Oct 12, 2015

Review | All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Title: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: January 6th 2015 by Knopf
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

"But I bring it up to let you know this is the way I feel right now. Like Pluto and Jupiter are aligned and I'm floating."

Thoughts: This book tore at my heart and made me feel feels that I hadn't felt in a long time. I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I chose this book, I just recognized the title as something that was popular among book bloggers, so I just downloaded it.

All the Bright Places is one of those books I wish I could hug and I am really sad I didn't read this (I listened to an audiobook version of it.) Only reading it would I have been able to hold something and cry my eyes out and feel everything. Instead, I listened to those last painful chapters while working a late shift at work with my co-workers around me, and without being able to just let it all consume me. I will definitely be re-reading this one in the near future. I already have an ebook copy waiting for me.

All the Bright Places brought so many memories for me, many painful and many beautiful. I had my own Finch once, someone real and different who was searching for something and in the end only found the darkness. Listening to this story made my heart ache. I really didn't want it to end the way it did, or even expect it, but one is never ready for those kinds of things. This is definitely going on my all-time favorites shelf

Oct 11, 2015

Review | Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy

Title: Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy
Series: N/A
Genre: Middle Grade - Contemporary
Publication: April 28th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis: Buckle up…

Lana and Cassie have met only once before, at the wedding of Lana’s Grandpa Howe and Cassie’s Grandma Tess two months ago. They didn’t exactly hit it off—in fact, depending on who you ask, that first meeting was either an embarrassment or a disaster—but they’re about to spend an entire week together, just the two of them and their honeymooning grandparents, road-tripping in Cassie’s grandmother’s Subaru.

Lana thinks a summer road trip sounds like fun, but the backseat is a crowded place for two tween girls with two huge secrets to hide, and this bumpy road to friendship is full of unexpected twists and turns. Like it or not, they’re in this together, full speed ahead on the adventure of a lifetime.

Thoughts: I didn't realize this was a middle grade book until the protagonists' ages were introduced. Told from alternating points of view, we get a look at two quite different girls who are learning to be friends and dealing with their own issues.

I was actually really into the story, more than I'd been with other books lately, and finished it rather quickly. I liked both Lana and Carrie, and even though they had their disagreements (because Cassie could be quite a brat,) their friendship really comes through for them in the end.

These are the kinds of books I wish I would've read when I was a tween, but I usually stuck to older books and missed out it seems like!

Oct 9, 2015

Review | The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase

Title: The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase
Series: N/A
Genre: Contemporary - Romance
Publication: March 31, 2015 by Ballantine Books
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer — and former flame — Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn.

Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices — and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life — and in love.

Full of both humor and heartbreak, The One That Got Away is the story of one woman’s discovery that, sometimes, life is what happens when you leave the blueprints behind.

"Every woman has one. That name you Google at two o’clock in the morning. That intoxicating connection that somehow never solidified into anything real; that particular memory you still visit every now and then, for that guaranteed hit of pure, sugar-packed dopamine. It’s that story that starts with “There was this one time” and ends, reluctantly, with 'but I guess…'"

Thoughts: I saw this book being reviewed left and right and what made me want to read it was the fact that it was about that one guy, "the one that got away." I was mostly intrigued because my boyfriend now is my almost got away, so I really wanted to just enjoy a fictional story that I could relate to in some ways.

I mostly enjoyed it, although around halfway through the book I sort of lost interest. I didn't want to give up on it yet, so I pushed through and was pretty happy with finishing it off. It wasn't as great as I was hoping, but I really felt for Sarina in several things she was going through, and liked how she ended up figuring things out in the end.

Oct 3, 2015

Book vs TV Show | Whodunnit?

Release Date: June 23, 2013 - August 18, 2013
Cast: Gildart Jackson
Creator: Anthony E. Zuiker
Trailer: YouTube

A couple days ago, I wrote out my thoughts on the audiobook of Whodunnit? Murder in Mystery Manor by Anthony E. Zuiker. When I first started reading it, I didn't know that the books were based on the ABC show that aired a couple years ago. Once I was done with the book though, I instantly wanted to watch the show and see how they compared. What I was completely unaware of though was that it was a reality show, so the guests are actually contestants, and the murders were all staged so that there is a grand prize winner at the end of the series.

Cast: Gildart Jackson is basically the only "real" actor in the show, playing Giles, the butler and narrator in the books. While he does a great job as a quiet and serious butler, we don't get to see and learn much about him while watching the show. In the book we get to see inside his mind and get a real feel for him, while in the show he basically just spits out the rules and walks away. The guests then participate in trying to figure out the murder and basically stay in the game as long as possible.

Plot: The idea is the same as the book: Guests are brought into the manor without any real idea of what they're about to encounter. In the book, they were lead on fake pretenses, while in the show they are obviously there to win some money. They come in already suspicious and weary about trusting anyone because they aren't aware of what they're getting themselves into. When the first murder takes place, they are then told what the rules are and what they need to do in order to win. While it was entertaining, most of the show is cheesy and somewhat funny.

I couldn't say I got into the murders because at the end of each episode, each victim would give a little speech on how they're sad they're out of the contest but liked (or dislike) the way they "died." I really wish it wasn't a reality show, and instead had been a fictional show because I would've probably gotten a lot more into it. But I still got hooked and finished watching the whole season in a few days.

Verdict: The audiobook was definitely mysterious and creepy, while the show was entertaining and somewhat humorous. They were both pretty different even if the plot was the same, but the "reality tv" element really didn't do it for me. They were both fun, but in regards to a real mystery, the book definitely wins in on this one.

If I had to pick one...
The book definitely, but mostly because I am a big fan of mysteries and not much of a fan of reality shows. I really did enjoy watching the show though, and the entire season is available to watch for free on YouTube!