Books Left Unread #73

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

 

want to read this but I haven’t yet. I didn’t enjoy the first book as much as everyone else so that means I am afraid I won’t like the second. 😦 Did you read this? What did you think?

sara-signature1

Review: The Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)

 

I was nervous to start this and for good reason: The. Hype. The hype around this book is intense. Sadly, after completing this one I realized I did not enjoy it as much as everyone else. It is beautifully written but I was lost the entire time.

Short recap: Maya is cursed and fights the horoscope prediction that says only bad things will come her way. She is quickly married to a stranger, Akaran. Life with him is not what she expected but he has his secrets of his own.

I wanted to love this book so hard. I wanted to be like many of the other readers and be swept away in the brilliant writing and magical story. That did not happen for me and it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I finished this book hoping it would have found a place in my heart but all I got was confusion. I think I know why: too much was going on. The writing style is gorgeous in a way that there doesn’t seem to be a strong enough word. Yet, I didn’t know where to focus my attention. There really was so much going on that I felt like I got lost in the details. I know there is a wonderful plot amongst all of those pretty words, but I never really found it. The world building was so heavy and full that once the story got rolling, I wasn’t invested enough in the characters to know or care what was happening to them. I did not feel anything towards Maya or her cause. I wanted more from her as a protagonist. I felt she was simply filling the role but not really adding to it. There was a case of instalove in this story and that nearly caused me to stop cold turkey. I did soldier on and I finished but it was not easy.

The pacing of the story itself was not consistent. The first half felt rather slow and as a result, I fumbled at keeping up with what was going on. I kept stopping to go back and re-read what I just read so I could make sense of it all. I just never felt the hook or the draw to make me invested in the overall story. This is the perfect example of why I shy away from high fantasy books: fear of getting lost in the story and not knowing what is happening.

This is still a very sought after story and everyone is dying to read it…so I am willing to give the second book a chance. Maybe I just did not jive with the first and the second will be my kindred spirit. I won’t know until I try. The sequel is from another character’s POV so maybe it will finally set its hooks into me.

 

sara-signature1

Black Sheep Review: The Upside of Unrequited

Image result for black sheep pictures

2950337_orig.png

 

The Upside of Unrequited

 

Prepare yourself: this will be a black sheep review. This just did not work for me. From the moment this story started, I knew it would not be one I would enjoy. I didn’t DNF but I struggled and rolled my eyes a lot.

Short recap: Molly is a seventeen year old girl that has had 26 crushes but never been kissed by a boy. She is afraid of rejection so she chooses to crush on a boy from afar. Things change when she starts a job and meets a boy.

I enjoyed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda so I expected more of the same great writing with Albertalli’s new book. I don’t feel any of these characters possessed the same charm or charisma as the characters from Simon & Co. The characters’ lack of development was only half of the problem. The other half was the actual plot. I’ll get to that in a moment. I felt nothing for any character in this story. Not a thing. They felt super shallow, self centered, and void of personality. I did not like the protagonist, Molly, at all. I never believed her plight. Actually, here is a list of items that bothered me the most about her:

  • She acted like a very emotionally stunted 17 year old. She came across as an 11 year old girl discovering boys for the first time.
  • She is obsessed with finding a boy. AND she is obsessed with losing her V-Card to a boy. SLOW YOUR ROLL, SISTER. You shouldn’t give that away to just anyone simply because everyone, including your twin, is having sex. (The first boy she kisses she immediately takes to her bed and acts like she wants to do the deed. Whoa.)
  • She is also a voyeur that creepily watches her twin making out with other girls. Um… what?
  • She constantly, and I do mean constantly, refers to her physical size in the most negative way possible but then chooses to do nothing about it. (Ignore for a moment that the author never described what Molly looks like. If she did I missed it. All I know about Molly’s is that she’s a bigger sized girl.) She does defend herself when a jerk makes a weird comment, but is always worried a boy will not like her because of her size. I get that, but I just don’t feel that topic was written properly in this story.
  • She also reminds everyone that she is on Zoloft but it is never explained why. Does it matter? Not that I could tell. It felt like it didn’t have an impact on the overall story but it was constantly talked about.
  • She was wishy-washy with her feelings throughout the entire book.

I felt Molly was the most developed character in this book but I still knew nothing of who she was. I knew she was crafty and liked Pintrest. What about her likes and dislikes? What was she truly passionate about? I could not tell you that because all I knew was that she was obsessed with her crushes and she had never been kissed.

The supporting characters were not done well either. Every girl in this story was seventeen or eighteen and sleeping around. They were constantly bragging to the other girls about it. I get that teens are having sex and it is going to happen but I don’t feel it was delivered well in this story. I wanted to like the moms in this story but I felt they were trying too hard to be the “hip and cool” moms.

The plot itself did not speak to me. I read this story as an insecure virgin that longed to be kissed. Molly always talked about everyone’s physical appearance. She always referred to them as “cute” or “hot”and then she would compare herself to them. That is not healthy. Nor is it healthy that she didn’t feel she was good enough for anyone until she found a boy that liked her. I’m a strong enough female to know that I don’t need anyone to validate me and I wish that would have been more of the topic, but it wasn’t. Instead, we are given teenager Molly, with her lack of self worth, not feeling like she is good enough until a boy likes her.

I was hoping for so much more with this story. I wanted this to be a different kind of story. I always try to figure out how the title of a book gets worked into the overall story and I still don’t see it with this one. I did not feel any unrequited love in this story because Molly never told any of her crushes how she felt. So how can it be unrequited then? Molly never put herself out there to be rejected so the title felt misleading. Yes, Albertalli focused on Molly’s coping techniques for her insecurities, but that didn’t circle back to the title in any way. I did like the diversity within the story. There were topics of race, religion, gender identity, body size, and some mental health but it just was not enough to save this story.

I’m not sorry I read this as I liked the author’s first book, but I just did not jive with the overall story. I’m okay being the black sheep as I not every book is going to hit a homerun with every reader.

 

sara-signature1

Waiting on Wednesday: Ramona Blue

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Ramona Blue

From Goodreads:

Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem. ”

 

Ignoring the hateful reviews on Goodreads that shouldn’t be there, have you added this to your TBR already??

sara-signature1

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want A Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing…

Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want A Book

 

Reviews: I am sure you are like me and browse Goodreads when you find a book you are interested in to see what others say about it. If I see a majority of my trusted book friends like it, consider me sold.

Story at the back of the book: Sometime, the brief description of the story at the back of the book is all you need to give it a try.

The book cover: I openly admit that I will judge a book by its cover. If it instantly grabs my attention, it will find its way into my shopping basket.

A friend recommends a book: If my trust book friends recommend a book to me, I will believe their judgment. They wouldn’t recommend a terrible book to me, would they?

Recommendations on GoodReads and Amazon: These sites know me so well and because of that, I have found some amazing authors/stories.

The author is an insta-buy: If the book is written but an author on my insta-buy list, I will have to own it. I don’t care if it is a published copy of their grocery list, I want it.

Author tours/book festivals: If an author is scheduled to be at a festival or book signing at a local store, I will buy the book. There is something about meeting the author and hearing them talk about their book that makes me want to own it.

Setting: If the book has a specific setting like Italy or France, I will immediately add it to my GR/Amazon wish list. No questions asked. Same goes for Genres – if it is a dystopian, I’m all over it like a cheap suit.

Key words: If there are keywords found anywhere in the blurb or description, count me in. Keywords being not limited to – beach, summer love, thriller, dystopian, road trip, and mystery.

 

It was rather difficult for me to get to ten items and I don’t know why I had that struggle. Can you think of a few items that would make you instantly want a book? Let me know!

sara-signature1

Review: Just Fly Away

Just Fly Away

 

I enjoyed this story more than I thought I would. Reading a male author writing from the POV of a female protagonist was something I had to experience.

Fifteen year old Lucy had her entire world turned upside down when she discovers that her dad had an affair and fathered an eight year old son. Both of her parents are still together and both knew of the child, they just never clued Lucy into the fact that she had a step-brother. Lucy digs and discovers that the woman and her son (her step brother) live only a few blocks away. Unable to ignore her curiosity, Lucy spends time at the park across the street from the boy’s house and soon befriends him. The more time she sits watching this boy, the more furious she becomes. She is furious at her father cheating, she is furious at her parents not telling her (and her sister) what happened, she is furious that everyone is acting like this isn’t a big deal. Lucy wants nothing more than to return to “happier times” where it was just her, her sister, and their parents. Unable to process the flood of emotions, in a fit of rage Lucy runs away to the only safe haven she knows – her grandfather’s home many states away. This starts a chain of events that causes everyone to rethink how they treat people in their lives, how their decisions affect others, and just how important family is.

I did not absolutely love this story, but I did enjoy it. The further into the story I got, the more it grew on me. I struggled with Lucy’s knee-jerk reactions to everything, but had to remind myself she was fifteen. I don’t know a lot of fifteen year old girls that don’t fly off the handle and make rash decisions.  I certainly couldn’t fault her for reacting the way she did, I only wish she had chose a less dramatic way to handle the way she was feeling. Running away in the middle of the night and not telling anyone really was a ballsy move. Now I’m not saying it was a good idea, I’m saying it was drastic. The experiences she had while taking the bus through NYC would be enough to terrify anyone but for a teen to do that with little to no money was … foolish. Almost too extreme. I find it hard to believe that no adult thought it odd for a teen to be roaming the streets of a bus terminal in the middle of the night? No adult thought it best to call the authorities for a type of wellness check? Convenient. You can probably guess by now that I struggled to connect with Lucy. She did not feel like a fully developed character. Again, I argue with myself on this point because I don’t know many fifteen year old girls that are completely and totally rational. I just had a hard time agreeing with the actions she made and that caused me to almost stop the book several times. Why didn’t I? It was a quick read.

The plot itself felt … confusing. There are so many plot points that could have lead to something bigger but instead fizzled out. Am I supposed to focus on the affair Lucy’s father had and the hurt that caused everyone? What about Lucy discovering boys and self discovery? Or perhaps the tension and rift between Lucy’s father and grandfather? The overall plot slowly (and I do mean slowly) reveals itself in the later half of the story. Once Lucy meets up with her grandfather, we begin to see more of who she really is. She is not so self-involved and selfish. Well, she still is but she starts to open up to her grandfather but he isn’t without his issues either. I won’t give away what exactly happens (that would ruin the book!) but I believe the ending tied things up nicely. I just wish the author had spent more time developing Lucy and her voice rather than throwing so many possible plots out and confusing the reader.

This was a 3.25 star read. Odd number, no? As I mentioned, I enjoyed this story once it reached the later half. I liked Lucy’s grandfather a lot, but wish his character and story would have been explored more. It felt like there were so many unknown secrets that could have enhanced the story. This is the author’s first YA but I hope he continues writing. I would like to see what he comes up with next.

 

sara-signature1

Books Left Unread #72

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)

 

I have always been curious about this book but wondered if I will struggle with it since it is translated. If it is anything like the movies (the original European movies, not the US movies) then I’m not sure I will be able to handle it. Intense. Have you read this or are you interested in reading it?

sara-signature1