Tag Archives: 2 Stars

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

The premise was great and it started strong, but in the end Never Ever Getting Back Together was just bad. It’s meant to be a light, brain candy sort of book with a sweet f/f romance, but there were too many things that bothered me about it to allow it to be very enjoyable.

The idea of a Bachelor-type reality TV show with all the competitors exes and the winner rekindling their romance with one lucky ex has excellent potential. Once I realized the guy was only 20 and his six exes were 18 to early twenties the whole thing just became silly. I realize the ages are to make it YA, but it’s just not something that lends itself to being a YA book precisely because of the ages. Also, he supposedly dated some of these girls for long periods of time, and these are not his only exes (in fact it’s insinuated there are MANY more) so the timeline just doesn’t work out for him to be only 20.

Maya was really mean to Skye at first (since it’s intended to be enemies to lovers, though that changeover was completely anticlimactic, just a sort of oh, it was a misunderstanding sort of thing, and happened very early on). Because of this, three of the other girls joined Skye in hating Maya. Once Skye started liking Maya the girls continued to hate Maya. This makes no sense. They would definitely not have been so loyal to someone they just met that they continue to hate the girl she only used to hate.

Jordy was really the only well-written character with his own voice, completely fleshed out. He had depth and made you really hate him and his slimy narcissism, The explanation of how he was royal adjacent was not totally explained and had some contradictions, though.

Maya and Skye may as well have been the same character. Aside from Maya liberally using four-letter words, they sounded identical. This presented a problem because the chapters switched point of view between them regularly. Sometimes it was nearly impossible to tell who was narrating until the other one’s name was written.

There are several things that were completely unrealistic, but the worst was when Skye cut off all her hair. None of the girls even commented on it. There is no way a bunch of girls would not comment on someone suddenly going from long hair to a pixie cut. Jordy barely reacted when he saw her. It was just sort of a he raised his eyebrows sort of thing. He had just told her how much he liked her long hair so him not saying anything about her cutting her hair in response to that just seems strange.

The girls tended to be incredibly immature, well beyond what I’d expect of people their ages. They acted more like 14-year-olds most of the time. Especially when Skye threw an incredible hissy fit at the end. Her behavior was out of character and rather insufferable. Maya’s obsession with getting back at Jordy for cheating on her two years before also seemed rather ridiculous, tiring, and very immature.

The formatting on the Kindle version is terrible. There are a few random scene change stars right in the middle of sentences. Conversations are written in paragraph blocks and because attributions aren’t always properly given, sometimes what seems to be one character speaking is actually two. There are also many random spaces right in the middle of paragraphs. Along with the generally poor writing, the formatting made it rather annoying to read.

I had high hopes for Never Ever Getting Back Together so it was disappointing that I ended up disliking it so much. Sure, there are good moments, but they are almost completely overshadowed. This is one book to just not bother with for sure.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2023: 5
Pages Read in 2023: 1736

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Filed under Reason: Flourish & Blotts Reading Challenge, Reason: Grim Readers, Romance, Young Adult

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

As far as useless books go, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is one of the better ones. It’s still pretty bad, though. The main character learns nothing from his experiences. He is kind of obnoxious and gets more so when Earl is around. The writing is bad and the premise is basically taking The Fault in Our Stars and making it terrible. It’s basically a waste of time to read. I don’t recommend reading it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 114
Pages Read in 2022: 39,606
Graphic Novels: 4

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Filed under Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: The Coven of Forbidden Books, Young Adult

Banana Peels on the Tracks by Jason Lockwood

Banana Peels on the Tracks by Jason Lockwood

The author of Banana Peels on the Tracks spent a year (1992-93) teaching English in Slovakia. I’d hardly say he “came of age” in post-communist Slovakia as his book cover says (he was already an adult with college and some years of work under his belt). He spent the year looking down on his students, judging them hard, and traveling, always looking for whatever he could find that was most similar to what’s found in the US (because it is, obviously, far superior to anything local). His attitude toward Slovakians and pretty much anything in Slovakia started out mildly annoying and got downright infuriating by the end. He was just kind of rude (and then spent the last chapter talking about how open minded and accepting he is, particularly compared to his friends who only think they are, which just made me laugh because of the incredible lack of self-awareness). He described most of his younger, high school age, female students as “pretty” which was a bit creepy given the age difference. Some of his reasons for disliking Slovakians included things that happen in the US as well (a woman being dragged by her husband/boyfriend, a man being assaulted in a subway tunnel). As with many memoirs, he did not seem to know how to end it and went on for about two chapters too long. Some things in the book are interesting enough, but I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way to read it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 113
Pages Read in 2022: 39,266
Graphic Novels: 4

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Remember Me: The Last Story

Remember Me: The Last Story by Christopher Pike

I feel like Christopher Pike probably should have left the Remember Me story alone before the third (maybe even before the second). The first was great. The next two not so much. The writing in The Last Story was extremely juvenile. The way Shari behaved was not at all the way she had previously. The story within a story was absolutely awful. It made little sense and was such a different genre that it felt more like an intrusion than anything else. It was not clever or insightful like the book seemed to think it was. While The Last Story has good points, it’s one to skip for sure.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 104
Pages Read in 2022: 36,238
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Reason: I Like the Series, Young Adult

Class Reunions Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

Class Reunions Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

I’ve read some fabulous cozy mysteries. And I’ve read some pretty terrible ones. Class Reunions Can Be Murder definitely belongs in the latter category. Supposedly the characters are in their late 50s, but they act like they are in their 20s. They are kind of insufferable, immature, and never got over things from high school. But lest you forget that they are not in their 20s, the author continually makes references to their age and aging. The main character is extremely annoying. She’s just plain unlikable. The story is both predictable and ridiculous. The book is in bad need of an editor. There are so many editing errors. The author does not seem to know what a scene change symbol is for. They are inserted randomly right in the middle of scenes. Generally they are put in places where the main character begins to think about something else or do whatever she said she was going to do. But the scene is still the same so the symbols just ended up being irritating. The whole book was about a 40-year reunion being planned, but the author doesn’t really give any time to the actual reunion activities. The book would’ve been way better if she did (though she included lots of recipes, including how the food was made then and how it’s made now, and reunion ideas in the back which was basically useless fluff). As they are planning the reunion they make a decision to include significant others in the pre-union mixer, but then suddenly significant others aren’t allowed and this becomes a whole scene with the main character’s (equally annoying) husband because he can’t go. So she says he can walk through but he doesn’t want to actually do that, he just wanted to be invited and then later it turns out he did walk through the mixer briefly. Several of the women spent the night in their old school (which is now an active construction zone), but it was literally show up, go to bed. Why in the world would you have a slumber party which only involved sleeping in a different location? Maybe she thought that would show that these women are SO OLD that they couldn’t stay up late which, if they were real people in their late 50s, they absolutely would have. The reunion itself is barely mentioned at all. While the book had its moments that weren’t horrible, overall this is just a poorly written, not very entertaining book. Definitely one to skip.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 96
Pages Read in 2022: 33,834
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Tales of the Revolution by Seth Godin

Tales of the Revolution by Seth Godin

First of all, Tales of the Revolution isn’t by Seth Godin. He didn’t write any of it, or even edit it. Instead, he just copy and pasted people’s entries, complete with typos. There were a lot of typos. Very few of the entries made sense. They were full of buzzwords and lacked any substance or even explanation of what the people were actually doing to “poke the box” (for that matter I wouldn’t classify most of them as poking the box at all). I found it interesting that in the eleven years since these “amazing” and “revolutionary” ideas were submitted only a few are still in existence. A few, like Teachers Pay Teachers, are still thriving. Some of the submissions were nothing more than living life and doing what many other people do (such as the one who reviews books she reads). At least the book was short. I didn’t find it inspiring or even very interesting. But there was a lot of Seth Godin love in the entries so I guess he did. I don’t recommend this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 87
Pages Read in 2022: 30,774
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Self-Help/Motivation

Eat the Rich by PJ O’Rourke

Eat the Rich by PJ O’Rourke

Some parts of Eat the Rich are amusing. Some parts are educational. And some parts are just plain ridiculous and not good satire at all. Pretty much every chapter just went on way too long like the author didn’t quite know how to finish it out. I did find a comment about capitalism increasing violence and hopefully that violence would be aimed at Donald Trump to be funny mainly because the book was published way back in 1998. At the end he tried to make an argument that wealth distribution violates the tenth commandment (because it’s obviously due to people coveting the rich peoples’ money). He also made a weird argument for evading taxes not being so bad since that money just goes into the economy instead of to the government. I don’t recommend this book unless you just want to see what certain countries were like to visit in the late 90s and what their economies were like at the time.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 79
Pages Read in 2022: 28,500
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London is a very bizarre book. The story makes little sense and there doesn’t seem to be all that much of a plot. Sometimes too much description is a bad thing and with this book that is definitely the case. It could’ve been half as long. The cadence is weird, too. I read it out loud to my boys and usually within a chapter or two it’s easy to get into the rhythm of reading a book, but this one just stayed weird and was never pleasant to read. The romance was so contrived and unnecessary, almost like the author said to himself that this is a YA book therefore it must have some sort of romance (and the last paragraph, related to that romance, was totally silly and unneeded). The characters were pretty flat and while the main character got the information she wanted, there was no real growth or change to any of them. No one seemed to be shocked or even care much at having a traitor among the booksellers. It was just not a very enjoyable book so I do not recommend it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 75
Pages Read in 2022: 27,273
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: Literati, Young Adult

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

I did not much enjoy reading Crown of Midnight. I wavered between giving it one star (I almost never give books one star) and two and in the end it just barely saved itself from getting one star. Parts of it were decent. Good even, on occasion. It’s just there were so many things that annoyed me.

Note: This review contains some mild spoilers.

Celaena is kind of dumb and downright annoying. So incredibly annoying. She gets irrationally mad at Chaol, insisting, after a week of sleeping with him every chance she gets, she will never trust him again for withholding information (as he should have due to his job), but she withholds information from him all the time (including the fact that the king has threatened his life if she does not assassinate each person he assigns). This just makes her come across as a spoiled brat. Also, she is way too trusting of the wrong people. If she was such a great assassin, she would be much more careful about where she places her trust. For example, even knowing the type of person Archer is, she immediately believed him (including lies) about Chaol. Now, I realize the author needed her to do that to make the plot go a certain way, but it was just another place Celaena didn’t make sense. Thinking Nehemia always only told her the truth just because Nehemia said she would doesn’t seem to make sense for an assassin, one who would generally be suspicious of everyone.

Dorian pining over Celaena while at the same time insisting he had let her go (he hadn’t) was possibly true to character, but it was so idiotic and annoying. I just wanted to smack some sense into him. I literally groaned a few times when the story returned to him.

I felt like several characters didn’t behave true to their character. I’ve heard many authors speak about how they have to let their characters go where they want to go. It seems that this author was set on what she wants her characters to do to make the story go a certain way and so quite often the thought crossed my mind that character behavior seemed forced and out of, well, character for them.

Honestly, the only characters I truly liked were Katlain and Mort. And one of them is insane and the other is a brass door knocker. The others… I just didn’t care what happened to them. When it finally showed what Celaena really is, I was like oh, whatever, just finish the book.

In general, the writing was just poor, poorer, actually, than the first book in the series. I read a whole lot of YA and the vocabulary was less sophisticated in this one than most I’ve read. One time the author decided to suddenly use a big word, it didn’t really much make sense. Celaena, in mourning, had dinner with Dorian. It said something about how it was a quiet dinner, but not lachrymose. Considering this was Celaena I wouldn’t expect her to be tearful through dinner, especially not a dinner with Dorian. A better, more fitting word would have been somber, but maybe lachrymose was the author’s word of the day that day so she really wanted to use it.

The author repeated a lot of things over and over, particularly during the first about two-thirds. Sometimes I just felt like she was trying to increase the word count. Occasionally changing time or place or what’s happening wasn’t clear, but then that just may be me because I often found my mind wandering, even during parts that were supposed to be exciting. The witch explaining Wyrdkeys was dreadfully boring. The first part of the riddle seemed totally obvious to me and took Celaena way longer to solve than I think it should have. And then the “shocker” at the end was painfully obvious well before the big reveal.

A lot of people love this series, so I’m clearly in the minority disliking it. If you loved Throne of Glass (I liked that one very much myself), give Crown of Midnight a chance. You might find it rather dreadful like I did, or you might love it like most people, so don’t just write it off based on the problems I had with it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 69
Pages Read in 2022: 25,232
Graphic Novels: 1

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

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

The premise of Game Changer is great. The execution leaves a lot to be desired. The author seemed to want to hit every social issue and hit people over the head with it and then pound it in a whole lot to be sure they got the message. The preachiness got really annoying. When he jumped worlds to one where the Brown v Board of Education ruling went the other way, that was an interesting idea to think about. It would have been nice if more of his jumps were like that one. It was weird how some jumps built on each other and some didn’t. A few chapters before the end it seemed promising that it was going to wrap up well, but then the author decided to go big with it and it just was even more absurd than the rest of the book (and when you are talking about a book about a guy jumping around the multiverse that’s saying something). I don’t particularly recommend this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 61
Pages Read in 2022: 22,186
Graphic Novels: 1

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