Thursday, October 24, 2013

Losing Faith

I really was going to post a book review today but I've had something on my mind literally all day that I wanted to talk to you all about.

So, recently a book was released that was the concluding book in a series. I'm not going to say which one it was (so don't ask), but it was a startling and incredibly huge disappointment. This isn't the first time this has happened and I feel like it needs addressing.

The problem is this: Writers building up a story, sucking in readers until they are thoroughly invested in the characters and what happens to them, only to write a CRAP ENDING. Like a REALLY crap ending.

Now I wouldn't have even brought this up unless something devastatingly catastrophic happened that pissed me off enough to broach the subject. And frankly, I'm frustrated and annoyed that this is even something I need to talk about.

Why are authors becoming more interested in a shock factor and less interested in 1) doing justice to a story that started out so fantastic, 2) the attachment of millions of readers, and 3) writing an ending they can be proud of?

It has made me lose faith in authors of series. Honestly. You all know that I have a difficult time already with "second books", and I rely on a strong ending to draw me back into a story and remind me why I loved it in the first place. I, as a reader, expect a CONCLUSION. I expect the characters, not necessarily to get a "happily ever after", but for the ending to be something that I can at least say, "Hmmm, that's not what I expected, but I liked it. I understand why the author did what they did and why it mattered to the overall story."

I always feel a bit frustrated when I wait a year (and sometimes two) for a conclusion to a series. But I always say that I would rather the author take their time and write a really awesome end. This particular series that sparked my outrage was one where I LOVED the first book. I finished it and wanted to read it again. I recommended it to everyone. The second book was much like they all are for me... I didn't love it but it was a means to an end. Then I waited almost TWO YEARS for what I expected to be a mind-blowing final book. I got what I wished for. Only it was mind-blowingly AWFUL. And now here I sit, stewing and totally mortified that I urged everyone and their dog to get invested in the series in the first place.

So please forgive me.


The end. 

And if you are wondering, NO, I don't feel better now. I'm still so disappointed it makes me sick. 

Happy Reading!  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Release Date: January 8, 2013
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.
Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

The awesome thing about playing catch up on my book reviews is that I get to pick and choose what I want to review. And it just so happens that I'll be reviewing all my favorite books that I read this year instead of having crap books sprinkled in. Don't worry, those will come later I'm sure. 

A few years ago I read a little book called If I Stay (review HERE) by an author I'd never heard of named Gayle Forman. It honestly changed my life. It was the most breathtakingly, heart wrenching novel I've ever read. It was real and it was tragic. It was absolutely stunning. Ever since that life-changing moment, I have made it a point to keep my eye out for Gayle Forman's work. So I was absolutely thrilled when I saw that she had released a new book. 

Just One Day was just as beautiful as Ms. Forman's previous novels. It was different, and it definitely wasn't as heartbreaking as her other work, but I loved it just the same. There is just something about the words and the way these stories are told that draws me in and changes how I see the world. I think I would be hard pressed to find someone who can weave such a thoroughly captivating story as Gayle Forman.

I loved that this book was centered on self-discovery and figuring out who you are. I loved "Lulu" and Willem. I loved having this tale of love and loss revolve around "the city of love". And most of all I loved the woman the Allyson grew into because of her experiences in Paris with Willem. In fact, I loved it all so much that I'm currently in the middle of the companion book, Just One Year. So read this!! That way, when I post about the next one, there won't be any spoiler alerts.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Release Date: February 12, 2013
Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.
Just reading the book blurb gives me chills. This is one of the very best books I've read all year.

Once upon a time,  about 15 years ago, there was a movie called Sliding Doors. It was about a woman who's life was split into two different outcomes based on whether or not she makes the subway on time. In the reality that she makes the subway, she gets home from work early enough to find that her boyfriend (fiancé?) is having an affair. She leaves him and the course of her life is forever changed. In the reality that she misses the subway, she gets home much, much later and is none the wiser. Anyway, there was a time when this was my very favorite movie. I think some of the reason I loved this book, Pivot Point, so much was because it appealed to the same part of me that is intrigued with the idea that small moments or decisions can change the course of our entire lives. I think the other part of the reason I loved it was because it was just a really fantastically written story.

There wasn't a single character in this book that I didn't like. (Which is uncommon for me!) I was drawn into their lives and their stories from the very first page. The ups and downs, twists and turns, intrigue, romance, and suspense of watching two different fates pan out was exhilarating. I loved everything about this book--even the very end when I had extremely mixed feelings, wanting things to tie up nicely in a bow. But really, when you have the ability to choose your future, can things NOT be messy?

You absolutely have to read this book. Scratch that. You absolutely have to BUY THIS BOOK. I'm not kidding when I say it's one of my favorites of the year. Maybe ever, actually. Yes, it was that good. Now what are you doing still reading this post???? GO GET THIS BOOK AND READ IT. NOW!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blackmoore: A Proper Romance by Julianne Donaldson

Release Date: September 9, 2013
Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is
Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist.
I loved this book. Although it took me a little longer to get invested in this story than Ms. Donaldson's first book Edenbrooke (click HERE to read my review of it). But once I did, I was completely and utterly in love.
Yes, again.
I think the problem I had with this book to start was Kate. I didn't relate to her. It took time for me to connect with her character and learn to love her. What made all the difference for me was her interactions with Henry. Their friendship. The fact that he would do anything for her and truly cared about her--it made me care about her too.
Oh Henry. (Sigh.) 
[Funny, and SO far off the subject, but I say that phrase with a different kind of sigh about 18 times a day since my middle child is named Henry. Haha]
Back on track, I really loved Henry's character. It's interesting to me that I couldn't connect with Kate, but I connected with Henry immediately. I felt for him. Usually that happens the other way around for me. :)
I loved this story. It had everything I love in a romance and more. There were also twists in the story that I didn't expect which made it that much more awesome in my eyes. This is not only a MUST READ, it's also a definite MUST BUY. If you love romance, but want something without the heaving bosoms and rippling pectorals, with plenty of actual falling in love (minus the falling in bed), Julianne Donaldson delivers. She is fast becoming my absolute favorite romance writer. Read this!
Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Did You Know?

Did you know that the last post I did on here was my 300th post?? It's kind of crazy to me that I have reviewed even close to that many books these past few years.

Which got me thinking....

There's no way I can give this up.

I have been thinking about it for a few months now, trying to decide if I wanted to keep reviewing books. The past few months, I have had the awesome opportunity to intern for a literary agency reading, editing, and recommending (or not recommending....) YA manuscripts. I have loved it so far. And it's made me really, really miss blogging.

The last time you heard from me I was about 4 months pregnant with my third child, and tomorrow that little one will be 6 months old.

So I made an executive decision. It's time to quit dragging my feet. It's time to start blogging again! I'll be back to my Tuesdays and Thursdays schedule starting this coming Tuesday, October 15th. I have read so many great books since I last blogged. I'm excited to share them with you! (Although they won't be in any particular order--definitely not the order I read them in!) Enjoy!