book club

things i’ve read. thoughts i’ve thunk.

using bria’s 5 star rating system, here’s the short: star rating and long: what i thought about what i’ve read recently.*

*i use the word recently very loosely.

A BLUE SO DARK, holly schindler
short: 4.5 stars.
long: the idea of the creative process and how it affects us is beautifully and painfully constructed here. aura’s mother is spiraling down a schizophrenic black hole and not only does aura have to take care of her, but she has to come to grips with the fact that she might be affected with the disease too. gorgeous, evocative language. contemporary. thoughtful. stunning.

short: 3.5 stars.
long: an MG novel that is sweet, short, and lovely. since it’s MG, i read it in about an hour, huzzah! fun little book.

AND THEN THINGS FALL APART, arlaina tibensky
short: 4.5 stars.
long: i got this out of the library and before i’d even finished it, i’d bought my own copy from the book store. i found myself dog-earing page after page because not only are the words hilarious, but the emotional truths knock the wind out of you. (and well, here, this review pretty much sums up my thoughts about this book and actually, it was the original reason i decided to read this book.) also, as a “writer”, i appreciated tibensky’s craft. she just nails the teen voice. basically, this book rocks.

BLOOD RED ROAD, moira young
short: 4.5 stars
long: this book caught me off guard. it’s fast, furious, and full of awesome characters, especially saba. she’s happily lived in her twin brother’s shadow for her whole life — but then he’s captured and she’s forced into a quest to find him. being there for saba’s transformation from follower to leader is intense and worth every single second. the only bad thing is that this is the first book in a series and there’s awhile to wait until the next ones are released. UGH! (for me, saba’s up there with katniss everdeen from HUNGER GAMES and katsa from THE GRACELING.)

short: 2 stars.
long: i read maybe 3 of the stories before i came across a really creepy one and i had to stop. i can’t handle the creepy. fortunately, kiersten white’s TICK TICK BOOM was 5 stars and was the last one in the book and was the reason i picked up the anthology in the first place and it didn’t disappoint. action, adventure, lighting bugs, secret identities, yes please!

short: 4 stars.
long: this book is poetry disguised as prose. the writing is ridiculously gorgeous. (side note: laini came to wellesley books and adriana and i went to see her. she was adorable and humble and strong and fabulous. she said she could get lost in re-writing a paragraph all day because playing with words and bringing out their musicality is her favorite. after reading DAUGHTER, that is obvious.) however, the plot wasn’t my favorite. (in fact, i’m waiting for adriana to finish reading it so i can ask her to explain a major plot point to me.) the ideas put forth in this book are killer and very unique, but i liked this for the writing, not the story.

FORBIDDEN, tabitha suzuma
short: 1 star.
long: the title is perfect. the topic is forbidden (bro/sis love affair) and frankly, the writing was too good and thus i had to stop because i was too uncomfortable reading this. i’m glad i gave it a brief read because it’s always good to test yourself / read out of your comfort zone / know what your boundaries are, but that said, i returned it to the library unfinished.

short: 5 stars.
long: i was a bit afraid the magic wouldn’t feel the same after not having read this series for years. that was stupid of me. it still lingered on every page and surprisingly, was even more compelling this fourth time around. if you haven’t read this (book or series), WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

IT’S IN HIS KISS, caitie quinn
short: 4.7 stars.
long: it’s one of the most charming stories i’ve read in ages. fun, easy, breezy, funny, story. i’ve read it twice already. (it probably also hits v. close to home). the only reason it’s not getting 5 stars is because it’s kindle only and i’m partial to books and because not everyone i know has a kindle and so i can’t share it with them!

JUST LISTEN, sarah dessen (audiobook)
short: 3.5 stars.
long: this covers a bunch of intense topics, but in typical sarah dessen fashion, it’s a joy to read, umm, listen to. the emotional journey dessen takes you on is just that — a wild ride of highs and lows and it had me shaking my fist at annabel a couple of times. (i mean, no it didn’t. i’m a perfect driver who always has her hands at 10 and 2.) (i tend to listen to audiobooks on my long drive.) anyways, while annabel frustrated me sometimes, she was always true to character and thus, you can’t help loving her, but honestly, owen, the love interest, is the true scene stealer and he alone makes this book worth the read, or umm, listen.

NIGHTSHADE, andrea cremer
short: 3 stars
long: this book is the first in a very popular series. it might even be on the NYT bestselling list. i have to say, i don’t see it. i mean, it’s got all the popular things: paranormal elements, love triangle, sassiness, and while i read the entire thing in two (cross country airplane) sittings, i was never fully wrapped up in it. i had no problem stopping when the stewardess came by with the drink cart and again with the free snacks (woohoo, jet blue!). i almost wish there hadn’t been a love triangle and more time could have been spent on the relationship between calla and shay. i think that also would have solved the problem of too much happening in too little time at the end. i may check out the sequel WOLFSBANE, i may not…

SUPERNATURALLY, kiersten white
short: 3 stars
long: this is the sequel to PARANORMALCY and i have to admit, those jackets are some of my absolute favorites. i think they’re simply gorgeous. as for the interior of the book — evie is a really interesting character and i understand what white was attempting to do here in moving the character and the plot forward, but i found it a bit dull. however, i am now invested in the story, so i’ll definitely be reading the third book, ENDLESSLY, when it’s released and if you’re in the mood for something light, flirty, and breezy, this is the series for you.

THE NIGHT CIRCUS, erin morgenstern.
short: 3 stars.**
long: i haven’t read an “adult” book in ages, but i made an exception for this one because the media blitz about it was overwhelming. the concept was fascinating (a circus, a challenge, a love story, MAGIC), but for me, the execution fell flat. the omniscient narrator created too much distance and i never felt fully invested in marco or celia, which is too bad because they’re the two main characters and because the stage was ripe with possibility (rivals, respect, love, magic!).  yeah, basically (overall) i was underwhelmed, but you might not be.

**this is a tough rating because i personally didn’t like it, but it is a worthy book and the writing doesn’t suck. i know a lot of people will like it (i probably shouldn’t have read this right after DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE.) and i think it could be turned into a visually stunning (if not epically long) movie.

THE PIPER’S SON, melina marchetta
short: 3 stars.
long: i have a like/dislike relationship with books by marchetta. this is the third one i’ve read by her and they are all loaded down with characters. so many characters + too subtle differences = confusion for me. (ask sister E. on the plane back from italy, she had to answer my JELLICOE ROAD character questions ever 5 seconds. talk about a long plane ride!)  i actually even put this book down because i didn’t have the energy to work through it, but adriana told me “just keep reading,” so i did. and i’m glad i did. marchetta has a way of capturing emotional moments that punch you in the gut and THE PIPER’S SON is no different. it was fun to revisit the characters i first met in SAVING FRANCESCA (which is 4.5 stars, BTW), but you have to have read SF in order to truly appreciate PS. both are worth the effort involved.

what have YOU read recently? what should I read next?

actually, i know what i can’t wait to read next, BITTERBLUE. finally! a release date! may 1, 2012. i so so so loved THE GRACELING by kristin cashore and in that book, we meet bitterblue. she’s one of those side characters that you wish you could spend more time with and, check it, NOW WE CAN. i’ve been waiting for this announcement ever since i saw kristin speak at havard square books a couple of years ago. *dances* i love good news like this.

15 thoughts on “things i’ve read. thoughts i’ve thunk.”

  1. looks like you had a productive reading month! so glad you liked BRR and JL. I really enjoyed both for very different reasons (obviously). AND THEN THINGS FALL APART and DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE are currently at the top of my TBR list…I just have to make a pilgrimage to either the library or B&N. I’m so lazy. I’ll admit it.

    and FORBIDDEN? I read it almost a year ago, did a review on it, and I’m still unsure of how i feel about it. The writing was stellar, and pulled me right in…eh…a little too much, and I was distinctly uncomfortable through much of the book. But I did finish it. and I’m glad I did. I hate leaving things unfinished…makes me feel like I failed at life or something.

    1. you read FORBIDDEN? i’ll have to check that review out. (i heard about it from stephanie perkins’ blog.) i did something i rarely do which is stop reading a book midway through and i did something i never do which is skip to the end to read that. if i read it correctly, i’m pretty sure i’m very glad i stopped reading — too much intensity!

      thanks again for the BRR and JL recommendations. highly enjoyed.

      and YES, get thee butt to a B&N for ATTFA! and DAUGHTER!

  2. I’m so glad you did this post! I’ve been waiting for you forever to start doing reviews! :) Yoo hoo! I like the mini format too. This better not be a one-time thing, ok? :)

    A couple of random comments:

    I’m finishing one book today, I’ve packed Solitude of Prime Numbers for the weekend, but after that it’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I promise! :) I can’t wait!

    Night Circus is adult??? Huh? I thought it was YA.

    I love that you gave a 4.7 rating :)

    What to read next: LOLA! I looooved Lola! I may’ve even loved it more than Anna. I haven’t decided yet.

    1. haha. yes, this post is dedicated to you and sister E. the reason i don’t do more reviews is because i read mainly only YA and not a lot of people do that, thus rendering my reviews worth pennies, but i’ll try to make this a more regular thing cause i’ve gotta keep my regulars happy. :)

      plus, while i’ve read some gorgeous writing lately, it’s been ages (hmm, since HUNGER GAMES?) since a book’s plot + writing has sucked me in to the point where i forget i’m reading and i’m just living in that world and i don’t like posting mean reviews. i’d rather talk about the books i ADORE, CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF rather than all the middling things i’ve read.

      thanks for the LOLA suggestion. it’s next up after i finish (a) my book club’s october pick and (b) a kindle book bria lent to me. it disappears after 2 weeks, which i have to admit, is kind of a thrilling way to read. i’m literally racing against the clock!

      1. Oh my gosh you’re a riot! RACE little Abby! Race the clock!

        I have seen Forbidden floating around a lot. No idea why I don’t want to read it..OK, I know why – but. I wish someone who read it would just sit down for a coffee and tell me all about it LOL

  3. Wow! You’re as bad…er, good…as Karla about reading!

    Well done, thoughtful reviews. You read so much more than I do — I’m sure you’ve already read anything I could possibly suggest. *grin*l

    1. oh, no, karla’s got me beat. she reads this much in a month. this is my “recent” reading list, as in from june to october…. but yeah, i do heart reading.

    1. oh good, i hope it was helpful! you’ll have to let me know YOUR reviews once you’ve ready through some. :)

  4. Nnnnghhhh, Blood Red Road. I got it on Audible, and I just canNOT get into it. But I keep seeing a-mahzing reviews everywhere (bookshelves of doom reviewed it TWICE, she loved it so much), and then my MOM just started listening to it on her commute and fell in love, so I guess I have to keep going. Saba is just so infuriating, though!

    Smoke and Bone I DID finish, and loved, but I also *coughcough* skipped those last several chapters in the chimaera world. It felt so out of place, and while I GET why we should care about that story, I just couldn’t. Too much, too late. But I liked everything outside of that pretty well, and adored the prose. Eh, what can you do.

    I just finished Mara Dyer and…well. Underwhelmed. Not bad, but just so much going on, and none of it really pulled at me. And guys who order your food for you just really do not do it for me. Sort of the opposite. So no Noah Shaw love for me.

    I started Robopocalypse, and really liked what I got to, but my loan ran out (ebook from Oregon), so I figured I’d save it for another time. I did get to finish Widefire, and was really impressed. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland… I liked quite a bit, too, but found it irritating to read more of than a chapter or two at a time. There’s clever and then there’s CLEVER, you know?

      1. my word, girl, i’ve barely heard of any of those books! *furiously takes notes* thanks!

        i’m nervous about MARA DYER. i have this issue with too high expectations, so i’m going to wait a bit to read it. also, am only going to read while it’s daylight. (why, yes, i am a huge wimp.)

        moving on……DAUGHTER OF SMOKE… yeah, it’s an odd duck. i adored the writing, but sometimes, not so much the plot and/or characters. for the most part, yes, but sort of weird to love the actual writing and not the story as a whole.

        oh and BLOOD RED ROAD? it took me about the first 25-30 pages before i really got going. karla actually had to talk me through it. consider this your pep talk. keep listening!!!

    1. i know! some days i want to turn off all the news i keep hearing about new books because i don’t have enough time to get through my current TBR pile much less when i keep adding to it.

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