book review

Replica

by Lauren Oliver

Length: 520 pages
Published: October 4th 2016 by HarperCollins
Medium of Consumption: paperback

The Rundown:

Lyra only knows the world of Haven research facility. Surrounded by doctors, replicas and a strict regimen of medicines, her days are predictable and monotonous.  But the world she knows disappears when an explosion rips through the institute leaving nothing but charred remains.  Only her and another replica, a boy with only a number and no name, 72 survive.  In the marshes surrounding the remnants, they meet two people from the outside world who have come to find answers about Haven’s secrets.  

Gemma has always been sickly, and her wealthy over protective parents have forced her into a sheltered life.  When she decides to run away to join her best friend in Florida for spring break she hears disturbing news about an explosion at Haven research facility.  She knows very little about the place but over heard her father talking about it late one night and when she investigated it online found a slew of conspiracy theories about the happenings there.  Gemma decides to check it out herself and teams up with the son of the leader of Haven’s main conspiracy site to visit the island.  What they find is there are truths to some of these beliefs.  

What they find is that Haven has been making clones.

Lyra and Gemma’s stories intertwine together, finding out terrible things done to people who have tried to expose Haven.  They are being followed now.  They fear that each move they make could be their last.  

What I Thought:

First of all, I’d like to point out the unique set up of this book.  There are two sides to this book, and it doesn’t matter which side you read first.  I started with Lyra’s side and then flipped it over for Gemma’s.  There are the same amount of chapters that coincide with one another, so you could also switch sides every chapter!

You know how they say fact is scarier than fiction?  That’s how I felt reading this book.  Science is so fascinating but so frightening, where is the moral line drawn?  I somehow felt way more engrossed in Gemma’s side.  Maybe it’s because I’m not a clone and didn’t connect that well to Lyra in an emotional sense.  I loved how both sides did their jobs in uncovering mysteries about Haven and will definitely pick up the sequel this October.

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4/5 Stars

Recommended To:

  • YA readers
  • If you like conspiracy stuff
book review

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore

by Robin Sloan

Length: 288 pages
Published: October 2nd 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Medium of Consumption: eBook

The Rundown:

Clay Jannon finds himself jobless when the company he does web design for goes under.  He takes up a third shift book clerk position at Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and finds his new job stranger than what it should be.  First, there are the Wayback Shelves, books that he is forbidden to read and only a select few customers carrying membership cards are able to check out.  Second, he is required to log every customer that enters the store in great detail.

Third shift book buyers are few, so Clay decides to design a model of the store on his computer.  Inputting the data of what books are checked out by the members of the WayBack shelf he notices a pattern.  A pattern to what?

Joining him on his quest to find out what these members are up to, his tech-savvy friends become just as engulfed in cracking what seems to be an impossible code to a centuries old book club.  

Can Clay find any meaning to all of this or is this some elaborate ruse 5 centuries in the making?

What I Thought:

This book was such a fun read!  Technology versus books is a huge theme, which characters either want to embrace both or reject one.  There are a ton of nerdy allusions that just tickled me pink!  The mystery aspect was pretty interesting, and it definitely was a page turner.  I loved how each of character played their part in helping Clay, and how varied their talents were.  You have the Google programmer who is like a computer herself, the haphazard artist who can work in any medium given to him, the archaeological nerd who can spout out any information about things make before 1200 A.D., and a few others who are equally as skilled in their own right.  This has totally made my top 20 list of books I loved in 2017, and there is still so much to read!

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This is a must read for any 21st century bookworm!

5/5 Stars

Recommended To:

  • If you like fun, witty books
  • Modern day adventures
  • Underdog characters
  • If you like nerdy stuff

 

FBF

#FBF The Cay

Welcome to my first ever Flash Back Friday!  Every Friday I’ll be discussing a book that I read in elementary/middle school.  Picture books, chapter books, whatever I feel that has made an impact on me or youth literature in general!  I will also put the goodreads link at the end so you can check these throwback out yourselves!

 

Oh man if you never read The Cay by Theodore Taylor in school you are missing out!  This book follows a young boy named Phillip who is traveling to the United States with his mother via boat. Their boat is targeted by a submarine and Phillip manages to get on a lifeboat with a West Indian man named Timothy. Phillip sustains a head trauma in the wreck which leaves him blind. He’s also a dick to Timothy because he’s a POC.

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They land on a deserted island and Timothy takes care of Phillip and teaches him not to be a racist little shit. He also teaches Phillip that he isn’t helpless with his vision impairment, and makes sure he does his share of work in their camp. A hurricane rolls over their island and destroys their camp and also takes Timothy’s life. Phillip mourns his friend, but because of all of Timothy’s teaching he is able to survive and is eventually rescued.

I’m pretty hazy on a lot of the details (give me a break I read this 15 years ago) but this book was one of my favorite reads. Timothy not only put up with this bad attitude little kid, but taught him to be a better person and showed him that a disability shouldn’t hinder your ability to be productive and independent.  

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Definitely pick this one up for your budding bookworm!

goodreads link

rant

A Real Relationship

Ah, the sweet romance.  Candle lit dinners and grand gestures.  Sweet whispers of nothing.  Our ideals of the perfect relationship stem from many mainstream medias.  Books are the forefathers, for sure.  Love affairs have been detailed since the dawning of the written word.  Romance in novels is so prominent that there is a whole category dedicated to such books. Whether it’s Harlequin, teen, or erotic book worms from every corner of the world have been taken by the idealistic passion of fictional relationships.  How do these stories affect our personal relationships and ideals of courtship?

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In recent times books like 50 Shades of Grey, The Fault in our Stars, and anything by Nicholas Sparks has sent a ripple of emotions in readers.  Lust, puppy love, and that heartfelt longing for another have ripped readers’ hearts in two over the many years.  Love is one of the strongest emotion a writer can play on, everyone knows it or wants it, but is the way they write is always the healthiest way to portray it?  What may seem like a story of a female who’s world is rocked by a more experienced male in ways that she is unsure of really that romantic?  The tentative, sweet, submissive lady who just “doesn’t know any better”, should that be the basis of our understanding to how relations work?  

Love isn’t something you should read about and feel like you have experienced it through a fictional character’s eyes.  It should not be taken lightly and be treated dangerously as fire and as gently as a newborn.  I have met many people saying they wished they had a relationship like so-and-so, typically a fictional bond.  All I can think to myself is why?  Why want something that isn’t real?  Love isn’t about if he ties you up, emotionally abuses you, or trying to start fights just to have passionate make-up sex after.

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It’s about finding your best friend and not being able to live a single moment without them (figuratively).  Finding fun in mundane life, caring for one another equally.  Books never want to tell you the boring love stories.  That doesn’t mean they are any less perfect.  I believe that people put such high expectations on relationships that they tend to overlook important things, like “can you stand this person longer than 24 hours?”  

Please, I am not telling you to lower your standards by any means.  The guy that you friendzoned isn’t right for you for a reason.  I’m just asking that you do not model your ideal relationship over a potentially hazardous one.

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book review · Uncategorized

Difficult Women

by Roxane Gay

Length: 260 pages

Published: January 3rd 2017 by Grove Press
Medium of Consumption: eBook

The Rundown:

Difficult Women is a hard hitting collection of short stories. Each one giving a glimpse of different women’s lives, and often dealing with heavy issues and scenarios.

What I Thought:

I loved this book. Each story was so engrossing and every time I picked it up I couldn’t stop reading. This book definitely deals with a lot of different trigger content, so if you are at all uncomfortable with topics such as molestation or abuse I do not recommend it. These stories are so raw with emotion and well written that even if you do feel uncomfortable, just skip to the next story. Also guys: do not let the title or content fool you.  This isn’t a “feel good Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul book.”  Definitely well worth the read for any sex.  Will definitely be picking up another Roxane Gay book in the future.

5/5 Stars

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Recommended To:

  • If you are a feminist
  • If you have a pulse
  • If you know how to read
  • Just go get this book
book review

Final Girls

by Riley Sager

Length: 342 pages

Published: July 11th 2017 by Dutton

Medium of Book Consumption: hardcover (a la BOTM)

The Rundown:

Whether she likes it or not, Quincy Carpenter is a survivor.  Ten years ago, what should have been a fun weekend getaway with her college classmates, turned into a bad slasher film.  Deeply suppressing the memories of her friends being slaughtered, Quincy has achieved what she believes is normal.  A successful baking blog, a wonderful boyfriend, and a habit of Xanax and wine.  Quincy is the third “final girl”, a term that the media coined for last standing girls of horrific events.  The three women have seemed to take different paths in their lives post massacre.  Lisa Milner has made her life being an advocate for women surviving abuse, while Samantha Boyd disappeared from the public eye.

Quincy’s world is shaken when Lisa is found dead in her apartment.  Samantha shows up at Quincy’s door, and the two women know that Lisa’s death was no accident.  

Quincy also suspects something isn’t right with Sam.  

As Quincy uncovers information about Sam and the suspicion around Lisa’s apparent suicide, a peculiar thing starts to happen.

She begins to remember what happened that bloody night ten years ago.

What I Thought:

Maybe I wasn’t quite in the right mindset to read this book, but I definitely found myself skimming.  I liked the story idea a lot, but found myself annoyed with Quincy and Sam’s relationship.  I am definitely a person that doesn’t like to talk about my feelings, so Sam’s constant poking and prodding at Quincy rubbed me the wrong way.  I really liked the end twists!  Quincy remembering what really happened was pretty nuts and I didn’t find it all too predictable.  Maybe I expected a little more gratuitous blood and guts like Richard Laymon.  It was altogether good but nothing amazing.  

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3.5/5 Stars

Recommended To:

  • Looking for a beach/travel read
  • If you are a fan of slasher movies but don’t like it too gory
  • If you like stories about crazy women
rant

Page to Screen: A Book Snob’s Nightmare

“Oh my god.”  Elation, excitement, that squee that slips my mouth!  Abruptly cut off by “oh my god,” the sudden drop in my stomach and sweaty palms and trepidation.  Something could go horribly wrong.  What are these monsters thinking of taking something I love and tainting it?  How dare they.  How fucking dare they.  *deep breath*  It could be ok?  I have been known to worry.  Maybe I shouldn’t worry.

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This.  This is the reality of being a book lover and seeing that one of your favorite stories is being made into film.  You wake up one day, and see that someone from Hollywood has recognized what you’ve known for years is a genius novel.  It fills you with pride, like it’s your kid brother making the varsity baseball team.  But then maybe you see who they’ve casted, or the teaser trailer leaks.  And maybe you think, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE THEY DOING?”  You immediately log onto social media outlets, feverishly bashing the so-called adaption.  You demand someone’s head on a spike, protests, mass mutiny, anything, anything to stop this abomination.  

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If this is you, if you are a purest book worm who can only accept every word written and nothing less, you need to check yo’self before ya’ll wreck yo’self.

I will wholeheartedly admit that I am guilty of doing this.  When I was 11 and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was coming out, I was out of my fucking mind excited.  My mom could not get me to shut the fuck up about how much I love the boy who lived and explain the first book in extreme detail so she knew what to expect in the movie.  She brought me the opening Friday after I got out of school.  I sat quietly for the duration.  As we left my mom asked how I liked it.  A fountain of negativity poured out of my mouth.  I HATED Daniel Radcliffe, I HATED how they didn’t do all of the obstacles the teachers made, man I didn’t even really like Richard Harris as Dumbledore.  My mother, so wonderful, listened to my complaints and she explained to me that sometimes when books get made into movies, they have to make things work for film.  Not everyone can look perfectly how I envisioned them.  Not every scene can be kept.  What’s perfect from a literary standpoint can be anything but from a cinematic point of view.  She took me again the next weekend.  Watching it for a second time, with new eyes, I loved it.  I realized that I was being a snob.  That other opinions and perspectives are valid.  No need to be ruffled or miffed if you do not agree.  But always try to appreciate.  The second time I watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone I appreciated all the wonderful intricacies of this world it brought to life for me.  It made me never watch another film adaptation with malicious intent.  

I am not defending every book to movie ever made.  Oh, I know there are some real bad ones out there.  I’m just thinking that people should really keep an open mind.  Do not jump to conclusions before you even see the movie or nitpick it to death when you do.  

Idris Elba is going to be Roland Deschain, and I don’t think it could have been casted better.

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