Last day of the year! Crazy. Here are some pointers for the new year.
Quality over quantity.
Reading a lot is good. Taking breaks is good. Pushing your limits is good. Giving yourself a break is good.
Comparison is a thief of joy.
Other people's opinions are just that - opinions. So are your own.
Now, let's get into some stats.
I had quite a few 1 and 2 stars, but most books reside in a happy 4 star zone. Comparing to 2017, I have way less5 star books, which is both sad and good. Sad, because this reading year haven't been the greatest and good, because I am a more selective reader now.
I think it's wonderful how my shortest and longest books are by the same author. A favorite author! I am on his 9th book this year, in case you are wondering.
To be honest my average rating is surprising. I thought it was going to be much lower. I was giving 1 and 2 stars left and right it felt like.
Also, I cannot believe that only 39 people read The Grave at Storm's End - this trilogy is pretty awesome (if you are a grim dark fantasy fan)!
Both The Hunger Games and Crooked Kingdom were re-reads for me this year.
My first book of the year was by Brandon Sanderson (surprise, surprise) I actually read it on the plane. This was such a great start into Mistborn era 2 (it did kinda went downhill after that, oops)
My last book of the year would also have been by Brandon Sanderson, if I finished Elantris. But I didn't, and will not push myself to finish it just because the year is ending. I'm enjoying that book way too much. Thus my last book of the year was The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and it's a great one to finish the year off. I loved it!
So there you have it.
Here is to 2019!
Today I decided to go back on my 2018 reading goals and see how I actually did with them. Shall we?
1. Be more picky with my books - and for me that means reading less YA books.
- this was my goal in 2018, and I think I did okay with it. I tried to limit my ya consumption in 2018, and while I still read many, I didn't read too many I guess. I read The Black Witch, which was good, and I tried reading The Iron Flower which was garbage. I read both Scythe and Thunder Head and enjoyed both of them a lot. I re-read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom and still loved them the 2nd time around. I tried reading Wicked like A wildfire which was garbage, but We are Okay was a pleasant surprise. I even attempted a ya contemporary Simon vs. which was a big mistake, but A forest of a Thousand Lanterns became one of my favorites. I also read Dry which was okay-ish, and Skyward which was good but could have been better. There were more, really, but I don't feel like naming them all. Looking back I read quite a few, but I was certainly picky and only had a few very bad plops, which I just dnf'd.
2. Reading more of women fiction genre (something along the lines of Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine).
- women fiction is a genre that I might be addicted to, at times. I read The Lio, which was a great surprise. I also read quite a few books by Liane Moriarty, and while not all of them were good, most were: The Hypnotists' love story (loved), Truly Madly Guilty (mehhh), Three wishes (pretty good!), Big Little Lies (loved),The Last Anniversary (nope). The Cast, Not Her Daughter and Open Your Eyes were all from NetGalley and they were pretty good reads, especially Not Her Daughter I could not put that down. I also read Seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and despite popular opinion I did not like it, I found quite problematic. All the good parts was garbage, but Life on the leash was good (dogs!). This genre is such a hit or miss for me - it's a total gamble (even from authors I know).
3. Lower my Goodreads reading goal.
- 52 is a good number. And I'm sticking to it in 2019 as well.
4. Read more Brandon Sanderson books.
- I'm on my 9th Sanderson book. I think I did pretty well!! Alloy of Law (loved), Shadows of Self (really liked a lot), The Bands of Mourning (err nope), Warbreaker (loved), 3 Steven Legion novellas (adored all of them), Skyward (pretty good) and currently reading Elantris.
5. Re-read some of my favorites.
- I think the only re-read this year were Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Ohh, and the Hunger Games trilogy. And I'm happy to say that I still love all of those books.
6. Read some classics - particularly I'd like to read Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women and The picture of Dorian Grey in 2018.
- Okay, so I did read Jane Eyre and The Picture of Darien Grey. I also read Agnes Grey. But that's it. Therefore this goal is my top priority for 2019 - read more classics.
It seems like I did really well with my goals, and while it's true, I also read a lot of crappy books in between those goals. But I also read some very good books too. I'd rate my 2018 reading year as "it was good, but could have been much better".
Should I start with the usual "I can't believe it's going to be 2019 soon"? I mean I really can't, but I also can't turn back time so here we are.
So, 2018 was somewhat of a bust. I wanted to be more picky with my books, and I kinda was, but then I discovered NetGalley and all went to hell. I obviously went crazy with requesting titles and reading them (must get all of those badges!). So because of this I ended up reading a lot of crap. But I also found some of my absolute favorites on there as well (stay tuned for 2018 favorites). In 2019 I'm planning on using NetGalley sparingly, and only for the titles I really, really want to read. I love that platform so much, but it also cane a black hole in which I get so easily sucked in.
Here is a link to my 2018 reading plans, just so we can compare. For fun.
So here are my reading plans for 2019.
1. Here are the genres I want to read in 2019: adult fantasy, sci-fi, urban adult fantasy, classics plus some women fiction. In a nutshell. If some random genre wonders in and gets my full attention I'm not going to say no. Wow, I sound like a drunk in bar.
2. Not to be scared of big books. I know I keep saying quality over quantity, but sometimes it's still hard. Especially with that Goodreads goal looming over us, although I've been doing much better with that lately. Thankfully big books for me are mostly epic fantasy and that is my number 1 on the list, so I should not be afraid to read them.
3. Read, once again, more classics. I didn't do too good, but I didn't do too bad in 2018. I've read, ummm, 3 classic books? Yeah, okay I did worse than I thought. Jane Eyre, Picture of Dorian Grey and Agnes Grey - was all that I've read this year. thankfully I loved all 3 of them. For 2019, I'm going to be very ambitious with my classic reads because I want particularly to read some Russian classics (looking at you Dostoevski), as wells some Dumas, and more of Bronte sisters. Maybe even squeeze in some Jane Austen, even though I'm almost sure she isn't of my taste. More Wilde, too.
4. If I don't read a single YA book in 2019 I will be perfectly happy. It's kind of funny, because before I started my Goodreads seriously and then book blogging, I haven't read much of YA. Then I read lots of YA. And 2 years later I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the same tropes, same pit falls, same dumbed down female characters that pretend to be strong and independent but really aren't. Same plot lines, ya books that pretend to be fantasy but really are just romance. No, thank you. Of course, there are exceptions to everything, so if a gem of gems comes into my hands I will give it a chance. Also, this excludes classic young adult books, which in my eyes mostly means Ann Brashares because I'd like to read every book that woman wrote. I am almost there, too.
5. Read more of specific authors: If I say Brandon Sanderson, would you be surprised? I've actually read 8 of his books in 2018, whoah I just now counted and I am impressed!!! Sure, 3 of those were novellas, but hey, still! And if I finish the book I'm currently reading in 2018 it will be 9 in total. I also want to read some Steven King, I feel like I haven't in the longest time, and I kinda miss it. As I previously mentioned, some more by Ann Brashares. And Robert Jackson Bennett, which I mostly mean his other trilogy (as you will see in #6).
6. Keeping bmy reading book goal at 52. 52 is a good number. Also, quality over quantity.
7. And lastly here are some specific fantasy titles I'm hoping to read in 2019.
I'm feeling ambitious, but will see how it will actually play out through the year, as I am going be much busier than I was last year. Also, in Farseer Trilogy I've already read the 1st book, so yay head start.
In the acknowledgments of this book it says that the author wished to write a novel worthy of Agatha Christie. When I was reading this I literally described it as "Agatha Christie on steroids with a sci-fi twist". So, Mister Turton, mission accomplished.
Despite this book being quite hefty, 506 pages, I never felt bored, or felt that things were redundant or unnecessary. Not even once. I just gave myself to this book completely and savored it bit by bit.
I've heard people saying that this book takes a bit to get used to, because of how complicated it is, and all I have to say to that is "ummm what?". Because unless you've never in your life read a mystery book, or a book with time hops, this is in no way a complicated book. The writing propels the story forward and the time hops gradually make a lot of sense once you get to know more and more of the characters.
“So many memories and secrets, so many burdens. Every life has such weight. I don’t know how anybody carries even one.”
“What use is rearranging the furniture if you burn the house down doing it?”
I don't want to talk much about the plot (or at all really) because I feel that it's best to go into this book blindly. Which is normally the case with mystery books - the less you know the better. What I want to talk about is the mount of work it took to write this book. Recently I've been trying to always read author notes, because I feel like it lets me know them and the book better and on a deeper level.
The amount of time it took to plan this book is astonishing to me. The author had different ideas brewing for years, but the right idea struck him much, much later and of course, very randomly. Just the mapping out of the book took 3 months, and then that stretched into more months and then years. And 10 years later this masterpiece was born.
“The future isn’t a warning my friend, it’s a promise, and it won’t be broken by us. That’s the nature of the trap we’re caught in.”
So does this mean that we will have to wait 10 years for his next book? I sure as hell hope not!
For the mystery lover - I cannot recommend this book enough. For a lover of beautiful writing (the writing is very refined and classic, without ever being boring)- I cannot recommend this book enough. For those who love sci-fi, especially one where a day is relived times and times again - yes, Cannot recommend this book enough.
Also, not to be morbid or anything, but I hope that Agatha Christie and Stuart Turton meet in an afterlife, so she can tell him herself just how good of a job he did.
Because I am salty and grumpy reader I needed to split my let downs into 2 parts, I jus had so many.
1. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes
DNF and 2 stars
It boggles my mind how a book that supposedly has everything I love in books ended up being the book that I didn't love.
Historical fiction? - check!
Beautiful cover? - check!
Magic woven into history? - check!
YA book that doesn't have any unnecessary and annoying sex scenes? - check!
The execution of all of those things together? - ehhh...
I honestly don't know what, or even how that happened? The premise seemed so promising. The cover obviously caught my cover-whore loving eye. But from the very first pages I was very uninterested, and to be honest, pretty bored.
2. The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins
1 star and DNF at 71%
I could tell from the very first pages that I wasn't going to like this book, but I kept giving it chances - hoping with all my heart that something would change my mind - but alas, that didn't happen.
My main problem was that I couldn't see the point of this book - not at 20%, not at 51% and not at 71%. I just didn't know why I was reading it and what the book was trying to make me feel. Because I didn't feel anything. Nothing. And if the book doesn't make you feel then what is even the point?
The plot also didn't make much sense - a random guy encounter who offers to be her "hero" and they go on bunch of fake dates - that's just so unrealistic. Once again I'm sure the goal here was to come off as "sweet" and "different", but to me the whole thing was just weird.
3. The Waiter by Matias Faldbakken, Alice Menzies (Translator)
My reaction when I was finished with the book? "What in the world did I just read??"
My first problem with this book was that it made you feel left out - the waiter would ramble on about things, and places and names that I knew nothing about, or barely knew, and honestly a person who hasn't ever been to Europe probably wouldn't know either. It felt as if the book was written for a very small, specific audience, and at times it even felt as if the reader wasn't necessary at all.
I decided to read the whole thing because I wanted to see how it would play out. Now that I did, I wish I just abandoned it (I had to skim the last 30% - I was quite bored). The ending didn't wrap anything up, didn't close any loops or holes, and it did't explain anything at all. Which made the whole reading experience pointless to me.
4. One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan, Aniruddhan Vasudevan (Translation)
DNF at 51%
I feel like I am doing myself and this book a disservice by reading a much shortened, translated version of it. The original book is about 500 pages, and this version is 288.
I peaked at other reviews of this book on Goodreads, because the book got a lot of glowing 5 star reviews (and I just couldn't understand why). But now I know that the translation is the reason.
The original, Madhorubdagan, is poetic, lush and beautiful (according to the reviews). One Part Woman is dry, choppy and repetitive. Which saddens me to no end, because I don't speak the language the book was written in, so I guess I will never be able to experience the true beauty of it.
5. All the Good Parts by Loretta Nyhan
This book can be renamed All the Stupid Things Leona Did. It's been a while since I really disliked a women fiction book, but here we are. I had quite high hopes for this (for some reason). The premise sounded interesting and I am always in the market for a good book revolving around women and children.
For startes Leona is the stupidest main character, I'm sorry but she really is. I get it, there are people who don't know what they want to do with their lives (I mean, I don't!), people who don't finish things, people who hide from the world all the time - and I have a feeling that Leona was supposed to be a character that reader identifies with, but the whole execution was so poor, that all I could do was just roll my eyes at her constant stupidity.
The whole premise of the book, while at first sounding very endearing quickly turned out into something very wrong. The book takes methods that women who can't get pregnant would use in hopes to conceive a baby and turn it into a stupid game of Leona choosing her sperm donor. It was quite insulting actually. All the while she tumbles from one poor and unprofessional decision to another.
6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
( I have a lengthy review on this, so click the link to be taken to Goodreads to read it if you wish)
Enjoyed the diversity - hated pretty much everything else.
I'm going to tell myself that this is the last time I'm reading hyped book that everybody absolutely loved, but we all know it isn't true and I will never learn.
I bought the book because of the raving reviews and then it just kinda sat on my shelf for a couple of weeks, because I had an inkling that I wasn't going to like it. And look, I was correct. At least I know myself.
Main reason for me suspecting from the bat that I won't like this was the setting - I can't think of something I care less about than Hollywood (old Hollywood in this case). That's just not my thing. And while my opinion about the "stars" who would do anything (and I mean anything) just to get a little bit of spotlight was already very low, this book lowered it even more.
Writing - I enjoyed it - it went really well with the tone of the book, and did a great job at describing shocking parts about the "glamour of Hollywood" But, to me it held no emotion. People kept promising tears with this book and I didn't even tear up once. I'd call myself a cold hearted bitch, but I cry at videos of puppies eating carrots, so I know it isn't me this time. The way things were written gave away a lot of the things that were going to happen, so when the sad thing happened, I already knew it would and thus had no emotion to show for it any longer.
7. The Iron Flower(The Black Witch Chronicles #2) by Laurie Forest
DNF at 33 %
So not the rating I thought I was going to be giving this book, I was pretty sure that this would have been a 5 star, boy was I wrong. Gorgeous cover though, so that's something.
To start off, I'm not giving this 1 star, despite having dnf-d it, because I only save 1 stars for books I really did not like. And I just didn't care for Iron Flower, it's not a bad book, but it isn't a book for me, unfortunately. The Black Witch was though, so I honestly have no idea how the book went from that to this...
So, let me summarize this book for you:
"Oh Yvan! Oh Lucas! Oh Yvan! Let me make out with Lucas. But Yvan is so beautiful! But I can't have him. Oh Lucas! blah blah blerhhh!!"
In other words, ya fantasy is dead because ya romance has killed it.
8. I'll Be There For You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller
I was quite excited about this one. Mainly because I'm a big Friends fan - when I say I watched the TV show 20 times, I really mean 20 times. At least. Although every time I re-watch it I find something else that's problematic which I haven't noticed the first time. Which is totally fine, because the times back then and right now were so, so different. I also felt like reading some non-fiction so this was perfect timing.
So why such low rating?
Because this book really didn't bring anything new to the table. Which is so, so disappointing. I wanted to find things that I've never heard of before, I wanted more insight on episodes, on actors themselves, maybe even some piece of juicy gossip. Instead, literally 80% of everything in this book can be found on Pinterest and Instagram 'fact' posts about Friends.
9. Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb
DNF at 41% and 1 star
So I was in the mood for something thrilling, suspenseful and fast paced. Obviously, from my low rating you can tell that I got none of those things from this book. That is unfortunate, because despite never reading anything by this author I was excited for this book. It's the cover probably (I am always a victim of pretty or intriguing covers).
The premise was interesting enough, but as I started reading, and reading and reading... I really couldn't tell what the point of this book was. There was little to no plot development and I got to 41 percent, so I feel like I gave this book all of the chances I could.
So I had quite a few blunders in 2018, book wise. I would really like to choose my books better next year. Thank you Santa.
“Where there is nothing, there is the possibility for everything. When you live nowhere, you live everywhere.”
I keep coming back to the Sisterhood, I just can't get enough of these girls, well, young women at this point. I love how the books grow up with the girls, or girls grow up with the books - whichever way you want to put it, really.
I know I've said this in the review of previous Sisterhood book, but I do not like young adult contemporary books about coming of age. And yet, I love this series, and will probably reread these books in the future.
In every book I always pick my most favorite girl (I can't even say character, they are all just girls to me. My girls, because that's how you feel after you've spent a couple of books with them) and a least favorite girl. Throughout the books I always identify best with Lena, but Bee is always close second. In this book Bee's story was the best one for me personally, I even teared up a few times (I tear up or straight up cry in each of these books, so that's not a surprise). What was a surprise is that Carmen was my second favorite this time, and usually she and Tibby rival each other for who I can hate the most. Not hate really, but just be annoyed by. Forever in Blue is no exception,and probably for four books in a row now, Tibby is my least favorite (or second to least favorite). Tibby is always, always at the bottom for me.
“Why not celebrate what you had had rather than spend your time mourning its passing? There
could be joy in things that ended.”
What I love the most about these books is not even how girls are all beautifully imperfect, but how relatable they are in their imperfectness. Sure, the situations they find themselves in are often a bit too ridiculous to feel like real life, but the emotions they feel are so true.
In other ya contemporary books I often find myself being annoyed at characters making stupid, stupid, stupid decisions. In Sisterhood books I see myself in their decisions. They are still stupid, but they are also true and they are things that I've done and lived through before. I believe that this is the reason these books are so relatable and so moving. The emotions are so true that we can't help but identify at least with one of the girls at any given time in the book. Lena, Bee, Tibby and Carmen are me, and I am them.
I believe that this is considered a conclusion of the books, although there are two more after this one. Technically. There is a book with different characters (Three Willows 4.5, which I own and will read, but I don't know how I feel about that) and Sisterhood Everlasting (which I am really scared to read as they all will be grown ups.
“She had that frustrating dreamlike confusion of racking her brain for the answer then forgetting what the question was. There was a question, wasn't there?”
“Let's not forget The Things They Do To Make Themselves Happy That Actually Make Them Miserable. This is an infinite list. It includes - shopping, watching TV, taking the better job, getting the bigger house, writing a semi-autobiographical novel, educating their young, making their skin look mildly less old and harboring a vague desire to believe there might be a meaning to it all.”
If I was into highlighting my fiction books this WHOLE book would be highlighted. So much good stuff in it. It's really quite unfair that Matt Haig alone has gotten all of the world's wisdom, but at least he's sharing it with us, so that's good. Also, to clarify, I only rated this 4 and not 5 stars because there were some musings I didn't agree with, but for the most part I loved everything about this novel.
The Humans is not a book that should be read for the plot. Yes, it's sci-fi, but it's not anything new, or groundbreaking, the plot is very recyclable and very, very predictable. The Humans is a book that should be read for its soul, for its wisdom and for the beauty that it finds in the mundane. Mundane meaning us - humans. And our meagre lives.
"But know this. Men are not from Mars. Women are not from Venus. Do not fall for categories. Everyone is everything. Every ingredient inside a star is inside you, and every personality that ever existed competes in the theatre of your mind for the main role."
“Maybe that is what beauty was, for humans. Accidents, imperfections, placed inside a pretty pattern. Asymmetry. The defiance of mathematics.”
I realize that my review will consist mostly of quotes, but honestly with a book like this - it speaks for itself. I am merely a spectator, who was lucky enough to experience the masterpiece of this. And the beauty of this book is in how it unfolds itself.
An unnamed alien comes to earth to take a place of a mathematician who solved a theorem that would have sped up the technological progress on earth to unfathomable levels, and aliens know that humans can't handle it, so they sent one of their own to exterminate the knowledge. The alien is repulsed by humans - he thinks us primitive, disgusting, and just backwards really. Are you offended yet? Because funnily enough, I agreed with every little thing he said about humans and all of our flaws. We, as species are truly horrible, and I finally have a book that wholeheartedly agrees with me. Feels good.
“Human life, I realized, got progressively worse as you got older, by the sound of things. You arrived, with baby feet and hands and infinite happiness, and then the happiness slowly evaporated as your feet and hands grew bigger. And then, from the teenage years onward, happiness was something you could lose your grip of, and once it started to slip, it gained mass. It was as if the knowledge that it could slip was the thing that made it more difficult to hold, no matter how big your feet and hands were.”
But, as flawed as we are, there is something to us. And the alien goes on discovering what is it that makes humans so irresistible. Despite our feebleness, our single mindlessness and all our erroneous ways - humanity is real, it's raw, and it's painfully beautiful. I'm still not changing my opinions - I agree with alien's initial overview of human race, but I also agree that there's good in us, there's light and there's beauty - and all of that - the good and the bad is what makes us - the humans.
The writing is superb, the humor is contagious - I highly recommend this, even to those who do not read sci-fi. This books is so much more than that.
“The tea seemed to be making things better. It was a hot drink made of leaves, used in times of crisis as a means of restoring normality.”
You know that saying - one man's garbage another man's treasure? Same here. Take these with a grain of salt. Or two (as I tend to hate books everybody else loves).
I'm going in chronological order even, I feel so proper.
1. The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson
What. A Brandon Sanderson's book in this list? Am I mistaken? Have I lost my mind?
Just because he's my favorite author, it doesn't mean that I can't be objective. And I am all objectiveness, really.
I just really didn't like this 6th book (or second 3rd depending how you count them).
It was a mess. I didn't hated it, I was just so disappointed in it - and thus it makes this list. Please don't disappoint me like that again, sir, okay?
I really don't have much to say about this book, except - BORING.
So, so boring.
Like, wake me up when this is over boring.
I'm not hating, I really just was so bored, how is this book a winner of anything I don't know. The only thing more boring than this book is probably this paragraph I just wrote.
3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood #1)by Becky Albertalli
DNF on page 80 and 1 star
Oh yeah. This book.
You know, just because the book is diverse - it doesn't mean that it can't be garbage.
But try calling this book garbage on Goodreads - you will get crucified. Probably.
The writing is awful. The representation is one sided. The jokes are racist. Life is easier for lesbians apparently. Tumbrl is mentioned on every other page. This book is a mess.
Read Aristotle and Dante instead, much, much better. <3
4. Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović
DNF on page 215 and 1.5/5 stars
I read 5 pages of it and the only word that kept running through my mind was - pretentious, pretentious, pretentious.
It felt like the author just really liked using her dictionary - trying to fit as many descriptions and adjectives into one page as possible.
The main character, Iris is a bitchy bitch for no apparent reason. She's "breathtakingly beautiful, but she herself doesn't think so." NO, thank you!
All of the characters had as much dimension as a sheet of paper.
I was bored.
The plot? I don't know if there was a plot, but apparently I never got to it. And I generously gave up after 215 pages.
5. Just Like Other Daughters by Colleen Faulkner
I enjoyed reading this book, but I didn't particularly like it at all( if that makes any sense). And to be honest the more I think about it the more things I find to dislike.
I honestly think that when parents who have down syndrome child (or any other mental disability) read this book would be offended by the tone of the storytelling. I certainly was - and I don't even have kids.
The ending was the worst part. First of all it was very predictable. Second of all, it was just so messed up.
6. The Queen of Subtleties: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Suzannah Dunn
DNF and 1/5 stars
Look for the nearest dumpster because this is garbage! Trash. Total trash.
I'm rude and I'm not even sorry. How this book ever got published I have absolutely no idea.
Normally, I have the rule if I don't reach the 100 page mark, I don't rate the book, but in this case I am more than happy to make an exception and give this 1 star (even though it doesn't even deserve that).
This reads like a trashy romance fanfic (minus the actual romance). The author obviously has no idea how people of that era spoke, so it's full of modern slang and curse words.
Anne Boleyn's favorite word is apparently "damn".
King Henry has words such as "skedaddle" in his vocabulary.
Anne's cousin just tells her to "f@ck off" and so on.
7. A Different Blue by Amy Harmon
Man, I hate this cover.
First off, the writing - the first 100 pages of the book are completely horrendous. It felt like somebody completely different wrote it. Normally Harmon's writing is lyrical and beautiful, and inspiring. This felt like something I'd read on a WatPad (which there is nothing wrong with, it's just not what I expected). A Different Blue was full of "he threw his hands up into the air", "he ran his hands through his locks", "I clipped", "growled", "sashayed to him" and more, - very cringe-y.
The book seemed to have no plot, or maybe too many plots - I honestly am not sure. So many things were happening, but then they all just ended up going nowhere.
I love Amy Harmon, but this was a huge miss for me. Or a mess - same thing.
8. The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg
"What in the world did I just read" - sums up this book very well. At least for me. Aside from giving it a low rating I actually do not think that this is a bad book, I think that this is a brilliant book - for the right audience.
I like a little ambiguity here and there, but The Third Hotel is ambiguous on top of ambiguous - and at that point what is the story even? When the author leaves too much to reader's interpretation the story telling ceases to be, it looses its direction and it loses its own voice.
Everything would be made okay if the ending at least gave us something, but it doesn't. I finished the book, but I feel like I haven't, I still have so many questions and absolutely no answers. Sure, that is the point of this type of writing, but to be honest I'd rather have hard, but set in stone truths than delirious musings that go nowhere.
9. The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen #1) by Emily R. King
I have so many questions.
- Why didn't anybody tell me how bad this was?
- Why did I fall for the pretty cover yet again?
- Why didn't I DNF'd it?
- Why YA fantasy isn't really fantasy at all?
- Why did I spend $2 on it?
I do have to say that this had tons of potential. Tons! But sadly it was all wasted away. Partly because of the super Insta-romance, and partly because of the very detached writing.
“You couldn't erase the past. You couldn't even change it. But sometimes life offered you the opportunity to put it right.”
I do not like young adult books much anymore, especially contemporary young adult, and especially young adult contemporary coming of age stories with romance (whew, that was a mouthful). And The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants series is all of those things. And somehow I really enjoy it. Girls in Pants is the 3rd book in the series, and so far my favorite one. I lost some faith in the book 2 (I didn't like it much), but book 3 came back and definitely brought it home for me.
“She was still waiting for him to come back to her, even though he wasn't going to. She was still holding out for something that wasn't going to happen. She was good at waiting. That seemed like a sad thing to be good at.”
If I was a teenager reading these books right now - they would be my holy grail of books. I can say that with a 100 percent certainty. But as I am not a teenager anymore, I just appreciate these books for what they are - a really good, proper young adult coming of age story. Young Adult genre, while skyrocketing in popularity over the last couple of years, definitely went downhill in quality of its content. A lot of ya contemporaries are very mainstream, "hip" (or whatever they are trying to be) and just not generally good (in my humble opinion).
The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants is a classic of coming of age stories - it's relatable, it's real and it's very raw. Nobody in these books is perfect - adults or teens - both are flawed, both are guilty of doing wrong things. And I really love that. Nowadays it's teens vs parents, or parents are very often absent (I guess we have Disney to thank for a trend of "poor unfortunate orphans" that always somehow save the day.
“Why does he have to be my boyfriend? Are you inferior if you don't have a boyfriend? Why does everybody have to be in love with somebody?”
Girls in Pants is far from perfect, not just character wise, but plot wise too. I admit that it is too easy, too convenient, too happy even. But I (ever the critic of cliches and tropes) somehow am okay with it. There was plenty of heavy emotions to offset the cheesy- it was a pretty good balance. Being on a third book in this journey my only fear right now is for the series not to become horrible with the last books, because oh that is definitely a possibility. But, fingers crossed.
I always try to say who was my favorite in each book, and I always gravitate towards Lena - I just really love her. And her story arc in this book was so, so good. And happy to say that I finally didn't hate Carmen or Tibby - both definitely evaluated themselves as characters in my eyes. Bee is always a solid number 2 for me, I love Bee.
“Sometimes when she thought of Eric, and now more powerfully when she saw him, she felt some achy nostalgia for her old self. For the dauntless, daring soul she used to be. There were certain qualities you possessed carelessly. And you couldn't retrieve them when they were gone.”