Friday, March 1, 2013

Change of URL + THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger

Okay, first off, I'm changing my URL, so it'll no longer be "". 

What will it be? - "". So, yeah.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - May 27th, 2004
Synopsis: A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling that makes the novel's unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler's Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come.

God, I've heard people gush about this book. So many women have placed this on their Favorites lists! 

I saw the movie, and was genuinely excited about reading this after falling in love with the characters of Henry and Clare through the adaption (played by the handsome Eric Bana, and the beautiful Rachel McAdams, respectively). And rightfully so, because the story, book and movie, is wonderful!

But what isn't is the writing in the book.


I could only get about 175 pages into this book, and then I had to stop. SHE JUST INCLUDED WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION.

I actually really enjoyed what I got to see of the book side of Henry and Clare, and what the characters Bana and McAdams played on screen came from, you know-the originals? And, as I said, I did/do love the story, writing aside. The writing comes very beautifully at times, and I even read some lines where I questioned why someone hadn't already copied it in flow-y handwriting on a scrap of paper, taken a picture of it with one of Instagram's hipster filters, and then uploaded it to the Quotes section on Pinterest. There's some genuinely delectable turns of phrase on display here!

But then I got hit with one of the author's info dumps, these ocassional speed bumps in the otherwise flowing prose, perhaps a handful of references to obscure artists the author thinks every reader should know the work of (something like, "Clare liked the work of [insert name of 17th century French painter], who worked with [some weird medium of papermaking we've never heard of], in [rural countryside town in Europe you've never heard of], while listening to [name of 15th century Austrian musician].")

Thankfully those speed bumps didn't come up that often, so I could get past them after a while.

What I had an even harder time getting past was the chapter headers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG. The beginnings of the chapter were insane! These are the things she listed at the beginning of each one:

1. A chapter title.
2. Clare's and Henry's age.
3. The year it took place.

4. WHERE it took place.

5. And if there were two Henry's (because of one of them time-travelling) she listed the SECOND HENRY'S AGE, TOO.
(This is what happens to a reader when you overload them with too much information to contain.)

Then the info dumps kept coming, and coming, to the point where she'd just talk about all of these philosophy/art/music references that confused me and made me feel totally lost, because I couldn't quite grasp what these characters obviously seemed to be experts on. I started to skip through these parts, and nothing would have come out of them, so I was like: 

I left at the point in the story where Ms. Niffenegger decided to drop the icing on the cake of info dumps, a point where Henry and Clare were playing a game of chess: SHE GAVE EVERY CHESS PIECE MOVE. WHAT. NO. DON'T TRY, AUDREY, DEAR. NO. UGH.

Seriously. She literally listed every move: "Rook to A-12. Knight to J-9. Queen to R-1." It was AGONIZING.

So... Yeah. This book definitely does not get my stamp of approval for the fact that of the author's use of pretentious references, her large and therefore ultra-confusing chapter beginners, and her info dumps that never end up serving purposes.

See ya!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 18th, 2012
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

This is going to be an ultra-short review. 

I can figure out if I don't like a book within the first 30 pages most of the time, and this, sadly, didn't float my boat.

I was excited about giving the story a go because of the positive reviews covering her previous books like GOING BOVINE or BEAUTY QUEENS. This, tacked onto the fact that I absolutely adore the 1920's. Also, throw some magic, and you've got me hooked. 

I did like the classic story of a main character having to go and stay with their eccentric uncle, and believed that, having heard of the fun and strange ways Ms. Bray writes, she would be able to spin the story into literary gold. And maybe she did, but I didn't stay in long enough to find out. The reason I set the book down was the dialogue and characters. I was so annoyed by how purely cliche they all acted and spoke. I could hear their annoying and oh-so-typical Roaring Twenties accents in my head. I couldn't stand it, in fact. So that's why I sat it down. 

I'm an insanely harsh reviewer, I know, and so for that I can still recommend this, because I know a lot of people really liked it, and, even from what little I read, I could tell the story would be a lot of fun. It's just that this is another one of those books where, if turned into a movie, I'd see it in a heartbeat, but the way it's presented on the page now isn't for me.

Another instance where this "I'd-see-it-if-it-was-a-movie" thing happened is with BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (you can read my review here), two trailers of which have just come out, and both look fantastic, yet still filled with enough cheesiness to win the swoony romance fans over!

And the other one, which shows more footage:

GAHHHHHH! They look fantastic and so much fun! And may I just gush for a moment about their using Florence + the Machine's "Seven Devils"! :DDDD

See ya!

Saturday, November 17, 2012


January 10th, 2012 - Dutton Juvenile
Synopsis: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

OMG, I finally read it. This book has been sitting on my shelf for months, and everyone's been like...

'AMAZON.COM GIVES IT 5 FULL STARS!' Yeah, all that jazz. I mean, to not like this book would be a readerly sin, so, you know, going in I kind of knew I was going to adore it with all my heart and soul, and I was going to fawn over Augustus Waters like an obese man over funnel cake..... Right?


I didn't like this, and that is a very large surprise, if you can't guess. You're probably thinking I didn't like it because I used all the hype and praise as framework for my mindset going in, and, only because it didn't meet the standards punched in by every other blogger's gloriously gushful post. But I actually don't care much about praise when reading a book, though hearing a recommendation may get me to read it. 

But I just didn't like this book, alone, by itself, all praise pushed to the side. 

Things I didn't like:
One of the biggest things for me was that the main characters, Hazel and Augustus, both just kind of wander through most of the book, without a goal. This is a HUGE thing, that characters always have a goal, and the fact that they mostly kind of went along through life annoyed me. 

I didn't like how overly-philosophical they got at times. I mean, there were times I could suspend my disbelief and go with the flow if the scene was cute, or the dialogue witty, but many times I found myself thinking, God, he didn't just push the envelope here-he kicked the freaking thing. This is over the top, sky-high, through the heavens ridiculous.

Some scenes between their romance was also just...completely over the top. I don't want to spoil anything, but the dinner scene (though I enjoyed the "stars in the bottle") was purely too self-indulgent.

I felt that all of the "revealing secrets" scenes kind of fell flat. I mean, while reading them, I got the sense that Mr. Green wanted the reader to be like, "Oh! So that's why that was that, and that was this, and it all makes sense because the character has said this now!" but most of the time, I just kind of stared at the page thinking either, Well that was kind of stupid, or, How in the world did you not see that coming? That was, like, super obvious.

I didn't like the ending lines, because people only repeat their words when your companions first reply is, "Wait, sorry, the music's too loud-can you say that again?"

This is a really very tiny small thing, but it really annoyed me, because I was so weirded out by it: How much did Hazel's father cry? I mean, she even made a point of mentioning it once or twice, but even then, it was very strange. I honestly don't know any teenage girls that cry that much, and especially not any grown men. 

Things I liked:
The gas-station scene was a very sweet and short moment, and it was probably the only part I can't criticize in some manner, but I love it to pieces. If I could poke a hole in that scene and blow it up like a balloon so it filled up an empty book jacket, it'd be a wonderful book, and I'd read it.

I don't know what to think. I talked to my best friend, who loved it, about my thoughts, and he even told me it was weird I didn't like it, and I kind of agree. Maybe I was in a funk while reading, although I didn't feel like it. Like I said, I don't know. I'll probably re-read it in a few weeks, and I'll post if my thoughts are changed. But for now, buh-bye, fine human specimens.


Friday, September 28, 2012


June 1st, 2010 - Doubleday
Synopsis: On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the slice. To her horror, she finds that her cheerful mother tastes of despair. Soon, she’s  privy to the secret knowledge that most families keep hidden: her father’s detachment, her mother’s transgression, her brother’s increasing retreat from the world. But there are some family secrets that even her cursed taste buds can’t discern.

So, basically this book has kind of pretty prose, but that's where the prettiness stops. 

I start the book, and I'm thinking, "Okay. This is cool! I love the idea of her tasting the emotions of whoever cooked the food she's eating! So cool! Oh! What clever and witty banter! Hardee-har-har!"

You know, it starts out good, actually. I thought I was going to really like this for a while, because the first quarter is actually very good. I liked her mother at first: You're made to feel pitiful towards her, as she slips into a rut in life, and desperately searches for something to cling to. But by halfway through the book, I was like...


She obviously loved Rose's older stupid hoe brother, Joseph, more than her, and Rose even admits it!!! DESPITE HIS BEING A TOTAL D-BAG! God! He's such a freaking brat! He gets what he wants, and he doesn't thank anyone. Later in the book (and this really isn't a spoiler, because it doesn't really affect the plot) when it skips to five years later, he's moved out into an apartment, and the. Mother. Is. Freaking. Paying. His. Rent. And. For. His. College. Classes. He doesn't thank her, and yet she's all googly-eyes over him. I mean, seriously-she doesn't spend a squick of time with her husband, and yet she's fawning over her son.

You know what...? Now that I think of it, they were probably committing incest behind the scenes. It wouldn't surprise me either: If the Jackson Five, Honey Boo-Boo, and the Kardashians were to donate genes, and scientists used them to grow a family, the Edelstein's would be the dysfunctional, messed-up thing that came out.

So let me get back to the characters. Like I said, the mom's an idiot. But now let me rant about Joseph more. So this little brat, who's labelled a total genius in school, comes home every day and holes himself in his room. Rose keeps mentioning stories, which kind of just build up his reputation as a brat. For instance, in one, she laments of how her brother comes to the dining room table, and doesn't talk at all. He doesn't make conversation, but is just quiet. He just reads crap. He reads the boxes of whatever his mom made to cook the meal they're eating, and once, when Rose took the box in front of him away, he just stared into space for a minute and then closed his eyes. Rose's mom, being the beyond stupid person she is, believes he, though only about eight years-old at the time of this, is closing his eyes so he can focus on the taste of the food better, and so she closes her eyes for the rest of the meal and "mmmm"s. When asked later why she followed Joseph's lead, her mother tells Rose that when she gave birth to him at the hospital, and she saw his bright eyes for the first time, she knew he would guide her through life (whatever hippy crap that means), and she goes on to explain she basically saw nothing in her daughter's eyes.

Her brother was so arrogant when left alone with her as well. He would brag about how smart he is, and I was just like...

Then, when "certain" things were revealed later in the story (the last forty pages of which I skimmed so I wouldn't have to endure them, but still wanted to see if the little twerp got what was coming to him) I was honestly like...


Then her dad was just a really annoying guy, because you could tell he knew his family was falling apart, but he was like, "Haha! Nope! I won't do anything!"

None of these characters were realistic, and also, their dialogue was so annoying, because none of them ever really confronted each other about something, but they instead just danced around the subject and used euphemisms and really awful metaphors. 

I was sympathetic for Rose at first, and then I read the whole book... Nope. She's so calm, even when faced with an annoyingly stupid mother who loves her annoyingly bratty brother who avoids their annoyingly evasive father. Another instance of stupidity (again, this really doesn't affect the plot at all): Rose says she hates this guy as a kid, and then, later as a college-age girl, she makes out with him, "... occasionally," she says, nonchalantly, as if she's saying she likes to venture from 2% milk and get whole every now and then! Then, because her slutty skanky friend brags about losing her virginity, Rose has sex with the guy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT.

Sadly, this is one of the worst books I've ever read in the history of the universe, ever, in a billion trillion years. Ever. Which kind of sucks, because I had high hopes for this one, it being a wonderful premise. But by the end I was like...

Let us say a prayer before I leave: "Lord, I pray that books which fit into the same level of awfulness as this one never receive the gift of publication, and if they do...


Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm back!: LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green

December 26th, 2006 - Speak
Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

I'm back, my children! Hehe. 

Sorry for the hiatus, but for a while I wasn't reading anything, and I kind of lost my drive for blogging, but I'm starting up again! Oh, happy day!

So I'm reviewing John Green's LOOKING FOR ALASKA today.

This was my first John Green novel, and so I knew I was in for a ride, having heard all of the wonderful praise of fans and critics, etc. It began smoothly, although I didn't actually like the opening scene-I found how Pudge spoke so openly to his parents kind of strange. But I brushed it aside, thinking that he's probably closer to them because he's an only child. 

I continued. 

He arrives at Culver Creek, and as Mr. Green introduces more characters, and eventually the *swoon* wonderful Alaska, I knew I was in the hands of a writing angel. How did this man, I wondered, who's an adult, write this book about teenagers so well!?

My mind was full of questions like that-ecstatic ones which ended in three interrobangs. I sent all of these questions about how he captured teenage anxiety so well, and the feeling of a crush so well out into the cosmic void without a reply, sadly. GOD. HE'S SO FREAKING GOOD WITH THOSE CHARACTERS AND THEIR EMOTIONS!!! GAHHH!

But not only that, but these characters weren't just stressed out all the time and moping. No, that wouldn't be realistic. These characters were funny.

O. M. G.

I laughed so freaking hard while reading this.

Like seriously.

Then, on top of that, John Green has an amazing plot. The way these characters react, and do things, and the ways in which other characters react to these reactions builds a totally believable plot together of love, loss, and terrible happiness.

I felt as if I were watching Before Sunrise (which if you haven't seen, it is a freaking amazing movie, and you should go buy it and watch it before even finishing this post!), which is about two people falling in love in one day as they walk around and talk, despite knowing that they could maybe let it work out for a few months, but would eventually smother each other. That's how Alaska and Pudge's relationship was: they'd flirt, and you cheered them on, because you wanted her to liberate him from his small spirit, and him to calm down her insanely wild one, but you just knew they wouldn't work out if they got together, and so the story goes on, with all of this emotional conflict.

And, although he grew as he went along, Pudge was so mean to himself, telling himself he could never be worth a great girl like her, that he wasn't hot enough or anything, and I wanted to be like...

*Sigh*. So freaking good.

My favorite part of it all was just how accurately teens were portrayed in this. They were good people, who occasionally did naughty things, and who, when speaking amongst each other, cussed freely. It was filthy, but it was redemptive at the same time, which I really liked, because I hate when people in books do something crazy and ridiculous and reckless, but they're just like, "Whatever. Haha. Lolzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz." And I'm all, "No. That's stupid, you stupid person."

It's actually funny, because I read all of the "naughty" scenes while in the worst situations. For instance, they would say the most 'F' words while I sat reading two feet from my mom, or I'd be reading a scene where they drink and smoke, and my brother would be playing Christian music in the other room, or (and this is my favorite one) I read "The Scene"-yes, that one-while sitting in church. It was before church had started, mind you.

But seriously, I had all of these moments where I was like...




To sum it all up, I only have one last thing to say: Mr. John Green...

See ya,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

MARKED (HOUSE OF NIGHT SERIES #1) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

September 9th, 2009 - St. Martin's Press
Synopsis: Enter the dark, magical world of the House of Night, a world very much like our own, except here vampyres have always existed.

One minute, sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird is a normal teenager dealing with everyday high school stress: her cute boyfriend Heath, the school’s star quarterback who suddenly seems more interested in partying than playing ball; her nosy frenemy Kayla, who’s way too concerned with how things are going with Heath; her uber-tough geometry test tomorrow. The next, she’s Marked as a fledgling vampyre, forcing her to leave her ordinary life behind and join the House of Night, a boarding school where she will train to become an adult vampyre. That is, if she makes it through the Change—and not all of those who are Marked do. It sucks to begin a new life, especially away from her friends, and on top of that, Zoey is no average fledgling. She has been chosen as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. Zoey discovers she has amazing powers, but along with her powers come bloodlust and an unfortunate ability to Imprint with Heath, who just doesn’t know how to take “no” for an answer. To add to her stress, she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers: when she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite group, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny—with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

One thing I liked about this book was that vampires have always existed in Zoey's world. This was really cool, because it's exactly like ours', except for the whole vampire thing (or "vampyre thing". Whatever.)

Anyway, that sad, that was really the only thing I liked about this book. I mean, it was interesting at times, but I just couldn't get over how annoying Zoey is!!!!!!!!!!!!!


First of all, she's so mean to so many people in the book. She throws slanderous remarks towards religious people, celebrities, goths, emos, and many others. I was also annoyed by how ultra-teenager-y she was. She would go off on tirades about peoples' looks, as well as react numbly to things that most people would go, "HOLYCRAPWHATJUSTHAPPENED!?!?!?!" She was just... ugh.

She would also be faced with an action that was very easy to figure out what it meant, and she would just say, "Huh. Whatever. I'm going to go fix my hair, and ignore this amazingly simple occurrence that means huge things to the plot of my life." Things would happen at the vampire school, the House of Night-things that were magical and unique and that never happened to anyone else-and she blew them off as ordinary everyday things.

After closing the book and stopping to think about her actions, I realized that many people would react the way she did if in her shoes. But at the same time, isn't that just bad writing? I mean, isn't the author (or in this case, author*s) supposed to combine realistic reactions, with reactions that advance the story? The characters in stories should make only make realistic choices when they advance the story, and make unrealistic ones when they advance the story. I believe this is how it should go because the reader won't care whether the moves are realistic or unrealistic because the story is moving along at such a good pace.

While there were many cool and interesting scenes, side-characters, and sub-stories, none of them were integral into the main plot arc, which made a story that could have been summed up in 100 pages, stretch past the end of this 300 page book. This book does not get my stamp of approval.

See ya on Friday,
Aaron :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Figment + Pinterest + Movie News


The wonderful writing website,, where you can post your writing for feedback (I adore this site and have been using it since it was a beta. *sigh* Baby Figment...) is taking over HarperCollins' InkPop writing community! InkPop is another site where you could post your writing for feedback, but with it came the possibility that your work could be grabbed by HarperCollins editors! Eeeeeeeps!

The cover for the fourth book in the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series has been revealed:

And although I didn't like BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, I love the covers for this series, and the titles as well. :)

Another cover reveal. The final book in Ally Condie's MATCHED trilogy has a title and cover now! It's called "REACHED", and here's the cover:


Yet ANOTHER cover reveal, this time for the second book in Kim Derting's THE PLEDGE series. She's also the author of the popular THE BODY FINDER series. Here it be:
Out of the three covers, this is my favorite. Also, love the title: THE ESSENCE. I would have put it in caps even if I didn't already do that. :D

See ya Wednesday!
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