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review 2016-03-31 22:31
At the Edge of Empire
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire - Daniel Kraus

This is the type of book where it's either your cup of tea, or it isn't. I personally enjoyed this book very much, from the writing, to the characters, I thought it was really interesting.

The main complaint with this book is that it dragged on and didn't go anywhere, and I can understand why. The purpose of this story is to tell the life of Zebulon Finch, as narrated by Zebulon himself. It takes you from his childhood, to when he ran away from home, to him becoming a gangster and so on.

I enjoyed the writing of the novel, as well as the pace. With the exception of Zebulon getting extremely horny every once in a while at the sight of an attractive girl, there wasn't any purple prose, there was enough to paint a picture and keep things interesting. Zebulon's narration of his life was witty and honest, he didn't sugarcoat anything, even if it meant showing him in a bad light.

Every person that Zebulon meets serves a purpose in shaping in his character, and all of these people come back to him throughout his life and change it again. Every character in the story is different, has different personalities and stands out, I was actually able to remember them throughout the story. Sometimes these characters turned out to be exactly how you thought they would be, and sometimes they were a surprise and turned out to be someone completely different.

I liked the fact that the story actually acknowledges that Zebulon breaks every law of science and actually makes an attempt to discover as to how Zebulon is still functioning even though he is dead. The story doesn't ignore the fact that Zebulon's body is decaying because he is dead, how the sun and hot lights affect him, how he looks compared to everyone else.

Not every character that is introduced in the story is meant to be liked, in fact, most of them are terrible people, and yet, I didn't find myself hating them the same way that I have a burning hatred for two dimensional characters in other novels. You could understand them, for example, the Barker, he was a terrible man, but it was hard to hate him. He was struggling to survive, just like everyone else was, he did what he had to in order to survive. Zebulon himself isn't a very likeable person to begin with, and yet throughout the story, I didn't find myself necessarily liking him, but I could understand him as well as why he did the things that he did. He tried to right his wrongs throughout the novel, he tried to become a better person despite the fact that he failed continually. Every character in this book changed in some way, whether it was for the better or for the worse, they changed, and personally, I felt the character arcs were perfect.

The situations that Zebulon found himself in were especially interesting, so interesting that I had to plan time to read this book because once I started I couldn't stop reading. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I would recommend giving it a shot just to see if you're interested.

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review 2014-07-15 21:39
Notable
Notable - Marni Bates

I don't think that I ever expected to actually like Chelsea Halloway because she seemed like Queen Bitch Extraordinaire but then she became a lot less bitchy towards Jane so I figured I'd probably really like her, or at least learn to tolerate her.

The one great thing that I really love about this Awkward series is that I find something that I can relate to with each character. Mackenzie, Jane, and Chelsea are all different people with different personalities and yet with each of them, there's something that they go through, or a characteristic of theirs that really let's me connect with them and understand the way that they think and feel and why they act the way that they act.

And it just makes the book better for me because now I can sympathize with these characters and the story becomes a lot more personal to me.

I understood how Chelsea felt about always having to try so hard and yet it was never good enough for anybody. I know how it feels to be told that if you don't take one class then you won't be accepted into any university, granted Chelsea's marks are shit and mine are not but still, I understood how she felt. It is not encouraging to have someone tell you that you are never doing enough.

Trust me, I have experience in this type of area, I'm amazed this girl hasn't cried herself to sleep throughout her high school years.

But I admired how she took charge of the situation that she was in (as unbelievable as it was) and I really love how she matured throughout the story without ever losing her Chelseaness. She was still sarcastic and she still had power over the other sex and she still loved to flirt but she had softened. She was a lot nicer and she actually cared about everyone, she thought about other peoples feelings instead of just herself.

I loved her relationship with Houston as well, yeah they argued all the time but they were really cute together (when he wasn't being condescending) and I loved how they got together in the end.

I loved the characters and I loved Chelsea and I especially loved that she managed to let go of Logan and move on at the end of the book. She may not be book smart but I have absolutely no doubt that even with her shitty grades she would make it far in the world. I just had a lot of fun in this book to be perfectly honest and if you're looking for something quick I'd suggest reading it.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-02-28 00:11
Invisible
Invisible (Smith High) - Marni Bates

I think I was able to relate more to Jane than I was able to relate to Kenzie. It's not that I related more to Jane's personality but I could totally understand what her problem was with her friends and what she was going through.

In the beginning I was worried that I wasn't going to like Invisible as much as I had liked Awkward simply because Jane seemed really judgmental of Isobel (I'm pretty sure that was the girls name) and I generally can't stand characters who don't stand up for themselves. I was going to keep my distance with this character but the more I kept reading the more that I understood the situations that Jane was going through and why she didn't just speak up about her feelings. I can't believe that I'm saying this but, Kenzie, Logan, and Corey were really getting on my nerves by how much they all seemed to be ignoring Jane. For goodness's sake, Scott was being a better friend to Jane and she didn't even like him!

I was seriously shocked by the change in Chelsea, I didn't know what to expect from her but I actually ended up liking her in the end. it really says a lot about your friends when the person that you hate is being nicer and more supportive of you than your actual friends are.

Jane really changed throughout the book. At first she was just this shy girl who didn't want to speak up because she didn't want to hurt peoples feelings but by the end she no longer cared what anyone wanted to say and defended herself and got out her side of the story. I was so proud of Jane by the end of this book because she had really grown!

My favourite part, hands down was when she barged over to Corey's house and apologized to him and then just dove in on her friends. She pointed out to them exactly how horrible they had been to her and how it hadn't been fair and how they were treating her wrong. That was by far my favourite part.

The thing that I related to the most in the book was the relationship that Jane had with her friends and the way that she kept everything that she felt and wanted to say bottled inside. I mentioned this at the beginning but let me explain exactly why I could relate to that. I am currently in a position and have been in this position before with my friends. They just planned everything without me, I was never even asked if I wanted to go to places, everything was just arranged and everyone but me was going somewhere together. Except for me, all of my friends skype each other and talk to each other every day constantly and whenever we're actually together in a group, I might as well not be there because no one talks to me. Jane understood that, Jane felt what I was feeling. Jane was dealing with what I was dealing and she put into words what I couldn't and it felt so nice to find someone out there that was dealing with what I was dealing.

The speech that Jane gave to all of her friends at the end was really good to read because it's exactly what I want to say to my friends and even though I can't say that to my friends, it made me happy to see that a character in a book was doing what I couldn't. Plus, if I ever need a drama monologue, that speech is going to be it and I can assure you that I'm going to nail it.

I like Scott and the way that he got along with Jane. I mean, I found him a little creepy at first considering the fact that he kept following Jane around and everything but I grew to like him. It was so great that Jane got along with him so well and it was wonderful that she could be honest with him about everything. She didn't care if what she said hurt him or not, she just said it.

But basically, I really enjoyed the book and I loved the ending and I don't know about anyone else who has read it, but I would recommend it.

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review 2014-01-29 22:04
Model Misfit
Model Misfit - Holly Smale

The beginning of this book had me fooled. Harriet sounded so sure of herself and so professional. She sounded like someone who had really gotten the hang of the modeling world in a really short period of time. I was asking myself how many modeling jobs Harriet had actually done to get to this spot. 

Turns out, Harriet hasn't changed one bit and she still doesn't know how to handle the modeling world. I was so happy that version of Harriet came back. That's the version of Harriet that I love, the clumsy, awkward, full-of-facts Harriet.

Harriet gets flown to Japan for the summer and it sounds all dandy until her grandmother just ditches her in a land that she doesn't know. I'll admit, I was worried about Harriet, I thought she might accidentally end up lost or unintentionally insult someone what with her track record and things. Thankfully she found her way to the right place at the right time.

As soon as I met Harriet's roommates, I knew one of them was going to back stab her, I just knew it. She had the job that every single model wanted, one of them was going to stab her in the back and I just knew it. I was right too, it ended up being that girl who I think had blonde hair but I forget her name.

I have to admit, as silly as Harriet's parents and entourage can be, those guys bring out the guns when someone messes with their Harriet Manners. They don't take no shit when it comes to Harriet.

You really feel bad for Harriet in this novel because just when she thinks that everything is going okay, she messes up in a major way and her employer ends up getting mad at her (for the life of me I can't remember her name Sweet Jesus). Not to mention that she thought her parents didn't want her around anymore and were using the trip to Japan as a reason to get Harriet out of the house. I expected her to get fired at any moment but Harriet made it to the end of the book before she got fired for good. This is where we find out that one of Harriet's flat mates was sabotaging her the entire time. It wasn't the Japanese girl, she's sweet as pie.

At that point I was just about jumping around yelling that I had known it all along. Really, who couldn't see that coming? The parts that definitely got the most emotion out of me were the parts with Nick involved. I just felt like raging about him every time that he showed up because I thought that he had left Harriet.

In the end it just turned out that it was a misunderstanding and he had never dumped her at all, Harriet had just assumed that Nick had. And of course, Toby was there as well, he helped to save the day. I am seriously in awe at the lengths that this boy will go to to stalk Harriet. But hey, at least everyone in the novel acknowledges the fact that Toby is a stalker instead of trying to cover it up.

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review 2014-01-29 21:11
Geek Girl
Geek Girl - Holly Smale

Okay, I'm going to apologize in advance, I've gotten so used to reading books that are really bad by my standards that giving praise to a book has become a little bit foreign to me so I apologise if this isn't my best.

 

Anyway . . . 

 

I actually really enjoyed reading this book. I mean, I had a feeling that I would because of the cover (yes, I judge books by their cover) bug I was still surprised by the story.

I absolutely loved Harriet, she seemed like exactly the kind of person that I would hang around with. She was so full of interesting facts and I learned new things the longer that I kept reading. I mean, they were random facts that probably won't help me in life but still, they were interesting facts. You could really relate to Harriet and the way that she was treated by everyone. Stuff like that still happens these days.

One of the things that I really understood about Harriet was that list of hers that she had with the names of the people that she thought hated her. I understand how it can feel like the people that you care about can hate you, it's really easy to dislike yourself and to think that everyone else dislikes you as well.

The moment that really made me feel sorry for her was when her entire English class raised their hand and she thought that everyone hated her. I almost started crying, I really did. Annabeth (or is it Annabelle?) gave Harriet some really good advice, the only reason that everyone in that class raised their hand was because they were afraid of Alexis, not because they actually disliked her.

You go Annabeth (Annabelle?)! Four for you Annabelle (I'm just going to assume this is her name).

https://p.gr-assets.com/540x540/fit/hostedimages/1389889590/8083547.gif

 

I loved Nick, he was so cute and so sweet. He's just one of those characters that you wish was a real life person because you just love them that much. He was so sweet around Harriet and he didn't make fun of her and he found her cool instead of weird. I just want to give Nick a huge hug. He was such a sweetheart.

Toby was one of my favourite characters as well. At first I found him really annoying but the more that you kept reading the more that you saw exactly how much he cared about Harriet in his one stalkerish way. He'd been looking out for Harriet throughout the entire novel and she didn't even know that it was Toby who was doing all of that. In fact, everyone in this book was looking out for Harriet and she didn't even notice it.

I love how Harriet didn't even blink whenever she found Toby stalking her, she just expected him to always be there no matter what because he refused to go away.

The only thing that I had a problem with was Harriet's parents. Sometimes they acted like parents and sometime's they didn't. More often than not Annabelle and Harriet's dad (whose name has escaped me) acted like little children. It made it a little bit hard to take the two of them seriously at times. It was so surprising to find out that Annabelle was a lawyer because she acted almost nothing like a lawyer.

Harrriet's parents did some good advice though, as silly as they could be, they were really wise and they really did help Harriet out. Especially Annabelle, she was really helpful when Harriet thought that everyone hated her.

It was nice to see an author's interpretation of what the modeling world must be like especially for a geek who has a habit of being really really clumsy. Seriously, I feel really bad for Harriet and her ability to screw up things that you thought you really couldn't screw up.

All in all, I like this story, it was fun, it was light and fluffy and funny and the characters were relatable for the most part.

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