Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

There’s so much that annoys me about Allegiant. First, she chose to alternate which character (Tobias/Tris) narrates the chapters. She needed to do that since having it all narrated by Tris definitely wouldn’t work in the end. Normally, I quite enjoy that writing style. The problem with this book is there’s no discernable difference between Tris’s voice and Tobias’s voice. It’s very easy to forget whose chapter it is because they all sound the same which is weird because those two characters think, talk, and act very differently and so should not sound the same at all. Second, the characters often act so stupid, though this is a problem throughout the entire series. They get hung up on things they shouldn’t and it makes alllll the difference in their lives. It gets really old. Third, this book only seems slightly related to the rest of the series. It’s so incredibly different. Fourth, the whole genetically pure/genetically damaged thing is silly. So, so silly. And that’s what the entire story hinges on. Fifth, Tobias having a total meltdown about not actually being Divergent to the point he wonders if Tris will even still love him is utterly ridiculous and immature. So what if he’s not Divergent/genetically pure. He can still fight the serums which is kind of extra cool since it’s not an expected result for someone who is “genetically damaged.” Sixth, David still being all hung up on Tris’s mom and him just not being able to have her submit reports once she joined Abnegation and got married is utterly ridiculous. He’s running an entire bureau over these experiment cities. Grow up. Seventh, Tris leaving her gun in the hallway before entering the weapons lab is not within character. She’d have had that gun. Maybe she wouldn’t have used it, but she’d have had it with her. Eighth, the kissing scenes are uncomfortably awkward and seem to be shoved in there in order to make it sort of a romance. They are totally unnecessary or should’ve been written better. They were all pretty much identical. The very end, the last few chapters and the epilogue, are good, probably the best part of the whole series and definitely the best part of Allegiant. That part is raw and honest. The rest? Kind of insufferable.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 6
Pages Read in 2114

Leave a comment

Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Young Adult

Colony East by Scott Cramer

Colony East by Scott Cramer

I read the first book in The Toucan Trilogy almost five years ago and never got around to reading the second book, Colony East, until now. The author did a great job over the first few chapters nutshelling what happened in the first book so I was able to remember it easily and not feel lost at all even though it’s been so long since I read it. The characters in this trilogy are very well-rounded and their growth throughout this book is very well done. I found it fascinating (and likely accurate) that the few surviving adults don’t think the kids can pull together a new world without adult help even though they are clearly doing just that on their own. I really enjoyed this book and hopefully will get the third book read before another five years go by! I recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult dystopian novels.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 5
Pages Read in 2022: 1569

Leave a comment

Filed under Dystopian, Reason: I Like the Series, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

I very much enjoyed What Alice Forgot. As I read it, I found myself imagining what it would be like to lose ten years of memories and wondering how I have changed in that amount of time and whether I’d recognize my life as my own (answers: absolutely insane, probably a lot, probably not even sorta). I thought how she got her memories back a little bit at a time in snippets and later in a rush and mostly related to sounds and smells felt very realistic. I didn’t love some of how it was wrapping up, but it was acceptable, just not what I had been rooting for, and I still would’ve rated the book the same, but the epilogue made it all perfect for me. I especially liked how when things needed to be explained that didn’t involve Alice or involved things she had no memory of, it switched to Elisabeth journaling as homework for her therapist or Frannie writing to her friend. That allowed me to get to know those characters better and to understand what people meant when talking to Alice about things that had happened in the last ten years. I highly recommend this book to adults who enjoy contemporary fiction.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 4
Pages Read in 2022: 1232

Leave a comment

Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Book Club, Reason: We Be Book'N

Spilled Milk by KL Randis

Spilled Milk by KL Randis

Spilled Milk is a fictionalized memoir. The events that happened to the main character happened to the author. She blurred some of the line between fiction and nonfiction when it comes to some of the other people, particularly her siblings, due to being at different points in their healing from their father’s abuse. Writing this way also puts a little more space between the author and all the heavy things she went through. Sometimes it seems like she was just telling random stories but each one is included for a purpose to really give a good view of what was going on in her home and life. It reads super fast. I finished it in two days; I had trouble putting it down. It really shows how the same situation can affect people very differently. It also explains very well why some kids don’t tell anyone, or try to but aren’t understood, when they are in a very hard place. I could see elements of friends’ stories in hers so it rang very true. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has anything to do with children was have been abused, or were abused themselves, with a huge trigger warning for sexual and physical abuse.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 3
Pages Read in 2022: 739

Leave a comment

Filed under Memoir, Realistic Fiction, Reason: We Be Book'N, True Crime

Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski

Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski by Joanna Franklin Bell

The beginning of the book, where Mona is explaining she just decided three years ago not to leave her house anymore because of her extremely high weight, is pretty heartbreaking, especially since there are people out there in her very situation. The development of her relationship with Moises and then with Hallie is fun and unique, particularly due to the wide age gap between them. While the book did address some of the mental health and self-esteem issues Mona experienced, I don’t think it went into them enough as it seemed like Mona had her breakthrough and healing way too easily. Pointing out that she knew the “rules” of eating healthy already and knew that she was morbidly obese because she disregarded those rules is pretty spot on, however. I liked the conversational (and sometimes a little bit combative which seemed just right for the character) tone. The book is written by Mona to the reader. I recommend this book to people who enjoy women’s fiction, especially those who have struggled with their weight.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 2
Pages Read in 2022: 493

Leave a comment

Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

The Beast by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs

The Beast by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs

Just when the kids thought the Darkdeep was under control, everything goes nuts. Figments they didn’t conjure, a voice in their heads, and an actual Beast complicate their fall break and create a Halloween they’ll never forget. The action is nonstop. The story is told alternating focused on Nico and Opal. Just when I thought everything was resolving way too long before the end of the book, the situation got even worse. There were things I definitely didn’t expect and thank goodness for the comic relief offered by Colton Bridger and his Freakshow. Otherwise the book just might have been too intense (yes, I realize I am an adult and this is a kids book… I am a wimp). I recommend this book (the whole series) to children and adults alike.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 1
Pages Read in 2022: 325

Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Fantasy, Reason: LitHub Bingo

2021 Annual Wrap-Up

How many books did you read and did you meet or beat your own personal goal?
I read 93 books this year. I beat 90 which is the goal I ended up with, but I still haven’t gotten up to the number of books I read prior to adopting all the little ones. I was surprised that I read almost 30,000 pages. That’s way more than I expected I would.

What story stayed with you a long time, left you wanting more or needing time to digest?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Stuff like that hits a little closer to home now that I have my littles. It was frustrating, but so real. I resisted reading it for so long because of the U in the title, but I understand it now and I’m so glad I finally gave in and read it.

What are some quotes that made you read them a second time?
He always has it on the Friday of spring break because you need Saturday to recover and Sunday to repent. (The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas)

“That depends on whether or not you are alive.”
“I feel alive,” Tris retorted.
“Then yes.” (Warden’s Vengeance by Tony James Slater)

Compared to Kasey’s, Sal’s, Tarkington’s, Wong’s, and now Laney’s, George’s life was a walk in the park, since he was still alive. (Cell by Robin Cook)

“You don’t look very edible. Sorry. I don’t mean to be rude.” (Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi)

“Do whales have uvulas?”
“How am I supposed to know if it’s a girl whale?” (Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi)

But of course he cared very much; and he was so full of wrath against grown–ups, who, as usual, were spoiling everything, that as soon as he got inside his tree he breathed intentionally quick short breaths at the rate of about five to a second. He did this because there is a saying in the Neverland that, every time you breathe, a grown–up dies; and Peter was killing them off vindictively as fast as possible. (Peter Pan by JM Barrie)

Dictatorships may seem strong and unified, but they are always weaker than they appear. They are governed by the whim of one man, who can’t draw upon a wealth of discussion and debate, as democracies can, because he rules through terror and the only truth permitted is his own. (The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee)

I imagined this is what cadavers must feel like—you know, if they weren’t dead, and still had the ability to feel. (Full Circle by Andrea Barber)

“I’m an Internet comedian, and I’m not even sure if that’s a real job, but it means I can have hair like this!” (Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality)

It may seem unnecessary for two fully grown men to immerse themselves in cereal. That’s because it is. (Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality)

I cannot leave my children orphans, if I ever have any. (Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart)

Like most of my fellow countrymen, I preferred not to learn too much about dysfunctional countries until after my government invaded them. (American Shaolin by Matthew Polly)

Horatio raised an eyebrow at him. “If I still had my tongues,” he said, “I’d slap you with all of them.” (The Desolations of Devil’s Acre by Ransom Riggs)

Why the devil would one need to pitchfork victuals into his mouth if he has hands?” (When the Moon Has No More Silver by Connie Lapallo)

A fleeting thought crossed my mind that it would be highly unfair if the most attractive man I had ever seen turned out to be my brother—until I reminded myself that I had sworn off men. (The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen)

He touches my cheek and, even though we’re in a room full of people, crowded by laughter and conversation, slowly kisses me.
“Whoa there, Tobias,” says the man to my left. “Weren’t you raised a Stiff? I thought the most you people did was . . . graze hands or something.”
“Then how do you explain all the Abnegation children?” Tobias raises his eyebrows.
“They’re brought into being by sheer force of will,” the woman on the arm of the chair interjects. “Didn’t you know that, Tobias?”
“No, I wasn’t aware.” He grins. “My apologies.” (Insurgent by Veronica Roth)

By the time we leave, I have red lips and curled eyelashes, and I’m wearing a bright red dress. And there’s a knife strapped to the inside of my knee. This all makes perfect sense. (Insurgent by Veronica Roth)

“The poor fellow has nothing to say: he’s dead, alas!” (Frederica by Georgette Heyer)

Iran has dealt with its fair share of strife and political unrest. And while I’m not one to point fingers or lay blame… the United States and Britain were totally at fault. (Americanized by Sara Saedi)

My sister and I tried to find common ground with our half-American cousins, but that took a while to pan out. It didn’t help that we’d infiltrated their space AND that my sister’s favorite pastime was sending me off to bite them. I guess the rumors are true. Illegal immigrants are violent and dangerous. (Americanized by Sara Saedi)

I was also the student body president of our elementary school. Yeah, I was an undocumented immigrant who’d been elected to public office. How you like me now, ICE? (Americanized by Sara Saedi)

My dad even tried to impress him by telling him that my parents had seen Ozzy Osbourne in concert.
“Really?” Slash asked.
“Yeah,” my dad answered. “He was onstage with all his brothers and sisters.”
“Those were the OSMONDS!” my mom corrected. (Americanized by Sara Saedi)

Top 5 Books of the Year
A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Abduction by Gillian Jackson
Awaken by Maggie Sunseri
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Bottom 5 Books of the Year
Foster and Adoptive Parenting by Kenneth A. Camp
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft by Mindy Klasky
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
Raising Multiracial Children by Farzana Nayani

How many books are in your To Read pile right now?
911 (That’s 108 more than at the end of 2020, 152 more than 2019, 250 more than 2018, and 381 more than at the end of 2017 when I started keeping track… I really need to do better at this reading/collecting thing considering I added a total of 201 books this year between number read and additional to be read)

Leave a comment

Filed under Annual Wrap-Up

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Have you ever wondered where good dreams and terrible nightmares come from? Gossamer answers that question in such a gentle, sweet, and slightly fanciful way. The triggers experienced and words used by the boy, John, were very well written and not surprising for a child in foster care who has dealt with the things he had dealt with. Thin Elderly was such a patient and kind dreamgiving character and was paralleled in the real world by the old woman who fostered John. I absolutely adore Gossamer. She’s so fun. I’d love for her to be my dreamgiver. I recommend this book to kids and adults, though be aware that parts could trigger kids who are or have been in foster care.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 93
Pages Read in 2021: 29,716

Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Fantasy, Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson

The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson

The Best School Year Ever is a cute book full of stories about the Herdman kids’ antics. All through the book, the narrator is trying to come up with a word to use to compliment Imogene Herdman for a class project and in the end discovers she must come up with way more than one, something she finds is not so hard to do. It’s a short book, excellent for reading aloud to middle grade age kids. I recommend it to kids and adults alike, particularly those who enjoyed The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 92
Pages Read in 2021: 29,569

Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

This is not your average love story. There’s love, sure, but mostly there’s revenge and anger because of that love. Like Poe, I never knew who to trust and of course the one person I barely suspected at all was the very one I should’ve suspected the whole time. The writing is fabulous. The cadence and sentence structure really appeals to me. The story unfolds at a good rate. It’s a standalone novel, but there is some connection to the Matched trilogy (absolutely no need to read the trilogy first). I truly enjoyed reading this book. I recommend it to everyone who enjoys books about totally awesome girls.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 91
Pages Read in 2021: 29,437

Leave a comment

Filed under Dystopian, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N, Science Fiction