Good or Bad Reads

Ever since I discovered Goodreads, I have stopped writing book reviews here and leave them on that site instead. I am pretty good about doing a review for basically everything I read. I figure, if I want others to do it for me, I have to return the favor.

The book I just finished April 30th has left me so frustrated that I needed to vent here; even after leaving my review on Goodreads.

On Goodreads, I try to leave objective reviews. Of course I avoid spoilers, but then I try not to overly sway others with my view while at the same time being honest. This book was difficult for me to not go into great detail about why I almost gave up on it. This is why what I said simply writing there didn’t fulfill my need to complain about this book.

When a series sets up certain parameters, it really bothers me when they don’t stand by them. This can go for plot, character growth and development, rules of the established universe, or even narration style.

In books one and two of this series, the female protagonist is the only point of view we get to read from. In this third installment, a new narrator is added. Then ANOTHER on page 318. But that one we will come back to.

The two narrators we have for a majority of the book, I feel are terrible choices. One is imprisoned. She was whiny and intolerable before she had this to content with. Now she was worse. The second does not want to be where she is. This leads to severely harsh, biased, and SELECTIVE narration. One can only tell us what she overhears. Two can only tell us what she chooses to hear. Neither of them SHOW us anything. I hated how all the battles and intrigue where dictated to us instead of displayed.

The addition of the third narrator was frustrating as it further broke an already broken stricture. Just because you’re the author and it’s your story, doesn’t mean you can do anything you want. I mean, you can. But you can’t.

So, the part of me that longs for structure didn’t like the addition of this narrator, but the reader in me was excited because this point of view had to be better than the others. Third’s first few chapters were meh, but her last was just like the others. Whiny.

I just can’t feel sorry for these girls. They are both progressive and regressive, depending on what could cause the most conflict. This lead to a host of inconsistencies. Also, for all their complaining, none of these girls made active choices to change their circumstances. I felt as if thy just didn’t care about themselves. And this made me not care. How am I supposed to want to keep reading if I couldn’t care less about what is happening to them?

But now that I have put in the time and effort of reading and reviewing three books, I suppose I will have to read the fourth one anyway, just because now I will need to know how the story ends. Hopefully this fourth one will end the series like the third was supposed to. This was not the first time I read books that were meant to be a trilogy.

It’s a good thing it’s not meant to be out until February though because I have made a promise to myself and to you, my readers. I will not start reading a new book until the current draft I am working on is complete. It is close to being done and I want to avoid the extra excuse for distraction that an intriguing book can be. I will be posting updates on my Twitter and my Facebook page. I am thinking of having a contest for beta readers, as I do not have enough at the moment. Getting excited!

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Mrs. Mike

I read my favorite book for the first time somewhere around the fourth grade. At least, this is when I remember using it for a report for the first time. It was published in 1946 and written by a married couple, Benedict and Nancy Freedman. My mother gave me a copy as it was one of her favorites and I will be eternally grateful.

Over the years, I have used it for many reports and projects and inspired many an English teacher to read it. It just applies to everything.

Last week, I reread it for the millionth time, yet the first time since I became a mother. Somehow, this amazing book managed to become even more beautiful. I cannot wait until Q is old enough to enjoy reading and I can share this wonderful book with her. Not my copy of course. I found her one of her own at a garage sale 🙂

Boundless

Yesterday I finished Boundless by Cynthia Hand. It is the last in a series of three books and one novella.

When I was in Denver and working at Barnes & Noble, one of my managers reccomended the first book of the series Unearthly. She had read the advanced reading copy and had nothing but wonderful things to say about it. Shortly after I purchased my Nook, I found that Unearthly was only a few dollars so I gave it a whirl.

It is definitely a teen series complete with love triangles and too must angst. When I was in my YA Lit class, my professor told us that when we finally became teachers, to read what our kids would be reading so we could stay in tune with them and also be able to talk about what they are interested in. Thus sparked my foray into YA fiction and the fact that at my age I read more of it than I probably should 🙂 (at least that is my excuse).

I was actually impressed with the series because it was the first of its kind that I had read. It deals with the nephilim and the author’s ideas of how they came to be on Earth, multiplied, and what they do now. All that are still on Earth have a “purpose” that they must complete before the end of the 120 years they will live. The series dealt with the “purpose” of Clara Gardner.

I had high hopes for the last book, as anyone does with the last book of a series. After I first finished it, I was a little disappointed, but the ending has grown on me a bit. Clara struggles through all three books and the novella with a love triangle she cannot seem to dissolve. She ended up with the guy I wanted her to be with, but the epilogue did not give me the information I was craving. The more I think about it, the more I think I should just be happy with the information I was given and let that be the end of it however, it was hard to be okay with the way things were. The guy Clara did not choose was left “out in the cold.” He did not show up at the family gathering at the end. He no longer talked to Clara or wanted anything to do with her. That is understandable, broken heart and all, but that left the reader with no closure as to whether he would ever be happy with another in his life. I would have felt better if the poor guy had found someone wonderful that he could love instead.

I see more and more YA novels that have epilogues where marriage is involved, just like this one. It is so rare to marry the BOY you date in high school. I think it gives a false perception and makes girls think this is the “norm.” High school is a time about finding yourself and discovering who you are; it is not about finding a boy and discovering how to keep him forever. We need more heroines who do not necessarily end up with the boy at the end. They work their way through the novel finding themselves and becoming happy with who that person is. You cannot truly love someone until you love yourself. If you never take the time to find out who you are, how can you ever hope to have a mature and functioning relationship? Slow down. Grow up. Enjoy your friends. Be yourself. You are a complete person all on your own.

She Could Not Be Her Without You

I have found that I enjoy Alexandra Potter as an author.

I love Jane Austen books. For Christmas this past year my mother gave me Me and Mr. Darcy simply because of the title character. This was a very enjoyable read, so when I saw a new Alexandra Potter book sitting on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, I had to have it. The book was The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather.

In the two books that I have read by her, Potter likes to leave certain decisions up to the reader. She presents evidence that could support two eventualities and leaves the reader to decide what really occurred. (I must admit, I do not always opt for the more logical explanation.)

In The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather, Charlotte Merryweather encounters herself…from ten years ago. She has always thought of things she would change if she had the chance and her best friend, Vanessa, even has her two cents to add about what she would tell a younger version of herself if that kind of thing were possible.

Charlotte attempts to make the most of this opportunity even though she cannot understand why it is occurring. Her main goal, she believes, is to stop her younger self, Lottie – as she went by then, from getting her heart broken by some slimy English man in leather pants. Charlotte later learns that what she believed to be a success was not really. Even though she thought she had foiled the hook-up, Lottie had gone back later and gone through with the interlude anyway.

Watching herself cry after suffering heartbreak at the hands of the rocker, she realizes that she was not actually trying to save herself from this heartbreak. The actions of that night had led her on a slow, downward spiral toward what she is today. Subconsciously, she was trying to avoid this because she was not happy with who she had become.

It is only after this realization that she comes to change herself and become the heroine the readers knew she could become. So herein lies the question. Even if it were possible to interact with and warn a younger version of yourself as to what the older, wiser version of yourself knew as true, would it do any good? Would you listen to yourself? Would you think that you were crazy? Even if you tried to change, would it make a difference?

Charlotte tried to change her past, but her younger self was too headstrong and stubborn. Or was that really the case? Maybe everything that happens to a person, good or bad, is meant to happen in order to create the person they are supposed to be.