Trial of Tears by Chris Semal

This isn’t the type of book I’m usually drawn to, but I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read it. The writing is excellent and I never felt like there was a dull moment. Something I especially enjoyed was the banter Semal wrote. I love when a book’s dialogue comes across as completely believable and not forced at all. It’s wonderful to read and I found myself laughing along as I read.

The story is written from a few different perspectives and they appear to not have much in common at the beginning, but slowly throughout the novel the character’s lives begin to weave together until the very end. I loved spending time thinking about how these characters were related and tried to figure it all out, but in the end, I wasn’t that close on most of my theories.

I really wish there was more on Alice. I found her character fascinating and would really like to know more of her back story. In order to have such a unique person, she had to have been through some really interesting stuff. I also wish there had been a bit more concerning the music industry instead of some of the more graphic mob scenes.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and found it incredibly hard to put down. It’s not a book for everyone, but for those people that enjoy something in the style of Tarintino, it’s a perfect read.

I was given the opportunity to read this through JKS Communications. Please click below for more info on this book.

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Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

This book. What can I say about this book?

The writing itself was not horrible. McGuire can write well when it comes to the basics of putting words together to form a sentence. However, that doesn’t do much when every other component of the story fails.

Abby, while trying to be a strong female character, isn’t. She goes back to the same guy over and over even after he has displayed horrible, despicable behavior. And America, her supposed best friend, mostly just stands by and lets this happen. She even encourages it at times. In my eyes, that’s not a friend. A friend would have told her to run as far away as she could, as fast as she could.

And Travis. I don’t understand why this extreme, nearly psychotic behavior is viewed as sexy and desirable. He was a control freak with anger issues that clearly got the better of him constantly. It’s not healthy and it was definitely not sexy.

As for the story, it was filled with so much cheese, I could barely stand it. A book can only have so many twists and turns before it just stares to become dull and almost predictable in how unpredictable McGuire tried to make it. It seems like she threw anything she could think of at these characters just to give them problems. It wasn’t enjoyable and I rolled my eyes more times than I can remember while reading.

I will not be telling any of my friends to read this book. I’ll be telling people to avoid it whenever I’m asked for my opinion.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I wanted to love this book, I really did. Using flowers to convey feelings is something I knew a little bit about, but not as much as I’d like. I was hoping this book would provide a bit more of an insight into that language, but was left a little bit disappointed by the end.

Victoria as a character was a bit difficult to connect with and I spent the first part of the book really annoyed with her as a person and I really couldn’t find it in me to feel even a little bit of sympathy for her. The next part made me feel some sympathy, but I was still annoyed with her. The third part of the book left me resenting her a little bit, even though it was the most sympathy I had for her during the entire book. The final part of the book left me with hope for her and her life as she finally started to see a tiny glimmer of what everyone else saw within her during the rest of the novel.

Usually, I have to feel a strong connection with a character to enjoy a book. However, with this book, I think the disconnect between Victoria and myself was what made me keep reading. I wasn’t feeling what she was and I kept thinking to myself, “I would never do that,” but I needed to see if she could find it in herself to turn her life around against the odds and make something of herself.

The reason I wasn’t completely in love with the book is some of Victoria’s actions just felt too extreme and I couldn’t see any way to make them justified make her completely redeemable. Maybe that was the point of the book, but even with the ending, I just couldn’t feel towards Victoria what I needed to feel.

This was an interesting book, and I’m glad I read it, but there was just something missing that I wish was there.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Usually, I find myself let down by the second book in trilogies. I feel like they’re just to be the set up for the final novel and not really provide much in the way of plot development. Hallowed managed to avoid this trap and was another fantastically written novel that made me fall in love all over.

The characters grew as people throughout the entire novel and we learned so much more about Clare, Jeffery, Clare’s mother and Christian. I wish there had been more Tucker Avery because I still swoon hard whenever I think about him in Unearthly. However, I understood that Unearthly was Clare and Tucker’s book and Hallowed was more about Clare and Christian. I can’t wait to see what the third book will be.

Now, about the love triangle. I’m not usually a fan of this plot device. Typically it’s thrown in there to provide a conflict for the main character. And in Hallowed, this is still true. But it goes so much deeper than that. It not only represents a choice between two people, it represents the choice between following the fate laid out before her and making her own destiny. She will have to decide between the angel and human sides of her and that’s what this love triangle is about. Not which hot guy she will pick, but what she chooses for her own person. And I love that Hand did this.

Aside from the characters and plot, the writing itself is gorgeous. You can connect with Clara and it brings a special touch to the novel that I’m starting to crave. That connection between me and the characters is something I absolutely love when I read. Feeling all those emotions makes reading more than just reading a book, but turns it into an adventure and an experience. Hand is amazing at putting words together that just pull me in and drag me along, but in the best way possible.

I can’t believe I will have to wait a year to find out how this amazing series will end. I’ll be anxiously waiting to see how Hand will conclude this wonderful series.

How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo

It is hard for me to put words together to decide how much I loved this book. It drove me absolutely insane and in turn, I think I drove my friends a little crazy as well. I wished so many times I had this book as a physical copy instead of on my Kindle because I wanted to throw it across the room, cover my ears and just block the rest of the world out because I was feeling too much.

I had a feeling when I started this book that it was going to be different. In fact, I even told my friends that I was afraid to love this book too much because writing this beautiful can’t be happy all the time. I thought this book was going to rip my heart out and stomp on it. And it did. And yet I finished this book happier than I thought possible.

I think the thing that made this book so emotional for me was the characters. They are real people. They have their flaws and their love isn’t perfect rainbows and butterflies and the writing felt so raw that I felt every single thing in this book. I soared when Eliza did and I felt my heart being slowly crushed as well.

And the writing. Oh my god, the writing. If I am ever able to put words together a tenth as well as DeBartolo did in this book, I will thank my lucky stars. There were so many lines in this book that spoke true and real. It was powerful and I think the writing itself was a character within the book.

I don’t think I will ever stop singing DeBartolo’s praises and I will tell every single person I know to read this book. It’s a romance, but it’s real, and yet I could escape through it. This was an amazing book and I’m so glad it found its way to me to read.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This book was not what I expected. So many reliable people told me this book was amazing and that I would love it and I wouldn’t be able to put it down. It was decent, not amazing. I don’t love it; in fact, I barely like it. And it was very easy for me to put down.

I’ll start with what I did like. When there was plot progression, it was fantastic. The last 70 or so pages of the novel were the ones I couldn’t stop reading. Roth wrote the action very well and in a way that made it easy to picture without being oversimplified. However, the majority of the book is initiation training and trials, which slowed the novel down incredibly, in my opinion.

I didn’t feel connected with Tris and more to the point, half the novel, I kind of wanted to slap her. There’s written a strong female character, and then there’s taking it overboard. Tris takes it overboard quite a bit. In her attempt to distance Tris from the Abnegation, she goes so far as to seemingly lose a moral center. Being brave and facing your fears (aka Dauntless) doesn’t mean losing your ability to feel for other people. I have a major problem with Tris throughout the novel when it comes to this.

The relationship between Tris and Four feels…uncomfortable. I don’t buy it. There’s never a real connection and it’s hard for me to feel like there’s a real chance at a relationship there when they haven’t really spent much time together that wasn’t being used to train for the trials.

Unfortunately, because I’m curious and have a hard time telling myself no (even when I know better), I will probably be reading the next book just to see what happens. I’m really hoping it will surprise me and be better than the first.

Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

I adore Ellen and I never miss an episode of her talk show. I love her talk on life and how she never really takes herself seriously. This book read like a collection of monologues from her show’s openings and while I was expecting a little bit more about her life in the past 8 years, I wasn’t disappointed.

She offers little pieces of advice she has learned along the way. It’s the little things that make her who she is and what everyone could benefit from, like just being happy with you. It’s a light read that made me feel good and happy and lighthearted all at the same time. I kept turning page after page because it was so sweet.

The one thing that brought the rating down was I felt this was a book written to be an audio-book and some of the chapters didn’t come across well when simply reading them. Unfortunately, I’m not a person that can make it through an audio-book. I need to read it myself. That’s where this book fell a little flat for me.

Overall, if you love Ellen’s brand of humor and are looking for a light read (or listen), this is a good book to pick up. It will make you smile the entire way through and while it doesn’t delve into Ellen’s personal life much, it still is a wonderful read.