Review- Awoken

Awoken by Sarah Noffke

23505867Rating: 5/5 stars

I was given a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“Roya, when you stop viewing your life as something done to you and rather a reality of your choosing then you will find peace.”

Roya Stark is the outcast of her family and is constantly reminded of her differences by her emotionally abusive older brother. Not only does her light hair stand out from her entirely brunette family, she has the power to dream travel across space and time. Her life is changed when she’s called to compete for a group called the Lucidites, specialized dream travelers from around the world. The Lucidites are teaming up against an evil force who has been putting innocent people into an hallucinogen state. If the Lucidites fail to take down this man, everyone will soon be in danger of dreaming without ever waking up.

This is one of the best young adult books I’ve read in a while. The beginning was a bit confusing because Sarah Noffke throws the reader into a new, fantastical world without really giving any backstory or explanation. This actually worked to her advantage because Roya is also extremely confused in the beginning of the book, so it adds to the dazed and bewildered effect.

Often, I find that YA fantasy books are all a bit similar plot-wise, but this book had a lot of unique traits. I was caught off guard so many times, especially after the novel started picking up in the second half. Also, Sarah Noffke did a great job making Roya a relatable character; she felt very real to me from the very beginning. I could actually imagine a girl Roya’s age saying, reading, and wearing the same things as her. This aspect made the novel surreal and probably why I loved it so much.

Overall, this was a really gripping book with a bit of humor (Roya is very sarcastic). I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good, thrilling YA read.

Advertisements

Review- The Sense of Style

The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker

senseofstyle_stevenpinkerRating: 4/5 stars

Note: I feel like as a writing guide, this is a 5-star book, but as a ‘general’ book it’s only worthy of 4 stars.

I was given this book by my dad who said “all readers and writers should read this at some point in their careers”. I expected to be thoroughly bored with The Sense of Style, but found myself pleasantly interested.

Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist who writes books on how to write, and does it  well. This guide is extremely well-organized, which makes it easy to find exactly what topics you’re looking for. He starts by explaining and breaking down sentence structure in a way that makes sense and is a bit different than the way I was taught in high school. Pinker uses examples from texts to outline the good and bad ways to use language and grammar. I like how he shows the reader how to write rather than tells them. He also includes a chart of words that used to have only one meaning but now have more common usages. For example, “presently” technically means “soon”, but it now used to mean “now”. Pinker discusses these differences and accepts both definitions.

Pinker clearly distinguishes himself from people who don’t understand that the english language is constantly evolving. He disregards a few ‘old’ english rules and replaces them with his own rules. I think that Pinker has a very modern way of writing that’s important for an ever-changing lexicon. I definitely learned a lot from this guide and would recommend it to people pursuing writing as a career.

Review- Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

41iHvwDY7GL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Rating: 3/5 stars

“Neal didn’t take Georgie’s breath away. Maybe the opposite. But that was okay–that was really good, actually, to be near someone who filled your lungs with air.”

 Georgie McCool is a comedy television writer with a marriage she knows is falling apart. Her husband, Neal, never says that he’s unhappy but certainly never acts like the college junior he was when Georgie first met him. She misses those days before everything went downhill, before her job took off and she spent more and more time at the office. Georgie finds herself with a magic phone, the yellow landline phone in her old room, that can talk to the old Neal from when they first started dating. Georgie has to figure out if this is her chance to fix things with Neal or end the relationship before they even get married.

Like the last Rainbow Rowell book that I reviews (Attachments), this book was just okay. The plot was fairly interesting, but the writing wasn’t anything spectacular. I usually tab quotes that I liked and stood out to me while I read, but I left Landline without any sticky tabs. In fact, I got the quotation at the beginning of this review by Googling “Landline quotes”. It seems like almost everyone excepts for me absolutely adores Rainbow Rowell. I don’t really see the hype.

This is a good, light book for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to read. It was easy to skim some chapters, as a lot of the dialogue wasn’t crucial to the main plot. I did think that the flashbacks to Georgie and Neal first meeting and dating in college were cute, but the novel as a whole was a little bland. I think my problem with Rowell’s writing style is that it’s very young adult-like. I know she has written best-selling young adult novels and I think she has a hard time crossing over to the adult genre. Maybe if I read one of her YA novels I will appreciate her writing more.

Reading Update!

Hi everyone and welcome to my new followers! I’ve been really sick and haven’t been able to read for over a week now. I’m hoping to get back on track and finish Landline by Rainbow Rowell sometime tomorrow. I know that I have a lot of review requests to catch up on, but I’ll get them done! Thanks to all of you who follow my blog 🙂

Review- The Girl in 6E

The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre

20640318

Rating: 5/5 stars

I like the sound of screams- real screams, not the pathetic excuse that most movies try to pass off as the sound of terror

Deanna Madden lives most of her life as JessReilly19, a seductive college freshman who spends hours on hours having internet sex with men and women from around the world. When she isn’t earning insane amounts of cash via the pay-by-minute feature on her private website, Deanna locks herself up in a two-bedroom apartment and tries to push away her homicidal fantasies. Deanna has a daily routine that only has one rule:Don’t Kill Anyone. This rule is fairly easy to keep so long as she stays locked up and alone, but Deanna finds herself in a situation that requires her to be around people, people she could potentially kill.

This book was fantastic. I know that so many thrillers are compared to Gone Girl these days, but this book really took me on a ride similar to the ones Gillian Flynn writes. I found myself flying through the pages towards the last third of the novel. I was stuck between “get to the ending ASAP” and “try to savor every page of this incredible novel”. The first thought took over my brain and I, consequently, probably missed some really cool plot details.

I really like the light that this book shone on people, specifically women, working in the sex industry. Deanna is a full-time internet sex cammer and is in control of all of her sessions. If a man is getting too creepy or aggressive, she has the power to disconnect and block them from further contact. She is an empowered woman who finds no shame in the way she lives her life. She is content with her lifestyle, not miserable as some people would presume. I thought this was an extremely positive quality of the novel.

The Girl in 6E had been sitting on my bookshelf for a few months before I picked it up this week. I think I was mentally preparing myself for a heavy thriller. This was such an exciting read and I’m glad I got to it this month. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Review- Tiger Tail Soup

Tiger Tail Soup by Nicki Chen

51AVOPZ5vRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

“All my heroes has horses and armor, a double-bladed sword or an eighteen-foot spear. They had their blood brothers to save the day. And I? My spindly arms fell to my sides. I should have been a man.”

I received an e-book copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

An Lee is pregnant with her second child when the Japanese begin bombing her town in China. Her husband is off fighting in a war that seemingly never ends, leaving her in care of her mother, step-mother, and children. Through the food shortages and enforced curfews, she finds herself joining an anti-Japanese group–something her husband would never approve of. An Lee sees death, war, and hatred all around her, but must keep it together for the sake of her family and husband, if he ever returns.

I really wish I could say that this book was fantastic because the ideas behind it were well-thought out and intracate. Unfortunately, Tiger Tail Soup read more like a series of events than like a book with an actual plot. Once I reached the halfway point, I realized that there still was no major climax or central issue/conflict. This was definitely an interesting read…but I didn’t really get the point of the novel.

That being said, I also felt like the author was telling me things instead of showing me. I don’t feel like I got to know An Lee very well, because her actions were merely described to me. For example, Nicki Chen writes about how much An Lee misses her husband throughout the entire book, but I never got any more proof of that other than the author’s word. I wish this, what I imagine to be, intense longing and grief over a missing husband had been shown instead of told to me.

I still enjoyed reading Tiger Tail Soup and learning more about what the war was like for people living in China circa 1940. Nicki Chen definitely played with my emotions with the novel. I found myself both grieving and celebrating along with An Lee.

Review- Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

225228084/5 stars

This is a collection of Gaiman’s recent short stories, which he calls “short fictions and disturbances”. This epithet matches well with the content of some of these stories. Trigger Warning contains over 20 short pieces of writing, ranging from poems to short fairy tales.

There are simply too many pieces to write a synopsis of each one. In addition, the stories are not related in any way (character wise or even genre wise). Each of these stories is it’s own world, a unique way of putting together a collection of fictions. Before this, I had never read a book of short stories that didn’t have anything in common. That being said, most of the stories were a bit disturbing. I would even categorize a few of them as “horror”; but most of them fall into the category of “fantasy” or “science fiction”.  For Doctor Who fans– Gaiman even includes a short story about the Doctor with a bow tie and Amy Pond.

Neil Gaiman certainly has a way of imagining other worlds and dimensions filled with made-up creatures and complex characters. Admittedly, I did get bored with a few of his stories, but most of them kept my attention and were easy to follow. I’m very proud to be the owner of a signed first edition of this book. I went to my local bookstore on it’s release date last month and was one of the first to get a copy!