Book Guide for the Recently Deceased

Welcome to my blog. About books. Sometimes I might review them. Sometimes I might not. If you're recently deceased, make sure to use your handbook and read the books on my blog for the best results your happily ever afterlife.

SPOILER ALERT!
“We never really talked much or even looked at each other, but it didn't matter because we were looking at the same sky together, which is maybe even more intimate than eye contact anyway. I mean, anybody can look at you. It's quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”

This quote, wow. It represents such an important theme in Turtles All the Way Down, but one that is pretty toned down. That's why I felt I should bring it to light. This theme, of course, is relation and/or connection. This theme is well-developed, although somewhat untouched, which is good. It's not common in the majority of YA novels, or at least, not in any I've read.  

 

Aza, in the novel, struggles with finding people who understand her and see things the way she does. In this simple passage, a very important thing is demonstrated. This is that she has felt, in both the past and the present, a connection to Davis Pickett, one that is very strong and is the first thing she brings up - or feels - when Daisy mentions him. 

 

As the novel progresses, the tension between Davis and Aza, one that is created by old memories and romantic feelings that remain unexpressed, in fear that they won't be excepted or understood by one another. Though, as they spend more and more time together, either alone, with others, or through the phone, the connection grows and the tension lessens. Throughout this, the theme lays untouched, but there nonetheless. Green does a good job at bringing it up, but then dismissing it, so unless you are really involved in the text, you do not realize it, but you know something is there. 

 

In Green's other books, he normally makes the themes he delivers very clear. However, the themes in Turtles All the Way Down, are very calm and not in-your-face-obvious. The ones he tries to express the most are the faintest, providing an artistic feeling throughout the entire novel. 

 

Therefore, this quote stands out and is very important when it comes  to this novel.

 

Source: Turtles All the Way Down - John Green  

SPOILER ALERT!
"I put my phone on my bedside table and pulled my blanket up over me, thinking about the big sky over Davis and the weight of the covers on me, thinking about his father and mine. Davis was right: Everybody disappears eventually."

[Misc.Post] Introductions, I guess? (For School; Post 1)

Hey, I'm new here and I guess I'm supposed to introduce who I am. I read a lot of genres, but my favorites are horror/thriller and historical fiction, or anything creepy, like sci-fi and the Grimm's tales. My favorite authors are John Green and Stephen King, as Green is a YA and realistic fiction author, and King is a horror/thriller author, as well as sci-fi, historical fiction, realistic fiction, and more! 

 

Recently I've reread Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson, again, and also Carry On, which I didn't really finish, but I did try! Gena/Finn is one of my favorite books of all time, and Carry On is a book which was recommended to me by a friend. I got through about a fifth or so of it (as it's, like, 500+ pages) before I had to start reading something else for school. My other favorite books, besides the one by Moskowitz and Helgeson, are Pushing Perfect by Michelle Falkoff, and Looking for Alaska, by, of course, John Green. All of which are realistic fiction and YA, and mostly by female authors. 

 

Currently, I'm reading Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (which, mine is a signed copy! (: ~) . It's one of the only ones I haven't read. So far, I've read about 80 or so pages in, and I'm intrigued. I started reading it because it was a book I purchased but hadn't yet gotten down to reading, even though I'd picked it up a couple times. Also, it's by one of my favorite authors, of course! In this novel, Green is more serious (because, if you didn't know, it's inspired by his own struggles and life), and his tone is more reserved. He makes the book first person, so the reader can see the characters thoughts. The reader realizes that Aza/'Holmesy' is struggling alot, and keeps alot of her own personal feelings bottled up inside. I'm predicting that, just maybe, Aza will get closer to her old friend, Davis. So far, Aza's own thoughts are what have stuck out to me over everything else. 

 

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SPOILER ALERT!

[Book Review] Cinder by Marissa Meyer - The *actually* Good Sci-Fi Revamp

Cinder - Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles have become very popular as of late, and I finally picked up Cinder, and boy was I impressed. I have seen a few novels that mix-up the classic tale, the real one, like In a Glass Grimly, which is a very good book, but a book for younger kids. I've also seem some that change the Disney-version of the classic story, and those normally do worse. But Cinder is like a Sci-Fi mixture of both, in a good way. Though, the cover of the book does not do it justice. It looks like a girly book, but it isn't, it's emotional and a bit of an action novel. The cover also makes it seem like Cinder gets skin grafting and has a happy ending, while, if you've read the book, you know it ends a different way.

 

The main character, Cinder, is well developed with good morals and realistic reactions to the things that happen to her. She is full of worry and self-doubt, but also a strong passion for the truth and to help those around her. Even if you may think she makes some bad decisions, she never wavers off her path or switches her morals around magically like many characters in other novels do. The supporting characters, like Prince Kai and Linh Adri are also developed well. You see how Kai's emotions change for Cinder, and how he reacts to his father's death, and how it impacts him. It is explained that he has to keep his composition for the public, and you understand what is going on in his personal life. You see, in detail, how he reacts to finding out the truth of Cinder as well, as heart-breaking as it is. Adri is described well, giving reason to both Cinder and her stepsisters' emotions and actions, and Adri herself helps to advance the plot even though she is the worst human in the whole first novel. 

 

The struggles Cinder endures can be interpreted to relate to your own life and that makes the book greater. Relating to the main character helps you get deeper into a book and experience it as the character does. The other characters are relatable as well, so if you don't find similarities between yourself and Linh Cinder, there are many others to find relations to. 

 

The plot is actually good, and, as far as I can tell, stays consistent throughout the rest of the novels. The development and its pacing makes sense and is understandable, and the writing is good as well. It's not a very quick read I don't think, but it's not a slow one either because you enjoy it the whole way through. 

 

The ending is amazing, and there are many emotional parts throughout that make you want to keep reading. I can assure you that you will always find yourself on the edge of your seat. 

 

I definitely recommend this book, and the rest of the chronicles.

[Book Review] White Fang & Call of the Wild: Why London isn't a good writer.

White Fang - Jack London The Call of the Wild - Jack London

Well, well, well. Here we have two books that are classics, as well as absolute disappointments. The only reason I ever picked up a Jack London novel is because they are assigned in 7th and 8th grade honors English. And let's be honest, they are terrible. Why they're classics is a mystery to me. I do know that COTW was one of the first really commercial books (besides things like the Bible or etc.) and had lots of positive uproar. However, that was back then. This is now. Writing has evolved, people have changed. This book should NOT be a classic. Books like Dracula or Murder on the Orient Express are creative enough and written well enough to be a good choice to read now. Absolutely none of London's books are this way, I am upset that in the education system, they believe a 170 page novel about a dog/wolf thing that's written terribly is a good thing to assign to the gifted students in exchange for books like The Great Gatsby or To Kill a Mockingbird, that, in my school, even if you're an honors student, don't read until 10th/11th grade, and by then you aren't being challenged enough. Not that you were to start with, anyways. 

 

Now, in both White Fang & Call of the Wild, the writing is terrible. Sure, London uses some big words and goes into detail of one thing for three whole pages, but it doesn't make any sense! I'm fine with a paragraph of detail for something that's important, but you don't need more than 2-3 sentences to describe a tree, for goodness' sake. If you take out all of the unseeded filler, you're left with a 50 page book, that isn't worth a read anyways. Also, the plot development is terrible and the actions of each character don't seem to have a reason or explanation. It goes from one scene to another with little to no transition. The dialogue, also, is horrendous. I understand that people used to talk like they do in London's novels, and that's not on him, it's more on the people that make the revised editions before sending them out. They leave it there, and it just seems like a bunch of illiterate characters talking. If the people speak like that, why can the dogs think in perfect English?

 

Now, the plots are fine. The development is fine in the beginning, but by the time London gets to the end of the book, you can tell he was done with it. It's rushed with little to no detail, and comes to an abrupt end. A long beginning, short end, and boring middle does not make an acceptable classic book. 

 

Now, with Jack London's history. I know that the books are more lifelike as he actually experienced many of the things he writes about, but he was never an author. His books were so bad that they got rejected for years by many publishers and magazines, until he finally got COTW published. It was a hit, and so was White Fang, but many of the others he wrote never really got popular. Even though they were famous, though, they were not good. Like the last two Divergent novels, or the couple Harry Potter books that didn't quite live up to the name. But anyway, Jack London was never a writer. He even claimed once that he was not good at reading or writing for a while before he actually wrote his first few short stories.

 

Anyway, if you have the choice, I wouldn't read these. They're a snooze-fest. Unless you want to read them because their classics or you actually have enjoyed London's work. Though, some of his short stories are better than his books.

[Book Review] Famous Last Words by Katie Alender

Famous Last Words - Katie Alender

[Very minimal spoilers] Famous Last Words is a book by Katie Alender, an author known for other novels such as Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer. Her books are fast but long reads, a long amount of time packed into 100-200 pages. This is the first book of hers I've read, and I think I'd read more. They aren't amazing, but they are good. 

 

Famous Last Words is set in common day, and features a teen girl, who's actually imperfectly perfect. She seems like a real person, three-dimensional with all the faults and pros any functioning human would have. Her name is Willa, and she has been playing with the supernatural. After her she moves with her mom to her stepdad's, a famous Hollywood director with lots of dough, she is miserable. She has to go to some fancy school, where she only seems to be accepted by one person. Meanwhile, a killer has been on the lose, and she may of accidentally taken the notebook of the school creep, which leads her down a path she probably didn't want to be on. Her fiddling with the serial killer's plans and trying to figure them out mixed with her supernatural dabbles mixes for a horrible combo. 

  

I read this book on a plane, and to be honest, I'm glad I did. It was entertaining. The beginning starts off fast, and I'm not sure if you enjoy that, but I do. I hate when a book has a complex beginning just to tell an easily explainable story. Though, that's besides the point right now. 

 

The story develops well, and isn't rushed. The characters are introduces and the author takes care into making sure each is well-developed. That's something I appreciate and don't really expect when reading novels for teens. YA books like John Green's or Rainbow Rowell's are ones I have higher standards for. YA books that are more on the edge of just general fiction or K-8 oriented I don't have really any for, as long as it's a good book, being that the words 'book' and 'good' are used lightly. Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised. You can see how each character deals with what is happening and how they change their ways according to what is happening, something very realistic that real humans do. You can find this especially in the main character, because she is the one dealing with the most problems, like grief, supernatural activity, and loneliness. She's also a relatable character in many ways, at least for me, and it's not obvious that Alender wants you to relate to her, therefore her positive attributes aren't forced. It's kind of up to the reader to interpret her morals and pros and cons as the book continues. This is a good way to involve the audience, then giving them a mold and telling them they can only fill it with one thing - that said character they wrote. 

 

The idea behind the book is also very good, it's creative and modern whilst staying true to it's horror roots. Now, I don't get scared very easily. I mean, heck - I laughed at The Ring and found Candyman and The Shining to be two movies to casually watch and enjoy, not something to toil over late at night and have nightmares about. Maybe, though, you'll find it scary. Regardless, the killer in the novel is pretty obscure and creepy during the flashes Willa has of scenes between said murderer and his victims. This person [the murderer], even though they aren't revealed until the end, is extremely well developed and therefore adds to the plot of the book. You know what's happening even if Willa isn't at the actual killing, and you are giving foreshadowing. This is helpful and creates great plot development throughout the whole novel and leads up to a great resolution.

 

Now, I have glorified this whole book for you. But here comes the bad news, and the reason why I didn't put it under the good section on my blog.  The plot twists. They are ridiculously obvious. About 40-50 pages in, I knew what was going to happen, and what the book wanted to make you think. Sorry, Alender, you just made it too obvious! It might of been purposeful, but I suppose not. Maybe she thought we just wouldn't get what was happening? But anyway, that's something to work on. As this is the first book I've read of this author's, I don't know if this is the rule for the rest of her novels. 

 

To wrap this up, because it is way too long already, this is a good book. I do recommend it. It is just for my own opinions that I put it in the category I did. I may change it though, if I decide to pick it up for another read. Anyways, definitely pick this up if you see it at a book store, or check it our from a local library. 

SPOILER ALERT!

The Unlikable Character in a Bad Place

Girl in a Bad Place - Kaitlin Ward

Girl in a Bad Place is another one of those April Henry-esque type books, where it's a suspense/horror written for young, teen girls. A spice of romance, a suspected plot twist. But this one is not as good as April Henry's books. Really, it isn't. April Henry is, for what she writes, a pretty good author. One or two of the books I've read by her have been just bearable, but the rest have been quality enough I could read it again, and The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die is probably my favorite so far.  But anyway, this novel by Kaitlin Ward does not live up to Henry's standards. 

 

I first bought this book figuring it was by April Henry. I had just read one of her books, and was willing to spend more money to get another by her, because why not? The novel had been good enough to read again, so trying out another wouldn't be a bad idea. The story of Girl in a Bad Place sounded up my ally, being about a teen and her friends encountering - and communicating regularly with - a cult, and there being something fishy about it. A common horror movie trope, of a supposedly-good-guy-gone-bad and some mysterious things lying around a remote place. It didn't seem too bad. Boy was I wrong.

 

I read this for a project in school, because the theme was horror, or spooky, or something like that. But anyway, I had to read it in about a week's time. This was such a short read, so it wasn't worth spending a week trying to make a half-decent project out of it. During that time I was able to spend a while thinking over and analyzing the novel itself. One subject that I kept going over was the characters and their development, if there even was any. The characters are dreadful. There is one main character, Mailee, who seems like the perfectly unperfect popular girl, similar to every 90s/00s teen diva. She's lazy, unkempt, controlling, and self-centered. She makes her best-fried, Cara, clean up her room and help her plan things out, doesn't think to at least tidy up when her boyfriend comes over, gets possessive of Cara to the point of fighting with her, and always wastes time and other's patience by putting looks over ability, safety, or sensibility. But, she's pretty, has plans for the future with good grades, and the perfect boyfriend and best-friend. That totally makes up for her negative qualities, right? Then there's Cara, the book's play-thing, who does actually seem perfect. She's clean, sweet, patient, and forgiving. She puts her mind to something and does it, and looks after her friends. She's the victim of the book, truly, as much as the author tries to portray Mailee as the one getting the bad end of the stick. Cara is the one who is blamed for fighting with Mailee over her irresponsibility, and the one who gets dumped by her boyfriend. She is the one who intiates the story by urging Mailee to bring her, her boyfriend, and Mailee's boyfriend to the cult site. She battles with depression and uncertainty of the future throughout the novel, and the author makes it seem like this is a bad thing that isn't appropriate. Cara's true struggles are pushed aside for the story, and it's unfortunate, because her character barely develops. She goes from okay, to joining the cult and feeling better about herself, then pulled back into Mailee's world where she's just okay again. Granted, the cult was somewhat dangerous. Next we have Gavin and Brigit, the two that are obviously meant to be token characters, which is super unfortunate because they are two of the most sensible and well-developed characters, while being super minor. Brigit is a cult member who somewhat knows something is wrong. She helps Mailee, too. Gavin is Mailee's boyfriend, and obviously is annoyed by her. He is the most sensible,telling Mailee and Cara that, the nature is nice and all, but the cult is dangerous and they barely know the people there. He's even one of the first to realize something is wrong with Cara, even though his girlfriend annoys him. 

 

The story itself is fine. It's all fine. The plot, the development, the everything is fine. Overplayed by now, classic horror tropes that aren't even great ones. The writing is okay, basic and bland. The climax is probably the best part, and so is the beginning. The end is nothing special and really is lacking. The author, with this idea, could've written a book that was great. Something creative and a reminder of classic thriller ideals with a modern spin that made a remote cult something darker. But she didn't do that. That's why this book is only two stars. Maybe it would of been better if the main character was more likable or relate-able. Actually, scratch that, it would of been better. 

 

Maybe if you're a somewhat-immature and uncritical 5-8th grader, you'd enjoy it, but I'm in 8th grade and I did not. It's quick, so if you just want to see what it's like or experience a saltine-cracker type enjoyment, then go for it.

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!
"There's only so much you can do to save a loved one from harm. Theo knows that all too well. In Saint-Remy, Vincent again has eaten his paints."
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers - Deborah Heiligman

Heiligman, Deborah. Vincent and Theo (Macmillan Publishing Group, Henry Holt and Company: 2017) pg. 334.

Currently reading

How To Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman