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Month: April 2018

REVIEW: (S)mothered

REVIEW: (S)mothered

Smothered

by Autumn Chiklis

3.75/5 stars

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36104544-smothered

“Why’s my body tingling? Is that normal? It’s like I’m carbonated. Can humans be carbonated?? Whoa”

Eloise (Lou) Hansen has graduated college summa cum laude and is ready to begin her awesome life. The only problem is that, of course, she doesn’t know where to start. Moving back in with her parents seems the only option, and that means dealing with her mother, who is thrilled to have her daughter back home to go shopping with her and watch the Bachelor with her and her ‘Red Hots’ crew every week. As the days and months continue farther from her graduation Lou still hasn’t found a job and STILL hasn’t told her parents about her secret boyfriend. Told with wit and hilarity, Smothered is an excellent portrayal of life postgrad and the struggle of launching ones self into the world.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick and fun read, told through diary-entry style segments and footnotes to add further thought. Smothered brings up the excellent point of current day post graduate life, the “what now?” moment that graduation brings along. Lou’s list of post-grad goals was a great representation of the things that one might want to get out of life, everything from “lose 5-7 pounds” to “have kids: one boy, one girl”. Lou was an excellent character to follow and a very realistic point of view on a new grad trying to find their place, especially when moving in with your parents seems like back-tracking.

Mama Shell was a whirlwind of a character and so fun to read about. She may not be someone I would ever want to meet in person but she was certainly a complex character. Her love for her daughter was evident, if a little misplaced, and her attitude was frivolous toward most situations. I found her character to be frustrating, but not in the way it was written, but due to her personality, which was excellent as it reflected the frustration of the main character, Lou.

Overall the novel was a fun and entertaining read that posed some great reflection on post-grad life; the anxiety of finding a job you want to be in forever, the thought of never leaving the nest, and bettering yourself in the little things along the way. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who may be dealing with post-grad life or anyone who wants a giggle.

 

REVIEW: Save the Date

REVIEW: Save the Date

Save the Date 

by Morgan Matson

3/5 stars

“‘Nothing else,” I promised, “is going to go wrong.” Just as I said this, there was a faint pop and then the room was thrown into darkness.”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32333338-save-the-date

Charlie is very excited that finally all her family members will be together again as they congregate for her older sister, Linnie’s, wedding. Her family, famous from her mother’s successful 25 year running comic strip, is set to celebrate the wedding on Saturday and interview with Good Morning America on Sunday. The picture perfect family that is portrayed in the comic, and the one cemented into Charlie’s head is put through the ringer when several horrific wedding disasters happen, forcing Charlie, along with the wedding planning assistant Bill, to fix everything at the last minute. Trying to fix everything into being perfect causes Charlie to face how imperfect her family may be after all.

Morgan Matson’s contemporaries are always filled with feel-good themes and young romances, perfect for a summer beach read. Save the Date was no different in that it had the same feeling of summer antics, yet for me, fell flat in many of the ways her other books did not. Due to the setting and circumstances of the book (a wedding), there was a parade of characters all thrown in at once, adding anxiety to the reading experience as I tried to catch up with the unique personalities of each character. Something I think she did quite well with this, however, was the dynamic feeling of many of the characters. They did not feel like plot devices for the main character but characters that all had their own set of talents and struggles. The immense amount of personalities that were introduced felt like much of the first half of the book and suffered on the plot.

The main character, Charlie, did not feel like a strong character but more of a reflection of the people and events happening around her. I thought that she had some important qualities that I enjoyed Matson commenting on at the end, learning some lessons that many young individuals go through, like dealing with change and becoming and independent person from your family. Charlie seemed very ‘young’ to me, despite the fact that she was 18 based on her outbursts and reactions. I would have enjoyed seeing more of her after she had learned some of these important lessons.

Overall, I thought that Matson wrote a fun and quick contemporary that touched on some important themes but I found that the execution of the novel was done poorly. It seemed like a panic, which possibly reflected the feelings of the characters but felt rushed as a reader. Despite the problems I had with the pacing and the characters, I thought the plot was well done, if a little short and overshadowed by the character introductions. I enjoyed the wedding setting and, as usual, I enjoyed the tone of Matson’s writing.

 

 

REVIEW: The Cruel Prince

REVIEW: The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince 

by Holly Black

4/5 stars

“I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26032825-the-cruel-prince

Jude has been stolen away alongside her twin sister Taryn and older sister Vivienne. As young kids, Vivienne’s biological father kills their parents and spirits them away to the faeries realm under the hill. Treated as gentry, they want for nothing, except that as full humans, they are treated as lowly by peers. Jude decided that one day she’s had enough and fights back against Prince Cardan and his cruel sneers. In an attempt for a power of her own, she is ensnared in a plot for the crown and has to bargain and lie, making choices that will change the path of everyones lives.

I knew I was going to love this book on the basis that A. Faeries B. Holly Black… that’s it, that’s all it took for me to be completely head over heals for this book! The imagery of Holly Black’s faeries are so beautifully crafted, they are human-like but always so creatively different and magical, this book was no exception.

SPOILERS:

The sisters: Jude, Taryn, and Vivi all had very different personalities but all had their flaws and irks. Jude, the main character, is bloodthirsty for a world that she matters, I think her reaction to the world and her circumstances was reasonable, even if some of her decisions and actions I didn’t agree with. I thought her progression into being a killer was a little abrupt and unfeeling, but overall I found Jude was someone I wanted to root for (for now). Taryn drove me crazy, I would have thrown down in a battle with her too! I found her to be a pathetic character, not pathetically written, just pathetic. Her secrecy and wishy-washy feelings was a little confusing, and I hope there is more explanation in the next book to why she is the way she is. Vivi we didn’t get much information from but she filled out the role of big sister very well and I think her character was the most likeable of the three, even being the rebel she was.

The dipwad: Locke, you dipwad.

The princes: We all love bad boys? right? I found that Cardan toed the line between being overly cruel and understandably so given his circumstances. He also flopped to a completely different character when held captive, much more swoon-worthy and less morally repugnant. I am interested to see more of this side of him in the next book, because at the moment he still sounds like a spoiled brat with no depth. Dain… what a puzzle, I was sure he was going to turn out to be evil and he was? I think? He definitely did some bad things, but he wouldn’t have been that terrible of a ruler. Balekin just seems like an altogether awful guy, not only does he keep humans in a horrifying way and beat his brother, he just seems like a bad ruler and horrible choice for the throne. I hope he dies.

The story: The story was a nice flow of action and world-building. I thought some of the transitions were a bit fast and could have been drawn out more, but maybe thats me just wanting more book… I am excited to see what happens next, as much of this books felt like a prequel to the real story. I feel as if The Cruel Prince brushed the surface of everything: characters, plot, story, and I’m hoping theres more in the next instalment.

Overall I enjoyed the book and the story it told immensely and I am ready for the next one, which is out… no time soon.