Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where the Heart Is: Review

Author: Billie Letts
Age range: 16 & up
Content: Moderate romance, mild sexual content, mild language, moderate violence
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 384
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

For most people, sevens are lucky. But for Novalee Nation, seventeen, seven months pregnant, heading to California with her boyfriend, it's the exact opposite. She finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma with just $7.77 in change and a whole lot of bad luck. What Novalee doesn't know is that she's about to come across a group of down-to-earth, warm-hearted, deeply caring people willing to help out a homeless, jobless girl secretly living in a Wal-Mart. From religious blue-haired Sister Husband to intellectual Forney Hull who may love Novalee more than she loves herself, they're all about to take her on a moving, hilarious journey to... Where the Heart Is.

First things first, I didn't read this because it's apart of Oprah's Book Club. I just wanted to make that clear because I really don't like her or her show or her book club. Sorry, Oprah.

 Disclaimer: I watched the movie before I read the book. (Natalie Portman made an adorable Novalee.) Don't kill me. I didn't know it was a book until the credits were rolling.

I think the only thing about this book that I wasn't crazy about was the title. When you search it up on B&N or Amazon, this book shows up, but in a sea of other stories with the same name. There were so many other great lines in the book that she could've used as the title. None that I can name off the top of my head, but I remember thinking it. Other than that, I absolutely loved the story.

Novalee was a great female character. She was strong and likable and charismatic. I think she's one of my new favorite literary characters of all time. All the characters were great and just such characters. They were all so different and lively with their own backstories and leftover heartaches. It was all such a good balance of different people wanting different things and all of them wanting the same thing. I also liked how it wasn't just Novalee's story. It was everyone's story.

I loved all the names. I love when authors give their characters original, interesting names. Actually, I just like it when people, in general, have original, interesting names.

The style of writing was really easy to read and the plot was easy to keep up with without being boring. There was always something happening but it was never too much. There was a lot of description, but, again, it was never too much. The story never came to a stand-still. The characters kept moving, changing with their lives.

I recommend this to people who like stuff like Nicolas Sparks or other romance-y, mild adult books. I've only read one Nicolas Sparks book. But this book still seemed very similar in writing and style and genre. (I think Billie Letts is better, though.) I highly recommend this to anyone, actually. This would make a good beach or travel or car book. It's just a really nice cute story that would be appealing to a wide range of readers.

If you're wondering, the movie is also really good. They changed some things. Like in the movie, Novalee is superstitious about fives instead of sevens. Little things like that. But it worked well in the transition from novel to film.

Overall, I loved this book and I think you'd like it, too. I hope you enjoyed reading my review and I will be back, at some point before Saturday. Later.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1): Review

Author: Patrick Ness
Age range: 13-17
Content: Mild romance, no sexual content, moderate language, moderate violence
Genre: Teen Fiction / Teen Action & Adventure
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 512
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in a town of men. He can hear everything they're thinking. And they can hear everything he's thinking. He doesn't fit into their plans. One month away from his birthday that will make him a man, Todd realizes that his town is keeping secrets from him. Secrets that will make him want to run.

This book was published in 2008. And I've never heard of it or seen in B&N at all until two weeks ago. I can totally see this being one of those books that they make into a movie and everyone freaks out over like it's the hottest new thing even though it's been out for six years.

Not gonna lie, I wasn't super impressed with this book. The characters were one-dimensional. The format of writing was gimmicky. The plot was unspectacular. Nothing impressed me. 

Todd's motives weren't clear at all. Even after reading five hundred pages, I still don't know what it was that Todd wanted for himself and for his future. At first, he wants to be a man. Within that period, I got the feeling that he didn't want to be in Prentisstown and that he was resentful towards the town in general. But then shortly after, he expresses not wanting to leave. Then he actually does leave and shows very survival-esque, bland mindset towards his entire situation. Then he shows emotional remorse and overall attachment to his old life. I don't know if Ness was trying to show character development in Todd. But it went too up and down for me. The only thing that clearly developed was Todd's affection for his dog. Other than that there was nothing to develop.

The format and style was weird. There were a lot of one sentence paragraphs.
it seems like the author is just trying too use up more pages than necessary. It didn't seem crucial to the overall storytelling part of the book. I'm not even kidding, it was pages of crap like that. And the plot was predictable. I found myself waiting for them to unveil the "big twist" that I already predicted. 

This book reminded me of Dark Eden which I have read and reviewed. The premise and style of both books was similar. I recommend this if you really liked Dark Eden.

Overall, I didn't really like this book. I wasn't impressed or excited by it. I won't read it again and it didn't make my list of favorites. Okay, I think that's all for now. I hope your August has been cool so far. Thanks for reading. BYE. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tarzan of the Apes: Review

Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Age range: 17 & up
Content: Moderate romance, moderate sexual content, mild language, high violence
Genre: Classic Fiction / Fantasy / Science Fiction
Publisher: ???
Pages: 310
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

The classic tale of an English Lord who was raised by apes, realizing his birthright and coming to terms with his humanness.

The only reason I decided read this was because I loved the Disney cartoon movie. I used to watch it all the time when I was younger. I watched it again for the first time in years and then I found out that it's a book. At first I was apprehensive because usually, older books are a little harder to read. Then I saw that many people said they read and loved it as a kid, so I figured, "Well how bad could it be?" I was pleasantly surprised and ended up loving it.

This book was originally published in 1912. So the style of writing is very different but out of all the classics I've read, this one was definitely one of the easier ones. It wasn't like Pride and Prejudice where every sentence is a riddle. The writing was simple and exciting and interesting.

It was a lot gorier than Disney's version of the story and just gorier than I thought it would be considering people read when they were children. It wasn't unnecessary though. All the gory was needed to tell the story accurately. There's a lot more death and the story is told with more of an animal-esque detachment. It's definitely not as personable as Disney's version. It's harsher and colder. I mean, it is about animals in the wild. But there are moments that are quite sweet and genuine. It's a good mix.

I recommend this if you have seen and enjoyed the Disney film as a kid. It's always nice to read a story that you liked in your younger years and to see it in a different light. You get to learn about the realities of Tarzan and all the questions you might have had as a kid are answered.

If you have a hard time finding it, go to Barnes & Noble. They have it added to their Classics series. So yeah. I hope you enjoyed my review of Tarzan of the Apes. Happy back to school week, I guess. I think public school started. I don't know. Okay. Bye.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Landline: Review

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Age range: 16 & up
Content: Moderate romance, moderate sexual content, moderate language, no violence
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

Georgie McCool's marriage is in trouble and it has been for a long time. Georgie knows it. She loves Neal and Neal still loves her, deeply, but that almost seems beside the point now. Maybe it was always beside the point. 
Two days before Georgie and her family are supposed to leave for Omaha, Georgie tells Neal that she can't go. She's a TV writer and an amazing opportunity has sprung up that's forcing her to stay in Los Angeles. She knows Neal will be upset with her (Neal is always a little upset with her) but she doesn't expect him to pack up the kids and go without her. 
When her family leaves for the airport, Georgie wonders if she's finally done it, if she's finally ruined everything. 
That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It's not time travel... exactly. This could be Georgie's chance to fix her marriage before it starts. Is that what she's supposed to do? Or would Georige and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

It's midnight where I live and I'm kinda tired, so I apologize in advance for any typos I make.

I've read every book Rainbow Rowell put out and I've loved all of them. If you would like to read my reviews of Rainbow's books, I'll put links at the end. I think RR is my favorite fun writer. Nothing she writes is super heavy or violent or hard to understand. Her writing is just really fun to read. Like the mention of her books makes me smile. That being said, she doesn't write shallow books. She gives you interesting, thoughtful characters and situations that make you think. But the thinking comes after you finish the book, not while you're reading.

The characters in this book were some of my favorites. I loved Georgie, Seth, Neal, Alice, and Noomi. Georgie was quirky and likable without being silly or shallow and the relationships she has within the story were charming and funny and meaningful. She knew how to make fun of herself without being self-deprecating (ex: when she finds the yellow rotary phone in her childhood closet, she refers to her teenage self as being "exactly that kind of pretentious.")

Her relationship with Neal was definitely interesting. Georgie seemed to know exactly why she loved him while also not exactly knowing why she loved him. Georgie also infinitely loved her kids, Alice and Noomi. Then there was Georgie's sister and dog-obsessed mom and super chill stepdad. Just everything was perfect, absolutely perfect. I just love Rainbow's characters. She always seems to know what will make her readers smile and laugh and cry.

The style of writing is, like I said before, really easy to read. There's not any droney description bleh writing. Most of it's dialog and flashbacks and interactions. Dialog because Georgie spends a lot of time talking to past-Neal on the phone. Flashbacks because Georgie pretty much recounts her entire life since college. Neither of these factors are bad things. I think that they worked for the story and helped make the story make sense. And one of RR's strength's is definitely dialog. She's freaking hilarious. But if you get annoyed by stories that have plots that are not actively and presently stories, this probably isn't the book for you.

Overall, I love this book and I love Rainbow Rowell. I can't wait until she writes out another one.I do highly recommend this. This is "technically" an adult book that is about fully grown adults (Georgie is nearing forty in the story, I believe). But it's pretty mild, content wise. I recommend it to teens and adults alike (and anyone else who's looking for a good read).

I hope you've had a great August so far and I will type to you next time. Bye.

My reviews of Rainbow's books:
Eleanor & Park

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Maze Runner: Revisited Review

Author: James Dashner
Age range: 13-17
Content: Mild romance, no sexual content, moderate language, high violence
Genre: Teen Science Fiction / Teen Fantasy / Teen Action Adventure
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pages: 400
Where to get it: Barnes & NobleAmazonTargetHalf-Price Books

When the doors lift, Thomas remembers nothing aside from his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade, a walled encampment at the center of a bizarre and terribly complicated stone maze. Not unlike Thomas, the other Gladers have no idea why or how they came to be at the Glade or what's going on in the world outside. All they know is that every morning, when the Doors open, they risk everything, including the Grievers, half-animal and half-machine horrors that patrol its corridors, to try and solve the Maze.

Am I revisiting books because I haven't read any new books recently? No, of course not. That would be ludicrous. (Disclaimer: That's exactly what I'm doing... sorry.)

I read this book two years ago, in the lovely era of 2012. This book was actually published in 2009 so it's not a recent read, but it is a recent fad favorite. People are literally going ballistic over a story that's been around for five years now. The movie is coming out sometime this year, September I think. I am very very excited. Mostly because of Dylan O' Brian, not gonna lie. The story's pretty okay, too, though.

The story is actually freaking amazing. I loved this book the first time I read it and after rereading it, I love it even more. The writing is so good and simple and easy to read, yet informative and descriptive. The plot was unpredictable but not illogical and the characters were charismatic and unique. I liked this book because it was very much set in another world, but it was still easy to understand. Everything was explained and laid out discreetly but none of the information was, like, hidden.

The ending was extremely weird in that oddly intriguing way. It blew my mind so much (in a good way, I think) that I couldn't bring myself to keep reading the series because I was scared that it would take a turn for the cheesy and stale. So I have no clue if it's a good series. I know it's a good independent novel. I do think that the ending opened up a lot of opportunities for a real kick ass trilogy, series, whatever. I'm also excited to see everything unfold on the big screen. I think it'll all look pretty damn cool.

I decidedly have nothing left to say. This, I think, has been one of my more scattered, vague reviews. Sorry if that bothers you. But, really, what is there to say? Clearly, it's a good book. I recommend you read it, especially if you're planning on seeing the film. Don't be the loser who sees the movie before reading the book. Nobody likes that guy. Okay. Happy end of July. I hope it's been a good one for you. And I will be back in August. BYE.