Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Inland by Kat Rosenfield

InlandInland by Kat Rosenfield
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

  In books, in songs, in stories love is a floating thing.

A falling thing. A flying thing. A good bye to all your little earthbound worries, as you soar heart-first toward a pink sky and your dangling feet forget to feel the ground.

Only I know, now: it isn’t like that at all.

Love is a sense of place. It’s effortless, no stumbling, no stammering,. It’s your own voice, quite but strong, and the sense that you can open your mouth, speak your mind, and never feel afraid.

A known quantity, a perfect fit.

It’s the thing that holds you tight to earth, fast and solid and sure. You feel it, and feel that it’s right and true, and you know exactly where you are:


Moody and quiet and thoughtful, Inland is not a happy story told; there’s a general sense of longing on all their parts with varying basis. Callie Morgan longs for something as yet unnamed; her father longs for what isn’t anymore- his perfect wife and their happy family. Nessa knows what she cannot have and sees the futility in the same, instead works with what she’s dealt with, makes do and almost (but not quite) flourishes.

The writing is beautifully written, and is told by a girl -whose perspective had me doubting a host of things- who initiates things with her experiences of being alone as well as being lonely; and then weaves with those first more memories of a mother- recollections that are cloaked, like everything else in this the story is cloaked - in the unsure; second, the novelty and uncertainty of her present.

Her mother is a memory and she doubts what she remembers. It’s an uncertainty that extends to almost everything here. The new things she’s allowed and how she’s not quite ready to claim any of it- pointing out how “unreal” all the “normal” was for her. All of it is couched in a sense that there are things that are deserved but there’s also a whole lot more that aren’t. It’s her and a general sense of, “Mine. But why?” And later, “until when?”

Thank you, Penguin FtR!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1) by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


There's a sequel, right? right?!

Lara Jean confused me- on one hand, there's a sweetness to her that felt genuine; on the other, there were all those other moments of her being clueless, almost too clueless. It's a split that warranted a closer look on my part. And ta da! reading this was sweet then not so sweet and then back again.

She reads young. Sometimes too young. Na├»ve, at best, then TSTL, at worst, she is Middle Child, who makes it’s clear that she’s no Margo – take charge, but neither is she the baby - sweet and all. Then with one out of the picture, the story partially becomes them coming into new roles and learning a new system; specifically, that Margo’s way isn’t necessarily her own. There’s a lot of insecurity because of this, and it’s in that that the True comes out. Because I could picture it: her muddling through things along with the rest of them.

So, what’s my favorite thing about this book? ROLES. Roles they all take on first because of circumstance then because they've all grown used to it. Margo, Lara Jean and then Kitty- first one is in charge, last one adds the sweetness, and the middle set on observing; it's when all those things change that we witness how they are each capable of more- as well as less.

The okay aspect: obviously, all the boys she'd loved before, and why each moment of her with them clarifies why it is in fact BEFORE and not STILL.

This was a cute read… and made even more sweet with all the family stuff going on for her.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Star Thief (Star Thief Chronicles, #1) by Jamie Grey

The Star Thief (Star Thief Chronicles, #1)The Star Thief by Jamie Grey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s nothing that blows my mind in this one; but neither was there anything that merited a 2 or 1. Overall, it’s an OK read. With a lead in Renna who is kick ass in owning herself and what she’s capable of and using what’s handy to get things done. In fact, it’s that she consistently gets out of whatever mess that’s present without much effort, so often in occurrence that I became less and less interested in her… because for the most part she’s kick ass. End off.  Plus the matter of all the romantic interests (plural) who are all too easily swayed by her feminine wiles. On the one hand: Yay! for owning that aspect of yourself; on the other… is that all it would take to distract so and so? So, sharp contrast  is made between her and the rest of them: her-  kick ass  - where the rest of them - a little too simply depicted for me.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #3) by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #3)Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

  Happiness wasn’t a mystical place to be reached or won - some bright terrain beyond the boundary of misery, a paradise waiting for them to find it - but something to carry doggedly with you through everything, as humble and ordinary as your gear and supplies. Food, weapons, happiness


They belonged to each other to hold.

Holy mother of words! This was beautiful. More than what Akiva and Karou have gone through, there’s a whole group of supporting characters that contribute to me loving this series even more than I did when I first started it. There are threads of emotion that link one to another then another then another; but better, there are individual stories, too.

Let’s work our way in (oh, and how do I do this without giving anything away?) Book One had it clear: she’s on one side and he, the other. Book Two complicates things further, by delving into what that divide meant for the two of them. (cue: hearts breaking, the book world over.) Book Three allows a peek into the specifics of both their worlds; and what continuing in that way meant. So things change. And behold! Me, loving these books even more.

It’s not like there’s anything new to this set up because strip it down and it’s clear we have read stories like these before – star crossed loves and all that; great best friends, too. But it’s Taylor’s choice of words that render the story of Akiva and Karou, Zuz and Mik, Misbegotten and Beast an   experience

I was feeling everything she wanted me to. The conflict and doubt they each experienced had me wanting to sit them down for a talking to; those instances of fun that inevitably came with Zuzana in tow or even those sweet ones between her and Violin Boy, while out of place given all the tense things they’re all faced, brought it home, they all definitely have a part in the story told.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Catch a Falling StarCatch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, now. Catch a Falling Star has surprising depth considering the super star falling for small town girl formula it works around. It’s so much more than that! Mainly, there is an awareness of position on the part of both the main characters. For the girl, there is a kind of level headedness that’s different given the less than positive effect it’s got- the same is holding her back from wondering. And I enjoyed it for that difference, as well as for the unexpectedness in depth.

She is aware of what she wants, what she could have, and what’s expected. Yet, in being thus, she limits herself. It’s the rest who play a part in her becoming more receptive to the idea of “more.” So, sure, we start with a Hollywood type, yet there’s surprising depth despite (and that later because of that) because it is not just about the building up of a “them.” Rather, focus is given to who she is and who she could become.

Then factor in the male lead: he was everything she expected him to be, but surpasses some things too; it’s in those other moments- of him, not as the Star, that made this a touch been there and done that, but it’s the unapologetic manner he’s finally presented pulled my appreciation for this up a notch

Thank you, E!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Still Life with Strings by L.H. Cosway

Still Life with StringsStill Life with Strings by L.H. Cosway

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read Still Life with Strings twice because I enjoyed it so much; it may not be as different as her Painted Faces, but something in it worked for me. I enjoyed her and him and how we meet them both in their respective “after’s.”

The big things that have happened to either has them living their life a certain way; that they meet at that time, makes their connection even more (I could say “too” romantic except I really did enjoy this one) because there’s no saving here; they’re both past that, and as said, living in each their what-after’s.

Them looking back has less to do with them being stuck in the past; it’s more of the two marked by it, so clearly neither of them led easy lives;  the decisions she’s made on how to live and why is something else altogether as time and again it pressed on what they could become… were becoming. Him, and his history though less felt, was still present. He is, in fact, just as marked (fragile?) as she.

Eventually the connections made and eventually revealed set their story apart even more. Known to one but not the other, how deep and how unexpected their connection is adds to the romance of things.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Red at Night by Katie McGarry

Red at NightRed at Night by Katie McGarry

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I believed the leads in this one, particularly her changing views on what’s expected and what’s realistic. Weighing the safe route versus ambitious as she was is based on being knocked back time and again and the same having left an effect on her- a sad reality but a true one.

So, yes, I was buying that aspect of the story.  Now him and who he was: shifting from not caring to caring too much is another thing completely. Because there’s this whole side kick jock back story that paints him unfavorably; but that they do come into each other’s lives at the point that they do, when his lost his footing and her a direction has them making sense together for me.

It is Katie McGarry novel, so yes, there is Drama. But in this one, there’s a move to go beyond him as rich boy and her as poor girl and yada yada yada (though if you want that kind of read, just look up her older stuff.)  Anyway, thank the Gods, in making RED AT NIGHT less about that and more about their (particularly, her) changing views and what’s to be done about the same, I found myself liking this more and more.      

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