Mini-Review: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

2954411Trigger Warnings: Child Abuse, Child Sex Abuse (and others)

I can’t rate this book. It isn’t a book you can enjoy and giving it a rating would feel wrong.

If you are easily disturbed don’t read Living Dead Girl. It is a graphic and visceral experience. The triggers I listed don’t quite cover it, but I don’t know how to say everything.

That being said, it is an incredibly well-written work and will easily pull you into Alice’s dark, disturbing world if you choose to read it.

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Mini-Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington

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Rating:  ★★★☆☆ – liked it

This book might have had a higher rating, but the romance keeps it at only 3 stars. I did enjoy the book and the murder mystery plot was interesting, but the writing of the romance was clumsy, in my opinion, especially towards the second half of the book.

Overall, I’d call this a good, quick read, bordering on fluff.

Review: Need by Carrie Jones

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Rating:  ★☆☆☆☆ – did not like it

So first thing to say is that this book feels like a pretty blatant Twilight rip-off. I could list all the direct parallels (characterizations, plot points, etc.), but this review would wind up a mile long. And it’s not just a copy of Twilight, it’s a badly written one, in my opinion.

The protagonist appears pretty dense and the magical creature reveal is just so badly done I don’t even know how to explain it. The writing alternates between sluggish and rushed throughout the whole book, which can make it feel quite awkward. Presumably someone edited this novel, but you can’t really tell.

Then there’s the plot: that of pale, plain girl somehow desired by everyone (almost including her own father, but at least Jones manages to side-step that one) and oh look, they’re all secret supernatural creatures and the small, cold town just somehow magically doesn’t notice. Obviously we’ve been there, done that. The worst part is, the summary of the book makes it sound so interesting. Girl moves to a new town and realizes she has a preternaturally creepy stalker and the disappearances in town might be related? Fascinating premise! But the reality just falls so short of that.

If you liked Twilight, you might like this book, but honestly there are so many better books to read.

Mini-Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

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Rating:  ★★★☆☆ – liked it

For me personally this book was just “ok”, but I had to rate it three stars because it is a good book, I just find myself unable to relate to it as much as I did when I was younger. If you’re still of an age where you can relate to YA Coming-of-Age novels, you are likely to enjoy this book more than I did.

It’s not Dessen’s best novel, in my opinion, but it’s a solidly good, satisfying novel and I do recommend it.

Mini-Review: The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales

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Rating:  ★★★☆☆ – liked it

You know, I didn’t go into this book with high hopes, but I was pleasantly surprised. I expected something incredibly dry and boring, but Sales perfectly blended fact and drama to create a very interesting read about a strange (and sometimes ridiculous) tale.

If you are curious about the events of the case, or just love Hollywood scandal, I recommend this book to you.

Mini-Review: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

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I bought this book because I liked the movie and I had put off reading it because I was worried I’d be disappointed in it, but I really wasn’t.

The writing style and the rhythm of the text really suited me; and the subject matter was a good combination of light and heavy.

If you liked the movie, it was fairly faithful to the book so you’re likely to enjoy the book too. I definitely recommend The Secret Life of Bees to those who like general fiction. The main character may be a teen, but the book reads as general fiction, not YA. Although, I think if you are a YA reader looking to branch out into general fiction like me, this may be a good book to try. Just be aware of the subject matter: there are a lot of racial tensions due to being set in the South in 1964 (including some characters using the n-word), the main character is abused by her father, and there is a suicide.

Mini-Review: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

A bored young boy finds a way to travel to a mysterious land which teaches him the importance of words and numbers and most everything else in life.

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Rating:  ★★★★★ – loved it

Pros:  puns, word play, beautiful descriptive language, hilarious, clever
Cons:  literally none

This book is absolutely timeless (despite Tock the Watchdog) and everyone regardless of age should read it at least once.

It’s punny and clever, and trusts the reader’s intelligence. It’s even fun to read aloud, so if you have kids read it with them.

Seriously. Just read this book. You’ll be glad you did.

Review: Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett

A compulsively-promiscuous, troubled teen blogs about her interpersonal relationships throughout the year off between high school and university.

*** Trigger Warnings:  Child Sex Abuse, Rape, Domestic Abuse ***

Rating:  ★☆☆☆☆ – did not like it
Genre:  young adult fiction, ya contemporary
Pros:  none
Cons:  racism, annoying main character

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If you enjoy reading books about characters who are racist, ignorant, self-centered, and downright annoying, then you will love this book. If you prefer to actually like the characters you read about, don’t even bother with this one.

For those who have seen the film, whether you liked it or not, this is one of those rare times where the book is worse than its film adaptation. When making the film they cut out about 90% of Katie’s racism and internalized misogyny, which greatly improved her personality. The character in the film tends to come across more naive and damaged than anything else, but this is not the case in the novel.

Even the very brief mystery at the end wasn’t interesting enough to save this book, in my opinion.

Another thing that explains some of the problems I had with this book about a young girl and her issues: it was written by a man and it shows.

Honestly, there are so many other, better books out there about teen girls with issues, read those, don’t waste your time on this one.

 

Mini Review: Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer

31706920So Meyer set out to make a gender-swap Twilight to disprove the allegations of sexism, but all she managed to do was emphasis the sexism and add some new different sexism. So that was… unenjoyable.

This book was actually really boring, so on that front the original is better; although, I still haven’t managed to put my finger on what it is that makes it so much more boring. It was actually hard to read though; I couldn’t keep my attention on it.

I will say, the ending is much better. Maybe just because it, you know, ends. Instead of dragging on for three more cringe-inducing novels. But I remember thinking all of that crap was so unnecessary when I read the original saga, so it’s nice to see the fat trimmed and the story summed up in a more efficient manner. Besides, Vampire!Bella was the only vaguely tolerable Bella. Vampire!Beau is still pretty boring, but at least it was done instead of three-and-a-half novels of “will they or won’t they” to read.

All in all, a pretty superfluous addition to an already not-good series, but not quite as bad as it could have been.

Mini-Review: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (Full Cast Audio version)

This was at least my 5th time reading The Goose Girl, so we all know I love it, but I wanted to say something specifically about the Full Cast Audio version which I listened to this most recent time:

The experience of a full-cast audiobook was new to me, and I did enjoy it for the most part. However, I have to say that it was difficult some of the time because it seemed like they didn’t bother to check how to pronounce words. I don’t just mean the fantasy names which we all so often don’t know how to pronounce without a guide, but normal words were sometimes mispronounced. And the inflections of the readers were often stilted and didn’t communicate the meaning well. Those two things more than even the sometimes silly sounding voices used for the villains, were what pulled me out of the story and made it less enjoyable. If I had never read the book before and only listened to the Full Cast Audio version of the audiobook, I’m not sure I would have liked the book at all.

All told, I recommend trying a full-cast audiobook for sure, just not this one, and I recommend the novel of The Goose Girl to everyone, but especially fans of Fairytale Retellings and YA Fantasy.