Why? Whyyy? WHY? (Basically, me whining)

Cinder

 

Look at it. Look at it. 

Pardon my use of bold and italics, but I’m in a state of extreme over dramatics right now, wherein everything I say and do is five times more hyped up than it needs to be. But, even acknowledging that…IT’S JUST NOT FAIR.

This is the third time I’ve checked, in the second local bookstore I’ve gone to, for Cress, the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series, and it’s never there. I just want to know what happens. Please. Please, world, you can’t leave me hanging like this. You have one copy of Cinder left. You have several copies of Scarlet. But never, ever any copies of Cress. 

And yes, I could be proactive and say, go to another bookstore that is known for having a wider selection of books. Or, I could, say, order it online. Maybe I could stop writing this blog post and just go to the bookstore online and reserve a copy, waiting the necessary seven days or so for it to come in.

Maybe.

But the truth is, I’m just too lazy. I’ll walk every day to the bookstore looking idly for a copy of Cress, but I won’t take the three minutes it would take to reserve my own copy online. Why is this? Honestly, I’m not sure.

One theory of mine is that since I just *have* to keep checking the bookstore, I get to keep *accidentally* buying replacement books. Seriously. In the quest for Cress, I’ve found myself with Fangirl, The Secret History, Throne of Glass, We Were Liars, Sharp Objects, and Mockingjay. Guys, this is bordering on a problem. I think a big component of it is that right now, I don’t have a library card, because I’m in the process of finding a new library. In the resulting book famine, I just can’t control myself.  It’s like I’m Becky from Confessions of a Shopaholic, and I’m filling my head with these awful delusions that if I just keep looking for one book, then the rest of the books I’m buying aren’t actually real. But my wallet says they are real. Oh so wonderfully, terribly, beautifully, achingly real. I know this, and yet I still find myself wondering into the bookstore much more often than I can afford. I guess love really is blinding.

But not literally blinding, you know, otherwise I wouldn’t really need to buy all of those books.

Anyways, at risk of rambling (and I know that I do too much of that as it is–I try to edit my posts down to spare you guys!), let me end this post with a question.

Do you find yourself buying books beyond the point of reason? What do you do to quell the urge to buy, read, buy, and read some more? Or do you just give into bookish lust with the reasoning that skipping dinner every night is just that worth it? 

 

 

Book Review: We Were Liars

Book Review: We Were Liars

By: E. Lockhart

Goodreads Score: 3.90

My Score: 3.4

Highlights: Lyrical Writing Style, Psychological Aspects

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So, I saw this book at Barnes and Nobles a few months ago, when they only stocked it in hardcover. The title, summary, and first page all intrigued me…but, as a hardcover book, it was over twenty dollars, and it didn’t intrigue me that much. So, I left Barnes and Nobles with two paperbacks instead and forgot all about it for a while.

Then I started seeing reviews crop up all over the blog-o-sphere. Everyone and their pet Chihuahua was reading this book (don’t worry–I know that Chihuahuas can’t read. Let me rephrase: everyone and their pet German Husky). Still, I might not have picked it up…except for the fact that everyone’s opinions seemed so polarized. Many bloggers were absolutely raving about We Were Liars, while others were bemoaning it with a burning hatred that clawed at them from the insides out.

And of course, we’ve all heard about that Major Plot Twist. Or, at least, it’s literally all I’ve heard about the book. When I asked other people what it was about, a typical answer was, “Well, there’s this huge plot twist near the end.” And I kind of understand why, now. Because the plot of this book isn’t one easily summed up. If you asked me, I’d probably say something along the lines of, ‘well, there is this family obsessed with appearances, and there re three teenagers in this family, and one outsider, who spend a lot of time with each other, and two of these teenagers have a flawed romance going on, and all the adults are manipulative, and the teens think about life and generosity and what it means to be good, and oh, yeah, there’s some dogs in there, too.’ It’s not exactly a description that makes you want to rush to the bookstore. The real plot lies (ha!) somewhat deeper, in a series of flashbacks of the Liars, in the manipulation and greed that defines the Liars’ parents, and in Cadence’s struggles and revelations.

So, basically, the book was pretty, but it was also directionless at times, and there were a couple of points where I was just like ‘where is this even going?’. If you like your books to have a solid direction and lots of clarity (you know who the antagonist is, there is a clear conflict, etc.) then We Were Liars will definitely feel too free-floating for you.

Because I had heard so much about the (in)famous plot twist, I was keeping a close eye on the book as I went along, trying to guess what it could be before I got to it. I was actually keeping little notes as I read, and for those of you who don’t mind a potential spoiler, I’ll post them a few lines down. After, of course, issuing a firm:

*SPOILER ALERT. SPOILER ALERT. AVERT YOUR EYES, QUICKLY SCROLL DOWN UNTIL YOU SEE ME SCREAMING AT YOU WITH MORE CAPS. THANK YOU. *

Highlight the below text. It should show up. Yay for technology. And magic. Honestly, I’m not sure which one this is.

Page 51: Ohmygosh, is everyone dead? Ohmygosh, everyone is actually dead. 

Page 51 1/2: Oh, so Gat dies, leaving her alone, and that’s why he never answers anything. I see. 

Page 74: And now I’m just confused. Like, what the fuck is this? The Liars are still on the Island, and actually seem happy to see her, soooo…did everyone just abandon her? Agh! I just don’t even know anymore.  

So, as you can see, I was a bit indecisive. I did, however, hit close to the mark. But even though I was sort of expecting it, I was still shocked when I realized that one of my two guesses was actually right. 

*SPOILERS DONE. NOT THAT YOU COULD SEE THEM ANYWAY, BUT JUST SO YOU COULD AVOID THE TEMPTATION OF IT ALL, YOU KNOW?*

Anyways, I’ll zoom in a little and focus less on the book as a whole, and more on the characters. There’s the Sinclairs. Rich, attractive, composed, and united. Hahahaha. Right, so there’s the Sinclairs: Squandering away their money, fighting with and manipulating each other, and breaking into a thousand tiny pieces.

Well, when I say that, I really specifically mean the second generation of Sinclairs–the parents of the Liars.

But let’s zoom in a little bit more, and talk about the Liars themselves. Each one of them comes from a different immediate family. There’s the main character: Cadence Eastman. Then Mirren Sheffields. Johnny Dennise. And Gat, who is Johnny’s mother’s boyfriend’s nephew (whew! That’s a mouthful. Really, all you need to know is that he comes to the Sinclair Island every summer like the rest of them, and is not part of the family, making the romance between him and Cadence legal).

The book is told through Cadence’s point of view, with many flashbacks throughout, as Cadence has suffered from selective amnesia after an accident one summer.

Cadence is…

Hard to like. She gets terrible migraine pains after the accident, her dad left her mother and her, she’s hopelessly in love with Gat, and she is SO hard to like.

First off, she is terribly clingy. So, so possessive. The romance between her and Gat is weird, with Gat kissing her and being way into her at points, and then quickly backing it up at other points, and with Cadence knowing he has a girlfriend, but not asking about her, and Gat not telling. Many times, Gat tells Cadence that they can’t be together. Many times, Cadence tells herself that she shouldn’t be with him. And yet, she is constantly thinking of him as ‘mine’. They know they’re bad for each other (or, at least, they think they are), but they bounce back and forth between true love, first crush, and teen angst in a way that makes me so annoyed. Grr. There were so many things they could have done to make their relationship either last, or for them to back off from each other, and they chose neither. Gah.

And while I’m ranting, let me move onto the title: We Were Liars. It’s a pretty title. And for a while, it works. Cadence tells us readers that her pack of homies were called the Liars by their parents. Thus, they really were the Liars.

But.

But. BUT. 

Why do the parents call them the Liars? Cadence doesn’t give us one damn example. The teens seem adventurous and rebellious at times (though I only give them those titles lightly), but they don’t seem like liars. Especially not in the first half of the book, long after they were apparently dubbed as so.

It may seem like a weird gripe, but it has had me scratching my head in thought for the past few days, wondering what I missed. So, if you’ve read the book and happen to understand, please let me know in the comments. I’d be grateful (this is not sarcasm. I really do want to know if this was explained and I somehow missed out on something).

Anyways, it seems like I’ve ranted a lot for the (fairly) decent review rating I gave this book. And I guess that that’s because although I didn’t like the characters, the plot was foggy, and the Liars part was confusion, the book was still written under the spell of that fog that seemed to wrap around the plot. It’s light, and misty, and mysterious, and kind of beautiful.

Plus, I did finish it within three hours. I didn’t want to put it down, so I didn’t. And I think that’s worth something when it comes to a points rating system.

Have you read We Were Liars? If so, let me know what you thought of it! Do you agree with my rating? Have you read any good books lately? Have any recommendations? Again, let me know in the comments below! 

 

Book Review: Sharp Objects

Book Review: Sharp Objects

By: Gillian Flynn

Goodreads Score: 3.87

My Score: 4.2

Highlights: Compelling, twisted, gritty

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WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart 
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg 
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle 
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

(From Goodreads) 


Gillian Flynn. What can I say? Reading her books makes me uncomfortable, anxious, and disturbed. And yet: I read them. It’s nearly impossible not to. I started with Gone Girl, which was more mild than both Sharp Objects and Dark Places, in terms of sex and violence. Gone Girl was also my favorite of the three. Dark Places was my least, although I really appreciated the ending. Sharp Objects falls somewhere in-between the two.

As always, the main character is a bit screwed up (okay, a bit is an understatement). After her sister, Marian, died, Camille started carving words into her flesh, and having copious amounts of sex. Her relationship with her cold, infuriating mother is, as you can imagine, strained, with Camille still secretly pining for her mother’s love even though she knows that she’ll never truly have it. The result of all these things have caused her to bitterly resent her home town, and residing in her mind is a great way to gain that cynical mindset you’ve always been looking for, and which I happened to enjoy. Camille is vulnerable and tough at the same time. She is childish, and dangerous, and always teetering on the edge. She’s tenacious and protective. She is a girl falling even as she puts up her arms to block the pain.

As for the other characters…nearly all the important ones are impossible to like. And it’s supposed to be that way. On Gillian Flynn’s website, she writes that “there are no good women in Sharp Objects.”* One could argue that Camille isn’t necessarily bad, but then, she’s no paradigm of perfection, either. The other characters, however, are all just nasty.

Her mother, Adora, is not someone that anyone would Adore-a (get it?!).

Her half-sister, Amma, is infuriating at parts, strangely vulnerable in other parts, and manipulative and creepy through it all.

Her stepfather, Alan, is a mindless drone.

And all the other little townspeople are petty, gossip-eager, whiny, dramatic little caricatures of themselves. If any of the aspects of this book annoyed me, it was the monochromatic townspeople. Nearly all of Camille’s friends, and all of Camille’s mother’s friends, read the same. I had trouble differentiating who was who, and how (if at all) they were different from the next person. And sure, yes, I get that this was probably to highlight the horrible sameness of the town, and yes, it was through the biased filter of Camille’s eyes, but after a while, it was just repetitive.

But let’s get off the subject of characters, and move onto the plot itself. Like all of Flynn’s novels, Sharp Objects keeps you engaged in multiple ways. While the underlying question is always ‘who is killing these little girls?’, uncovering the messed-up relationship of Camille and her mother can be an even more absorbing plot point. Not to mention, finding out more about Camille’s dark past.  I think the latter was what gripped me the most–what, exactly, made Camille turn her body into a human message board? And what does her past have to do with the present? I had to take all my snacks with me onto my bed, because I knew that I wasn’t going to leave my room until I finished the book, and I needed sustenance to keep me going. That’s how much I wanted answers to the above questions.

Fascinating and gripping, Sharp Objects is a book that is dark and unflinching. It is, at times, uncomfortable. It is bold and invasive.

It is a really, really good book.

Have you read any of Gillian Flynn’s books? What do you think of them? Read any other good/bad books lately? Tell me about them in the comments below! 

*To see the fascinating article from which this was taken in, go to: http://gillian-flynn.com/for-readers/

She’s Baaaaaaack (And With a New Book Review, Too!)

Hello, again! Gosh, I know that it’s only been a couple of weeks that I’ve been gone from the blog-o-sphere, but it feels like far longer than that. Probably because I’ve been pretty busy! I’m all moved into my new flat in London, but what with orientation, and the start of classes, and meeting flatmates I haven’t had much time to myself. But, as promised, I am back, and with a few new reviews lined up, too!

The first is a novel that I bought at Waterstones Piccadilly, which happens to be the largest bookstore in Europe. It is fairly humongous, and I know that I’m going to be going back there an awful lot over the next few months. Anyways, I saw The Rosie Project on display, and because I’ve heard it mentioned a few times before, I decided ‘why not?’ (The answer to the why not question, as it turns out, is there is no reason not to).

Book Review: The Rosie Project

By: Graeme Simsion

Goodreads Score: 4.02

My Score: 4.1

Highlights: Funny, the Main Character (Don), Just the Overall Feeling

the-rosie-project

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

(From Goodreads)

I really liked this book. Wait, I take that book. I really, really liked this book. I don’t meant to sound surprised or anything, but I am kind of impressed with how funny I found The Rosie Project, which I thought would be more dramatic and dry than it ended up being. Love stories can be hit or miss with me, but then, this wasn’t really a love story; it had less stereotypical romance in it than it did quirks, humorous situations, and soul-searching.

Don, the main character, was a favorite of mine from the beginning. He has Asperger’s syndrome, and as a result is much more logical, and much less emotional, than other people. This means that his thoughts sometimes shock with their bluntness, and after you’re done being shocked, than the laughs come. And if a book can make me laugh throughout, then odds are I’m going to like that book.

But beside it being quite hilarious, the Rosie Project was also engaging and touching. Two main plot lines are explored throughout the book, both of which involve searching. Don is searching for the ideal wife through use of an elaborate questionnaire, which he deems The Wife Project. Rosie, on the other hand, is searching for her real father. At first, I was really interested in the details of Don’s ‘Wife Project’. But as time went by, I became more and more focused on trying to find out who Rosie’s father might be. I had two main guesses, one of which became increasingly validated as time went by, although I won’t go into that here. I did like that the book left multiple possibilities that would make sense, leaving room (and plenty of doubts) for the reader to be either right or wrong.

I did feel that there was a tiny period around the middle where the plot started to drag on for me, probably because the beginning was so great, and then the latter half was really good, and in comparison the middle bit seemed weak. But, overall, there wasn’t much to critique about the Rosie Project. It wasn’t really my usual genre, but even so, I loved it! And I can’t wait to read Simsion’s sequel to the Rosie Project: The Rosie Effect.

Have you read The Rosie Project? If so, let me know what you thought of it! Have you read any good books lately? Have any recommendations? Again, let me know in the comments below!