Friday, May 2, 2014

More Mini Reviews...

Okay, so I have been on a reading binge lately and it is crazy!! I have been reading a book a day and absolutely loving it.  Of course, my sleep is getting pushed aside in favor of late night reads, but I can't seem to help it.  Here are a few of the fun and fast reads that I have been devouring recently:

about book (from Goodreads):  On a day that started like any other...Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

my thoughts:  Cry, cry, cry.  That is all I did reading this heartbreaking story about a young woman choosing to live or die.  Her entire family has been killed in a horrible car accident and she is in a coma.  She can hear her grandparents, best friend, and boyfriend pleading with her to live, but she's not sure that she wants to.  Without her mom, dad, and little brother, she feels so alone.  How can she imagine a life that doesn't include them?  As she struggles to come to a decision, we learn about her falling in love for the first time, we learn about her musical ambitions, and we learn about her family's deep love for one another.  Would definitely recommend this book to fans of Gayle Forman's works and fans of YA fiction - you will fall in love with Mia!

about book (from Goodreads):  It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life.

And three years he's spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.

Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good - or can you really have a second chance at first love?

my thoughts:  Not sure about the sequel to If I Stay.  It felt too melodramatic (even for YA fiction) and somehow didn't have the same urgency that If I Stay did.  Of course, in the first book, Mia is struggling to decide whether or not to accept death or life.  In this new book, we get Adam's perspective of how the accident affected Mia, him, and their relationship.  I guess this obsessive and tortured love angst is normal in a YA book, but for some reason, I just didn't buy into it.  I feel that a sequel told by Adam's point of view was not necessary and that it didn't really add anything more to the story of Mia and Adam.  I would recommend you skip this sequel.

about book (from Goodreads):  Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she's less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome √Čtienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he's taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she's waiting for?

my thoughts:  Loved this book!  What a sweet read!  Anna finds herself in Paris and discovers love along the way.  Of course, being in high school means that there is drama with friends - think friends falling in love with the same boy (UGH!).  There is petty jealousy, miscommunication, family dysfunction, and so much more.  Stephanie Perkins has written a truly sweet look at first time love in the City of Light. I would definitely recommend this story to fans of YA novels!

about book (from Goodreads):  Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

my thoughts:  I have to admit that I read this book right after finishing Anna and the French Kiss (which I LOVED!!), so I was expecting to fall in deep with Lola and the Boy Next Door.  Well, it didn't happen.  As much as I tried to like the story I just didn't.  There were too many dramas to deal with and frankly it really annoyed me when Lola's parents' called her Dolores (her real name) because it would jolt me out of the story.  For some reason I would forget that Lola was Dolores.  Anyhow, the only highlight of the story was Anna and Etienne (from Anna and the French Kiss) making an appearance as Lola's friends from work.  Definitely not a book I would recommend.

about book (from Goodreads):  "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "  

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.  When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.  By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.  What would he say . . . ?

my thoughts:  I was so looking forward to reading this one.  Especially after reading Eleanor and Park ( a story I LOVED!!!) - plus, everyone seems to have loved this story by Rowell as well.  So, imagine my disappointment when I didn't fall in love with this book.   I was all excited to get lost in Lincoln's world, but found that I just couldn't.  I just never got on board with Lincoln continuing to snoop on Beth and Jennifer (after he falls in love with her ) - why didn't he just delete their emails and introduce himself?  I get that he's super shy and awkward, but seriously?!  He managed to make friends and get a job, so he can't be that uncomfortable around people.  I did enjoy reading Beth and Jennifer's emails though - I loved their friendship.  And though I did finish the book, I wasn't a huge fan of it. 

about book (from Goodreads):  A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.  Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.  Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.  Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.  For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?  Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?  And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

my thoughts:  Loved this book!  I read Fangirl directly following Attachments, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  After disliking Attachments so much I was on the fence about Fangirl, but after reading so many positive reviews of it by bloggers I follow, I figured I'd give it a read.  I'm so happy I did, because I really enjoyed the book so much.  Fangirl had family dysfunction, twin sibling disconnection, first love, college roommates, Simon Snow (a character that was obviously Harry Potter, which I LOVED), and so much more.  Rowell created a fantastic set of characters with this book, along with a fascinating rewrite of Harry Potter in the guise of Simon Snow.  I noticed that some people didn't care for the sections devoted to Simon Snow, but I actually did.  For some reason, every time I read the Simon Snow excerpts I got the urge to re-read my Harry Potter books or watch the movies.  Aside from Simon Snow, I loved reading about Cath(er) find herself in college - she discovered her talent as a fiction writer (and I don't mean her fanfiction) and she realized that she is capable of falling in love.  I thought Fangirl was a terrific read and would most definitely recommend it to fans of Rowell's writing and anyone looking for a great new read to get lost in. 

about book:  The New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter imagines the inspiration for Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Songs) is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.

my thoughts:  I've never read Goonight Moon, so I have no idea why everyone's obsessed with this children's book.  Of course, after reading Sarah Jio's latest novel, Goodnight June, I think its time I gave Moon a read.  In Goodnight June, we have the character of June - a young woman bent on being successful at work, no matter the cost (think family, love life, etc.). When June finds out that her aunt Ruby has left her her children's book shop, Bluebird Books, she begins to reevaluate her priorities in life.  Jio writes about June's journey of self-discovery, but she also writes about the author of Goodnight Moon.  She creates a deep friendship between Ruby (June's aunt) and Brownie (Goodnight Moon author, Margaret Wise Brown) and shares their sisterly love via letters that Ruby has left behind for June to discover (along with two very big secrets).  I read this book in one sitting and found myself easily lost in June's new life in Seattle.  At times the story was a bit too predictable with story lines and parallels, but overall Goodnight June proved to be a fun and engaging read.  I would definitely recommend to fans of Sarah Jio's works and fans of women's fiction.

Not a bad bunch of books, eh?  Even though I didn't LOVE them all, I did enjoy being on a reading binge.  Finishing one book and then diving into the next one was quite a thrill.  I'm in the middle of Love Life by Rob Lowe right now (after having finished Banana Yoshimoto's, The Lake) and am already looking at my shelves to see what book will be next.  Happy reading!!


Brandie said...

I'm glad you loved Anna - that is my favorite YA book of all time! I agree about Lola - I was disappointed an didn't have the same love as Anna.
I enjoyed If I Stay, too! I'm glad you loved Fangirl, but I'm sorry Attachments didn't work for you. I'm reading Eleanor & Park and it's good, but I'm not flying through it like I did the other two.

I read Goodnight Moon to Sunnie every single night before bed! I have to check this book out. Thanks for the tip!

Ti said...

Wasn't a fan of Fangirl. Had there been less Simon Snow stuff, I would have liked it more.

Goodnight Moon is a book that every mom reads to their baby. Seriously. It's a very sweet book. I still have a copy of it somewhere. You could read it in 2 minutes.

Nadia said...

Brandie, yay! Glad we agree on Anna and Lola :) If I Stay was so good - I kept crying! Fangirl was great!! Attachments just didn't capture me like the rest of Rowell's books. E&P is awesome, but definitely not a book you fly through - or at least I didn't. Hope you are enjoying it! Definitely check out the Jio book = you will probably get more from it than I did. Sunnie's lucky to have a bookwork for a mom :)

Ti, I read your post and saw you didn't enjoy Fangirl as much. I can see why, but for some reason I loved those Simon Snow passages. Sounds like I need to read me Goodnight Moon :)