A Smattering Of Mini Reviews

Here we are again…I’m woefully behind on talking about books I’ve read and I’ve been reading faster than I can write about them. I mean, that’s  all true. But mostly I’ve just been a little lazy. So let’s DO THIS:

 

 

The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

About In A Sentence (ish): An epidemic. Zombies. Kids. I’m not telling youuuu anything. GO IN BLIND.

Thoughts: This one was one of our book club picks! To me, it was like a cross of Station Eleven and The Walking Dead so I REALLY enjoyed it. Perfect blend of action/zombie stuff and the thought-provoking humanity type stuff I like. I was intrigued by the science of the disease and also the humanization of it through Melanie’s POV and her relationship with her teacher. Her humanization makes all the testing for a cure to take back the world seem so morally grey because SHE IS LIKE A HUMAN. And holy CRAPPPP that ending you guys! I was standing up giving a slow clap when I was able to get my shit together.

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

18249312

There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arcos

About: Mark is grieving the loss of his twin sister’s death and, after reading her journal with the help of her best friend, he embarks on a journey to complete a list of things she wanted to do as he tries to reconcile with the parts of his sister he never knew.

Thoughts: Okay so this was one of those times where I thought this book was BEAUTIFUL, well-written and SO WELL DONE — but my emotions kind of stayed at a relatively low level considering this was story dealing with grief which normally SLAYS me. So I don’t know what really happened THERE (maybe my emotions were in check for once) but I just felt like even though I was dog-earring all these beautiful and heart-wrenching passages I just wasn’t FEELING them so much as I was understanding them. She just NAILED so much about grief — especially how one pulls away and how you feel like NOBODY in the world understands you. Watching him work through his grief as he tries to complete Grace’s list was a bittersweet journey. Overall I really liked it and highly recommend, I just didn’t feel as emotionally connected as I would have liked to be.

Rating

 

RATING-reallyliked

22571771

Love By the Book by Melissa Pimentel

About In A Sentence: A twenty-something expat in London decides to embark on an experiment to date according to the advice from a new dating guide every month.

Thoughts: I wanted to love this one more! I mean, I enjoyed it to some degree but I DON’T KNOWWW. I was hoping for more. I loved the premise because I thought about all the lols and hijinx  that would occur if someone tried to follow dating guide books to the T. And they happened! They just weren’t AS funny or entertaining as I had hoped to be honest. Sure, they entertained me enough (especially the beginning) but I just had hoped for so much more. I also weirdly did not really feel very much for the main character — never felt like I got a grasp of her outside of her dating life. Overall I was entertained enough, especially considering this was loosely based on the author’s own similar experiment, but it wasn’t the amazing laugh-fest I thought it would be.

 

Rating:

RATING-OKAY

 

18667862

Like No Other by Una LaMarche

About In A Sentence: Two teens from vastly upbringings meet by chance and, even though it is forbidden, they forge a connection and their eyes are open to so much beyond what they’ve always known which causes them to question it all.

Thoughts: This was definitely a very underrated book of 2014. It was such a refreshing storyline and romance. I always love forbidden kind of romances and I loved this one to pieces. I loved learning about Devorah’s religion and culture as a Hasidic Jew and I loved even MORE watching her question what she believed to be right for her life and her future after meeting Jaxon who opens her eyes to a lot of things. AND THAT ENDING WAS REALLY SUPER SATISFYING TO ME. *slow claps for THAT* Couldn’t stop reading this one and I want more people to! My heart was totally wrapped up in Devorah and Jaxon’s story!

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Five Summers by Una LaMarche | Book Review

20130512-105634.jpgBook Title/Author: Five Summers by Una LaMarche
Publisher/Year
: Razorbill May 16th 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author: None — debut novel!

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

This book inspired this Beyond The Pages post about friendship!

 

Jo, Maddie, Skylar and Emma have been best friends since they met at summer camp when they were 10. They are now 17 and it’s been 3 years since they’ve all spent the summer together after their last summer as campers and they are reuniting for the weekend at their first camp reunion. They still call each other best friends but with their diminishing communication and the feel of growing apart they are all a little nervous about the weekend — especially when there are underlying secrets and unresolved things from that last summer.

I  thought this one was an okay to good read — I was so excited for it which makes it all the more sad that I didn’t LOVE it like I thought I would. There were some really great things about it and it did those things well but, overall, I just didn’t get that WOW I LOVE THIS BOOK feeling and I think most of it was a lack of connection to the characters which I’ll explain further later on. However, I really feel like younger teenage girls are going to LOVE this one and rightly so. I know I would have at that age but at 27 I was looking for a deeper connection with the characters because I could RELATE but I couldn’t CONNECT.

Five Summers by Una LaMarche is undeniably one of those reads that exudes that summertime feel and makes for a really excellent beach read. I had been complaining about the lack of camp settings in my post about 10 settings I’d like to see more of and Una LaMarche really made me feel the summer camp vibe and I loved it. I  think it really portrayed the fun of summer camp (though I never went to one that long) well.

The premise itself was great and what made this on my most anticipated reads list. Four girls meet at summer  camp and became best friends from the start are now back at their camp reunion three years later. They have grown and changed and there are secrets bubbling under the surface that threaten to change things even more for them. The story was interesting enough and had quite some realistic drama, albeit a bit predictable, and handled really well the way that friendships struggle with change and growing up. I thought that portrayal was so well done and hit very close to home when you feel like your friendship just doesn’t “fit” the right way anymore — like a shirt that shrunk just a wee bit from the dryer but you love it so much that you keep trying to wear it.

As much as I enjoyed the general story and there were moments when I was really into the girls’ story, I also found myself really bored and skimming through some parts as well as feeling like it was a little clunky in ways. Five Summers is the story of their reunion but it is also interspersed with many chapters that are memories from the various years of each summer that they were at camp from age 10-14. It really gave a lot of insight into why some of the things are the way they are now and I did enjoy seeing their friendship at its best. The story is also told in alternating perspectives, which I thought WAS essential to understand all the girls, but with that and the memories and the present day it was sometimes clunky and confusing going from present day Emma to 12 year old Jo to present day Maddie to present day Skylar to 13 year old Emma.

I think part of my problem with all of the alternating perspectives was that I never felt a distinct voice for any of them and they all just kind of blended in as one. I think this caused me to not really connect with the girls individually — they felt very much like surfacey characters to me and kind of cliche — the tomboy, the flirt, the bookish overachiever and then one who tried so hard to hide who she really was because she didn’t feel like she could fit in — and I wanted to think of them as more than that but it never really happened. As much as I didn’t feel like I connected with them individually I felt as though collectively as a group I connected because of the author’s great portrayal of the ups and downs of friendships and I was totally rooting for them to sort  things out.

A minor thing that really could have just been ME is that when the chapters switch from present day selves at 17 to their youngers selves  it was clearly indicated which summer it was and whose perspective but I found myself having a hard time remembering and I think it was because the voice didn’t really ever felt like it changed from their 17 year old self to their pre-teen selves (I though the 10 year old chapter was fine). I kept thinking, “Would a 12 year old talk like this?” “Am I really just so far removed from being that age that I can’t remember what I talked about and how I talked?” Regardless of that, I just felt like the voice just really stayed the same throughout and just seemed off to me personally.

Definitely got a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants feel from this book! Five Summers was an enjoyable read about friendship and growing up and I was smitten with the summer camp setting but unfortunately this just lacked something for me to be super excited about it. It was only an okay read for me because I never really connected with the girls individually as they sort of all blended into one voice-wise. I just never felt much on a deeper level like I should have though I related a lot to the ups and downs of figuring out where you fit when friendships evolve and change. Not really the MUST READ I thought it was going to be but I know it’s the breezy, cute read dealing with normal teenage things that a lot of people will enjoy if they find themselves connecting to the girls. I plan to recommend it to my 16 year old niece.

 

Five Summers by Una LaMarche review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? What are some other books you’ve read that are about friendship?

 

 

two-half-stars
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