The Girl From Everywhere Review

GirlFromEverywhere

I picked up the Girl From Everywhere after I received recommendations from literally every single book nerd I know. I mean, the premise itself should persuade even the staunchest critics to at least pick it up from off the shelf. It contains everything that anyone could ever want from a fantastical YA novel: pirates, a diverse group of protagonists, time travel, a nerdy female main character, and even a potential love triangle. In face, it seemed a little too good to be true, if I’m being completely honest. And, although it pains me to say it, my fears concerning the storyline were proven to be well-founded. While the novel was a pleasure to read, it left a lot to be desired in terms of plot and character development.

One aspect of this novel that the author managed to nail perfectly was the vivid setting. I have to say that I’ve become bored with the stereotypical background of New York City or some unnamed small town. Therefore, you can imagine my relief when I found out that this story centered around the bustling, lively state of 19th century Hawaii. The imagery was so beautifully described that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it, and I could imagine every location with a striking clarity that I have to admit cannot be found in the majority of other young adult novels. I’ve promised myself at least one trip to Hawaii thanks to this book, although I doubt it will be quite as charming as it was in the 1800s.

However, one complaint I have with the setting is the lack of rich history described the novel. Although she does manage to masterfully weave in some important folk tales and native into the plot, she places a large emphasis on the white inhabitants rather than utilize the beautiful society of the native Hawaiians. She had the perfect opportunity to differentiate her story from the countless other young adult plots out there focused on Eurocentric culture and instead provide a colorful storyline filled with the vibrant traditions of indigenous peoples, but she chose not to make use of that option. I personally would have greatly enjoyed a novel that was able to educate me on a culture that I wouldn’t have otherwise learned about, and I had high hopes that this novel would be able to do that. Sadly, but not unpredictably, I was let down.

Another issue whose presence was felt strongly throughout the plot was the lack of character development. Each member of this ragtag group of pirates seemed to have an interesting backstory that I would have loved to learn more about. It seems as though Heidi Heilig bit off more than she can chew in terms of protagonists. Although she did a wonderful job of assembling a diverse cast of varying cultures, time periods, and socioeconomic backgrounds, she lacked the foresight to develop these personalities until they resembled actual people. Instead, she left them feeling rather two-dimensional to the reader, which I personally thought was such a shame. The protagonists had the potential to be absolutely breathtaking, but they fell short and remained too flat to develop any personal connections with the reader. If the characters were to mature, this novel could have easily become one of my favorites. Sadly, it missed the mark.

While the Girl from Everywhere is a rather enjoyable and informative read, it left a lot to be desired in terms of tapping into its true potential. However, I will be reading the sequel, The Ship Beyond Time, in the hopes that these faults are remedied. If so, this series could potentially become a new staple in my bookshelf.

Please go to your nearest bookstore and give this book a try. If you end up loving it or hating it, please let me know what your opinions are in the comments below or by emailing me at senselesscrutiny@gmail.com. I would love a second opinion and a chance to discuss this novel with you!

My Rating:

4stars

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Most Anticipated YA Novels of September

With every new month comes a slew of new books just waiting to find a home on your shelf. So, mark your calendars, because this month brings with it some highly awaited novels that demand to be read as soon  as possible!

  • One Dark Throne

The sequel to the Three Dark Crowns novel, which follows three sisters in their battle for the crown, has been waited for with baited breath by YA lovers everywhere. The battle for the Crown has begun, and Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella are ready to do whatever it takes to get what they deserve. Get ready for this release on September 19, 2017.

  • Warcross

As a fan of everything that Marie Lu has written, including the Legend and Young Elites trilogies, I couldn’t help but include her newest novel in my list. The novel follows Emika Chen, a bounty hunter in a world obsessed with a game called Warcross. Emika accidentally lands herself in the middle of the Warcross Championships, thrusting herself into the action and fame. However, when this mistake provides her a job offer she couldn’t pass up, she discovers some secrets that could demolish the entire Warcross world. I don’t know about you, but that sounds AMAZING. The plot reminds me vaguely of Ready Player One, one of my favorite books of all time, and I can’t wait to devour this as soon as it releases on September 12, 2017.

  • They Both Die at the End

Anyone a fan of Adam Silvera, the author of More Happy Than Not, will rejoice over his new novel that manages to contain the same amount of witty humor and thought-provoking premises as his previous works. It involves two complete strangers who find out they’re about to die today. Using an app called Last Friend, they’re able to connect and experience as much of life as they can before the inevitable. It sounds heartbreaking and unforgettable, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it on September 5, 2017.

  • The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Leigh Bardugo is known for her captivating writing style, so there’s no doubt as to why she’s on this list. Her new novel is actually a collection of short stories surrounding fantastical and fairy tales. I, for one, can’t wait to read this when it releases on September 26, 2017.

  • Moxie

For fans of realistic fiction, don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about you. Moxie involves a girl from a small-town Texas high school that ends up fighting the administration and creating a feminist rebellion after months of pent-up frustration surrounding the sexism she and others girls are forced to face daily. This sounds like my idea of a perfect novel, so I would highly recommend getting your hands on a copy on September 19, 2017.

I hope at least one of these novels ends up on your TBR list, because I know they definitely made mine.

If not, well, there’s always next month.

 

Apology and SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!

theres no place like home

It’s been a really long time, hasn’t it? Whoops.

Classes just started up, and I was pulled into a whirlwind of work and panic. I felt like my brain was literally frying, and I found myself singing the Mario theme song in varying intensities to calm myself down.

In short, the past few weeks were rough. Really rough. Like sandpaper rough. Or maybe a 5 o’clock shadow rough. I’m going to stop before the comparisons get even weirder.

Anyways, today my schedule was surprisingly blank, so I decided that I would take the time to apologize to you all about my LONG hiatus. This was bad, and I’m really, really sorry. Thankfully, now I’m back, and I’m going to try really hard to keep it that way! I’ll make sure that there’s always new posts for you to read, and for now I’m aiming for one post per week. I really missed this place, so let’s hope that this never happens EVER AGAIN.

Other than that apology, I had one more thing to share with you guys. An announcement. A pretty big announcement, at least in my opinion. Drumroll, please…

100 followers

I GOT 100 FOLLOWERS!!! Actually, I got 100 followers about three weeks ago, so it’s a little over that by now. BUT STILL. I have been on this site for around 6 months now, and I’ve loved every second of it. I still remember the day I started this blog, my hands actually trembling to click the “post” button. So much has happened since then, and I feel like as I managed to grow as a person, my blog grew with me. Now, I love posting and have to stop myself from updating you guys on even the most trivial matters of my literary life. Before I get all sappy on you and begin to cry over my computer, I just want to say that you all are amazing and have given me so much confidence and happiness. I honestly have no idea what I would do without you guys and without this blog, and I’m pretty glad I never have to find out.

Thanks for reading! I’ll definitely try to have something posted up by next week at the latest, but au revoir for now!

The Distance Between Us By Kasie West: Book Review

distance between us

I don’t usually pick up fluffy contemporary novels. When I read, I want to be sucked in to a world of horror and wonder, to cry and to laugh, and to be touched. I want all the books I read to grow a little place in my heart and be memorable, and these kind of novels usually don’t manage to do that. However, I let my guard down this once, probably blinded by the pretty cover and the hopelessly romantic summary on the back, and I would love to say that I was miraculously surprised, and that this novel was amazing and fantastic. Sadly, this novel was exactly what I expected it to be. Meaningless. Confusing. Badly written. A pointless plot that ends in an abrupt, inconclusive conclusion. Overall, it’s not worth the read or the effort, and I suggest you cross it off your TBR list unless you’re in the mood to waste a few hours of your life.

Arguably the biggest issue in this novel is the main character. I have never hated a main character before and I thought I never would, mainly because there has always been at least a small part of him/her that I related to or found tolerable. However, after reading this I was proved wrong, since Caymen is one of the most idiotic characters ever created. She has a “dry sense of humor” but to me that seems to be just an eloquent term for “irritating”. She evades every question asked to her with horribly thought-out answers and can’t speak properly in the majority of the social situations she unwittingly places herself in. Her skills of speech leave much to be desired, and even though the author makes desperate attempts to make her seem funny, nothing about the novel or the character made me want to crack a smile.

Speaking of horribly written main characters, Xander was an absolute fright. He had the multi-faceted, three-dimensional qualities of Pac-Man. Although the author tried many times to delve into the depths of his personality, nothing came out of it and the I was left knowing only the bare minimum about him. Supposedly, he’s perfect. As many of you know, perfect characters are the epitome of bad writing, because they reveal the author’s inadequacy in creating authentic, relatable novels. Characters are born to be human, and to be human you must have many flaws and scars. Perfection is supernatural and otherworldly, with no place in the “realistic” fiction genre. So, although there seems to be nothing wrong with him, the reader will soon grow to hate him because of their inability to understand him.

This book, to add on to its extensive list of short-comings, has many discrepancies, which are also tell-tale signs of less than satisfactory writing skills. Need more proof? Here is a list of some of the horrible contradictory ideas and statements placed in the novel:

  1. According to Caymen, Xander has a very elusive smile that she comes to love due to its rarity. However, if the grin is truly so rare, then how come it graces almost every single page of the book?
  2. Xander also seems to be the heir to a fortune, even rich enough to afford one of the only fancy boarding schools in their small town. Well, it he’s still in school, then how come he never seems to go to it or do any school-related activities, even though Caymen is seen countless times going to school and doing homework?
  3. Two guys are very obviously into Caymen, going so far as to kiss her sometimes. If so, then why does she constantly think that they don’t like her and are just being friendly, when even people with extremely low intellect would get the hint?
  4. Caymen has never met her grandparents, and vice versa. If that is true, then why did her grandparents recognize her almost immediately as soon as they found her?
  5. Apparently, Xander knew all along that Caymen had very rich grandparents. Hoewever, why didn’t he ever mention them or bring them up in the very obvious times when he could and should have?

The author made every aspect of her novel as surreal as a fairytale, when it seemed that she was desperately trying to do the opposite. These contradictory facets of the novel also made it very hard and irritating to read, which I will definitely keep in mind next time I plan to pick up a book by Kasie West.

The amount of problems and issues that were created in this novel was comical. All good novels have a distinct main problem, which directs the course of the plot, and a few smaller problems which are addressed along the way. However, there was no clear defining problem in this novel. In fact, this book just seemed like a mash-up of random smaller problems that amassed to create chaos and confusion. Although it is true that in life we are forced to deal with a plethora of problems at the same time, it is not true in the book world. People go to books to escape from the cloud of issues hanging above their heads, because books are simple and always create a direct path to a solution, no matter how large the problem is. However, this book offers no solace to those wanting a pleasant read. As soon as you open the first page, you are bombarded by a multitude of problems that are so unreal that you doubt they would even occur in real life. They add up quickly, and soon you will have the immense urge to shut the novel and carry on with your life, trying to forget that such bad writing exists in the world. In short: the plot of this novel is a complete joke.

However, by far the most atrocious aspect of the novel was the ending. It was inconclusive and rushed, leaving readers with a sense of immense confusion when they finish it (or if they finish it, because many would have probably abandoned ship by this point). The last few pages were a makeshift whirlwind of sloppily tied loose ends and desperate attempts at a happily ever after, and it was frankly a pain to read. The majority of the problems that arose throughout the novel were simply shushed and not given a proper solution to. All the characters were frantically thrown together to create an allusion of happy relationships, when in fact everything was far from perfect and the conclusion came much too soon. Although the novel gave me the constant urge to rip all my hair out by the roots while reading, I wouldn’t have hated it as much if the ending was decent. If the author hadn’t created so many problems and issues throughout the course of the plot, then such an appalling conclusion wouldn’t have been necessary.

Do not pick this book up. Do not even think about this novel ever again, and I assure you that you will not be sorry. All I got from reading this was the feeling that I had just lost all of my brain cells. So, unless you enjoy pointlessness and heinous writing, this book is not for you.

My Rating:

1-star (1)

Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award #2

sisterhood of world bloggers

I am so happy to be receiving this award again, because it’s nice to know that I’m part of a community of supportive and determined girls! This award is very clever and reminds you that we are all in this together, regardless of whether or not you were nominated.

I would like to thank the lovely blog Find Me At The Library for nominating me! Her blog is amazing, and I read almost all of her posts! You should check it out!

THE RULES:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions they have sent you.
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate ten people.

THE QUESTIONS:

1.) If you were to rewrite any book to make it better, what book would it be/what would you change?

I would probably choose to rewrite the Twilight saga, because…. do I really need a reason for that? I would definitely make Bella a stronger, more independent character that’s actually worthy enough to be read about. It hurts when I see teenage girls idolize a female character that has no desirable traits, because there are plenty of other strong characters to look up to. Although Twilight has many problems, I think Bella’s the biggest one and would at least attempt to fix her.

Or burn it. I might just end up burning all the books and making sure that no one has to read such garbage ever again. That works too.

2.) How do you find most of the books you read?

belle bookstore

I usually just walk into a bookstore and pick a novel that seems interesting enough. You know, the old fashioned way. However, I also am an avid viewer of BookTube and reader of book blogs, so I sometimes go into a bookstore with a few novels in mind and narrow my choices down until I find the one book I’m going to buy.

3.) Do you have more physical copies or digital copies of books?

books

I definitely have more physical copies. I love the feeling of a book in my hand, of flipping through the pages and tracing my fingers over the printed letters. I love the smell of books, the old, musty smell, the freshly printed smell, and the distinct smell of paper and beautifully crafted words that can’t be replicated anywhere else. Digital copies are great, but there’s nothing better than the sense of pride and happiness that comes with holding a real book in your hands.

4.) What character would you pick to be your best friend in real life?

cath

It would have to be Cath from the novel Fangirl. She’d understand the struggles of being a book lover and would let me rant to her about it. She’s also an amazing writer, and maybe some of her insane writing skills could rub off on me if I spent enough time with her.

5.) Do you lend books out to other people? Why/Why not?

I do, unfortunately, and end up with horrible consequences. To state my point, I shall retell the tale of my now missing Divergent collection. You see, I was a naive girl who believed that all people are good and responsible, and I lent my copy of Divergent to a friend. She had it for years, and one day she moved along with my precious novel. The same sort of incidents happened to my copy of Insurgent and Allegiant, and now I am only left with Four, the collection of short stories of the Divergent trilogy that is practically useless without the actual novels.

So, I believe that from now on I am not lending any more books, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

6.) What do you enjoy most about blogging?

blogging

I really like the fact that I can rant and talk about books endlessly, which is what I do in real life, and people actually enjoy it! In my life, I usually have to restrain myself from talking about books when talking to others, since they will easily get bored, but I can happily let go of the reins on my blog. I am so glad the blogosphere exists, because I don’t know what I would do without it.

7.) Where do you enjoy reading most?

bed reading

My absolute favorite place to read is on my bed, with the door closed to my room and the curtains pulled aside from my window. I usually have my dictionary and laptop next to me, so I can figure out definitions quickly and write a review as soon as I’m done.

8.) Can you read multiple books at once, or do you just keep with one book?

I can not read several books simultaneously. I have tried before, and it ended really badly. So, because of that failed attempt, I usually just read one book at a time.

9.) If you could have any book perfect adapted on-screen, what would it be?

anna and the french kiss

I haven’t found the perfect romantic comedy film yet, which is why I usually stick to action and adventure movies. However, if Anna and The French Kiss was adapted for the big screen, I’m sure that that would become my favorite chick flick of all time. I really hope they make a movie for that book, because I’m sure it would be a hit.

10.) Do you think Hermione should have ended up with Ron or Harry?

harry potter and friends

Harry. I think Hermoine and Ron are a cute couple, but she and Harry were MEANT TO BE. THEY WERE PERFECT.

But, Hermione is a strong, independent woman, and she can choose whomever she wants. I just wanted to let you all know that she CHOOSED WRONG.

Well, I guess that’s all for the questions! Now, I must provide some questions of my own.

MY QUESTIONS:

1.) What’s your favorite TV show and why?

2.) If you ever had the chance to wipe a book/series off the face of the Earth (I know, it’s sad), what would you choose to destroy?

3.) What genre do you read the least books of?

4.) Do you tend to like the book or the movie adaptation of the book more?

5.) If you only got to say ten words to your favorite author, what would they be?

6.) If you were stranded on an island and could only bring one book for company, what would it be?

7.) What is your favorite most recently watched movie?

8.) Which Disney princess is your favorite and why?

9.) What is your earliest memory of reading?

10.) If you could choose one book to become a classic, which book would you choose?

I hope you enjoy answering these questions, because I would love to read all your wonderful answers!

Now, I must nominate 10 other bloggers! Drumroll, please…

  • Bhramori
  • Sripurna
  • Erika
  • The Writing Hufflepuff
  • hashtaglovebooks
  • Catia
  • Amy Couttas
  • Kim @ Tranquil Dreams
  • Elm
  • Fantasy Angel

But, even if you weren’t nominated, please remember that you are still part of a community of amazing women who will lend you support throughout your life in the blogosphere.

I hope you enjoyed this! I have a couple other awards and reviews to post, which I’ll be sure to do as soon as possible! Until then, au revoir!

Paper Towns Movie Review

No spoilers will be revealed in this review.

Paper Towns

Last night, I went to a show of Paper Towns, one of my most anticipated book to movie adaptations of 2015! I read Paper Towns by the amazing John Green very recently and loved it, since it was beautifully written and had a lot more substance than most of the YA novels I read. (If you want to see my review for that novel, click here.)

Therefore, I came to the theater with very high expectations. Although not all of those expectations were met and certain aspects were a bit lacking, this movie was beautiful and ended up portraying the book more perfectly than I could have ever hoped.

One of the most noticeable problems was the beginning of the film. It attempted to provide all of the necessary background information within the first few minutes. However, that only served to confuse the audience more with the extremely fast pace the plot was moving at. Those who read the book recently were able to comprehend, since it was information they knew. However, those who read the book a couple years ago or chose to forgo the book and watch the movie were very puzzled and couldn’t comprehend the large amount of information that was being thrown at them in a short amount of time. Although that part of the movie only lasted a couple of minutes, the information they provided was important and needed to be digested by the viewer in order to comprehend the rest of the film. So, for any of you who haven’t read the novel or don’t remember it that well, I recommend familiarizing yourself with at least the first chapter or two of the book before going to watch it. Trust me, it’ll make all the difference.

Another aspect of the movie that I’m sure everyone grew to hate as they continued watching was the diction and intelligibility of the actors’ words. I admit that they’re playing teenagers, and teenagers tend to mumble and have problems voicing themselves clearly. However, that form of speech is completely unacceptable for actors who are addressing an audience. From Nat Wolff (Quentin), who murmured his way through every situation, to Cara Delevigne (Margo), who’s American accent was great but caused her to have a very prominent speech impediment of sorts, I had trouble hearing and comprehending many of the dialogues in the film. I strongly suggest to anyone who plans to watch this on the big screen to instead wait until it comes out on Netflix, because you’ll have subtitles and will be able to actually understand and enjoy the movie.

cara delevingne

Speaking of Cara Delevigne, I am a bit disappointed of her portrayal of Margo. Her physical description doesn’t match that of Margo, and that would easily be overlooked if it wasn’t for the fact that it was a pretty important part of the novel to many readers. Margo talked to Quentin in the novel about how her friends would always make subtle comments about her body and being somewhat fatter than them. Quentin didn’t ever think that she was fat, because she was Margo, and she was perfect the way she was. Although that was only a small part of the novel, many teenage girls who read it began to take Margo as a role model and used that part of the book to remind themselves that their bodies were perfect, too. In this day and age, it’s necessary to uplift girls and tell them that they’re beautiful, and that passage in John Green’s novel, no matter how small, managed to do just that.

However, for the movie, who did they choose to portray Margo, the girl who reminded everyone that they don’t need to look like a model to be pretty? A model. Cara acted pretty well as Margo, but when the image of the character mattered so much to the readers, I think they should have factored the physical description in when casting.

nat wolff

Nat Wolff, however, beautifully portrayed Quentin. He was exactly how I imagined he would be: awkward, funny, a bit obsessive, and up for a good time. It’s a beautiful thing, seeing one of your favorite characters come to life on the big screen, but Nat Wolff’s spot-on acting made the experience downright magical.

There were some alterations from the book to the movie, but I personally liked the plot of the film more than that of the novel. The movie managed to make the storyline a lot more realistic and cleared up many questions readers, including myself, had while reading. Some facets of the book were really unrealistic, but the film managed to make it a lot more understandable and authentic. Although I loved the novel a whole lot more than I loved the film, this aspect of the movie was one thing that I couldn’t help but enjoy more.

However, one part of the plot that the movie didn’t carry over well was the frustration Quentin’s friends had over his obsessive hunt for Margo. In the novel, his friends quickly became irritated with him and did not help him in pursuing Margo until the road trip, where they soon had a falling out, as well. However, the movie portrayed his friends as almost completely willing to help him for the majority of the film. It didn’t manage to show the fact that Quentin was the only one who really cared for Margo, no matter how much he really knew about her. It didn’t manage to show how much Quentin loved her, and that upset me quite a bit.

At the end, though, everything was perfect. I absolutely adored the last few minutes of the film, because it wrapped the novel up very well. It showed a bright and hopeful future but managed to remind everyone just how deep and thought-provoking the book really was. It left you feeling fulfilled, so it did it’s job, and I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the whole experience.

My Rating:

3 stars

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult: Book Review

my sister's keeper

I picked this novel up because of a quote from it that I once found online. “You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” I thought that it was the most brief but honest quote on love that I had ever heard. So, when I went to the bookstore the next day, I had to pick it up. I grabbed it without ever looking at the back cover, without knowing what I was delving into. And, I must say, it exceeded every expectation I had for it. This novel is beautiful and heartbreaking. It makes you feel emotions you never knew you could feel. It reduces you to a sobbing, laughing mess. It ruins you and completes you at the same time, and it’s brilliant.

One aspect of the novel that I couldn’t help but love was the diverse and equally relatable characters present. Jodi Picoult manages to beautifully write in the perspectives of five different people, a feat that I have never seen before now. Most of the time, when authors write in the perspective of more than one character, both of their voices end up sounding extremely similar until it’s hard to differentiate between them. However, I encountered no such problem while reading this book. Each character was brilliantly deconstructed, and I got to know each of them as individuals, not just part of a collectively larger story. From the quick-witted attorney to the hopefully depressed Anna, I felt a connection with everyone and managed to sympathize with each of their problems. Every person in that novel is going through something you’ve probably experienced in your life: depression, the need for attention, a less-than-satisfactory love life, and the overall desire to be normal. They are extremely relatable, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with all of them and the wonderful story they wove as the novel progressed.

The plot was also one of the most brilliantly executed storylines I have ever seen. It first makes sure that you are fully emotionally invested and then proceeds to navigate you through whirlpools of feelings and dizzying plot twists. And, although most of the time I can spot plot twists from a mile away, or at least suspect it and not be thrown completely off guard, I was clueless while reading this novel. I was shocked and surprised each time the storyline took a turn, no matter how slight, because the novel was so perfectly written that I couldn’t see what was coming up ahead. It is a roller-coaster of feelings and emotions, but it is well worth the ride.

I must warn you, though: this novel will make you cry. At first, I didn’t believe that it would. The book was sad and all, but I didn’t feel like I was going to shed tears over it. So, I went through the novel with a sort of indifferent depression, until the ending of course. Near the last few pages of the book, the realization and emotions hit me like a tsunami, and the tears began to flow. I couldn’t stop them, and soon I was curled into a ball on the floor, sobbing and choking and feeling like I was rotting on the inside. And, although those moments were unpleasant, it was also the most wonderful reading experience I have had in a long time. It was fantastic, and I think that everyone who loves reading should try this novel at least once to see how a truly good book should make you feel.

So, if you don’t own this novel already, I suggest dropping whatever you’re doing and sprinting to the nearest bookstore. I assure you, you won’t regret it.

My Rating:

5 stars