A Not So Happy Ending: DNF Report of Bookishly Ever After

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Bookishly Ever After

Ever After #1

Isabel Bandeira

Publication: 1/12/2016

Source: Netgalley e-ARC

*No Rating*

Goodreads

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?


**I started reading this book and then I got sick which messed everything up.  I seem to have lost my notes, so this isn’t exactly a real review.  Well, it’s not a real review anyway since I DNFed it**

I am simply too old to enjoy this book. I stopped reading at 47%.

First of all, nothing is happening plot wise.  She goes to school, work and band practice, she reads and talks with her friends. Nothing else has happened. And the romance? I like a slow burn romance, but this is taking it way too far.   Too much of them just flirting and then Phoebe freaking out and then more flirting and freaking, on and on.  And I’m not even half way through! What the hell else could happen in the next 50% to make up for the fact that I wasted so much of my time watching them flirt and Phoebe freak out over it.  Apparently they go to a camp at some point?  That isn’t even really explained because it’s winter?

I really liked Dev. He seemed extremely sweet and nerdy in the most adorable way.

I wish I had liked Phoebe.  She comes off as incredibly juvenile and naive.  I hate when I have to remind myself that a character is 16 and not 12.   And she was kind of really annoying. She is constantly jumping to conclusions and that IS SO ANNOYING.  I just wanted to shake her. In fact, when she saw Dev talking to another girl and INSTANTLY wanted to cry because of COURSE he couldn’t like Phoebe! He’s totally into this other girl! And then she runs off and cries, I was done.  Yeah, I get that sometimes when you’re 16 you may think these things.  But it is up to the ADULT writer to tell the teenager reading that THIS IS STUPID. DO NOT DO THIS. Like come on. Let us share some of the wisdom we have gained in the decade (well for me anyway) it’s been since we were 16.  God, I’ve learned so much.  Anyway.

I did like that she had some out there hobbies and interests, like archery and knitting. Those aren’t things you see is YA very often.  But I just couldn’t connect with her at all because, honestly, it felt as if she was 12 years old.

And don’t even get me started on Em. What an obnoxious, horrible friend. Ugh I could not stand her one little bit.

I’m sure this ends adorably, but I’m already behind on my reading schedule, so I’m giving up.  I’m just not that interested.  From what I’ve read, I would still totally recommend it, but probably to the younger set of YA readers.

Also…where could this series possibly be going?? Are there going to be 2 other books focused on Phoebe? Or are they going to follow around 2 other equally naive girls?

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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This is Where it Ends

Marieke Nijkamp

Publication: 1/5/16

Source: Netgalley, e-ARC

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Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

*I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.*


 

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.


 

I don’t like to read books about serious subjects. When I read I want to be taken to a place where I don’t have to face problems and issues that we already see too much of everyday. That is why I don’t like books about disease/death, rape/abuse or even really mental illness or suicide. I get that these books are important and totally support them being written and other people reading them, I would rather just read a book where all of the worlds problems are disguised in terms of magic and whatnot.

So, for the life of me I don’t know why I requested This is Where it Ends, a book where the plot is told over 54 in the midst of a school shooting. I had no plans on actually reading it. And then I decided to make a blog and to dedicate myself to reading all of the ARCs I was lucky enough to be granted (future ARCs, that is. The ones from last year will probably continue to sit on my kindle).

So I went into this book knowing it wasn’t a subject I wanted to read about. I’d like to add that when I do decide to venture into the realistic, difficult topic type books, I expect to be destroyed. I want to be sobbing in a ball by the end of the book. Or I want to be so angry that I could rage for hours. Or my head to hurt from all the thinking the book forced me to do.

And all I feel right now is indifference. Ok, my eyes got a bit blurry at the end, but the rest of the time I was reading? I felt nothing. Actually, I was bored. Every time I “turned” the page, I had to tell myself not to DNF it. That a book with such a delicate topic deserved to be read. That these voices deserved to be heard.

But I kind of wish I DNFed it around 50% when I first wanted to.

I didn’t exactly expect it, but the synopsis told me this would be the ultimate game of survival. And while it was, because it was told from the POV of 4 different victims, it was still boring. It was basically a bunch of flashbacks so that readers can understand what made these four narrators special and their relationship to, Tyler, the shooter.

Autumn: Tyler’s sister. An aspiring ballerina with an abusive father.

Sylvia: Autumn’s girlfriend. POC. Mother is very ill. Tyler has it out for her for “stealing” and “corrupting” his sister

Tomas: Sylvia’s twin brother. Has gotten into fights with Tyler and knows Tyler did something that made his sister terrified of him. Is a lovable troublemaker.

Claire: Tyler’s ex girlfriend. ROTC member, does her duty. Has a brother with Lupus.

See these characters are so wonderful. And so, so boring.

Obviously a book with such an important topic doesn’t have to be non-stop action for it to be worthwhile, but I just couldn’t get over how bored I was.  I could barely tell the characters apart and there wasn’t a single one that I actually connected with.  Maybe I can’t connect with them because I have, thankfully, never experience anything as harrowing as this, but I should feel something for them.  And I didn’t. If I didn’t have their names right up there I probably wouldn’t even remember them.

There was quite a bit of romance that I was not expecting for a book about a school shooting.  Half the time the characters were going on and on about their love lives. And yeah, I’m sure it’s impossible not to think about the people you love in times of crisis, but it just went a bit too far in this book.

I have seen a few other reviewers mention that Tyler is presented as almost entirely evil .  And I would kind of have to agree.  It wasn’t my main issue with the book, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t notice it and that it  didn’t detract from my overall feelings for the book.

Sidetrack here, but the thing I love most about the Game of Thrones series (ASOIF) is that there are such wonderfully complex, morally grey characters. Every time I read it, it reminds me that we don’t live in a world of Good vs Evil. It’s human vs human. In the wise words of some character in Harry Potter (can’t remember for the life of me): “the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters.” And this book doesn’t take either of those ideas into consideration.

So if there was ever a time to see someone like Tyler’s POV, this book would be it.  Instead we are presented with pretty much just an evil kid hellbent on revenge. Actually, just go read  Nenia Campbell’s review. I agree with everything she says and she does so  way better than I can.  Presenting the shooter in this way does nothing to help us understand how/why school shootings happen or how we can help prevent them.

Also, a lot of what bothered me about this book was that I couldn’t get a clear image in my head of what was going on. And it has nothing to do with the fact that in times of crisis things blur together. I think it had less to do with the fact that it was told from 4 different POV, and more to do with that it is told within 2-4 minute increments, with each character retelling the same events in some cases. An example is when Autumn is walking towards her brother in the auditorium, and it goes on for like 15 pages where he hasn’t noticed her and she is still walking.  I’m probably not explaining it right, it just bothered me.

So I gave this book a 2. I was strongly in the 1 camp for the majority of it, but it did make me tear up and I did end up finishing it, so I didn’t exactly hate it. I was just disappointed.

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

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This Raging Light

Estelle Laure

Publication: 12/22/15

Source: Netgalley e-ARC

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Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother.


Despite what the synopsis looks like, I don’t think the romance is the focus of this book). I am very conflicted about this book.  On one hand I really liked it and on the other I did not.

The writing kind of annoyed me.  It was choppy and a bit too, (but at the same time, not enough) purple-y. Some of it was really beautiful and at other points it was just weird.  It was strong and weak at the same time and I think that is contributes to my confusion over how to rate this.

Also, the book was only 288 pages long and a LOT happens.  Ok, well not really. But there are a lot of different plot points, which kind of takes away from the fact that this book would have been very interesting if it was just about her trying to survive on her own and care for her sister.  That would have been enough.  But you also have a romance and friendship issues.  And on top of that, within the last like, 15% of the book there is an accident which takes away from the plot and is completely and totally unnecessary.

So from here on out, it’s not really going to be much of a review as it is a rant.  Sorry.

This book made me very angry. I need to point out that I was angry for Lucille, not at her.  I don’t think she was angry enough.  When I read a book that is 1st person, single POV I always end up viewing myself as the character.  Well, if the writing is good.  That means that I usually always defend the character and get angry on her behalf when things go wrong.  So I was on Lucille’s side.  Through everything.  That means it’s hard for me to blame her in both the relationship and friendship aspect.  That doesn’t mean that I particularly liked Lucille.  I didn’t not like her, I just didn’t love her. But I understand her.

She’s got the short end of the stick and she is doing the best she can. She needs support.  I’m not saying she should wallow in self-pity forever, but I think for the length of the book it is perfectly acceptable.  It’s only, like, 2 and a ½ months and I think it is fine that she is woe-is-me.  Her life sucks at the moment.  And for the most part, she isn’t that selfish. The complaining isn’t overbearing.  She worries for her sister and making enough money.  I got really annoyed when Digby was making fun of her (in a teasing way) about how much she is complaining. She isn’t just making the drama up like I did when I was 17 and complaining about how much my life sucked.  SHE IS LITERALLY 17, ALONE, AND TAKING CARE OF A 9 YEAR OLD. I know this happens more than it should, but come on.  If I was 17 and my parents abandoned me with my 9 year old sister I probably wouldn’t have done what she did.  And I respect her for it.

Ok, if that wasn’t enough for you, I’m going to rant a little harder for a minute here, so just excuse me.

I’m disappointed because I thought this book was going to include a beautiful friendship.  And it did at the beginning. Until Eden becomes literally the worst friend in the entire world.  I’m sorry, I get that your feelings are hurt because your best friend yelled at you, but WTF.  Your best friend’s father was arrested, put on suicide watch and then disappeared.  Your best friend’s mother went on vacation and never came back.  Your best friend is trying to balance caring for her 9 year old sister, have a job so she can earn money to survive, and not let anyone find out that her parents have abandoned them.  HOW ABOUT YOU GET OVER YOURSELF EDEN.

To be fair, I’m not the least bit upset at Eden for not being able to help watch Wren. I get that.  What I’m upset about is the fact that she literally just stops talking to Lucille because one time Lucille flipped her shit, when she is obviously going through a lot, and should be allowed to flip her shit every now and then.  Way to be a shitty friend Eden.  I don’t feel bad for you at all.

Ok. Rant is over.

This is getting a little long so I’ll just touch on 2 last points: the relationship and the ending.

I don’t really mind cheating ( in books).  Sometimes it annoys me and sometimes it doesn’t.  I mean, I’m always vaguely uncomfortable because it’s a touchy issue, but for the most part, if a book has cheating in it, or if characters cheat, it doesn’t automatically make me hate it or them.  So Lucille is in love with Digby, her best friend’s twin brother. And Digby has a long term girlfriend.  And he ends up cheating on his girlfriend with Lucille.  And that’s not right.  Lucille definitely deserves some of the blame because she knew he had a girlfriend and I’m not even going to excuse, or explain, her behavior because of what she has going on.  And I’m not going to excuse or explain Digby’s actions because what he did was wrong as well.  What really makes me angry (totally lied, still ranting) is that, of course, when people find out, it’s basically all Lucille’s fault.  Digby’s the one who actually cheated, but that’s ok because he’s just so good. It’s Lucille’s fault for taking advantage of that goodness and how caring he is, and fuck that.  Just another book, (or instance, because it happens all the time) where the girl gets blamed because why not?

Ok, for the ending.  I thought it was great.  It is left somewhat open and everything isn’t perfectly resolved, but I’m fine with that.  This book would have lost a star if there had been a concrete happy ending.

Anyway, I decided to give it 3 stars because I did like it and it did evoke a lot of emotion from me, but there was just something stopping it from getting a higher rating.    This was Laure’s debut and I will definitely be checking out her sophomore novel.