Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp | Book Review

jane-emily

Jane-Emily is a short Young Adult horror/ghost novel about a little girl named Jane who goes to spend a summer at her grandmother’s house with her Aunt Louisa, whose also the narrator of the story. A girl named Emily who died at a young age previously lived in the house and unlike Jane she was a selfish, spoiled girl. Emily still lingers in the house and Jane can feel her, Emily also has some terrible plans for the girl.

This book was apparently out of print for awhile and now it’s back due to popular demand. Well I wasn’t alive when it was popular and I heard about it through recommendation. I thought the premise sounded cool and I love ghost stories when their done right. Was Jane-Emily done right? Kind of but overall I was a bit disappointed.

The build up was good, but the ending it built up to was disappointing. It ended way too quickly for me, I just didn’t feel satisfied. Still, it’s far from a terrible book I wasn’t bored while reading and there were some good scenes. The characters were decent even though I can’t say they were that memorable or anything. Emily was pretty interesting and the best times were learning more and more about her.

So in the end I wish it would of just wrapped things up better. 3/5

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One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia | Book Review

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One Crazy Summer is a middle grade book that tells the story of the three Gaither sisters Delphine, Vonetta and Fern. In the late 60s during the summer they go to Oakland to visit their mother, Cecile who had previously abandoned them. She’s very unwelcoming to them, viewing them as a distraction from her work. They eventually go to a Black Panther camp. The book is told from the older sister, Delphine’s point of view who has to take care of her younger sisters.

When I was suggested One Crazy Summer, it sounded like something that I would definitely enjoy reading. So I was very happy to get my hands on a copy. I was also impressed by the medals on the cover. And they are definitely deserved, the Gaither girls story is a great read.

I don’t know much about the black panthers so I can’t say how accurate everything is. But the thing is, at least in my opinion, the book doesn’t go into that much detail about the subject. This is one of the books flaws but it’s nothing major.

As for the characters, they were good overall. It was a great experience being in Delphine’s head. Fern was very cute and funny, Vonetta on the other was pretty forgettable. As for Cecile, she was horrible throughout most of the book and I didn’t completely get her, even when everything ended.

So One Crazy Summer has a few flaws but altogether it’s a great book, and I could see kids finding it entertaining (it’s perfect to use for schools) as well as adults.  4/5

The Duff by Kody Keplinger | Book Review

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The Duff is a Young Adult book about a girl named Bianca Piper who is best friends with two beautiful girls and is “plain” by comparison. She gets labeled a Duff (designated ugly fat friend) by a popular, attractive boy named Wesley who’s known in school for sleeping around. Bianca throws cherry coke when he he gives her the label and claims to be repulsed by him. But things aren’t so good at home and soon sex with Wesley becomes a distraction for her issues.

This book is definitely a page turner, Bianca’s drama really pulled me in. I think many teens could relate. Even though I’m an adult now a lot of things in the book reminded me of my own teen years. Bianca’s bad attitude annoyed me at times, I understand why she was this way but it was still a bit much at times. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like her, she’s definitely a decent character and someone I could see myself being friends with.

Bianca’s friendship with Jessica and Casey (the pretty, popular girls) was something I really liked. I love seeing good female friendships in books and this book does a good job with that. They’re all supportive of each other and care about one another. Normally in books like this they’d make the pretty girls shallow and stupid but in here they actually have substance. Now as for Wesley, I liked him overall even though at times I wasn’t sure. I don’t usually like the whole falling in love with the jerk/man-whore thing but here it was somewhat tolerable.

Another great thing about this book is it’s stance against labels often given to women like “duff” and “whore” all meant to make women feel bad about themselves. It’s great to see a YA book without the slut shaming. The Duff has been on my “to read” list for a year now and I’m really glad I finally read it. 4/5. 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | Review and Fanfiction Nostalgia

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is one of the most recent books that I’ve read. I had heard about it again and again on Booktube and the premise really interested me as a former fanfiction writer. I went in with pretty high expectations and overall the book pretty much met those expectations. It’s a very good story that I’m sure many people can relate to, including me.

Fangirl was an engaging book with some great characters. Even though I found Cath annoying at times, she was actually a lot like me. In terms of being introverted and writing fanfiction. But the great story aside, the best thing about this book was the memories it brought back of my fanfic days.

The Simon Snow series/fandom that Cath writes for in the book is probably based on the Harry Potter fandom. Well I’ve written a few fanfics for Harry Potter along with other fandoms but the main thing I wrote for was InuYasha. In the same way Cath loved Simon Snow, I loved InuYasha and even though I no longer write fanfiction for it, it still means a lot to me.

In the book Cath’s really popular on the fanfic site that she writes for. Well, I wasn’t that popular but I still got plenty of reviews and hits. I remember how great it was reading and writing the fanfiction, being able to do what I wanted with my favorite characters. Also like Cath, I often shipped same sex pairings (but unlike her I often did femslash aka girl on girl) although my OTP (One True Pairing) for the InuYasha fandom was a heterosexual ship.

I think many people don’t understand how much a fandom can mean to someone, for a lot of people it’s just entertainment. Simon Snow is more than just entertainment to Cath, it’s a big part of her life. InuYasha was/is a big part of my life, it wasn’t just some anime to me. It was something that consumed me and helped me when I was down. Even though I’ll probably never write fanfiction again, I still watch my InuYasha dvds over and over again. It will always be with me.

One thing I don’t have in common with Cath is that she preferred to write fanfiction over original works. That was never the case with me, I always preferred writing original stories over my fanfics. And now I just strictly write original work. Reading Fangirl made me consider writing fanfiction again and maybe I might write a few one-shots sometime in the future.

The reason I stopped writing fanfics in the first place is hard to explain, I guess I sort of got caught up in other things and lost the motivation. But being involved was still a fun time in my life that I’ll always remember. In the end, Fangirl is amazing maybe not perfect but still great. It will definitely click with all the fanfiction writers or former fanfiction writers out there.

Note: I posted this review on my old blog awhile ago.

Book Pet Peeves

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Everyone has their pet peeves when it comes to books. Some of mine are probably pretty common. But I would like to do a little ranting myself so that’s why I decided to do mthis post. These pet peeves are about both the book’s story content and physical aspects of the book itself (cover content, etc.) Keep in mind, just because I have these pet peeves doesn’t mean I won’t like a book that contains them – sometimes they can be overlooked if everything else is solid. Indeed, some of my favs have these pet peeves.

I’ll list the storytelling pet peeves first!

Love Triangles

A lot of people complain about this one so that should tell writers and publishers something. It’s also a bigger problem in Young Adult books. To me, it’s just a lazy way to keep reader interest and they often take over the plot. Sometimes love triangles can be well done but most of the time they are a waste of time.

Stretching out book into a series

I prefer stand-alone novels. It will also take a lot for me to be dedicated enough to read an entire series, especially one that’s super long. And some books will stretch there plots into a series when it doesn’t really need it.  There’s also a higher chance of the author ruining the original characters and losing their touch.

Romance Novel in Disguise

Some books will make you think that their plot is an action-packed sci-fi thriller only to find out that 68% of the book is about the romance. If your book’s a romance I feel you should market it as such – and, I mean, romance novels sell extremely well so what’s the motivation?

Present Tense

I can’t stand reading a book in present tense. Why? I can’t explain. It just annoys me greatly for some reason…there’s almost a sense of rushing and incompleteness. It’s hard to explain.

Cold/Emotionless Main Characters meant to be “badasses”

To me there’s nothing hot about a guy that never shows emotion, is always grumpy and serious. There isn’t anything empowering about a woman who shows the same traits either. They aren’t cool or badasses…they’re boring. But I don’t mind if a character is emotionally distant as long it’s a trait they have to overcome.

Pseudo-Diversity

Ok, I love diversity in a book and as a black female…I like seeing black female characters. But a lot of these authors just throw in a gay, black etc. character that has no personality. To me, if they are not as compelling or well-written as the other characters then it’s just pseudo diversity. It’s either make them good or just stick to the characters you really want to write.

So those are the story telling pet peeves from the top of my head and not for physical attributes of a book:

Not clearly saying the series number.

Seriously, put what number the book is in the series clearly on the cover somewhere. I think not doing it might be a ploy to get people to actually buy the wrong book and then have to automatically buy the rest of the books in the series.

Comparing a book to a popular series to sell.

Sometimes there will be a sticker on a book that says something to leach off a popular series: “Just like Harry Potter!” “Readers of The Hunger Games will love this!” this is just annoying.  Especially when sometimes said book isn’t even like the series mentioned.

Cover with just a face.

I don’t want photograph of a random girl staring at me on my cover…not to mention this type of design just seems too easy. I’ll put an example:

dod

Nope.

The Child Thief by Brom | Book Review

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The Child Thief is a re-telling of Peter Pan. It follows a much darker version of the tale, not surprisingly. Taking place on a magical island, the book features Peter and the group of children he has a stolen – most of them from abused, broken homes. The island isn’t as magical as it used to be, in fact, it’s a dangerous place.

Brom’s The Child Thief is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. As a retelling it expands on and does something very new with the original source material.

Turning Peter Pan into a darker character isn’t necessarily new but I think Brom does it the best. I wouldn’t call Brom’s peter evil – or good, for that matter. He’s just a very complex character capable of both terrible and great things.

The Flesh Eaters are the main villains of the story – they’re old world Christians who came to the island/Avalon, and somehow the magic turned them into deformed, cruel creatures. The imagery of them was very unique. They were one of the coolest aspects of the book.

Like Peter and the other children, the flesh eaters are complex. I like that the novel gives them some background and gives the reader a chance to decide to sympathize or hate them. It certainly isn’t easy to decide on either one.

Peter has a group of lost boys (and a few girls) that follow him, of course. Most of them are decent. A lot of focus is put on “Nick,” the only one who really questions Peter’s actions.

Character-wise my only issue was with the characterization of Sekeu, she had the potential to be a really awesome character but I felt that the novel doesn’t use her to her full potential. And it’s just sad to see a badass female character go to waste.

The Child Thief is essentially satisfying from beginning to end. In fact, I think it will end up going on my favorite list.

4.5/5

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte | Book Review

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I suppose this is technically a re-read. When I was a kid I read Jane Eyre but I wasn’t that invested into it. So really, reading it was like reading something new. And I have to say I loved it.

Jane’s experience throughout the novel was relatable to me. I loved her narration. Although, like many classic books from this era, there are some long descriptions I didn’t really mind them too much.

One thing I don’t understand though is why so many ladies are head-over-heels in love with Mr. Rochester. I mean, he’s an interesting character and all but I didn’t find him to be some amazing literary heartthrob. But I suppose it’s a matter of taste.

Funny enough, I actually thought Jane would be a better match with St. John, a cold, religious man she meets near the end. I know I’m a minority on that but I just thought they would make a more compelling couple.

However, relationships aside Jane Eyre is a beautiful novel overall. It is one of the best classics I have read. The way the text presents Jane’s life is masterful. I’m glad I gave the book another chance.

 

Now for a few quotes I really like:

“They are not fit to associate with me.”

“People think you a good woman, but you are bad, hard-hearted. You are deceitful.”

“I am very happy, Jane; and when you hear that I am dead, you must be sure and not grieve: there is nothing to grieve about. We all must die one day, and the illness which is removing me is not painful; it is gentle and gradual: my mind is at rest. I leave no one to regret me much: I have only a father; he is lately married, and will not miss me. By dying young, I shall escape great sufferings. I had not qualities or talents to make my way very well in the world: I should have been continually at fault.”

“Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroiding bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”

“She was not good; she was not original; she used to repeat sounding phrases from books: she never offered, nor had, an opinion of her own.”