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review 2017-06-23 12:00
Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Windfall - Jennifer E. Smith

I was really hoping that this book would be my next favorite, but it ended up being kind of blah. I'll admit, I was really only interested in this book because the cover is freaking gorgeous. Those colors just spoke to me and I really hoped that the story would be as beautiful as the cover.

 

The main issue with this book is that it's predictable. Imagine the cliche story about someone winning the lottery and you have this entire book nailed. It has all the elements that someone would usually come up with from the extravagant spending of money, wanting to do something nice for the mom, a gambling father that isn't around, and one best friend in love with the other. Add in the token gay best friend, the fact that the main character is an orphan and I'm sure you could figure out the main plot, if not the entire book.

 

Unfortunately, the predictability of the story wasn't the only downfall. The main character, Alice, was very hard to connect to. She was perfect in every way imaginable, and not in the good way. She spends a lot of time volunteering at soup kitchens, teaching a child to read, and doing various other charitable things. When she is offered a portion of the winnings, without hesitating she turns it down. What kind of person turns down that kind of money, at least without thinking about it first? She then thinks that she has the right to judge how Teddy spends his money and looks down on him for not immediately donating it to charity.

 

The romance was also quite bland. You're supposed to root for Teddy and Alice, but honestly I didn't really care for either of the characters. Teddy was not the greatest friend and it was hard to see why Alice was in love with him. As I said before, Alice spends a lot of time telling Teddy what he should do with the money and it almost felt mom-like, which isn't something you want in a relationship that is potentially romantic. 

 

The redeeming qualities of the book were not many, but they were strong. Strong enough to keep me reading and make me nearly cry. Alice has been through a lot due to losing her parents. There was an underlying theme of belonging throughout the book, that really should have been the center focus. The moments between Alice and her relatives were poignant and heartfelt. Seeing Alice's character develop and accept that she no longer had her parents was something I would have liked to have more of a focus on that.

 

While this isn't my favorite book, it wasn't bad by any means. I wish that certain things, like the romance was less of a focus and there was more of an emphasis on family.

 

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review 2017-06-16 12:00
That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim
That Thing We Call a Heart - Sheba Karim

I was really excited about this book mainly because a lot of the books I read are really lacking in diversity. I really wanted to love this book and there were some parts that I did, but the main character kind of killed some of my enjoyment. 

 

I was not really a fan of Shabnam throughout the book, until maybe the very end, but even then I still didn't really like her as a character. She was selfish and way too obsessed with a boy that she barely knew. She falls in love with Jaime in a very short amount of time and that really put me off from the romance. She was also a terrible best friend and at least she acknowledges this to an extent. The first thing she says to Farah when they start talking again is that she's in love. Not "I'm sorry I abandoned you" or even "how are you?". I really enjoyed the fact that Farah voiced my same thoughts when they talked about their falling out.

 

Shabnam also took it upon herself to scrutinize her parents marriage/romance/sex life and I just found this weird. She had been "in love" for maybe a month so what gave her the authority to say that they weren't happy or in a loving marriage? It seems that she was comparing her relationship with Jaime to her parents', but those aren't really two comparable relationships. I didn't like her father as a character, he just didn't seem to work very well and I guess that was the point, but honestly I didn't really see the point of him behaving that way. 

 

Thankfully, Shabnam didn't ruin the book for me. I absolutely loved Farah and honestly wished that she was the main character. I thought that her self discovery and journey to figure out where she fit in as a Muslim was so much more interesting than Jaime and Shabnam's relationship. She was a badass feminist and so much of what she said was so important. 

 

I also enjoyed the incorporation of poetry throughout the book. It was interesting and unique, especially because I had never encountered that type of poetry before. I also enjoyed the difference between Shabnam and Farah's experiences as Muslims. They both have such a different relationship with their own culture and I thought that portraying that was really important, especially Farah's experience. 

 

The book showed a lot of promise, especially with the side characters. I think that it's something important for people to read, even if it might not have the best main character.  

 

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! 

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review 2017-06-09 12:00
Talon by Julie Kagawa
Talon - Julie Kagawa

I've been a long time fan of Julie Kagawa and honestly I'm pretty disappointed by this. I was expecting something amazing, especially because I loved her Blood of Eden series. If you want to see Kagawa at her finest I'd skip Talon and read The Immortal Rules


Now, this book wasn't terrible by any means. It was just so freaking predictable that the fun and intrigue was sucked out of it. If I already know how the book will end from the first couple of chapters, there's a problem. The entire story had been done many times before, even with the exact same concept of a dragon and a dragon hunter falling in love. I thought I was going to get a fresh new take on that story, but all I got was the feeling that I'd already read this before. 


I expected a lot more about dragons, considering this book is about a girl than can transform into a dragon, but the majority of the book was spent with all the dragons in human form. I found this very disappointing and if not for the occasional mention of flying and Talon, then you could probably forget that the main character was a dragon because she was hardly ever actually a dragon. A weird thing that I'm a little confused about was that Ember kept referring to the dragon part of her as her dragon and not herself. It was odd because she literally is the dragon, but she made it sound like the dragon part of her was a separate personality.


The romance was ok, if you can get past the insta love. I'm pretty sure, but not entirely positive that Garret and Ember's relationship develops over like one or two weeks, which made their whole situation a little unbelievable. I'm also not entirely sure if there's a love triangle.


Not only was Garret and Ember's relationship predictable, but also the behavior of Ember's twin, Dante, was predictable. He is literally the stereotypical perfect, rule following older sibling, while Ember is the unpredictable, rule breaking sibling. 


As you can see my main problem with this book was that everything was predictable and nothing seemed to really stand out to me. It wasn't a bad book and there were definitely some parts I enjoyed, but this definitely isn't my favorite. I may continue the series because I love the author's other books so much, but I definitely won't have high hopes, like I did for this book.

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review 2017-06-06 15:10
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Three Dark Crowns - Kendare Blake

This book was not at all what I was expecting. The summary is very misleading. It promised three queens that were all spectacularly gifted, but it didn't deliver. I felt kind of lied to.


Lately, I seem to be picking up books that are incredibly slow in the beginning and then pick up pace about halfway through the book. This one didn't seem to pick up until very close to the end. That's about the only exciting part of the book with a few chapters that were more entertaining than others. The premise of the book was enough to keep me reading. I wanted to know which queen would survive so bad.

For the most part, the characters were decent. I wasn't strongly attached to any of them, but I did enjoy Arisnoe and Katherine's chapters much more than Mirabella's. By the end of the book I hated Mirabella as a character. I completely disliked her relationship choices. It was unnecessary and honestly uncomfortable to read about, especially because the character she's involved in is someone that is very present throughout the story. I did really enjoy reading about Arisnoe and Katherine and that's probably because they struggle, unlike Mirabella. I found Mirabella annoying, even before she made poor choices. Out of the three sisters I feel like her self-pitying was the least warranted and the most annoying.

I thought the world that Kendare Blake created was quite vivid and easy to picture, as well as interesting. It kept me intrigued throughout the story and honestly I'm strongly considering picking up the second book, even though I didn't love this one. I'm hoping that it will be more exciting, especially after the ending of this one.
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review 2017-05-15 15:47
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

Wow it took me nearly two years to finish this book and I'm actually not entirely sure why. It probably had a lot to do with the pace of the plot, but the rest of the book was very well crafted.

The plot for this could not have been slower. From the beginning to about the middle of the book every time I picked the book up I would become bored pretty quickly. I began to procrastinate reading it and genuinely uninterested in everyone but Celia and Marco. There seemed to be quite a lot of characters, they could be hard to keep track of, and their purpose wasn't entirely clear throughout the novel. Did it add to the depth of the story? Yeah, probably but honestly I could have done without the majority of the stories about the unimportant characters. It just wasn't exciting.

I really did enjoy the writing for this book. The descriptions were rich and vivid. Everything about the circus was easy to imagine and beautiful. It reminds me of Laini Taylor's writing. Both authors seem very into every little detail and describing the scene as much as possible. If you're into that I would highly recommend this book.

As mentioned before the characters were really real in a way that most books don't seem to have. All the characters seemed to have a story and in a way all of them seemed to be connected to the main plot. The two main characters Celia and Marco were really the only ones I cared about despite the fact that the other characters weren't flat. They just had the most exciting story and I ended up really enjoying their relationship.

This book took me way too long to finish, but in my defense the pacing was incredibly slow. In the end I really did enjoy it, especially when things started to get a little faster and more interesting.

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