Sunday, February 26, 2017

TGBC: Teen Lit Rocks Title: Some of the Parts

I've made some weird progress on the shelf lately. I'm skipping all my Austen because they're automatic saves, so the next Shelf book was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and after I put off picking it up to read for the fifth day in a row, I decided to just put it in the giveaway pile and move on.

Then, because my last TLR read was a bust in terms of being able to write a positive review for, I decided to move to the next book on that pile. Which is today's review. Which will also not be going on TLR because it wasn't great. Desperate then to read something I can actually review for the blog, I moved on to the NEXT TLR title, which I stopped reading after 50 pages because it was infuriating. So I'm a little Teen lit stuck right now, but I'm moving through that shelf pretty speedily. Small favors.

Mini review though of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here, the book I put aside without finishing. I have high standards for fandom-centric books, and this one did not meet them. It felt formulaic, I hated the main character, and I felt like it was trying way too hard to be a "good" fandom book. I'm reading the supposedly hilarious fanfic of a write who supposedly has tens of thousands of fans, and all I can think is that if I was reading it in real life, I'd have hit the back button by paragraph three. I flipped ahead and skimmed to see if things got better, but I saw no evidence of that, and hints of the opposite. And since life's too short to read books I'm not enjoying, I put that one aside.

Today's main review, though, is of a book I actually pushed through to the end of.

Title: Some of the Parts
Author: Hannah Barnaby
Status: New read

Where did I acquire it?
This was a boss gift book at Christmas

How long have I owned it without reading it?
A couple months

I was, overall, not crazy about this book. This may be because it is, in many ways, very similar to the last book I read -- Dreamers Often Lie -- main character suffering mental trauma after a serious accident, having trouble coping until she meets a dark and broody new male student who gets caught up in her life, both haunted by family members lost in car accidents.

I did appreciate the dark broody male character in this one, though. Honestly, he wasn't that broody, and he's why I kept reading. I liked who he was and what he was willing to be for Tallie when she needed someone and wouldn't admit it. But there weren't many other characters in the story that I actually liked, which is a problem.

Overall, I did like how the book subverted some expected tropes in the end, that was a nice payoff. But I did have to force myself to keep reading to get to that payoff.

Status after reading: Giveaway

Books in the project: 425
Books tackled so far: 25
Books still unread: 87
Books given away: 13

Monday, February 13, 2017

TGBC: Teen Lit Rocks Title: Dreamers Often Lie

I'm a bit behind on my TLR books, so I tackled one of those. Unfortunately, I can't use it for the blog because I don't have a positive review, but we'll get to that.

Title: Dreamers Often Lie
Author: Jacqueline West
Status: New Read

Where did I acquire it?
This was in the first batch of ARCs I was sent for Teen Lit Rocks

How long have I owned it without reading it?
Way longer than I should have. Like a year.

Man, I really wanted to like this book. It's about Shakespeare! It quotes Shakespeare characters constantly! And it's that rare mythological creature -- an accurate representation of a high school theatre program in a novel!!!

And to be fair, I did enjoy about 75% of the story. But then it got weird, and this is a book with a girl who regularly hallucinates Hamlet and Ophelia making out in the back of her car. Now, granted, I read an ARC, so maybe some of this was cleared up in the final draft. But honestly, the ending went completely off the rail for me. I felt like the book ended twice because the same thing happened twice in a row. Once, I bought. Twice, not so much. Also, the ending was really abrupt and confusing. I felt like there was no real resolution of the issues I cared about in the story. The ending did not match what had been set up. Which really was a shame.

Status after reading:

Books in the project: 422
Books tackled so far: 22 (all my Austen are being kept, and Chase made a couple decisions)
Books still unread: 89
Books I'm giving away: 10 (my numbers were super weird last post, not sure what was going on there)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

TGBC: Round Two!

We move on to Round Two!

Titles and Statuses:

Emma by Jane Austen: Keeping

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen: Keeping

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Keeping

Persuasion by Jane Austen: Keeping

Pride and Prejudice (LBD edition!) by Jane Austen: Keeping

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: Keeping

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame: Need to Reread

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies graphic novel by Jane Austen and Set Graham: Chase's

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: Need to read

Illusions by Richard Bach: Chase's

Goblinproofing Your Chicken Coop by Something Bakeley: Chase's

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliott: Need to Reread

The Wright 3 by Blue Balliott: Need to Reread

Peter Pan by JM Barrie: Need to Reread

I should fly through this shelf pretty quickly because while there are 14 books in this round, Chase owns three of them, and I'm not doing a Jane Austen reread. Someday I should, but today is not that day. There's no question that my Jane Austen is staying. 

I have a couple work books and Teen Lit Rocks books I need to read through next, so I should be picking this round up with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies here in about a week!

TGBC: Round One Wrap Up

I finished Round One!


Wow! I'm impressed, though I say it myself.

Titles and Statuses:

Nettie and Nellie Crook: Orphan Train by EF Abbott: Read, giving away
Sybil Ludington: Revolutionary War Rider by EF Abbott: Read, giving away
The Collected Hitchhiker's Guide by Douglas Adams: Chase's, keeping (I am making him make decisions whenever I get to one of his books, BTW)
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre: Read, giving away
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: Read, keeping
The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh: Read, keeping
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom: Did not reread, giving away
Guitar Notes by Mary Amato: Read, keeping
A Little Taste of Poison by RJ Anderson: Did not read, giving away
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Caroline Mackler: Read, giving away

That's six books in the giveaway pile, and look at all that space on the shelf! Let's keep going!

TGBC: Round 1: The Future of Us

Picked up A Little Taste of Poison, which was one of the books from my boss last year, only to discover that it's a sequel, and I don't care enough about the description to seek out and read book one, so that went to the giveaway pile, leaving me with just one book left in round one!

Title: The Future of Us
Authors: Jay Asher and Caroline Mackler
Status: Reread

Where did I acquire it?
I know I read this from the library ages ago and then bought a copy when I saw it on sale somewhere.

How long since I've read it?
I do not remember. I could do some research and find out, but that seems like a lot of work. The book was published in 2011, so sometime around then. Four or five years? It's been a while.

This is a cute book. It's built around a conceit that is never explained, they just expect you to accept, which is okay I guess, but some people might find it off putting. Basically, two teenagers in 1996 download the internet and find they can log into Facebook 15 years in the future, and they start trying to change their future lives based on what they see in status updates. It's an interesting enough conceit, but what struck me this read through was how often I felt like it was shoved down my throat that they're from 1996. I guess this counts as historical fiction, but most historical fiction I feel isn't quite so overt with the references to the time period. I don't know. It's a little thing, but it bothered me. Also, this was published five years ago, so Facebook is already pretty starkly different. I don't think this one is going to age well.

That being said, I do like the commentary this provides of unrequited love and how to maintain a friendship in the face of it.

Status after reading?
It's still cute, but cute isn't enough to keep it on my shelf. This one goes in the giveaway pile.

Books in the project: 425
Books tackled so far: 14
Books still unread: 90
Books I'm giving away: 11

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

TGBC: Round 1: Guitar Notes

I took a slight break and read three books not on the bookshelf. Two were for fun (Romeo and/or Juliet and Ella Minnow Pea, both of which I highly recommend if you like Shakespeare or wordplay) and one was for my book discussion group (Maus II, which is just adding to my constant distress of the world around me, so much for escapism in reading), but now I am back to the bookshelf!

Title: Guitar Notes
Author: Mary Amato
Status: New read

How did I acquire it?
My lovely friend Anne sent this one to me because it is made up of tropes we have a specific affinity for.

How long have I owned it without reading it?
...a really long time. Like, maybe 2-3 years. I don't remember exactly, but she definitely sent it to me when I was living in Virginia.

This book is kinda like If I Stay, but from a different perspective, with added anonymous penpal-ing, and like 89% less depressing. And let's be real, here. If you write a book where two vastly dissimilar people get to know one another and build a friendship by exchanging letters back and forth, you've already got me almost entirely on board with your story. There are some tropes I am a sucker for, and that is why I write those tropes. Frequently.

But more than the premise kept me reading. I like these characters. I like who they are and how they're working to find themselves and overcome their struggles. I like that they are open to the possibility of a friendship with someone so dissimilar, and I love that that friendship becomes what they both really need.

But what I like the most about this book is that while you can absolutely ship Tripp and Lyla (and are probably supposed to), there's no actual canonical evidence for their romance. They never kiss. They never express romantic feelings to each other or within their own narratives. They care about each other very deeply, that much is obvious. BUT those emotions can be read entirely as a platonic friendship, and I LOVE THAT. Look, maybe they kiss in that subway station after the end of the book. But because we don't see it, I can also choose to believe that they build a deep and meaningful platonic friendship that never has to become anything other than that. That's the part I like best.

Status After Reading:
I'm gonna keep this one, I think. Largely because Shelf 1 is looking very open, but also because this one took me someplace I didn't expect to go, and I appreciate that. I'll keep it on my shelf for a while because I would like to revisit it, I think.

In the project: 422 (I keep getting Paperback Swap books)
Tackled so far: 12
Still unread: 91 (because of those Paperback Swap books)
Giving away: 6 (The discussion for Nightmares has been held, so that one's in the pile, and I got 20 pages into Little Women and couldn't take it anymore, so that one's going away, too)