Good, Not Great: Ashley’s Attempt at an Explanation

THIS IS NOT MEANT TO BE MEAN IN ANY WAY. I AM JUST EXPRESSING SOMETHING THAT I AM EXPERIENCING IN MY READING LIFE AS OF LATE. NO OFFENSE IS MEANT AND IF IT SEEMS LIKE I AM BEING OFFENSIVE, IT WAS NOT MEANT TO BE AS SUCH.


It has been said that talking something out can help you clarify. I’m going to give it a try.

Well typing, but I digress.

I would love to give you a happy book review or some post that I thought would be great, but I am just really not feeling up to doing that at the moment. I am in, as JessetheReader would say, a reading “funk” and I would like to try and explain to you, and try to figure out myself, as to why that is because it is very strange to me.

Indulge me in this little ramble.

Two years ago, 2014,  when I catapulted back into the reading world-and I mean catapulted- I read everything and anything I could get my hands on. I never once thought of not finishing a book because it just wasn’t doing it for me and I read every book straight through to the end. In about six months, I read around 200 books. Not kidding.

Flashforward to 2015. I set the Goodreads goal to 100 books, as you do. I completed that challenge in about six to seven months. After doing so, I started to realize that my reading tastes had started to change and that some of the books that I had rated five stars in 2014 were not five star books at all. They were simply books that made me like them even the tinest bit and I changed a lot of ratings and started judging books closer than I had, leading to the occasional DNF.

But 2015 was full of wonderful releases, at least for me, and this…let me call it a complex, didn’t exist or even come to my attention in my brain. But as 2016 has gone on, I have grown more and more aware of what I am calling the “Good, Not Great” complex.

Now, I don’t know if its me and my reading tastes, or if the 2016 releases that I’m choosing   to read are just not that wonderful in content, but I’m finding that I’m having to put a lot of thought into the reasons why a book would go on my favorites shelf for the year, ripping into different parts instead of just having it on because I loved it and connected to it.

Let me put an example to this. There have been the great books of the year for me, A Court of Mist and Fury and Lady Midnight to name two, which I loved and connected with fully and absolutely.But those great books, especially this year, have been tremondously outnumbered to the books that are just good. Five star compared to Three or Four star if  you will. I have found myself, more often than not, picking apart a book to rate it because it just didn’t do enough for me to love it like I did ACOMAF. And I’m still putting it on m favorites list because there may be beautiful writing but the story as a whole didn’t have that extra something that it needed to be great for me.

While this is most probably at fault to myself and my reading tastes  and behaviors and not the books themeselves, for the most part, I thought this would be interesting to address since it keeps happening more and more for me and more books are becoming DNFs than I would like. I am also wondering if any one else is feeling the same way about the releases this year,or am I just the lone weird one…

Thanks for listening to my “reading funk” dilemma and I hope it made sense and you could relate.

Thank again and happy reading!

Ashley (:

 

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History Is All You Left Me Review!

history

Thank you to SoHo Teen and Edelweiss for providing me with an early digital copy of this book and thanks to Barnes and Noble B-Fest for an early physical copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 

History Is All You Left Me comes out on January 17th, 2017!

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW!

Adam Silvera’s debut, More Happy Than Not, was one of the most unique books I read last year, shedding light on harsh emotions and making you feel everything as the characters do. That story of struggling to accept yourself stuck with me so much that when I was able to get my hands on History Is All You Left Me in a digital e-ARC, I jumped on it and hit that request button faster than I could blink. The next day, I was happily surprised to see Adam’s new book in physical form at Barnes & Noble’s B-Fest, where I was able to pick up a physical copy. I read from the physical copy, but that doesn’t really matter. I thought the story in Adam’s sophomore novel read a bit smoother than Happy and his storytelling technique has just gone up a notch or maybe twenty.

In describing Happy to people who have not yet read it, I often find myself saying that its beautiful and heart wrenching but it was also a bit on the weird side as the story sometimes felt a bit rushed and twisty at times. That was not the case in History, not at all. This novel takes a real look of how someone who is dealing with horrible grief can either make themselves better from it or destroy themselves and crack from it. Griffin shows both of these sides in spades. He shows how grief can turn a person to hatred and spite and he also shows how accepting help and love from others can make you better. I thought that Adam showed both sides of how grief effects beautifully. I also loved the characters in this novel and I found myself feeling for them and loving watching  their relationships developed over the course of time. The format in this book was also interesting and made the reader feel the emotions along with Griffin.

My only complaint about this book was something I think the reader was supposed to feel, a small contempt for Griffin in his decision making throughout the book. Through the middle, it made me start to dislike his character until he came back around.

five-stars

Happy reading!

-Ashley (:

Me Before You Movie Review!

COULD BE SPOILERY, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is one of my favorite books of all time. I read it about two years ago (book hipster status) because the cover- you know, the red one- was absolutely stunning and caught my eye. I loved the story of Louisa and Will and read After You right away when it came out last year (I have review for that book if you want to check that out!). So naturally, I was so excited to hear that one of my favorite books was becoming a movie, but also very nervous. Even though Jojo Moyes herself wrote the screenplay, I was still worried that something would go wrong or be too much.

I am so happy to say that my fears were for nothing. This was such a great movie and it was done so well! The relationship between Louisa and Will felt the same as in the book, it was angry and sad and lovely all at the same time and I loved seeing that portrayed accurately on screen. I also loved, and I know this is weird, hating Patrick just as much on screen as I did in the book. Even if he was played by Matthew Lewis. I loved the relationships between the characters and how real the family, friendship and romantic aspects felt. I also was in love with Louisa’s clothes. And the scene where Will gave her the bumblebee tights, all the feelings. Just all of them.

Two things that Jojo Moyes is able to do astoundingly well in her books – not just this one in particular- is not sheltering the reader with a fake happy ending because the story has to have one and showing tremendous growth. And even though this was a screenplay instead, those two things were still apparent. I thought that Will’s ending was portrayed beautifully and truthfully while also making the audience think about his side for little bit. I also truly loved the growth that he and Louisa brought out in each other – one of my favorite parts of the book- was portrayed so, so well on screen.

I loved this movie and the actors who played these fantastic characters. And if any other Jojo Moyes books are going to be adapted for film, please let her write the screenplay!

Rating: 10/10 (I loved it!)

 

 

The Star-Touched Queen Review!

star touched queen

Two truths and a lie.

Roshani Chokshi started this books off extremely well and kept me interested all the way through the first half? True.

Roshani Chokshi writes with a beautiful, poetic style? True.

Roshani Chokshi, in her first novel, has fully explained this complicated world and had great pacing? False.

While this was written so, so beautifully, I was also very confused for the majority of the second half. There were so many explanations of these mythological ideas and they felt like info dumps instead of weaving with the plot and action parts of the story and for me, sometimes they just didn’t make sense. It pains me to say that I skimmed some parts of the second half because I was so confused because the first half was so kick-ass and the writing is absolutely beautiful.

I likes Maya as a character but I wish we could have seen more of her taking charge instead of being hung up on Amar and being just as confused as I was in some parts. I also was not a huge fan of the romance between Maya and Amar, I thought that there was not enough build up to them being all over each other all of a sudden. Also, I wish we could have seen more from other characters like Gauri and Gupta, even though it is in Maya’s perspective.

Hopefully these problems will become things of the past when I read the second book next year. I hope it is about Gauri, I would love to see that. Also a bit of a clearer explanation of the plot and customs would be nice.

Roshani Chokshi is also one of the nicest people I have ever met (I went to a signing for her and got my copy signed) and I SO wanted to love this, especially since I just finished and loved And I Darken by Kiersten White and it is very much in the same vein with the mythology and historical elements. This book just did not wow me, but I am sincerely hoping Roshani’s sophomore novel does!

three stars

Happy reading!

-Ashley (:

And I Darken Review!

and i darken

Thank you to Delacorte Press for providing me with an early copy of this beautiful book! All opinions are my own.

I’M GOING TO TRY TO KEEP THIS AS NON-SPOILERY AS I CAN. FAIR WARNING.

I absolutely loved Kiersten White’s Illusions of Fate, Mind Games and Perfect Lies so naturally, I was eager to get my hands on this book. In contrast to her or works that I have read, this book is considerably longer and my mind said that this is either going to be a great thing or a really bad thing in terms of the storytelling. I am glad to say that this was a wonderful thing! This book was so crazy good.  It had some really interesting aspects that I have never read before in a fantasy novel and I highly recommend this book to everyone. Like with Amy Tintera’s new book, Kiersten White takes her writing to a whole other level with this high fantasy venture that was simply not present in her sci-fi works.

One thing that I found really interesting was the questions raised about what freedom truly is. Lads, our lead character,is so convinced that she knows what she wants out of her life and is determined to stay on her path no matter what. However, she meets some other women in her travels that make her see that sometimes freedom comes at a cost to those who you wish to protect or fight for. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Lada Mehmed and how she grew into someone who could be ferocious but also have connections that go deeper than those of gain. I also enjoyed out main cast of characters and how they grew with each other as they learned more about themselves. I especially liked, as I said before, Lada being able to open up and trust others, shown with some of her soldiers as well in the last third of the book.

I also really enjoyed how short the chapters were. They kept the story moving at a wonderful pace and kept me intrigued and interested to get to the next Lada or Radu chapter. I also thought it was interesting how fast time moved in this novel. In the turn of one page, it was nearly a decade later sometimes. The political intrigue and the unflinching nature in which some of the customs of ancient kingdoms were described also intrigued me and kept me thinking about this book every time I put it down.

All in all, I really enjoyed this and I will definitley be picking up the rest of the series because that cliffhanger man, that cliffhanger.

four-stars_0

You should definitely pick this up on June 28th, 2016!

Thank you again to Delacorte Press for sending me an early copy!

Happy Reading!

-Ashley (:

A Court of Mist and Fury Mini Review!

acomaf

Short mini review for this beauty! Trying to condense all my thoughts into something not too long (: Excited for book 3!

4.5 stars (:

I had some problems with this book, especially in the middle, but near the last third, it was so amazingly fantastic. The writing as always is fantastic and the new characters are amazing (:

The Problems:

#1- It simply was too long. Some scenes felt like they were describing and showing for no reason and I wanted more of the plot and the romance or some characters interactions.

#2- Tamlin. I know people who aren’t reading this book because of his character change. I agree that it wasn’t really warranted to have him change so drastically, but we do have some backstory that we didn’t know in ACOTAR that attribute to why.

#3- I think being in first person POV does this book a disservice. ToG has a third person narrator that is able to go around to all the characters while here it is only Feyre and what she sees. This is starting to change in the very end but it caused a lot of confusion for me at some points in the middle.

#4- Rhys kind of felt a little watered down. Sometimes he was the villain I really liked in ACOTAR and sometimes he felt too vulnerable than I would think would go with his character. Still liked him though (:

 

Unpopular Opinions!

I’ve been watching a lot of “Unpopular Opinions” videos on Youtube and thought it would be fun and interesting to do one of my own. I don’t mean to bash anyone’s favorites, just my own personal opinion! Enjoy (:

This tag was originally created by TheBookArcher on YouTube.

1. A Popular Book or series that you didn’t like.

For me, this has to be Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. I just found the plots to be really slow and kind of ridiculous at times and the characters to be really annoying. I loved the side characters but the main ones just made these books drag and difficult at times.
2. A Popular Book or series that every one else seems to hate but you love.

There are many that love this series, but there are many that absolutely hate them and for me, I absolutely love The Mortal Instruments series (really all the Shadowhunter books) by Cassandra Clare. Granted, City of Bones was not the best book in the world, but the TMI series as a whole is wonderful. City of Glass and City of Heavenly Fire are so amazing that even if you don’t care for the other books, no matter how good others might say they are, its worth reading them all. Also Alec Lightwood is there. And Isabelle Lightwood. And Magnus Bane. And Sebastian Morgenstern. Okay I’ll stop. Just go read all the Shadowhunter books! Don’t judge them by City of Bones!
3. A Love Triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with (warn ppl for spoilers) OR an OTP that you don’t like.

***SPOILERS FOR THE GRISHA TRILOGY BY LEIGH BARDUGO***

I don’t like Mal. Never did, never will. I loved Nikolai so much and I wish that Alina would have ended up with him instead. Or by herself, anyone but Mal.

4. A popular book Genre that you hardly reach for.

Historical Fiction. I loved Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman but I have no been able to get into any historical fiction books as of late.
5. A popular or beloved character that you do not like.

I’m going to do what Emma from “emmmabooks” on YouTube did for this and say a hated character that you love. I love Eadlyn in The Heir by Kiera Cass. A lot of people thought she was a bitch but for me, she was a boss ass bitch. She made her decisions in a timely manner and did what needed to be done and I loved how she took charge. Love her.
6. A popular author that you can’t seem to get into.

Jennifer E. Smith. I’ve read three whole books by her and thought that one was just okay and that the other two were so stupid and unrealistic. She’s just not for me.
7. A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing. (examples “lost princess”, corrupt ruler, love triangles, etc.)

Love triangles. They’re annoying and don’t happen in real life. Just stop.Also the “lost princess” trope is becoming too common.
8. A popular series that you have no interest in reading. 

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth. I got spoiled for Allegiant when it came out but I’ve also heard that the books aren’t that great after the first one so…
9. The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie”, but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?

I didn’t read it, but from what I heard, The Maze Runner was a much better movie. And if what I have heard about the book from people with similar tastes is true, I would have to agree.

Happy Reading!

-Ashley (: