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review 2017-09-20 18:18
A Short History of the Girl Next Door/Jared Reck
A Short History of the Girl Next Door - ... A Short History of the Girl Next Door - Jared Reck

This book is worth reading, so go read it, but stop reading reviews because they'll probably spoil something. Don't read the description; it'll spoil something. (Those author comparisons… come on, whoever did jacket copy!) If you like YA, go read it.

 

Okay, that being said, now I will talk about this book in ambiguous terms that jump around the major event that happens a third of the way or so through. No apologies if you're intelligent enough to guess what happens. Here's the blurb:

 

Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, this unrequited love story will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven, John Green, and Jesse Andrews. 
Seriously, how can you see a person nearly every day of your life and never think a thing of it, then all of a sudden, one day, it’s different? You see that goofy grin a thousand times and just laugh. But goofy grin #1,001 nearly stops your heart? 
Right. That sounds like a bad movie already.
Matt Wainwright is constantly sabotaged by the overdramatic movie director in his head. He can’t tell his best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her, he implodes on the JV basketball team, and the only place he feels normal is in Mr. Ellis’s English class, discussing the greatest fart scenes in literature and writing poems about pissed-off candy-cane lumberjacks.
If this were a movie, everything would work out perfectly. Tabby would discover that Matt’s madly in love with her, be overcome with emotion, and would fall into his arms. Maybe in the rain.
But that’s not how it works. Matt watches Tabby get swept away by senior basketball star and all-around great guy Liam Branson. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough, but screwing up and losing her as a friend is even worse. 
After a tragic accident, Matt finds himself left on the sidelines, on the verge of spiraling out of control and losing everything that matters to him. From debut author Jared Reck comes a fiercely funny and heart-wrenching novel about love, longing, and what happens when life as you know it changes in an instant.

 

So this ends up being a premise I've totally thought about in a different fashion--the idea of who is important to you, but how many other people even know that you're important to them? Who has the right to grieve? Who has the agency to speak after certain events? (I told you there'd be spoilers. There's no way to do this.)

 

Matt is lovely and so very real and such a great boy character! Am I the only one who feels like boy characters are often one-dimensional in YA lit? I loved the way he interacted with all of his friends and especially with Tabby, and I loved the way that he dealt with the circumstances and lashed out and was vulnerable and real.

 

While a lot more YA deals with this than proportionally is realistic, I felt like I could see this community reacting and I could see the events playing out. From Matt's parents and family to the way he plays basketball and looks up to his teammates, I felt like Reck had really delved into the personality of every character.

 

This is so much better than All the Bright Places, and I highly recommend it for those who love tragic YA romances.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-17 04:38
Disappointed
The Druid Next Door (Fae Out of Water) (... The Druid Next Door (Fae Out of Water) (Volume 2) - E.J. Russell

Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling? Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101. All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse. Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever. Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway.

Review:

Dear EJ Russell, I quite liked the first book in this series (as evidenced by my review here) which dealt with older of three Fae brothers Alun finding love with David and having some dangerous adventures in the Faery Land. As a result of such adventure, Alun’s middle brother Mal lost the use of his right hand. Faery Queen told him that the curse will disappear if they would be made whole, but the way Mal interpreted this was not too hopeful for him going back to his magical life anytime soon.

So now we see Mal living full time in the human land in the house that David, kind and grateful guy he was bought for him. Mal is also bickering with his new neighbor on a regular basis. Bruce Macleod is very conscious about the environment and Mal being a Fae even in the temporary exile sometimes does things that may seem reasonable to Mal, but annoy Bruce a great deal.

One day after another face to face altercation Bruce accidentally hurts Mal a little and this leads to David and his aunt Cassie appearing in Mal’s house to help him. Well, David appeared at Mal’s house before, but his aunt didn’t.

Surprise! As we know from the first book Cassie is a powerful druid and can recognize other druids. Apparently Bruce is one too and his love for nature was one of the indicators of that. As we also know from the first book Cassie is a woman of action, so acts she does.  She offers Bruce the internship with her (and when I say offers I mean insists that he should take it) AND decides to bond Mal and Bruce together so Mal could give Bruce a crash course in all things magical before he would start learning all things druid .

I want to be very clear here – the bond Cassie imposed on them was not sexual *yet*. To be quite frank I was puzzled as to why the bond was needed in the first place. However as the book proceeded I interpreted the bond to be an artificial and highly irritating plot device needed to make sure the second bond between the characters would happen.

It was just so weird to me. I am usually very hesitant to use the expression “lazy writing”, because I usually start questioning myself right away, thinking my writing skills and knowledge would never be strong enough to have a right to call writing professional’s writing “lazy”.

However, sometimes this is just how I feel and this is one of those times. Let me expand on what I mean by “lazy writing” in this book.  I feel like the writer could not be bothered to write an actual development of the relationship and instead imposed that weird bond on Bruce and Mal which did I am not even sure what it did.

So after Cassy bonded them, they have sex and ended up wanting each other more and more and it became some kind of D/s bond when Mal who never bottomed wanted to bottom and kneel for Bruce all the time and Bruce who never topped wanted to. Okay, I am perfectly happy to read about D/s relationship if it is executed to my satisfaction but both men instead constantly questioned whether what they want is the consequence of the bond or their own desires.  I could not understand how we got from Point A (we find each other hot) to Point B (we cannot live without each other). I could not understand how the relationship was developing?

And while on the publisher’s page the book warns of dubious consent, it is not as if Bruce even wanted to force Mal to do anything. I mean the first two times he did not know that the bond was activated, but then he constantly fights the desire in his mind to give Mal *any* orders, so I could not even read the book as having any true dubcon/ non con scenes that may work for me sometimes. It was just very weird.  

"“Our bond is different. You’ve never used the power voice on me, and trust me, I’d know. Maybe you have to pass your druid O levels before you qualify, or some shite.” “Are you positive? Have you behaved that way before? Begged someone to allow you to blow him? Begged to get fucked? Promised a guy anything? Everything?” Mal wouldn’t meet his eyes, and if that didn’t tell Bryce what he needed to know about consent, then none of Mal’s glib words would hide the truth. “No,” he muttered. “You’re the first.” “A first time for me too.” Bryce was suddenly too hot in the sun, despite the cool breeze on his back. He ripped his hat off and threw it on the grass. “Aren’t we just so fricking special?” “You’ll not convince me you’re a virgin.” “Hardly. But I’ve never—” Why was this so hard to admit? “I’ve never topped anyone before.” Mal’s mouth fell open. “You’re joking. Nobody can aim like that. Not their first time.” Bryce sat down on the grass, facing the slough. “Guess I’m a fucking prodigy.” He let his arms flop over his knees. “What the hell are we doing, Mal? I’m so turned around and irritable this morning, it’s as if my clothes are lined with sandpaper”

 

 

 

Cassy behaved weirdly from the beginning, because guess what? She could have told Mal to tutor Bruce without bonding them and Mal would have done the very same thing. Then after she started all that she lectures them how to mitigate effects of the bond or not mitigate the effects of the bond. It was just bizarre.

Same as in the first book, in this book the men also have to go on the quest in Faerie land and I enjoyed it more than in the first book because the story was more suspenseful and at the end made more sense to me than in the first book. However the storyline was also a major disappointment to me because I felt that it was a a missed opportunity for the men to actually work together and get to know each other better instead of one of them trying to get some information out of Mal and Mal constantly sabotaging himself and lying to Bruce as to what was going on.

I was not mad at Mal, because he did not have much choice, but I was still disappointed. I am not trying to grade the story that was not on page, but let me be very clear that what was on the page did not work for me at all, even if it was well written and as far as I could notice copy editing was pretty good.

Grade: C-

 

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review 2017-09-12 01:23
Really Didn't Like
The Vampire Next Door - Marilyn Baron The Vampire Next Door - Marilyn Baron

Aurora Dawn Hale comes from a long line of psychics. She’s set to marry the perfect man, even though she doesn’t think it’s the right thing to do. Lance Lakeland is a vampire that has repented for all the wrong he has caused. Will it be enough for her to leave her fiance to be with him?

I really didn’t like this story. It jumped between several sets of people, none of which were the main characters. Between the way the referenced Aurora Dawn and when we are finally introduced to her, she sounded like a girl in her mid-teens that still believed in fairy tales. Unfortunately this discouraged me from the book and I wasn’t able to get into it at all.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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review 2017-07-28 23:38
"The Spaceship Next Door" by Gene Doucette
The Spaceship Next Door - Gene Doucette,Steve Carlson

"The Spaceship Next Door" is a fun book: witty, fast moving, great dialogue, original ideas, a twisty plot, aliens, zombies and a whole bunch of in-jokes for those of us who live and breathe SciFi and horror.

It's told in a raconteur third person style that heightens the amusement, keeps things from getting too serious and allows the parts of the puzzle to be nudged into sight at just the right pace.

The basic premise is that spaceship lands in the small mill town of Sorrow Falls, Massachusetts in the middle of the night and then,,, nothing much happens... for three years. Long enough for the good folks of Sorrow Falls to get used to having a spaceship next door and even to take for granted the strong Army presence that is guarding the ship.

Then things do start to change and it seems the end of the world is at hand. At least, it will be if sassy sixteen-year-old Annie Collins doesn't help the thirty something government agent who absolutely no-one believes is the reporter he claims to be, to solve the mystery of what the ship wants and what it will do if it doesn't get it.

Annie Collins is the heart of this book. If you don't like her, then the book will just pass you by. Fortunately, she's very likeable. She's open, friendly, preternaturally smart, always has a clever question to ask and is hiding a hugely important secret from just about everyone.

I was smiling almost all the way through this book. I listened to the audiobook version and felt entertained the whole way through.  In addition to being witty, "The Spaceship Next Door" manages to twist a number of tropes around aliens and zombies and the reaction of the military to a space invasion in very clever ways. It makes constant reference to science fiction movies and books and I could almost see the author's gleeful grin in my mind when he managed to include the line, "Take me to your leader."

If you're a sci fi fan looking for a smile and a few surprises, come and spend a few hours in Sorrow Falls and let Annie Collins show you around.

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review 2017-07-27 20:48
Distanzierter Thriller
The Couple Next Door: Thriller. - Sonic Boom Studios Fach / Khromov GbR Alex Khromov,Shari Lapena,Friederike Kempter

Marco und Anne wollen einfach ein ruhiges Dinner bei den Nachbarn verbringen. Die Nachbarin verlangt aber, dass sie ihr Baby daheim lassen und die frischgebackenen Eltern zögern kaum. Immerhin kann man das Babyphon mitnehmen und im halbstündigen Takt nach den Nachwuchs sehen. Doch dann ist die Wiege leer …

Allein die Ausgangslage hat mich sofort fasziniert. Es ist wahrscheinlich der Albtraum aller Eltern, dass auf einmal das Kind weg ist. Natürlich macht man sich Vorwürfe, weil man das Kleine allein gelassen hat, wobei es wahrscheinlich sonst genauso hätte passieren können.

Es folgt ein kniffeliger Thriller, der den Leser immer wieder mit neuen Enthüllungen konfrontiert. Mit der Zeit hat man jede Figur unter Verdacht und es ist spannend, die Hintergründe zur Tat zu verfolgen. Wurde das Kind entführt oder gar ermordet? Haben die Eltern vielleicht ein Motiv oder wurde es von einem Fremden genommen?

Diese Fragen stellt man sich gemeinsam mit der Polizei, wobei man als Leser den Vorteil hat, die Geschehnisse aus den Perspektiven der Eltern zu verfolgen. Die Sichtweisen von Anne und Marco wechseln sich ab und so bekommt man einen Einblick, was wirklich geschehen sein könnte. Jede der Figuren hat eine dunkle Seite, der man nach und nach auf die Schliche kommt.

Außerdem wird ein Ermittler der Polizei als weitere Perspektive ins Spiel gebracht. Diese Passagen habe ich besonders gern gehört, weil ich hier meine Gedanken und Mutmaßungen zu den Eltern und Geschehnissen ordnen konnte. Zusätzlich hat der Ermittler noch ein paar interessante Geschichten aus der Vergangenheit aufgedeckt.

Der Thriller lebt allein von den Figuren und dieser Punkt hat mich gestört. Die Autorin spart an Ausschmückungen sowie Atmosphäre und setzt allein auf die Beziehungsebene der Charaktere. Gleichzeitig hält sie sich mit Emotionen stark zurück und es werden tatsächlich nur aktuelle und vergangene Ereignisse abgehandelt, um die Verbindung der Figuren untereinander zu beleuchten. Dieser nüchterne Stil konnte mich nicht ganz packen. Es war zwar interessant zu hören, dennoch ist die Spannung mit der Zeit abgeflaut, obwohl ich gar keinen konkreten Verdacht im Hinterkopf hatte.

Die Handlung ist okay, nachvollziehbar und für dieses Genre leider typisch - sehr überkonstruiert. Von allen Ecken und Enden werden Motive ins Spiel gebracht, die halt überzufällig ihren Weg in die Geschichte gefunden haben. Daher empfinde ich „The Couple Next Door“ als gutes Buch, das man zwischendurch hören oder lesen kann, und das meiner Meinung nach einem passablen Durchschnitt entspricht.

„The Couple Next Door“ ist ein Thriller, der mit den Geheimnissen seiner Figuren spielt, und durch genreübliche Wendungen besticht. Latent spannend, jedoch sehr distanziert, lädt Shari Lapena den Leser in den Albtraum aller Eltern ein.

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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