Me Before You reads exactly like the movie

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Me Before You

Me Before You #1

author : jojo moyes

pages : [hardcover] 369

favorite character : louisa

memorable quote :

You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.

summary :

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

review :

Me Before You was an interesting read for me because I watched the movie first. I know, I know, that’s an extreme sin to some people. But I honestly can’t remember the last time I did that, and then read the novel afterward. Usually when I know that it’s coming, I take the time to read the book long before I get to the theater. Me Before You was a little different because I knew nothing about it before I went to see it. I’d literally only seen the posters for it, knew I loved the lead actor and actress, and it was what my friends wanted to do for the day. I thought it would be a nice, light-hearted romantic comedy.

Me Before You is something . . . other. I’m sure most people know what they’re getting themselves into, but when the “event” happens two minutes into the film, I grabbed my friend and demanded to know what they’d dragged me into. And then sat back for the rest of the ride.

Well, the novel reads exactly like the film. There was a few months’ gap between watching it and reading the book, so there may be some pieces that I’m missing. Altogether, apart from a few chapters of the book that are told in other characters’ perspectives, everything else is exactly like the movie. Which could mean either that the film was a great adaptation and exactly what readers who want every moment of the book included are looking for, or that the writing needed a little something extra. I think both are true. Both, because the plot does translate so well to screen, and I think part of that is because Moyes doesn’t provide us with anything superfluous. No real subplots that would need to be cut from a movie script. No minor characters that only pop in for a chapter or two.

It’s the kind of writing that I know appeals to a lot of people–and it shows, from the popularity of the book. It’s also the kind of troublesome book that is very entertaining, but doesn’t provide much meat for the mind, if you know what I’m getting at. The writing isn’t clunky, or awkward, and manages to make a plot that could have been predictable, entertaining and endearing. But it isn’t exceptional. It does the job, telling the story, without leaving behind much by way of style.

I think it’s kind of like a Nicolas Sparks novel (or at least like several I’ve read by him until they all, I realized, were basically the same), riding on peoples’ emotions for the tragedy of it all. And it works! I enjoyed it. Do I see myself reading the sequel? Probably not, because I don’t really see the necessity of there being a sequel. Would I read another book by Moyes? Maybe, but also a probably not because the back of my book included a few summaries of other novels she’s written and they don’t seem like my kind of book.

Did I enjoy Me Before You? Yes. Would I recommend it? Definitely, for a nice and easy read. But watching the movie was easily just as enjoyable.

4/5 stars

GLASS SWORD by Victoria Aveyard — are all trilogies the same nowadays?

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Glass Sword

#2

author : victoria aveyard

pages : [hardcover] 444

memorable quote :

No one is born evil, just like no one is born alone.

favorite character : shade

summary :

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

review :

Oh Glass Sword, how I wanted to love you!

Red Queen was the kind of book where as soon as I finished reading it, I wanted to buy a copy for myself because the one I’d been reading was from the library and I needed one for my own collection. So, when I heard Victoria Aveyard would be touring near me for the sequel, I hopped on the chance to meet her, get some signed copies, and hear her speak. It was a really fun event, and I wouldn’t mind going to one of hers again. Glass Sword sat aside for a while, waiting to be read. I finally picked it up, read about half of it, and then had to take a break because I ended up moving and forgot about it for a short while. When I picked it up again, I flew through the rest of it, but . . . Maybe it goes to show just how nonexistent the plot was, for how easily I could piece it all together again after such a long time away from the middle of the book. And I’m an exceptionally forgetful person.

Glass Sword suffers from the worst of second book in a trilogy syndrome. It’s ALL about setting up for book three and dealing with the aftermath from book one. There were some cool, world-building moments in here that I liked. Hints that we’ll get to see actual involvement from other countries and places in this world–such a rare thing in YA when these catastrophic events seem to take place in one country while all of the others casually ignore what’s going down. There are even some hints that we might find out more about what made the world come to this, Silvers ruling over the Reds, and usually in these fantasy/dystopian type stories, the world is plopped in front of us with little explanation. So if Aveyard can deal out all of this in book three, that would be awesome.

Unfortunately, I’ve pretty much decided that I’ll get book three out of the library, if I end up deciding to read it at all.

Glass Sword follows Mare as she builds up the resistance that will change everything, raise up the Reds who’ve been oppressed, and . . . Well. I’m still not entirely certain what her end goals will be. She clearly doesn’t consider Reds and Silvers equal, so it isn’t that she’s fighting for equality (even though she’s in a curiously unhealthy relationship with Cal when they snuggle when neither of them want to deal with their emotions). But she also doesn’t want to be put up as some ‘Red Queen’ to be a new ruling class of Reds. I understand that maybe she hasn’t figured it all out for herself yet, but she hasn’t really thought it through. Because we’re reading it all from her perspective, I would like to know her mind a little better, and I find it hard enough to fathom why she makes some of the decisions she does.

I really like the world of this book. I think I might like the direction in which it will be moving. I’m just not sure I’ll stick with it long enough to get to that point.

3/5 stars

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

author : seth grahame-smith

pages : [hardcover] 336

favorite quote :

Judge us not equally, Abraham. We may all deserve hell, but some of us deserve it sooner than others.

favorite character : henry

summary :

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother’s bedside. She’s been stricken with something the old-timers call “Milk Sickness.”

“My baby boy…” she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother’s fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, “henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose…” Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

review :

I’ve been thinking about reading this book for a long while and, honestly, was never sure that I would actually get around to reading it. See, I always had so many other options, and so many new and more compelling books to reach for. But being temporarily moved away from all of that, with only access to a limited library and the more limited reach of whatever books aren’t currently checked out there, I chose this book because it’s one of the few titles I haven’t already read but have heard of.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was nothing like I thought it would be. This is the first of Grahame-Smith’s books I’ve read, so I never before experienced his writing style in his retellings. It was an interesting take and better than I thought it would be. The tone is more dry historical nonfiction than sensationalized bestseller vampire lore. It reads like Grahame-Smith has really been commissioned by Henry, a vampire who’s lived for centuries, to tell the true story of Abraham Lincoln in a new historical textbook. There are even pictures included with insets that show you where Lincoln (or the vampires!) supposedly are. I liked how that added to the storybuilding with the play at realism.

Maybe it played in too well, however, because it really did bore me like an actual textbook would. There was surprisingly little vampire slaying in this Abe Lincoln biography. Although I’m not sure of how much written is historically accurate (I’m going to assume a fair part of it is, apart from the vampires and all), it was . . . dull. And demonstrates how utterly depressing it was to live in a time period where so many people died under mysterious or unexplained circumstances, not just because of vampires but because of diseases they didn’t even have a name for back then. It’s a wonder that some people managed to survive it all without losing their minds.

I’m not sure if I would pick up another book by Grahame-Smith. This book certainly shows the talent he has, but a book including vampires, to me, has to be entertaining. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter actually skimmed over most of the scenes where vampires appeared, and would refer back to action-packed events in one or two sentences rather than showing them. Actually, one of the things that annoyed me most in this book was the cheap trick of using a dream to get in an especially shocking or enrapturing scene, only to have it turn out to be a dream. That happened so often in this novel, I couldn’t even keep track of the number of times it frustrated me. At least three, maybe four or five scenes were constructed in this way.

I could certainly see the draw this book holds for the people who loved it so much but, for me, I’m now more interested to see how it would translate on screen for me because that form of media might work best with this material.

3/5 stars

 

HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer does terrible things to your heart

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Heartless

author : marissa meyer

pages : [ARC] 464

favorite character : jest

summary :

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

review :

Where do I begin, with an author like Marissa Meyer? She writes retold fairy tales. Those are the kind of books and stories I love most in the world, because all at once they’re familiar and excitingly new. She does it so well, so creatively, that I look up to her both as a reader and a writer. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her, once, when she went on tour for her recent book of short stories that tied into her Lunar Chronicles collection.

But Heartless, that was a new experience. It’s the first book I’ve read by her (and the only that exists so far as I know) outside of the Lunar Chronicles. It’s still a retelling, in the fact that it takes the story of Alice in Wonderland and tells the origin story of the Queen of Hearts. But it has none of those familiar friends, from the other books, so I wondered if I would enjoy this one just as much.

I did, mostly because I gave it the chance to be different. There was a serious case of insta-love, which could partially be forgiven because what fairy tale doesn’t have insta-love. There were moments where I worried that the plot would move too slowly and I would get bored, but the beautiful writing and the intriguing way Meyer interprets the world to make it vivid and familiar kept me captivated. But it’s the origin story of a villain. A woman who’s been wronged so much that she can’t help but snap. I wasn’t sure if Meyer could pull it off, because for so long in the story Cath is nearly likable.

But then it happens. You begin to see little hints of what she could be like, if she weren’t forced to be prim and proper and a lady. Threatening to wrap a flamingo’s neck around a tree. Steadily getting more violent and less likely to hold her tongue around people who would prefer not to hear such words from a woman of her status.

That’s another thing–social class means so much in Hearts, where Catherine lives. It practically dictates the plot of the novel and determines the outcome of her life for good or for bad. She can’t marry beneath her. She can’t refuse to marry someone above her. All the while, the citizens of Hearts seem mostly content to just ignore the problems of their world because it means they can continue to live in luxury. Which, honestly, is a cliche that appears in a lot of books nowadays, but I loved seeing how all of these little moments created because of this society banded together to create the Queen of Hearts.

It was terrifying. It was brutal. I may have cried a little. But I loved, and definitely recommend, Heartless. Though I won’t be giving away my heart anytime soon, and will hopefully be holding onto my head as well.

5/5 stars

The Romantics by Leah Konan: Cool concept, meh execution

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The Romantics

author : leah konen

pages : [hardcover] 336

release date : november 1 2016

summary :

Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.

review :

This book seemed like it was going to be so interesting because it has a unique narrator–Love. Love goes on to explain the different types of people there are out there, including romantics like main character Gael. Love explains that she can’t be in all places at once and, sometimes, when she’s distracted by putting one couple together, another will fall apart and get divorced. That’s what happens to Gael’s parents and he’s in so much pain after their separation that he wants to throw himself into love as soon as possible. Love knows that isn’t what’s best for him–somehow she can actually see what will happen in his future depending on what relationships he has.

It was kind of interesting to see a YA guy dating a “college girl”. It’s a dynamic you don’t usually see. But, based on growing up in a college town, I know the odds of this kind of romance happening aren’t so great to begin with, unless the relationship started when both parties were in high school. But that’s just a side note.

For the most part, the writing was fairly dry and forgettable. Terrible things would happen to Gael, literally in front of his parents, and it didn’t seem like they were doing much to try to help him out. It got to the point where they talked so little to Gael about important things that, of course, he started to make all the wrong assumptions about his parents and why they divorced.

For all of the build-up that happens in the book, the ending just isn’t satisfying. It comes too abruptly, after everything Gael’s been through in his various relationships, and I really wanted more. After all, Love herself has been spouting about how great this will be for Gael if he could just reach that point in life, but we get . . . nothing.

I don’t think I’ll be recommending this book, but I know there are people out there who would really enjoy it if they like contemporary romance and want the experience of a unique narrator.

3/5 stars

 

Reread Reflection: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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How do you review a book after you’ve already read it? Review the reread!

Hi all. I know it’s been forever, but here I am!

I think that this was my third time reading Fangirl, but I’m not entirely sure. I know this was at least round two, but I’m terrible at keeping track of these things.

Fangirl has been on my favorites list ever since the first day I finished the last page because 1. I’ve never read any story about fanfiction before where it isn’t portrayed as weird/creepy/something out of the box like that. 2. It portrays anxiety SO WELL. Like I’ve never before read about a character and related so much to her. 3. The writing is beautiful and still manages to be fun.

While I wasn’t as enraptured by the romance this time around (probably because by this point I’m out of college and in that sort of reflection stage where I’m like nothing this cool happened to me in four years and Cath gets it all in like four months) I still loved the storyline. I love Cath’s relationship with her family (well, not really, because it’s so imperfect, but I love how it was portrayed). I love how she shows her insecurities about her writing because I’ve experienced that, too. Even people who know nothing about writing or fanfiction will still ‘get’ this book because it’s a story about a college freshman and, more than that, just about a girl who’s trying to understand herself.

So, in closing this book for the third (or second) time, I still find myself loving it and recommending it to everyone I know. I like that I keep finding new things to appreciate about it and I’m sure that, as time goes on, my reasons for constantly reaching for Fangirl to read will keep growing and developing just as much as Cath does in this book.

Marvel-ous Mondays: Superior Spiderman Volume 1: My Own Worst Enemy

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The Superior Sprider-Man

Volume 1

author: dan slott

illustrator: ryan stegman

pages : [paperback] 120

summary :

Part of the Marvel NOW! initiative! THEN!…Peter Parker spent a lifetime living up to the responsibilities his powers foisted upon him, but his story finally ended dramatically in the historic Amazing Spider-Man #700. NOW!…The new Amazing Spider-Man has arrived, and he is better in every single way. Smarter, stronger…Superior. And he’ll prove it, both to himself and the world, when he faces down the all-new Sinister Six! But is this all-new Spider-Man in cahoots with J. Jonah Jameson? And has Carlie Cooper figured out the Superior Spider-Man’s secret identify? Plus: Spider-Man and Mary Jane…reunited?! All this and the return of the villainous Vulture! It’s an all-new era of web-slinging excitement, and it all starts NOW! COLLECTING:Superior Spider-Man 1-5.

review :

I absolutely loved this volume. I mean, at some points, I loved to hate it, because Doc Oc is kind of a terrifying Spider-Man and it just goes to show how dangerous, and downright evil, Spider-Man could have been should all of that power have gone to a different person. It reveals just how much control and integrity Peter has had all of these years, trying to keep the city safe while also preserving his moral code.

This was awesome. I finished so quickly because I was flipping through the pages, wanting to know what was going to happen next. Even though I’m not exactly rooting for Spider-Man now so much as someone he managed to trick, I’m very excited to see where this may go. There’s a lot of potential in this storyline–and not all of it is good. After all, Spider-Man isn’t exactly himself anymore. There were a few decisive moments in here in which he made decisions Peter never would have that honestly upset me, which only reminded me of the reasons why I love the real Spider. It’s kind of hard to see how much you’d hate your favorite heroes, if they constantly made slightly different decisions than what you’re used to seeing from them.

I highly recommend this volume. I mean, it’s kind of hard to resist. It’s like nothing I’ve read before. All at once, it makes you nostalgic and eager to see what will happen in the future. Because, even though the events in this volume were crazy, wonderful, and only made me cry a little bit, there’s a lot more to come in the future.

5/5 stars