and on my life.

Anyways, as per usual, I have a few goals to accomplish with the new year. Like last year, I don't want to overwhelm myself with them. So here is my list:

  • Read books: Like last year, I just want to read books, whether 1 or 100, it doesn't matter. As long as I am enjoying them and reading for fun. That's what matters to me this year. My Goodreads challenge says 25 because I didn't want to set it so unrealistically high for myself, but I have no expectations to either accomplish it or exceed it. Only time will tell.

  • Re-read Harry Potter: This is seriously my most important goal (haha) of the new year. I've been dying to re-read my HP books and for some reason I haven't. I want to so badly, so this is it! This is the year I'm going to do it. And if these are the only books I read by the end of the year, then I'll be extremely happy.

  • Blog: I want to put a little more time into the blog, like I said, but I also don't want to only tie myself on focusing with the reviews. I tried that last year, and it didn't work out so great for me. So I just want to focus on posting about what I want to talk about. That's the point after all right?

  • Stay healthy and happy: I've done well in staying healthy for the most part, although for the last portion of 2014 I sort of just fell off my healthy stride, mostly because of the holidays and such, but I'm ready to get back to it. The happy part? Even though I went through a lot of changes this past year, they've been good changes. I realized that I was happy for the first time in a long time. Truly happy. I gained new friends who are like family, got rid of toxic relationships, and became really close with my family. I also met someone new who truly means a lot to me. I may still have a crappy retail job and am still in school, but the job is not so bad when everything else in my life is positive, and school will eventually be something I am proud to have completed no matter how long it takes me to get there.

That's it! I'm really happy about this short list, again, because it keeps my goals realistic and then at the end of the year when I look back I won't feel so disappointed with myself. Happy reading guys and happy new year! Let's make it a good one :)