Sunday, October 23, 2016

Under Rose-Tainted SkiesUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I could really appreciate that this book does focus on mental illness and self-harm as a central issue in Norah's life. This wasn't just one of those books when she met a guy and two minutes later she is all cured and ready to face the world.My problem is with how an agoraphobic who couldn't take a step outside, suddenly one month later is going outside with her boyfriend. So from that perspective the love angle rushed the healing journey, which could have been portrayed at a slower pace.

The author already has a unique writing style, but she tried too hard. There were so many descriptive metaphors and flowery language and adjective that I kept on having the impulse of just editing out those sentences or skipping through them. An overabundance just never seems to be well-written to me.

The romance for me was super awkward and I didn't think that they had the chemistry between them that authors strive for couples to have. Norah had really high and unrealistic expectations for Luke and he really did appear to be too "perfect and cliche" for my taste. Another issue that I had was there was the "popular girl, cheerleader, flirt, perfect queen" character who was going after the love interest and had absolutely no character substance. Like at this point, having read a lot of romance novels, it really does get on my nerves when this type of narrow stereotypical girl is used just as a plot device. Aren't we over repeating that?

I didn't personally connect to the character of Norah, because I felt like the readers sometimes get too deep and too close inside her head, to the point where I had to put the book down because it was making me anxious, therefore lessening the pleasure of my reading experience overall. I did have to put the book down several times, and I felt like the author could have down a step back and switched it up with another character's perspective in 3rd persons (her moms, her therapists, Luke,etc.) so that it could be a refresher. Maybe the author was too close emotionally to this issue and could have made more distance between her experiences and Norah's.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book in order for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Wreck and OrderWreck and Order by Hannah Tennant-Moore
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was such a slug for me to get through, plotwise at least. I felt like the author didn't really have a sense of direction of where the character's life is going, so we wandered around aimlessly with the character's boring monologues and introspective thoughts constantly being repeated on the page.

Like many others, I think that I'm not in the group of readership for it. I just don't relate and didn't connect to the main character at all. I thought that she was a spoiled brat that whined and complained about her oh-so-big problems that she got herself into. The content really frustrated me, because it seemed like the author was trying to overly push her political agenda on us (the readers) but I didn't feel like was supposed to be her purpose in this novel.

Basically I could equate what's inside this book as diary ramblings of a lost and unhappy soul, who is so "normal" that I really stopped caring what she did with her life on page 5. I can recognize what the author was trying to show here, a journey or exploration of oneself, it just didn't come out like that to me.

Sad to say, that this book has taken me painfully 6 hours of life, and I also regret wasting, so it's would be a perfectly ok option to DNF this book.

*Thanks to BloggingforBooks and the publisher for giving me a review copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The German Girl: A NovelThe German Girl: A Novel by Armando Lucas Correa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book surprised me, in the best possible way. I've considered myself a WWII buff for a long while now, but reading this book made me realize that I've never even heard of anything about the St.Louis. Well, this story is the story of a journey of friendships, relationships, and the actual trip and aftermath of across the ocean. We follow the life story of Hannah, a Jewish-born wealthy child living in Berlin. Her and her family make an escape sailing to Havana Cuba, where the climax of the whole story happens.

Rarely do I see dual perspective from different time periods work in a historical fiction novel, and this was sadly no exception. I just felt so drawn to the main narrative-Hannah's-that I really felt no emotional connection to the 2014 descendant, Anna. It's one of those things where you just want to skip the chapters with the other POV, and just continue being immersed in the life story of the main character.

Also, beware that the first 30% was extremely hard for me to get into, I just couldn't immerse myself completely into the story yet sadly. But I'm so glad that I was able to push through because it worth the effort and I couldn't recommend it enough to others.

My favorite part of this whole book was how the author had the ability to describe intricacies and the nuances of friendships between children that have their childhood taken away from then. The best relationship in this whole book in my opinion were the exchanges in dialogue between Hannah and her best and only friend Leo. That same concept later on repeats with Diego and Ana which was also heartwarming to watch from Hannah's perspective.

There are moments when it's better to accept it's all over, that there's nothing more to be done. Give up and abandon hope :surrender.That's how I felt by then. I didn't believe in miracles.This had happened to us because we insisted on changing a destiny that was already written. We didn't have any rights, we couldn't reinvent history. We were condemned to be deceived from the moment we came into the world.

This is probably the most memorable beautiful piece of writing in this book, and it's filled with some jewels as these. I couldn't get over how this book didn't cover up or shy away from racism, sexism, immigration, and depression/mental illness, and ignorance to all of these things all of which are hard topics to discuss.

The two main themes that resonated with me at least and were repeated over and over again were: the feeling of being "impure" and "unwanted". I loved how the author seemed to weave these two emotions throughout the whole plot-line, because I felt like it really was a driving point of Hannah's life in many ways. It kind of broke my heart every-time that I would see Hannah wrestling with these things that were so deeply instilled inside of her.

Overall, this is a book that opens your eyes and encourages you to more acceptance and love (or even simply tolerance) towards others that are different than you. Would highly recommend for everyone to pick this one up!

Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

MischlingMischling by Affinity Konar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let me preface by saying that I knew what I was getting into, because I am a huge WWII "buff reader". I'm always completely fascinated with everything that happened during this time period, but I'm also pretty picky because of the repetitive nature of this narrative.

However, with that being said, this story was told from a completely different perspective. Before this, I didn't know about the existence of "The Zoo" in Auschwitz. This was a separate place where twins and triplets were taken to be put under experimentation by Dr.Mengele. I could always appreciate a book that teaches me something new.

The two MCs of this story: Pearl and Stasha had a perhaps fantasy bond that I would strongly admire. It seemed their connection ran hard and deep, there looked to be no end to this "mischling love".

“Tell me,' she said, her eyes trailing the fly's escape over the fence and into the fields, 'what does it feel like - to be of value?'

I said that I didn't know. A lie, obviously. I knew the feeling of value well, I'd known it until Mama and Zayde were taken away, and it still remained - though in an altered form - with Stasha, who valued me more than herself. But I wasn't about to boast of this to Bruna, whose frenzy had enlarged in such a manner that the whole of her quaked. The index finger of her right hand shook the most. She pointed it at a building in the distance, a building that I'd later come to know as one of Mengele's laboratories.

'Please,' she entreated, 'tell me when you understand? I would like to know.”

^^ One of my favorite quotes that stood out to me the most.

I felt emotionally connected to only Stasha, because I felt like she was the beating heart of the story, at least as the narrator. It was written in 1st person, therefore you can really get into the thoughts of these characters; also had a multiple/alternating POVs.

One of the reasons why I didn't feel that emotionally connected was because of the tone. It was changing between naïveté and wise with the characters, which made me feel like the tone was too disconnected. Because of this I personally didn't cry. For me, that means that it doesn't pack a punch in my gut enough for the waterworks to start, therefore I couldn't rate this higher.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Other EinsteinThe Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Other Einstein is the story of a Mileva -Mitza-Marić, a footnote in Albert Einstein's studied life. You know what, I personally love reading books about forgotten histories with female protagonists. This book was absolutely an excellent example and accomplishment of what it means to take a closer look at the women enabling the "genius famous" men to do their work. The woman behind Einstein's work.

I was surprised to discover that there is actually lots of historical controversy on whether Mitza actually contributed or did all of the work behind some of Albert Einstein's work, and yet disappointingly got no credit. Over and over again there were just example of sexism and abuse that shocked me, because the way that the author wrote this had an engaging writing style.

I was completely absorbed in the story of Mitza's life, which I found to be absolutely fascinating. She definitively didn't take her education for granted, because she was a brilliant scholar who fought for her place at the Zurich University. She was studying physics also just has a genius brain for math, but is still struggling to be accepted in the classroom as a women. Her character is so complex and you can see kind of her life trajectory and it was neat to see how she tied in Newton's laws into her life story.

The only thing that I kind of had a problem with is how the climax/conflict came at the very last pages of the novel. I was honestly expecting this continually-boiling pot to break at some point earlier, and I kind of just got frustrated with how slow the characters were moving towards the conclusion.

Please note: That this is an imaginary fiction telling of their lives portrayed, and although there was an extent of research involved, Benedict does alienate admirers of Albert Einstein. I know I would definitively take this novel with a grain of salt.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Friday, October 7, 2016

The WonderThe Wonder by Emma Donoghue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“One never imagined that as the decades went by, one might drift into an unbounded country. It struck Lib now how alone in the world she was.”

This book is truly a treasure for the historical fiction genre, because I let my whole mind and body feel the atmosphere that Donoghue has created. This takes place in the 1850s, in a rural Irish town, tucked away in some little corner of the world, as I like to think, so it was intriguing and doing something that you don't really see that often in literary fiction.

The best thing about this book for me, is that her writing literally transported me and injected me to that specific 10 day period of time and place. You really come to feel the various characters' frustrations and you grow to love main character(even though she's not the narrator)-Anne. You can really identify the sexism and non-sensitivity or lack of action that is happening all around by most of the secondary characters.

I had so much empathy for Lib, and all of her patience, that I kind of wanted to grow something at certain characters and her actions in this book were deeply admirable and have earned my greatest respect.

For me, the most fascinating thing was how much it touched on the religion of Catholicism and the corruption and various bad things that happened around that time because of people of that faith. As having an insider experience in growing up in this church, I was sometimes shocked at every page about how some people were being treated, and who they were being treated as. Donoghue makes you feel emotions: like rage, frustration, shock, scoffing,etc. and that is the mark of a excellent writer for me, if they can get a visceral reaction from me.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

The Light FantasticThe Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

"One Nation, Under the Assassins, Indivisible, with Revenge and Punishment
for All."

I was so tempted to DNF this, and I really should have let it go as many other trusted reviewers have done. The multiple POVs were probably the most confusing I have ever read in a book, because I couldn't figure out who was narrating and where the flashbacks happened. I didn't connect to any of the characters, I didn't care what was happening in the plotline. The POV went from 1st person to 3rd person and then back again and so the reader had to constantly be adjusting

This story follows a group of "hurt" people on the internet who are planning violent actions that are to be happening in their school environments. I feel like this story has already been told, and there are better perspective on it to find elsewhere. There are 7 narrators, none of which I can remember anything remarkable thing about; in fact I just finished it and I can't remember one significant fact about any of the specific connection. And that's pathetically low for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me an e-ARC of this in exchange for my honest review.

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