Category Archive: The Book Shelf Reviews

Aug 05

(Review) Th1rteen R3asons Why

So, if you read my Twitter, you might have seen this tweet over the weekend.

Th1rteen R3asons Why is the most depressing book I’ve read in awhile…

Which is, by the way, entirely true.

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Th1rteen R3asons Why starts off with the main character – Clay – getting a box in the mail. That box is full of cassette tapes. Curious, he goes out to the garage, and using an old player, starts listening to them.

The voice he hears isn’t some singer, no news clips, or anything. Instead, he hears a dead girl’s voice.

Earlier, Hannah killed herself. And these tapes, which are to be sent to people – each person has their own side of the tape, and they’re then to mail them on – who had a role in why she killed herself.

The book follows Clay as he painfully listens to the tapes. He doesn’t think he belongs there – he liked her. He tried to help her. So why, why on earth, was he part of the reason she killed herself?

The narrative quickly (and sometimes confusingly) flips back and forth between Hannah’s tapes – all in italics – and Clay’s own thoughts. It’s a mixed up mess, which describes Clay’s mind just as well.

This is apparently Asher’s first novel, and I’m hoping we get more by him. It’s a compelling read – I couldn’t put it down – and a quick one too. We’re given thirteen stories, all of them leading to the end that we know happens. You want to say “Clay! Save her!” so many times, especially during his story, but sadly, we can’t.

Pick it up on Amazon, and read it ASAP. Really good book.

Jul 20

Quickview on Darren Shan

So, today I finished Darren Shan’s epic, Cirque du Freak. The first eleven books were riveting, the typical type of book that you just can’t put down. I love them without a doubt, they paint a perfect picture of our protagonist who really does go through a lot more hell than he deserves.

What I don’t like is how the series ends. Not at all. I felt – and after reading some other reviews – feel extremely cheated by how he just wiped everything out, so that it doesn’t matter at all.

I won’t go into too much detail in case people haven’t read them yet… but if you do, I would almost suggest stopping after you read Part 1 of book 12. It ends on a sad note, but it’s much better than what you get if you continue to read.

Why? Because it doesn’t make sense. Darren Shan’s entire view of fate/destiny (Des Tiny hehe) gets completely and utterly warped and it loses it’s entire connection… I can’t believe it happens, to be honest.

Jan 06

Book talk

So I’ve read a few books since I last really talked about ‘em.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
So, this I ended up reading during my lovely Kicked-Out-Days. And since I had a LOT of time to kill… I read a lot. Heh. So I got through the entire story really fast.

It was a… sad and beautiful story. There was that underlying feel of pure love just emulated through the entire story. I felt so bad for Claire when he wasn’t around, and for Henry when he is stuck dealing with little Claire… it was undeniably cute.

And not pedo-creepy either, like Stephanie Meyer managed to add into Breaking Dawn.

I will admit I cried at the ending. It was horribly depressing, especially after all that happened. From the moment that Alba was introduced, it… it just got more and more sad, knowing what was going to happen.

The narrative was interesting, especially since we kept switching around between the two of them. Though, at times it did get a little confusing, especially when there were a lot of time jumps. That could have been done a bit smoother, I think. But still, a glorious masterpiece that will stay with us for awhile longer.

Slam by Nick Hornby
Slam, however, will not stay with us forever. It’s not a masterpiece. It’s not going to be in the league of The Scarlett Letter or anything.

BUT BUT BUT I fucking LOVE it. The narrator (Sam) is so much FUN! He’s psychotic and funny and just a plain, boring teenager.

It’s been awhile since I read it (beginning of December) but it’s still sticking around, because he’s such an interesting character.

So, basically, he gets with a girl, gets her pregnant, and then starts having this creepy flash-forwards to what happens. And this is all explained by conversations with a Tony Hawk poster.

Here’s the Amazon review
*Starred Review* For Hornby, author of About a Boy (1998) and High Fidelity (1995), the move from adult to young-adult fiction represents more of a natural progression than a change in course. So it should come as no surprise that he has written an accomplished teen novel featuring a character whose voice hits its groove at the downbeat and sustains it through the final chord. Sam is a disarmingly ordinary 15-year-old kid who loves to skate (that’s skateboarding, to you and me). But then he is blindsided: his girlfriend gets pregnant, and he lands in the middle of his mum’s nightmare (she had Sam when she was 16). This may sound like an old-fashioned realistic YA problem novel, but it’s a whole lot more. Sam, you see, has a sort-of-imaginary friend: the world’s greatest skater, Tony Hawk, whose poster Sam talks to when he has problems. And the poster talks back, maybe, or maybe Sam is just reciting quotes from Tony’s autobiography. And is it really Tony who is “whizzing” Sam into the future for glimpses of what is to come? With or without Tony’s help, Sam gives us the facts about his very eventful couple of years, but as he reminds us, “there comes a point where the facts don’t matter anymore . . . because you don’t know what anything felt like.” Which is where Hornby comes in. We know exactly how Sam feels—even when he feels differently from the beginning of a sentence to the end—and it feels just right: a vertiginous mix of anger, confusion, insight, humor, and love. Ott, Bill

Sam is so immature but he does his best. It’s just so cute. :3 ♥

Here’s a review that i liked

About a Boy by Nick Hornby
So after I read Slam, I was uber excited about Nick Hornby. I figured that if he wrote Slam and I loved it so much, I should love anything else by him, nene?

Well, I went and grabbed About a Boy… not nearly as engaging. Has a weird adult that acts like a kid and a misfit kid that just doesn’t get the world. It was kinda… well, boring and not very fun.

…and that’s all I’ve actually gotten through! I have a lot of backed-up stuff to work on now, including some of the Cirque du Freak books, and a few new series that I want to get started on. Wahhh…

Nov 17

Putting Cirque du Freak to the side…

…so you all know, if by chance you actually follow what I’m reading, I didn’t finish Cirque du Freak book 7… I just decided to pick something else up while I wait for money to buy rest of the series online. x.x Or at Barnes & Noble, since Borders apparently refuses to stock again :(

When I went down to Chicago to meet Angie Sage, to support the bookstore, I ended up picking up Slam by Nick Hornby.

I’m only 87 pages in, but I’m enjoying it immensely. It’s done first person, which is either really good or just bomb. Hornby knows what he’s doing, and having a slightly psycho narrator (he talks to a poster, and thinks the poster talks back) is a lot of fun. Sam is a smart, fun narrator who is able to look at things both emotionally and objectively, and the mix of the two is interesting. It’s also cool how it’s written from the future, so you get the occasional break where he says stuff like “If only I had known then…”

Is there a term for that? When it’s written as a reflective flashback? (Or is that the term? Haha)

Anyways, it’s a lot of fun and I should probably go to bed (it’s 5am…) so that I can get up tomorrow and read some more of it :-)

Nov 12

Done with book 6

In the Cirque du Freak series. That means that I have finished the first two trilogies in the series.

A bit of a spoiler warning here for the end of book 6, so unless you want your reading ruined, don’t read on:

So, another trilogy in and still no sign of Steve. The movie really did a shit job in keeping with the continuity of the books… he apparently doesn’t really appear again until 7. (Which is now on the Current Reading deal, except that I don’t have the book yet) I only know this because I am a sucker for spoilers (x.x) and read the Wikipedia ones for the next trilogy.

Anyways, I enjoyed this one. It introduced (and killed :() some cool new characters that would be fun to see in film version. Watching Arra and Darren on the bars would be AWESOME. Heh. Though I can’t say that it wasn’t pretty predictable, what Kurda would do. Shan did a good job, though, setting up his character and leading him to his demise. We knew what Kurda said in his trial was truth – he believed every word he said. It saddens me to know that we see this sort of thing all over in the world today.

I also really enjoyed the wolves and their roles. The old one, Marge or whatever her name was, was quite the story. The Little Train That Could, maybe? :) Shan really seems to have a thing for setting his characters up to die, doesn’t he? You can’t help but feel that she did right before dying.

Hmm… what else. Oh, yes, the ending. What. A. Bunch. Of. Bullshit. The Vampires that treasure their rules? Weren’t they having a FIT at the idea of Kurda, like 120 years old, being Princed? But yet they let 20 year old Darren? What the hell? That seriously does not work. But I suppose it works for Mr. Des[mond] Tiny. lawl.

Now I need to wait for a good coupon at Borders (Yeah, there is a 30% out, but that’s still not enough) or for me to get hired (♥) before I buy more.

…yeah, I have an interview this weekend :-)

Nov 02

Cirque du Freak

So, I said in my last post that when I’m into something, I read it fast. Well, Dan Brown took me a month and a half. The first three books in the Cirque du Freak series took me less than 48 hours. Friday night, I bought the collection (40% off at Borders! Have you guys used your coupons yet?) and Sunday morning, I finished it. :)

It is so unbelievably different from the movie that I have to wonder if they only read the back-of-the-book summaries to write the movie. Steve is a psycho, yeah, but he’s not quite at the level he’s in the movie. Darren is kinda goody-good, but not the level he’s in the movie…

But I have to say, I preferred the movie to the books so far. The movie was more action packed (though book 3 got me going and the end of book 2 made me very upset) and I think the characters were better developed in it. Darren in the books… bores me for the most part. He was a semi-intriguing character on the big screen, but in the books… he’s pretty damn flat. Woe is me, I hate you, I lose my morals pretty damn quick, blah blah blah.

I dunno, I’m gonna reserve judgement until I’ve read all 12 (thank god, a series that is complete by the time I start it!!!) and… yeah, gotta read all 12. I bought 4-6 today at Barnes and Noble (because Borders didn’t have them!!! Grr) and am about to flip on my reading light and start (and maybe finish… haha) book 4. I got school in the morning, so who knows how far I’ll get.

OH. One more thing. Seriously, book sellers, is it that hard to like, print one set? I don’t like having mismatched books. Not at alllllll.

Nov 02

So I finally finished Dan Brown’s latest

And, well, I was kinda let down. The Lost Symbol really didn’t keep me as enthralled as Angels & Demons or The Da Vinci Code. The fact that it took me a month and a half (!) to read says something. I read most books in 1-3 days. Very very very rarely will it take me a week, much less a month.

I love Robert. He’s a very fun character, but sometimes… well, sometimes he isn’t so likable. When he has all these random flashes of “OH!” it’s kinda like… dude, do you have a life? He knows *so* much it’s kinda like… wow, you need to get laid. Seriously. :P

His chick in this novel was pretty much the same as the others. A pretty girl that’s linked to the case (in this instance, she’s a sister to the one in trouble – much like Sophie was in Da Vinci, and I can’t even remember Angels & Demon chick) and is needed for Robert to solve it. In the three books… well, it’s pretty much the same story with new words and names.

Though I was very impressed with Robert’s death scene. It was played out well.

Zachary… well, that was unexpected. One of the few things in the book that made me go WTF. o_o I like how the main villian was actually dead through the entire book. In a way. It was a cool little twist, and it sure worked to screw over Peter some!

But yeah, for the most part, it’s the same story, just a new setting. But I guess that’s the story when it comes to hit block busters. You find something that works, you tweak it, and presto, out comes a new book. :) For those looking to find out what happens in the next book, I suggest you check out this post I made awhile back :P

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