Thursday, December 14, 2017

REVIEW: Perfect by Cecelia Ahern - Jenn

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Though not fully perfect, Perfect is pretty darn close to it!
Picture
The following is my review. It is also on my Goodreads.

4.5/5 stars. I received an eARC from NetGalley.



​Cecelia Ahern, I love you and I love your book.


I had some serious doubts. There was a lot that left me wanting from the first book, and a lot of it had to do with Celestine--though relatable, she wasn't all that likable to me. I am still not a fan of hers, but I respect her. She went through hell, and she admitted to struggling to know herself once she realized the world was not black and white but a mess of gray. She proved that she was strong and that she did in fact have some brains. I won't forgive her (or Cecelia) for the love triangle, because I think they are nasty and unnecessary plot devices to escalate tension and interest, but I can get over it BECAUSE I LOVE THIS BOOK.

Where I found so many faults in Celestine in Flawed, they proved to be moments of learning and overcoming faults in Perfect. Celestine grew so much; she became this beacon of hope and change, and she refused to back down when things became tough. In those characteristics, she reminded me so much of Veronica Roth's Tris (Divergent series) and Katniss Everdeen from Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy. She knew what was right, she knew where she stood, she knew what she wanted--and she DID. NOT. BACK. DOWN. She stood her ground every step of this anxiety-induced, tension-filled, action-packed story. Strong young women fighting for what is right even though the society in place is trying to silence and erase them. GET AT THIS BOOK WHEN YOU CAN.

Now, I did not find the writing itself perfect. Same as with Flawed, Perfect does fall into the habit of telling rather than showing. The difference, however, is that the telling in Perfect is a bunch of recapping Flawed throughout the entire book, happening at least every other chapter. It is almost like Cecelia felt the need to remind us of information, as if we would have already forgotten. Not to mention recapping is annoying--I read the first book, so please get on with the story. Like with the love triangle, I got over this because the important message(s) Cecelia Ahern expresses are THAT IMPERATIVE.

Those messages are:
-Prejudice is inhumane
-Refusing to help another when you know it is the right thing to do is inhumane
-Imposing regulations on people that makes helping those who are prejudiced against is inhumane
-Being a dick (*excuse me*) like Crevan is one of the worst offenses against humanity and is most definitely inhumane
-It doesn't take a lot to be a decent person--it is as simple as helping them to a seat
-There are some who are not strong enough to be the change needed in a corrupt society, and those who do prove to be strong enough will surprise you

...I would give you more of the messages that I picked out, but I would rather you read the book yourself.

Enjoy once you get it in your hands--this is a fantastic duology! Easy to read, frustrating as hell, and ends with a fantastic and sobering resolution. Give it a go and be swept along!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

REVIEW: I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski - Valeria

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 0 comments

Rate:

Goodreads Description:
I see London, I see France, I see Sydney’s underpants.

Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.

As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera…wearing only her polka-dot underpants.
 

The cover made me read it and holy shit what did I read.
I found myself asking, wait, this is a Young Adult book more times than I could count. Sure. It is shit that young adults would do, at least the wild ones and non hermits like me. But I was simply shocked at the things that were going on in this book. It had it all. The book was funny but I honestly couldn't get over some parts. I felt like Aunt Patty in Gone with the Wind, I needed my smelling salts as Scarlett danced with Rhett after becoming a widow. Damn I have to watch that movie again. Anyways, my poor little heart couldn't take it. That also doesn't mean that the book was bad. Travel book have always been fun for me, I enjoy seeing authors describe over seas places that I have never visited in the own way which is the main thing that made me somewhat enjoy this book. 

Recommend i?
No clue, maybe call that shot based on reviews?


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

REVIEW: Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten - 4.5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:46 PM 0 comments
Title: Bad Girls with Perfect Faces
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Author: Lynn Weingarten
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication: October 31st 2017
Cover Rating: 4/5
Reading format: Owned Hardback

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces is the story of Sasha and Xavier and just how far Sasha will go to protect Xavier from horrible thing, even when one of those horrible thing might end up being himself.

Sasha is the best friend anyone could hope for. Xavier went through a really crappy breakup where the girl cheated on him and Sasha was there for him through it all. He is finally starting to come out of his depression so they decide to go to a dance club they used to go to a lot for his birthday. At the club they run into his ex, Ivy, and stuff happens to the point where he ends up with her.

Sasha doesn’t want to see him go through another breakdown so she does something seemingly innocent to prove that Ivy hasn’t changed. Only maybe it isn’t so innocent and maybe this will lead to something really bad happening.

In the end, I found this book to be a very satisfying mystery/thriller. The synopsis on the book flap makes the bad guy seem like one person while the book makes it seem like another but in the end the real bad guy is... mysterious.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.


Friday, December 8, 2017

REVIEW: What Light by Jay Asher - Erin

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 0 comments
What Light
by Jay Asher
Hardcover, 251 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Razorbill (first published October 11th 2016)
ISBN: 9781595145512
ARC Received From My Friend At Hello Jenny Reviews

About:
From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing again. . . .

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.
(Goodreads)

Rating: 

This was a very cute Christmas read that definitely got me into the holiday spirit. It was not what I expected from the author of “13 Reasons Why”.  There was friendship, giving, romance, a bit of mystery, and Christmas Trees!!!  It’s not an outstanding book. It’s not going to win any awards or be on anyone’s top books ever written lists, but it does hold it’s own. The story was well written and brought me into the world of Christmas Tree selling. I learned a few things about tree farming and selling. I fell in love with Sierra and Caleb, and by the end of the book I really wanted to know more. Will they stay together? Will Sierra’s family be back next year? How does the dance go? Will Caleb keep up with his giving? Will Sierra join him with her cookie making? Grrr!!!! So many loose ends! Despite all my questions, I think that this book is perfect for any teen (or teen at heart) looking for a quick adorable holiday read.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Discussion: The Siren by Kiera Cass - Jenn

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 0 comments
I have been unable to stop thinking about this novel. I read it weekend before last, finished it in a day or two, and have had my thoughts stewing. I've even had several discussions with a book friend about it, unable to remove it from my mind enough to focus on another read.

It is tale of loss, sacrifice, doubt and depression, ultimate love, and mythology. We follow Kahlen, a young woman who becomes a siren at the beck and call of the Ocean. She and her sisters, or fellow sirens, are forbidden to speak and must not reveal what they are. Every six months or so, the Ocean calls to them and She bids them to sing, luring a ship or boat astray and enthralling the occupants to enter the water to their death, "feeding" the Ocean so that the rest of humanity can be protected (sacrifice the few for the many). Unlike her sisters who have not been sirens as long, Kahlen struggles with these duties until her century long service to the Ocean is completed. She can only remember a few snippets of her life before the deal she struck with the Ocean, so she feels empty and guilt-ridden. Every singing brings her closer and closer to a darkness that she can't shake. But then she meets a young man, someone who sees through her mythological physical beauty to who she is deep inside. It is forbidden, for She does not take wives or mothers into Her services, because their loyalty will not solely lie with Her. Especially for Kahlen, who has treated the Ocean like a mother and sought Her out for advice and comfort, the Ocean cannot stand her devotion being diverted, because she is the most precious of Her sirens, the one who cares about how She feels and how best to serve Her. As Kahlen is led through a winding path of lovesick-induced reclusion, and then a wonderful yet forbidden adventure, a sickness befalls her, something that should not happen to someone who is immortal during their term as a siren. 
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The aspects of the novel I am most enraptured by are the Ocean and the soulmate-dom of Kahlen and Akinli, and how the two play into each other.

We see the Ocean as a mother/caregiver, especially to Kahlen, who longs for that maternal relationship in a life that she finds little joy in living. The Ocean gives her company, tries to console her of the deaths that she helps to cause, giving significance to her existence as a siren. She "loves" Kahlen, cares for her the most out of all sirens she has had and has now in her service, because Kahlen seeks her out even when not called for, looks to her for guidance, acceptance, and appreciation; She is treated as necessity by Kahlen and not just as a means to fulfill a duty.

However, this "loving relationship" between the Ocean and Kahlen is conditional. Up until the point Kahlen meets Akinli, falls in love, and cannot deny the supernaturally strong connection to him, she was the perfect, though depressed and withdrawn, siren to the Ocean and Her needs. Once she revealed her intense love for Akinli to the Ocean, She became a tyrant. The basis for the rules dictating who she chose to be her sirens--no wives and no mothers--was love, which Kahlen had found with Akinli,  compromising her devotion to the Ocean. The Ocean could not longer trust Kahlen to fulfill her duties without pause or failure. To the Ocean, obedience was love, and if someone disobeyed Her, then it was a sign that they did not love Her--a tell-tale sign of a possessive abuser, especially when She resorts to threats in an effort to regain obedience from her sirens.

But can we dislike/hate her for her tyranny? I have gone back on forth on this matter, wanting to loathe the Ocean for how she viewed love and all other human emotions, how she expressed her dissatisfaction, how she took lives so easily? And ultimately, why did it take Her SO FREAKING LONG to release Kahlen from her siren servitude, thus saving her from dying? I mean, COME ON, OCEAN, GET WITH IT.

Then I remembered: She is not human, so she doesn't feel emotions like a human would. Even though she bestowed her sirens with the ability to never age, sicken, or die, their essence remained human and they retained their human emotions. However, those emotions were not something the Ocean could experience as well--she could rationalize her way through problems, retain information, and showed an immense amount of intelligence, but those darn emotions eluded her. She could try to understand them, and to a certain extent may have minutely grasped how some of them worked (i.e. someone seeking comfort and advice from you as a sign of caring), but the logical side of her was just too strong. In the end, I could only best compare her to what an animal does in that wild: do what is required to survive.

Like I mentioned earlier, I spoke with a book friend many times about The Siren. She and I love it and find something new to discuss each conversation that we bring it up. I just want to take a moment and share this wonderful perspective on the Ocean's role in Kahlen's life.

The Ocean symbolizes a season in life, in particular one that becomes a comfort zone. It also becomes destructive if you let it hold you back from who you are meant to be and what you are meant to do. With that in mind, it does not make the season necessarily evil. Without her time as a siren, Kahlen would not have met her soulmate Akinli. Once she tasted the life she was meant to have, she began to resent the Ocean and, eventually, sicken from her separation from her destiny with Akinli. Once she had that taste, she could not go back to the way life had been before--she knew there was more to life than what she had known, and she didn't want to live on without it. It was after meeting Akinli that Kahlen realized that there was more to her existence than helping the Ocean kill people, and that was creating a future with her soulmate. Her time as a siren for the Ocean was a season in life that was necessary for her to live long enough to find Akinli, and if she had remained a siren she would have died physically and emotionally, starved of potential.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

REVIEW: Royally Lost by Angie Stanton - Valeria

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 0 comments

Rate:


Goodreads Description:
Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't have...is freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?

I WANT MORE!!
Okay so this book was super sweet and I really liked it. I am a fan of the whole secretly royalty and stuff
I think everyone is. Its like we all dream of finding our on princess/prince and getting married and getting out happily ever after. 
WHICH IS WHY I WANT BOOK 2!! 
I want to know what happens next with these characters xD
I like how it was a very easy read, it was a short book too. I got really into it, specially towards the end when they are starting to be found by the paparazzis and the royal guard.
I also do wish that this book was a movie xD 
Id pay for that.

Recommend it?
Yup

Friday, December 1, 2017

REVIEW: South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf - Erin

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 0 comments
South of Sunshine
by Dana Elmendorf
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2016 by Albert Whitman
ISBN: 9780807575680
ARC Received From My Friend At Hello Jenny Reviews


About:
What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love?
And what will she risk for acceptance?

In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson.

Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself. (Goodreads)

Rating: 

This was a bit of a different take on the LGBTQ story in that it takes place in a Southern town that is very against those kinds of relationships. It showed how Kaycee was feeling. How she was so happy to have Bren in her life, but having to hide it hurt her so bad. How she was afraid of what her mother, classmates, friends, and fellow church goers would think, and what they might do. Yes a lot of that shows up in other LGBTQ stories, but the small southern town atmosphere gave this book a different feel. It was well written, but a tad slow in places. It was predictable, like most YA romances, but it was cute. It’s a book that might be a great read for those teens who are afraid to come out. Or even for those who have friends who are LGBTQ and who want to understand what they’re going through a bit better. I’m not sure the end of the story is completely realistic, it’s almost like a fairy tale happy ending, but it’s still inspiring and gives hope to the reader. In the end isn’t that what most of us want from our reads? 















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