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Book Review| Me Before You – JoJo Moyes


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Published: Dec. 31, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Chick Lit
369 pages
Goodreads Rating:  4.30
My Rating: 5.0

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

I really only picked this up because the movie was coming out and I’d enjoyed other JoJo Moyes books in the past. Once I saw the trailer for the movie, I was a little put off. I still have yet to see the movie, but Emilia Clarke’s acting in the minute-long trailer just seemed very over the top.

I needed a good romantic book to help get me through the beginning of my husband being away due to his military career. I was completely unprepared for how much I would love this book.

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS MAY BE AHEAD

what i liked

Louisa’s Family Dynamic

Louisa’s family is very typical of a lot of families. There is a lot of love, and some repressed anger. There are secrets and intense moments of truth. Louisa’s parents, as much as they want to support her, need her to support them. It says a lot that somebody living in the United States can relate to the Clark family’s financial problems; we all know how one bad economy can affect the world.

This family was very authentic in everything they did. From the parents choosing a favorite child (even if they won’t admit it), to Louisa and Treena’s constant back-and-forth, this was one of the few literary families that didn’t feel too happy, too sad, or too melodramatic.

The Traynor Family (or,more specifically, Mrs. Traynor)
If there is anybody misunderstood in this book, I think it’s Mrs. Traynor. She loves her son the way most mothers love their sons; completely, if not a little too much. There is a constant feel of tension between the two, as if she has babied him all his life and he resents her for it. I picture the two of them at his college graduation, and she’s licking her thumb to wipe a smudge of dirt off of him or to tame a cowlick.

She is used to being the matriach, the person in charge of the family.With Will taking that power from her, I think she felt very lost. For the first time in a long time, she has no control over what is going on with her family. I think that’s why she was harsh and cold towards Louisa.

Will & Louisa

I mean, obviously. Their relationship was absolutely amazing. Starting off with an awkward meeting and continuing on until Louisa decides she is done dealing with Will’s nonsense. I think I really connected with this relationship because it wasn’t an immediate attraction. It took most of the book for the two of them to realize their feelings for each other. The wole wedding scene was so frustrating for me because all I wanted was for them to kiss and reveal their feelings. Unfortunately they were both too afraid and unsure of the other that nothing happened.

did like

The Ending

This isn’t entirely true. I liked the way the book ends. I think it’s great because it isn’t a typical happy ending. The thing I didn’t like was how quick it ended. I wish that there had been more time between the island scene and the Switzerland scene. It felt like so much was left unsaid between them and, as somebody who loves to talk and talk and talk about their feelings, it killed me.

Louisa’s Reaction on the Island

My god, girl. First, how the hell are you going to leave a man who can’t walk ON A BEACH with a lot of SAND?! IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. I get being hurt and upset and whatever, but poor, poor Will. Or, as my Spanish I class taught me, p-p-p-pobre Cenicienta. I have never felt such sadness for a character before. He depends on Louisa for so much, and he knows how much this will hurt her, but he can’t lie to her or lead her on. He knows his mind and he knows his heart. All I can picture is this poor man confined to a wheelchair, watching the woman he loves walk away from him as he tries to talk to her about this. He’s calling out for her and she’s just ignoring him. It’s not as if he can run to her, scoop her into his arms and tell her how wrong he was.

I completely understand the hurt and pain Louisa is feeling here, but my empathy lies more with Will at this point.

The Beginning

It’s not that I didn’t like the beginning so much as it just didn’t suck me in. Until Will became a larger part of the story, I felt like I was slowly trudging along. I’m not exactly sure why I could not get into it at first. Maybe it was just the whole angry, despondent feel of the book after Louisa lost her job and can’t find a new one. I am very glad I pushed through the beginning because this book literally brought tears to my eyes. final thoughts

Concerning the Controversy

I am not in any way shape or form trying to say how people should feel. When the movie first came out, a lot of people were angry and called it something along the lines of, “suicide porn.” People were angry because they felt the book and the movie showed that handicapped people were better off just killing themselves. I don’t think that was what JoJo Moyes was trying to convey at all.

As somebody who has dealt with depression and anxiety for years, I have come to realize that you can’t save everyone. Sometimes people are beyond help, some people don’t want help, and sometimes people don’t realize help is out there. To me, Will did not want the kind of help Louisa and his family wanted to give him. I am a huge proponent of assisted suicide. If a person is in their right state of mind, is in pain or is terminally ill, who are we to deny them the dignity of death before they lose themselves?

All in all, I loved this book. I might give it a 4.5 rather than the full 5, but it’s still a book I would recommend.

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Top Ten Tuesday| Childhood Favorites

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This week, I wanted to focus on books I read as a kid and loved. So many of them were critical in forming my love of reading, as well as determining which books I’d try as an adult. These range between ages 9-13. Most of these I read between elementary school and middle school, with one or two being in the first  years of high school. PS. Please don’t judge me for the books I read as a child. I didn’t know better.

10. Twilight by Stephanie Meyers

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Yes, my dear friends, I absolutely loved this book. I was always searching for good supernatural fiction, so when I came across Twilight, my 12-year-old brain didn’t know what to do. I was a weird kid in middle school in the sense that I was the only kid who didn’t own any Abercrombie and Fitch, so I really identified with awkward Bella Swan. At this age I didn’t realize just how toxic and abusive the Bella/Edward relationship was. I just saw an awkward girl being showered with attention and thought it was the best love story ever written. (Until Breaking Dawn. I hated that one).

9. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

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For some reason, I just really liked these books. Georgia Nicolson was funny, and her life was more interesting than mine. The first time I had ever heard of the “pencil test” (you stick a pencil under your boobs and, if it stays, you’re considered to have big breasts) was in these books, as was a few other moments of adolescence. I probably read these at 13 or 14, right when I was really learning the ins and outs of sex. I never finished the series, but it never got that intense in these books. A little heavy petting I think, but it definitely taught me a few things my school didn’t.

8. Goosebumps by R. L. Stine
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Specifically, the book above. I read this book at least twenty times. I loved it! The whole “choose-your-adventure” thing had me hooked. If I died, I could just flip back and nobody would know. It felt like I was cheating by not starting the book over, but nobody stopped me. I was invincible! These are the original roleplaying games. Of course, being Goosebumps, they had a hint of creepiness to them. One wrong chapter and you’d be turned into a vampire or fall down a laundry shaft and never seen again.

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry
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I read The Giver in elementary school (5th grade, I think) and I loved it. It was completely different than anything else I had ever read. This was really the first dystopian novel I read. Some parts were confusing to me as a kid. When I realized Jonas could only see in black or white, or how animals didn’t exist in this world, I was so confused. What could happen in the world to make animals completely disappear? At some point, Jonas stops taking these pills they were forcing the children to take, and he then starts feeling the emotions once repressed by the pills. It took me a few years (and a re-reading) to realize at one point, Jonas probably has a boner. It’s a book one can read at a young age and re-read as an adult to fully appreciate.

6. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
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In fourth grade, we started learning about the Holocaust. Depending on your reading level, you had specific books you could choose from. I really wanted to read Maus, a graphic novel based on the Holocaust but uses mice and cats instead of people. Unfortunately for me, my reading level was too high and I wasn’t allowed to choose from that pile of books. Instead, I read Anne Frank’s diary. I had never felt so much from a non-fiction book before. Anyone who has read it knows just how powerful it is. Anne Frank, at such a young age, was a powerful writer who could control words in ways adults rarely can. This was probably the first book that made me experience what we know as “the feels”. I don’t remember if I knew her fate when I began the book, but I had hoped with all my might that she made it through in the end. When I found out she didn’t, it took a lot to keep the tears in.

5. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
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‘ve talked about these books before, and I’ll probably talk about them again. Of all the books I ever checked out in my elementary school’s library, I checked these out the most often. I used to sit on my babysitter’s steps and read these out loud to the younger kids and try to scare them. They used to play along and scream when they were meant to, but I don’t think it ever really scared them. The stories weren’t the scary part; it was the pictures inside that were really terrifying. They still give me the creeps. I can’t wait to have children so I can share these horrifying books with them.

4. Most of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ books
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So there are only two books shown above, but I read most of the Hawksong series. I stopped after Wyvern, I think. Atwater-Rhodes is the reason I started reading supernatural fiction. In a small town with a limited amount of YA books in our library, hers were the ones I kept going back to. I loved the stories, and I really loved the romance. Hawksong was such an insane idea to me at a young age; two creatures, enemies by nature, are forced to marry? How is the fabric of nature not ripped in two?! Then, of course, we have the vampire/demon/witch stories that follow. It’s a shame these books never received the attention Twilight did because I truly believe they’re better. (Though I haven’t read them in 10 years so I could be very wrong).

3. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
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I am fairly certain this was the first series I actually read on my own. If I had been old enough to know what a fandom was, I would have been 100% committed to the Series of Unfortunate Events fandom. There was nothing I disliked about this series. It was the first book series I found where there was no happy ending. Ever. How could I expect there to be when the name is literally about unfortunate events? I was an optimistic child I guess. I just always expected the parents to be alive, that they were hiding somewhere, waiting to collect the Baudelaire children. I never finished the series, so it’s possible there was a happy ending after all.

2. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
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Of course HP was going to be in here. Harry Potter was the first series I read, but I read a lot of it with the kids I was babysat with. I remember when I borrowed Goblet of Fire from the library at school as a fourth grader, I thought, “There is no way I’m going to be able to finish this by the time it’s due!” I finished that book in a week. I was so impressed with myself. Remember how big that thing was?! And I, at age 9, finished it in a week. I had to push myself to finish OotP and HBP. I don’t really remember reading DH even though I know I did. I guess, as I grew up, they lost their magic to me. I tried re-reading them a few years ago and couldn’t finish GoF. I was halfway through the book and hadn’t made it to Hogwarts yet! It’s a series that was magical to read as a kid, but just didn’t hold up as an adult.

1. Alanna or The Song of the Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce
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Alanna was the first heroine I fell in love with. She switched places with her twin brother to become the first woman warrior . During this time, she fights demons, immortals, king-killing cousins, falls in love with both a prince and a thief, and does all of this while being constantly sure and unsure of herself all the time. This was the first series I ever read that actually talked about Alanna hiding her identity realistically: she had to wear a binder for her breasts and had a mother-like woman help her whenever her period appeared. Once Alanna began having sex, the same woman would teach her a tonic that acted like a contraceptive. Pierce does a spectacular job at showcasing the difference between a toxic relationship (Alanna x Jonathan) and a healthy relationship (Alanna x George). If I could go back in time, I would have smacked my hands away from Twilight and put in more Tamora Pierce books.

There you have it folks! My top 10 childhood favorites. What are some of your favorites? Were you shocked at any of mine? Did any of yours make the list? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review| The Luckiest Girl Alive – Jessica Knoll

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The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Published: May 12, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 352
Goodreads Rating: 3.54
My Rating: 4.0

Her perfect life is a perfect lie. As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. But Ani has a secret. There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything. With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears. The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

I try to go to the gym with my husband whenever he goes. I hate going by myself and it gets me out of the house. Before you walk in, there is a bulletin board I usually glance at. Since we go to the military gym on base, there’s usually a good amount of “base” activities. I happened to see the words “Book Club” and snapped a quick picture to send to a friend of mine to see if she’d like to check it out. It was at the library and scheduled to take place on Tuesday (it was Saturday). I didn’t start reading until Sunday night and finished Monday morning. I did sleep, so I wasn’t awake the whole time. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t have done it. No part of me wanted to put this book down. Had I not had an extremely busy day, I wouldn’t have gone to bed at 1 AM; I would have stayed up to finish.

Review

I thought this was going to be a YA fluffy novel about a dead girl or a zombie or something. Yes, I broke the cardinal rule: I judged the book by its cover. I should have known from the first few sentences that this would not be anything close to a YA book, but I didn’t realize just how dark it was going to be. This is one of those books I can’t review without giving away spoilers, and I don’t plan on spoiling it. It was just too good. So this review will be pretty dang short.

Though LGA is compared to Gone Girl, they are so very different. Amy from Gone Girl is a wonderful villain who is manipulative and, in short, insane. She’s great to read about, and I enjoyed the book. Ani (pronounced AH-nee), on the other hand, isn’t nearly as villainous as Amy. She is manipulative and, yes, at times insane, but Ani doesn’t go to the extremes Amy does. Plus, the story lines are completely different. Once again, I won’t give anything away, but LGA is not about a spurned lover or a s/o who cheats or anything like that, even though Ani does have a fiance. Her story goes so much deeper than any of that.

At the beginning of the story, I didn’t like Ani. She comes from a different world than me, where brand names (and last names!) actually matter. She can be indifferent, which is unsettling for a reader. We want to connect with our main character, and it was hard for me to connect to her at first. By the middle of the book, I wanted nothing more than to hold her and brush her hair and feed her pizza. Ani, and all the characters in this book, are written as realistic people instead of fictional heroes. We want our Knights in Shining Armour, our Damsels in Distress, all the typical archetypes we have been conditioned to see. None of these characters are blatantly present in this book. Some characters can be made to fit in these roles at times, but not throughout the whole story. (I’m no English major here either, so don’t kill me).

I finished this book in less than 24 hours. I really enjoyed this book, and I think if you liked Gone Girl, you should pick this up.

four star

Have you read this book? If not, do you want to? Let me know in the comments below!

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Top 10 Tuesdays| Fictional Bookworms

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by the lovely people at The Broke & the Bookish, is all about fictional bookworms! I’ll admit: sometimes adding a bookworm into the story feels like a cop out. As a reader, of course I want to identify with the characters; it seems like the easiest character trait to give them is to be as much of a bookworm as I am. The bookworms in my list are all characters I actually enjoy, who love books as much as I do.

10. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
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Harry Potter came out when I was five, but I didn’t read it until I was in the third or fourth grade. How could I not love the only female lead until Luna’s appearance? Hermione was everything I wanted to be: brave, smart, sassy, and she didn’t let the boys boss her around. Hermione is and will always be one of the best role models for young girls to read about.

9. Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons
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Show me a person who doesn’t like this little feminist/bookworm/activist and I will show you a liar. I don’t think I really paid attention to The Simpsons until I was in my tween years, and I quickly fell in love with Lisa. She often felt ostracized by her intelligence and, while I am not saying I’m a genius, most people from my hometown probably don’t know the sun is a star.  Bless their hearts. (I’m actually surprised I haven’t used this line on one of the multiple alcoholics running around that town). Lisa is one of few female characters who is boisterous in her beliefs and extremely unapologetic. We need more Lisa Simpsons in the world.

8. Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones
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Everyone’s favorite half-man couldn’t be more right. Tyrion, who often makes jokes about his sad existence, is a loved character because he will not sugar-coat things. He is blunt and crude, but extremely intelligent and witty. I know a lot of bookworms like this in real life. Martin’s books are successful because he writes his characters as if they are real people and he’s just copying their dialogue.

7. Daria Morgendorffer, from Daria
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I didn’t watch Daria a lot. It was just barely before my time, and now I only have hulu and Netflix so I can’t catch any reruns on TV (unless it’s available through one of those services, in which case I need to get on it). I do know that had I been a teenager in the ’90s (and not born in ’92), I would have been a Daria kind of girl. To be fair, I still was. I was a royal bitch  an angsty thing from ages 11-17. I had a hard time figuring out who I was as a kid. One part of me wanted to be like my mom, who has always been very feminine, and the other part wanted to be like my dad, who took me to more than 10 rock/metal concerts before my 16th birthday. So, as you can imagine, I didn’t fit in with most kids and became a hater of the world. Yay teen angst!

6. Matilda Wormwood from Matilda
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I loved this movie as a kid. Trunchbull scared the daylights out of me, and I’m pretty sure I was terrified to go into the first grade because of this movie. I distinctly remember being in pre-school and some older kids were helping us do arts and crafts. They were probably in middle school or maybe even high school, but for some reason I thought they were first graders. I was so scared! How was I ever going to be able to go to the first grade when I was nowhere near as tall as these people?! I’m sure I got over it quickly, because I don’t remember anything more happening about that. I wish I had read Matilda as a young child, because I feel like I wouldn’t have felt as alone, just like her. If we ever decide to have children, Matilda will be one of many books I’ll read to them.

5. Belle from Beauty & the Beast
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Ugh I wish this .gif was bigger because which one of us would not be fucking thrilled with that library?! Belle is my second favorite Disney Princess for so many reasons, but one of the biggest is because she is one of the few animated characters who loves books as much as I do. The art in this movie is astoundingly beautiful, and only adds to my love for it.

4. Lizzie Bennett from Pride & Prejudice
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My mother has an ardent (get it??) love for anything written by Jane Austen. I could not tell you how many times she has watched Emma, and it was her who introduced me to Pride and Prejudice. Let me just say this: Keira Knightley is the queen of period movies. She is wonderful in P&P as well as Anna Karenina and The Duchess (all of which are based on books!). Elizabeth is a character who screws up a lot, but will not allow herself to be pushed around by anyone. She enjoys long walks and good books (sounds like the beginning of an eHarmony account).

3. Kelsea Raleigh Glynn from The Queen of the Tearling
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He found her staring at her books with utter devotion, like a lover. 

There is so much more to Kelsea than being a bookworm, which is why she’s made it so far up in my list. Yes, she loves books. She adores them and understands their importance in our daily lives, but Johansen makes sure Kelsea’s life doesn’t revolve around these books. Many quotes in Tearling adequately describe Kelsea’s immense love of reading and literature, but they do not take away from the actual story. That alone is an extreme talent.

2. Wishbone from Wishbone
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This dog. This dog right here. I loved this show. I loved this dog. I had a stuffed animal version of him and when you squeezed his tail, he’d say, “Don’t go there!” Surprisingly, I don’t remember ever reading any of the books based on the television show. I just remember this dog dressing up as literary characters, living in a library and having great wonderful adventures. Thanks, Wishbone.

1. Poussey & Taystee from Orange is the New Black
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I am a huge fan of OitNB and I absolutely love the relationship between these two. Fun fact: I once had an interview for a job as a librarian at a jail. I did not go to said interview because it was a men’s prison and I am a paranoid person. Anyway, back to these two. The whole show has snippets of almost every cellmate reading, but it really focuses more on Taystee and Poussey since they are surrounded by books everyday. I loved their funeral for the burned books, and how hard they had fought for them. Taystee ate a bug. She ate a bed bug for those books! I don’t know any other fictional character who would go to such great lengths for their beloved books.

I know I’m probably one of ten people who don’t have Rory Gilmore on here, but I never watched the show. Ever. The only reason I know her name is because she’s pretty much worshipped in the bookish community. If I had put her here, it would have felt like cheating.

There’s my top ten! Who are some of yours? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review| The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen


81JQ-u+67GLThe Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Published July 8th 2014 by Harper
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction
Pages: 434
Goodreads Rating: 3.94
My Rating: 4.5

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

I’d seen this book floating around tumblr for a long time. I would see it in the grocery store and think, “Damn, that does look really good,” but I wouldn’t pick it up. (I have a hard time buying hardcovers because they can just be ridiculously expensive). I was at an indie bookstore in New Hope, PA when I saw Queen in paperback. I snatched it up and walked right over to the register because I was not buying anything else. Of course, it found its way off my radar while I was reading graphic novels and some books from my TBR shelf (I’ll post a picture in a new post). A few days ago, I found it in one of my old beach bags and decided to start reading it. I was absolutely hooked from the first page.

Review
Being Johansen’s debut novel, I was astounded by her writing skills. Looking back at the story, not a lot of action happens, but I was never bored reading this. A lot of the story focuses on one main event, but enough was added where I never thought, “Okay, I’m on page 156 and nothing is happening what the hell.” Even with moments like meeting the people at court, I found myself chuckling out loud or making faces at some of these fictional people. Which leads me to my next point: her characters.

Johansen is magnificent in creating a world of diverse, complex characters. Kelsea is an overweight teenager with a bad temper, but she excelled at being a queen. Her adoptive parents had a large hand at that, and they too are such different characters. Barty, her adoptive father, and Carlin, her adoptive mother, were the epitome of “opposites attract.” Barty is the nurturing, warm hearted figure while Carlin never hugged or coddled Kelsea. There is also no sugar-coating anyone in the book. Kelsea’s biological mother, the late Queen Elyssa, was vain and, at times, a little dim. At the end of the first novel, we are left wondering who Kelsea’s father is, so I can’t speak about him. Everyone in this story, from Mace to the Fetch, are all written like real people, not some romantic savior who can do no wrong.

Then there is the history of this land, the Tear. I’m still not 100 percent certain I completely understand, but it touches on their founder, William Tear, crossing the sea and leaving behind a dying land. I’m pretty sure that land is the United States. This story takes place in the future, when something has taken away so much of what we are today and gives these people what we were back in the medieval period. There are references to Rowling and Tolkien as great authors of the past, and the drug heroin even makes it in here as a lost recipe, but one that is trying to make a come back. I have seen this take on the world in at least one other book, but it left out too much, where I was confused at what the hell was going on. Queen, on the other hand, gives you just enough to realize, “OH DAMN,” and that’s it.

My last point is the lack of romanctic interest. I loved it. It’s not like there is no romance at all, because we do see that SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOULER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT
Kelsea has feelings for the Fetch. There is also a moment when Pen is trying to wake her and he has no shirt on, and Kelsea wants to reach out to touch him. I ship Kelsea/Pen so damn much. Do I like the Fetch? Of course, he’s a wonderful character. I do not trust him. I don’t think he’s a realistic choice for her. If she wants to have a little fling with him, I am all for that. If she wants him to become her husband later on, I have a hard time believing that will happen.

I have already downloaded Invasion on to my Nook, and am trying so hard to finish Cary Elwe’s As You Wish before starting it. I give this book four and a half wormies, but I refuse to cut this little guy in half, so be satisfied with looking at only four of them.

four star

PS. Yes, I know Emma Watson is supposed to be cast as Kelsea in the movie adaptation, but I don’t know how I feel about that. Kelsea is supposed to have a darker coloring than her super fair mom and she’s fat. Emma is none of these things, and I think they are very important to Kelsea’s character. I guess we’ll see.

Have you read Johansen’s book yet? What did you think? If not, do you plan on reading it after my review? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review| Code Name Verity & Saga

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Since I finished these two books within 24 hours of each other, I thought it would be a good idea to write up two mini-reviews for them. Woo! We’ll go ahead and start with the one I finished first, Code Name Verity.

From Amazon:

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

This book was recommended to me by multiple people. I even had it featured on one of my posts about books I bought but hadn’t read yet. I was afraid it would either be so great that I’d need the second book immediately or it wouldn’t live up to the hype and I’d be disappointed. It definitely didn’t live up to the hype for me.

Split into two parts, we get two points of view. I expected this huge amazing story and I found the first half to be boring. I know, I know. We’re listening to our main character fighting through interrogation and we’re learning her backstory. I can’t even pinpoint why I was bored; I just was. I really enjoyed the second half, though. It was the second half of the book I couldn’t put down. Once we start to see the intricacies of the two stories, I started to care about the characters. Unfortunately, certain character deaths just left me feeling like:

 kind of sad but not really

And then I moved on. There was no uncontrollable sobbing, no faux tears, no big exclamations. Nothing. Some parts made me say, “Ooooohhh,” when there was a big “Ah-ha!” moment, but that was the most physical reaction I got from it. I did like the ending, and I even liked how a certain character died. I don’t think s/he would have wanted it any other way (and I’m writing it like this to keep it spoiler free).

All in all, I gave it three out of five wormies.
three star

Now on to Saga. From Amazon:

Saga is the story of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Now, Hazel’s fugitive family must risk everything to find a peaceful future in a harsh universe that values destruction over creation.

First of all, that summary doesn’t even come close to describing this series. Hazel’s parents are from two different planets, Landfall and Wreath, who have been at war with each other for as long as anyone can remember. Saga follows them as they’re being hunted for doing nothing other than loving each other. Both of these two, Marko and Alana, are beautifully written (and drawn) characters.

Saga-2

New and interesting species and creatures are imagined in this series, some of which I have a hard time trying to understand (like the robot people who reproduce the way humans do). This was the book that had me almost in tears, laughing out loud, grinning like an idiot from the cuteness of these two idiots and more. It kind of feels like Game of Thrones because you think everyone is dead or dying. I couldn’t count how many times I would sit there after reading a chapter like:

wtf

Then I’d read the next chapter and be all:

sorry i doubted you hug

Of course characters have to die; the story takes place during a war and our main characters are fugitives.  While I hated having saying good-bye to some people, I understood why it had to be done. Maybe I’m weird, but I rarely get emotional with people’s deaths in books. It really didn’t affect me at all when Dumbledore died, but it hit me hard when Sirius did. I guess it really depends on the circumstance of death; if a person is a soldier, okay, I expect that. If they’re accidentally hit, that’s when the feels hit me hard. It’s even worse in graphic novels because there’s rarely a warning that somebody is going to die. Many times a character will be having a conversation and the next panel will have their head gone or a bullet wound through their body. It sends a shock through you, and it’s why I love visual literature.

If you’re a fan of graphic novels (or even if you aren’t), I highly suggest picking this up.  Marko and Alana and Hazel Izabel and Lying Cat (LYING CATTTTT) and so many others make this one of the best graphic novels/comics I have ever read, second only to Rat Queens (because it’s the fucking Rat Queens, come on).

Saga gets five big wormies.

five star

Have you read any of these? Do you plan on picking them up soon? (YOU TOTALLY SHOULD). If you’ve read them did you like them as much or more than I did? Let me know in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday| Books I Recommend the Most

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, will be all about the top 10 books I recommend the most. I don’t know that I would call these books my favorites, but they are definitely up there. I usually recommend these books to different kinds of people: friends, family, and random people in bookstores. These are also the books I recommend whenever a poor soul asks me to give them some “book recs” on Facebook.

10. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
the five people you meet in heaven

My husband and I were in a LDR for a little more than a year before we were married. Whenever we were on the phone or Skyping, we would sometimes lose stuff to talk about it. I scoured the internet for ideas on things we could do together when we weren’t together. One suggestion was to read a book at the same time and then talk about it. The book we picked was Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I am not a Christian, but I still enjoyed this book so much. Albom doesn’t choke the book with a religious agenda; instead of focusing on the fact that there is a heaven or a God, it focuses on the background characters in your life. It’s a wonderful book and is usually the first book I suggest to random customers.

9. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
heart shaped box

I would like to start off by saying this: I love Joe Hill. I have read most of his books and have yet to be disappointed. They are some of the best horror books I have ever read. Most horror authors get carried away with their writings so that they confuse the reader. Hill’s father, the famous Stephen King, does that to me sometimes. Yes, Joe Hill has the blood of Stephen King running through his veins. His talent is his own though. If you’re looking to be scared by a book, this is the one for you.

8. The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
71SXCz3ckRLI bought The Alchemist for my husband. He always complained that I never bought books he’d want to read, so I saw this one and thought, “That looks pretty unisex.” It’s a small book, so when my husband finished it in a day, I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised, however, when he smacked it down in front of me and said, “Put everything down and read this. I know you can finish it in a day, so do it.” I had never seen him so excited over a book before. I finished it in a few hours and oh my. I loved it. It’s a wonderful story for anyone who might not feel like their life is headed in the right direction.

7. Any books by Jodi Picoult
jodi picoult

One day, I came home and my husband asked me if Jodi was my favorite author. I said no, and asked why he’d ask. “I swear, you have fifteen of her books.” At this point, I had only had two. By now I have eight, five of which are unread. Picoult’s books can’t be read one after the other, unless you have a stone heart. They always have a law story involved, including a court room and everything, so the stories are definitely heart-wrenching. I am a huge fan of Legally Blonde, so I really enjoy these court books.

6. Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris
letters from home

As a fan of WWII stories, McMorris’ was the first to introduce me to them. This book follows the story of four women whose lives are changed by the war in different ways. Each story is beautifully written, the characters well thought out and the writing spectacular. I screamed, I cried, I absolutely loved it. If you are a fan of WWII Historical Fiction, I highly suggest reading any and all Kristina McMorris’ books.

5. Ex-Heroes Series by Peter Clines
ex heroes

Zombies. Superheroes. Military. POC characters. Well-written women. Well-written characters in general. Characters with disabilities. This series has it all. I usually get goosebumps from reading corny, cheesy romance stuff. This series gave me goosebumps just from the dialogue. One of my favorite female characters is in this series. Her name is Stealth and she is an ex-supermodel/contestant from Jeopardy who won like a million dollars. She is super smart, super-fast, and her dad was an assassin who trained her from a young age. There is a character in a wheel chair and a character who loses her memory every day. I can not rave about these books more. They are so good. Plus, the zombies are not the main story. Sure, it kind of is in the first book, but it’s not just zombies, it’s something else entirely and it’s just so good.

4. The All-Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
all souls trilogy

Part historical fiction,  part fantasy, part paranormal romance. These books are wonderful. Some parts of the first book were a little cheesy and boring, but I absolutely devoured the second book. It has vampires, demons, witches, dragons, all kinds of fun fantasy stuff and a really good romance. Thank goodness there’s no love triangle, or else I might shoot myself. Also, lesbian witches!

3. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
The-Last-Unicorn-40th

If you know me at all, you know this is my ultimate favorite book. The reason it isn’t number one on this list is because I know a lot of people aren’t very interested in reading about unicorns, no matter how absolutely fucking gorgeous this book is. Still, I recommend this book all the damn time. Most of my favorite quotes are from this book. The graphic novel version of this is only better because beautiful pictuuuuuuures. I mean it. Go check it out.

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
the night circus

This is one of the most visually appealing book covers out there. It’s definitely the reason I actually ended up buying it, but the story is just as wonderful. All in all, it is a love story and it is a wonderful love story. It’s about two magical people pitted against each other by two old men and we, the reader, are invited to watch their lives unfold. The background characters are a great addition to the story and I can’t wait to re-read this.

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
ready player one

Whenever I passed this book in the bookstore, I would point to it and say, “Oh, this looks so good! I want to read it so bad!” One day, my husband said, “Just buy it. You always say something when you pass it, so just buy it.” So I did. He read it before me and, when he was done, he could not stop talking about it. I had to finish it in a day just to avoid spoilers! There is so many pop-culture 80 references that I don’t even know where to start. I ended up giving my copy to my dad, who devoured it and then passed it on to my uncle. This is a book every geek or nerd should read because it is such a wonderful, crazy sci-fi ride.

And there you have it! What are some of your book recommendations?