Monday, March 27, 2017

A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 420
My rating: 2 stars
Ages: 13+

Jill Cafferty has made history as the first woman to be drafted onto a MLB team. That was the easy part. Now she has to deal with her new found stardom, her teammates, and the haters that come with it. Jill isn't sure if she can handle it, or if baseball is worth it.

This book had such great potential. The story of someone making history. . . it could have been such an amazing story. However, right off the bat, I was distracted.

The editing wasn't up to par. Usually I dismiss this as me just being an editor, but it was so prevalent, on every single page, that I just can't this time. Sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, chapter breaks . . . all of it together made it difficult to get into the story.

When I did try to ignore the editing, I started to notice little things about the writing. So much of the book was internal for Jill, but it was written in the third person. Changing it to first person would have made it much more approachable and bring the reader closer to Jill. Then we could have focused more on the difficulties and her insecurities in a better and deeper way. There were also parts of the book that were too long, which, if shortened, would have allowed for other parts to be longer or more fleshed out.

There was some language and sexual discussion.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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Publication date: 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Pages: 436
My rating: 3 stars
Ages: 16+

As a child, Liesl used to pretend to play with the Goblin King. Now she's grown and trying to give her brother the chance she will never have and those games have become hazy memories. Then Liesl's sister, Kathe, is taken Underground and Liesl must save her. The Goblin King, Der Erlkonig, is real, just as their play was. Now, Liesl must play his game to save Kathe, and in the process, accept something in herself she had kept hidden.

This book has a hints of The Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, Labyrinth, and Red Riding Hood. It starts out strong, with interesting characters and dilemmas. Liesl is complex, striving for her family and her brother, but dismissing her sister as safe.

Then about half way through, the story started to drag a little. I felt that the same scene seemed to happen about three times, with Liesl expressing the same thoughts and feelings as she had before. The relationship was hot and cold, more complicated than I think it needed to be. Also, there were a couple of times when the tense changed from past to present, and I couldn't make sense why.

The ending, however, was strong, with a bittersweet feel that was a perfect end.

There was some sex, including one scene that was fairly graphic, and some mild language.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

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Publication date: 2013
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 368
My rating: 2.5 stars
Ages: 16+

Franny Banks is on a deadline. She has given herself three years to become a working actor in New York. With only six months left, she's starting to despair that it's every going to happen. Through odd jobs, strange auditions, and relationships, Franny discovers what is most important to her and what she wants from her career.

For a debut novel, this is good. However (there's always a however, isn't there?), I felt that the story was a little predictable. From the beginning, I knew exactly where it was going to go and what was going to happen.

I missed Graham's innate humor, which is so obvious in her interviews and memoirs. Instead, I was left with a somewhat flat character who just let life drag her along, no matter how she felt about it. Franny never seemed to take action or responsibility. I understand--sometimes I ignore my mail for a couple of days because I just don't want to deal with it--but Franny seemed to still be acting like a 19 year old college student.

I did like that Franny was mystified by show business when it came to everything but acting. And in the end, she made the right choices.

There was some mild language and sexual situations.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 274
My rating: 1 stars
Ages: 18+

At fifteen, Lane's mother commits suicide. That means Lane is shipped off to Kansas to live with the grandparents she has never met. There she becomes part of the legacy of the "Roanoke Girls." But there is more to that legacy than she knows and once she discovers the secret, she runs. Eleven years later, Lane is drawn back to Roanoke when her cousin goes missing. Lane is forced to face the past she had left behind.

This was well written and intriguing. However, I couldn't finish reading it, though I read 105 pages. The topic was so perverse that every time I read it, I felt sick.

I don't usually give away spoilers in my reviews, but I feel that for the sake of readers, I should. This deals with incest. Serial incest. A man who not only sleeps with his sister, but his daughters and granddaughter. A man who uses his charm to convince impressionable young girls who look to him as an authority figure to sleep with him, that there isn't anything wrong. And a woman who turns an eye to it. Perhaps he gets his comeuppance in the end, but I couldn't wade through it to see.

There was also a lot of language.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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Publication date: 2011
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Pages: 372
My rating: 3.5 stars
Ages: 16+

In the year 2044, Wade (aka Parzival) is one of many "gunters"--those searching for the three keys left on the Oasis after the founder's death. Winning means total control of the Oasis and riches beyond imagination. When Wade becomes the first person to find a key, he has to race against the other gunters and the nefarious IOI to find the last three keys.

This is not the kind of book that I would normally pick up for myself. I'm not a gamer or really understand gaming. But it was assigned for a new book club that I just joined, so I got it from the library and read it.

I was pleasantly surprised! It was an interesting futuristic novel, set mostly in an online world. I don't like the idea of people spending all their time in a virtual reality, but since the real world had become depressing, I guess it kind of makes sense. There were times when I forgot that the virtual world wasn't the real one, which I think is exactly what was supposed to happen.

At times, the 80s references seemed a little out of control. It also wasn't a perfect book. But it's interesting and easy to read.

There was some language.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.