Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ending Survey

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
I think the most daunting hour was nearing the around the 20s, because it became increasingly difficult to not just collapse and fall asleep on my desk.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year?
Any volume of Saga or Lumberjanes, because it's a quick read that has a lot of pictures, so it's easier for your brain to process this at the dead of night. 
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?

Would like some collective tab that announces all of the winners of the prizes, because otherwise all of the way of communications are scattered, and you take to keep on checking multiple blogs/social medias.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

All the Twitter chat questions and involvement of the participants.I love making new friends!5. How many books did you read?
8 total books, with a total number of pages 1687 
6. What were the names of the books you read?

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
I think that my favorite has to be GOODBYE DAYS, because it's a beautiful celebration of life and I adored all of the characters.
8. Which did you enjoy least?HOME (Binti #2), but the only reason why is because I hadn't read the first one therefore I was very confused on what is going on with the worldbuilding and character development.
9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Definitively doing it next time, would love to spearhead some of the future Twitter chats that are going on.

See y'all in September! 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hour 13 Update

Here are the three books that I've finished, currently have scattered thoughts so will update and review later
Have Read:

Currently Reading: 

Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? – On the beautiful East coast in the great garden state of NJ.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? – Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? – I gathered up all of my favorite snacks into a stockpile, so we've got: pretzels, raisins, caramel candies, cheese, and of course my favorite--the grapefruit.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! – Hello y'all, I'm Mars, a queer teenager blogger who devours YA books like nobody's buisness. I've been blogging consistently for about one year, and this is my third round of Deweys.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? – DNF way more and way more quickly. Previously readathons I have made myself slug through books that I hated or weren't really entertaining at all. Also, going to try to do a bunch of pictures for the Instagram challenges.

Well, fellow readathoners, Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Convenient EscapeThe Convenient Escape by Robert Downs
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book could have been executed much better, if the author just took the time to develop the one-dimensional characters a little bit more by telling us their backstories and life decisions that lead them to this point. We start off with with Veronica (our MC) running away from a kidnapper in the middle of the woods and abandoning her heels in order for speed, trying to do anything to escape. Coincidentally, she happens to stumble upon Peter, an old acquaintance from high school. From there she uses force on him, for his cooperation and provision of resources (cars, guns, etc.)

The title has it exactly right, everything was too convenient, too coincidental. As a reader, I knew exactly where this story was going since the first chapters (romantically, thrillery, etc.) Instead of playing it on the safe side of storytelling, Downs could have crafted a shocking twist or a legitimate inconvenience that would prevent it from being relatively easy for the characters.

Multiple things in this book I found to be unrealistic. The fact that Veronica was able to actually hold Peter hostage for such a long number of hours at first; I mean he's a soldier who served in Iraq. I'm pretty sure that he's made of tougher stuff than submission, so if he really wanted to leave, he easily could have.

Another thing, is how Anthony's character was portrayed. He literally goes around hiring secretaries and disposing of them for his disgusting sexual desires, and then uses them to go and seduce the people that he wants to kill. He was by far my least favorite character, the worst of the villians in this story, because he manipulated everyone and made it all seem like such a bore. I had a strong urge to skip all of the chapters with his POV, because every word was physically repulsive to me.

The most frustrating thing about this whole story, was that instead of Veronica going straight to the police station and disclosing all of the information that she knew about her bosses as well as describing the abduction that happened to her; she decides to take unnecessary risks and handle this alone in an unsafe environment to her and the public around her. Almost every decision that she made was completely irrational, and I just couldn't understand what was happening.

Lastly, I've read this book before. Not this exact book, but one where it goes like: employee finds some undesirable information about the people that she's working for, decides to take matters into her own incompetent hands, finds a partner/boyfriend who she comes to completely trusts, and goes on a mission to stomp out the bad guys herself. Excuse me, I think that there could be better way of creating a thriller, especially in a world endless with possibilities.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Monday, April 24, 2017

The Perfect StrangerThe Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After Miranda's first book, All the Missing Girls which blew me away, I had nothing but high expectations for this book. This book has no connections to the previous, yet still has an underlying theme of the darkness lurking at the edges of reality.

Leah Stevens is a crime investigative journalism, who had a falling out with her company because of libel charges that were put forth. So she decides to escape her past by moving into rural Western Pennsylvania with her mysterious roommate, Emmy. But the truth catches up with you and bubbles up to the surface, as Leah comes to learn again.

Two dead bodies are found in this town, which is a place for people to migrate to begin a new start. Leah decides that she wants to get involved in this case, because she has personally holding at stake, and also get involved with some insider information that leads her down a path or connecting the dots in this stories. I appreciate how the author gives us some snippets and mini-flashbacks, to give us clues. However, I think that it took our MC way too long to figure out this who-dun-it, and I started getting a little bit impatient and frustrated with the time frame.

I've never read a thriller like this before, because there was debate if the "missing girl" actually existed(was she an actual girl or just a figment of imagination), which I honestly felt like a cheap plot device or lazy writing. This was also written in chronological order in first POV, which has the standard format for thrillers that are exciting, yet in comparison to the unique format, this fell a little bit flat.

We are only in Leah's head, who is a likable but unreliable narrator, and has a scattered trains of thoughts and a mess in her life. After a certain point, I rather did not enjoy spending so much time from her perspective; it would have been much better to can an overall take-a-step-back view of the situation at hand. Honestly, at most points I viewed her as an untrustworthy source of information, because of course you can twist the facts like you want them and always view them through your lens.

With all of that in mind, Miranda still manages to deliver something deliciously mysterious. Her writing has the perfect mix of the past and the present, along with trying to overly-focus on the details that may link one case to another. She's just the author to take you by your hand at the start, and send you on a wild ride (or a wild goose chase) for an unidentifiable person.

The ending was also very disappointing, there was no huge confrontation in which everything got solved and the criminal got caught. Sure, I don't like tidy endings in most thrillers, but in this case I think that the author played it too safe and left it too open ended, ultimately leaving me unsatisfied with the outcome.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dark MatterDark Matter by Blake Crouch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"We're all just wandering through the tundra of our existence, assigning value to worthlessness, when all that we love and hate, all we believe in and fight for and kill for and die for is as meaningless as images projected onto plexiglass."

This book was an absolute masterpiece and an absolute mindfuck of a sci-fi world.

"Are you happy with your life?" are the last six words that Jason hears before becoming unconscious and waking up in an unfamiliar, different world. At first, he doesn't even know if he's experiencing a dream/hallucination or which reality is the one that's real. The biggest question that he is trying to answer is: how does he get back to the people that he loves, the family that he left behind.

"I thought I appreciated every moment, but sitting here in the cold I took it all for granted. And how could I not? Until everything topples, we have no idea what we actually have, how precariously and perfectly it all hangs together."

Throughout this novel, we then go through a series of these types of introspective thought about: appreciating the things that we already have, finding our identity, how we perceive what reality is, the choices that we make or that we don't make. Because of our first POV, and the psychologist who appears in a good chunk of the book, this proved to be an interesting psychological study.

"The other (view spoiler) want the thing in the world that is the most precious in the world that is the most precious to me--my family."

This can classified as a love story, between a husband and wife and their son, between what their family means and how it grounds them in whatever life they choose to live through. That's what makes it so emotional, so gripping and soul-searching for both the narrator and so that the reader can relate. In my opinion this was the most important element of the book because it erased the indifferent and made us empathize with the struggles of our MC.

"It's a mystery. But there are clues. Most astrophysicist believe that the force holding stars and galaxies together--the thing that makes our whole universe work--comes from a theoretical substance we can't measure or observe directly. Something they call dark matter. And this dark matter makes up most of the known universe."

The scientific explanations blew my mind and probably went way over my head, but nevertheless could still captivate my attention completely. The way that the author writes it provides so much intricacy, and why this novel is titled is (the title sentence, if you will) captures the meaning and themes even more clearly.

I have to admit at first I had to adjust to Crouch's writing style. It could be described as short and choppy, but I thought that the voice of a screenwriter was shining through the pages. From page one, I just knew that this was meant to be adapted onto the big screen. There are repetitive phrases that are like lists, and lots of short phrases that just get dropped to the next line-in the middle of a thought. In a way though this fits right along with the fast paced tempo that Crouch is aiming for, so I grew to really appreciate . The result of his writing was making this an extremely quick read that was unputdownable, the kind that's so excellent that you can't help but read it in one sitting.

**Thanks to bloggingforbooks and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinion are my own.**

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Friday, April 14, 2017

The Twelve Lives of Samuel HawleyThe Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Everything breaks if you hit it hard enough.”

This novel follows the unique father-daughter relationship between Loo, a quirky teenager who had a rough-n'-tumble relationship, and Hawley, a mysterious man with a hidden past filled with regrets and mistakes. Set in the quaint New England setting of the Atlantic shore, we follow the messy nests of secrets and lies, and the criss-cross railroad tracks that this creates within the various connections in town.

Could be described as grit-lit mystery, in which the father teaches her daughter of survival skills like jumping a jar, shooting at the bullet range, etc. Loo's childhood being pretty unstable and unconventional, her transferring to seven different schools throughout her childhood. Objectively, I could recognize that Loo would have had a traditionally "better" childhood if she had stayed with her grandmother, however the things that she went through with her father was both heartbreaking and bittersweet.

How this book is set up, there is one chapter for the story behind every bullet hole that Hawley has acquired. Other chapters are alternating from Loo's POV, little vignettes of her life from twelve-years old to seventeen years old. I would dare say that this was done very successfully because I felt like we could get to know the characters much more in-depth, through their thoughts on life and their reactions of certain events.

Hawley has a peculiar way of life and tradition, where he hangs memorabilia, a type of shrine place in the bathroom, and always carries several guns wherever he goes and in whatever he packs. There's an element of grief, because Loo's mother drowned when she was just an infant.

Overall, the writing was beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to experience this coming-of age story through my new favorite characters': Loo's eyes.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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