Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Were Hardl For Me To Read

 Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

So today's Top Ten was book that were hard to read.  This could be because of the difficulty of book, subject matter, because it was cringeworthy-- however we wanted to interpret it.  I have a mix between subject matter and cringeworthiness.

**MINOR SPOILERS**

 1. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
I wasn't a fan of the story or the writing style, but what really made it hard for me to read was how anti-Seattle it was.  Look, I live in Seattle.  I love Seattle.  I can stand to have it poked fun at, but this was just...mean!  Sshhh, don't worry Seattle, the big bad book didn't mean it.  You're beautiful.

 Where'd You Go, Bernadette

 2. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Another one I was on the fence about until it takes a sudden dark turn that I was really upset about.  And not only did I dislike what happened, but I hated how it was dealt with (or in this case, not dealt with).  I was just left unsettled and angry about the whole thing. 
 
Swamplandia!

3. The Jewel by Amy Ewing 
I was really excited about this one, but it ended up being terrible.  Like, I could barely get through it.  I would have put it down except it was a review copy.  Awful, I say!

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)  

4. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
A Booklist finalist?  Must be good!  Nope.  I really didn't like it.  I didn't care about any of the characters or anything they did.  They were all kind of awful people.  It made it hard to read this.

A Visit from the Goon Squad 

 5. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Oh god.  I haven't seen the show, but I've heard it is very different than the book.  Which is good because Piper is just about the whiniest, self-absorb person I've ever read.  And knowing it is true, make it even harder.  Ugh.


Orange Is the New Black

6. Sarah's Key by Tatiana DeRosnay
This was hard to read because of the subject matter - the Vel' d' Hiv roundup of French Jews in WWII.  There are some really gut-wretching scenes involving young kids and as a mom of a young kid, I had a hard time reading it.

 Sarah's Key

7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
I had so many issues with this book and the way it dealt with the subject of teen suicide.  I also had a MAJOR problem with something the main character didn't stop from happening even though she had every opportunity.  I wanted to throw this book across the room.

Thirteen Reasons Why

8.Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
Another cringeworthy one.  It was so bad!  Terribly written, huge plot holes, flat characters...how did this even get published?


Dear Killer

9. Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
I love Sherman Alexie.  He was one of my favorite authors we read in my Native American Literature class in college.  But this book was something else.  I have never read anything so angry in my life.  It made more than one person cry in my class.

Indian Killer

10. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
This book is one big WTF.  And I'm still mad about the goat. 

How I Live Now

-SHANNON-

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Remember Me by Romily Bernard [Review]

Remember Me (Find Me, #2)3 out of 5 Robots!
  


Remember Me by Romily Bernard
Series: Find Me #2
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction/Thriller
Release: September 23, 2014
Hardcover:  355 Pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
My Copy: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
In the sequel to Find Me, Wick Tate, sarcastic teen hacker, is back and once again dealing with criminals and corrupt cops…and a brooding new love interest. Will Wick persevere when some secrets refuse to stay hidden?

Wick had thought her troubles were over.

But she should’ve known better.

Not only is she embroiled in a new murder case, which starts with a body with “Remember Me” carved into it and doesn’t stop there, but she also discovers new evidence surrounding her mother’s suicide…which leads her right back to her imprisoned deadbeat dad. And she has to deal with her flirty new hacker friend, Milo, sniffing around—which her boyfriend, Griff, isn’t too happy about.

The pressure might be too much as secrets—including Wick’s own—climb to the surface.

Remember Me is an edge-of-your-seat thrilling read that’ll have readers turning the pages at lightning speed!


(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
I was pretty on the fence about the first book, Find Me, so I was equal parts relieved and frustrated to find that Remember Me was more of the same.  On one hand, this sequel stands up well to its predecessor.  Wick is backed into a corner by Carson, the detective who put her drug dealing father behind bars and suspects her of illegal hacking.  He offers to turn a blind eye if she hacks for him to help him solve cases.  Things get messy for her as a new murder case opens up and Wick discovers that the victim and suspects are possibly connected to her mother's suicide.  Bernard keeps the pace moving along rapidly and doesn't embroil the readers with a lot of "hacker times", which I appreciate because the hacker subplot is my least favorite part of the book.

However, all the things I disliked about the first book are the same for the sequel.  My biggest complaint were the twists, which if you read enough thrillers and mysteries, could be seen a mile away.  So I wasn't shocked or surprised by any of it.  It made the reveals very anti-climatic.  The other issue I had was believability.  I am happy to suspend a certain amount of disbelief, but I felt that the various plot points were not well fleshed out enough to really make sense.  There was no backup evidence.  It was just like, "boom, here you go!" 

As far as the characters go, I think you either like them or don't.  I didn't really like anyone and as with Find Me, found them a little flat, especially the secondary characters.  I wasn't so keen on the introduction of Milo and his interest in Wick.  I can do without a love triangle for once.

Overall, I just wanted a little more depth.  Everything zips along so quickly and the plot isn't very well fleshed out.  After reading the first two books, I'm not sure I will be back for the third.

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Find Me by Romily Bernard [Review]

Find Me (Find Me, #1)3 out of 5 Robots!
  


Find Me by Romily Bernard
Series: Find Me #1
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction/Thriller
Release: September 24, 2013
Hardcover:  307 pages Pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
“Find Me.”

These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target.

Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Wick and her sister Lily, are in foster care after their drug dealing dad is sent to prison.  They've gone from living in a trailer park with junkies to living in the nice part of town with the perfect parents.  But Wick is always afraid that the carpet will be pulled out from under her, so she does hacking work on the side for extra money in case they find themselves on the street.  Wick is kind of a no nonsense, loner type girl.  She doesn't trust very many people, but is fiercely loyal to her sister.  But after Wick's classmate and ex-best friend committed suicide, Tessa's diary mysteriously shows up on Wick's doorstep with the words, "Find Me".  It turns out Tessa was having an illicit affair and that person might hold the key to why Tessa killed herself.  Wick is intrigued and wants to help find the mystery boyfriend.  But by doing so, she is putting herself and her family in harm's way.

I seem to be in the minority for this book.  Everyone seemed to really really like it, but I found it to be just okay.  There wasn't really anything I found particularly wrong with it, but for me, it lacked depth.  At the start, I wasn't sure how I felt about the hacker plot.  And after reading this book, I realize I don't have much interest in the intricacies of hacking.  Luckily, Bernard does not spend a lot of time on the hacking details.  She also keeps the plot moving at a fairly fast pace, which is great for the suspenseful situations, but it doesn't leave a lot of time for character development.  I never quite felt that the relationships were genuine and I wished the supporting characters had more depth to them.  And I never quite understood anyone's motivations for doing anything.  As I mentioned, there was just a lack of development overall.  I also figured out who the killer was almost immediately.  That was annoying because it seemed so obvious (especially if you've watched a lot of crime TV, haha!)

Overall, not a particularly bad book, but I felt it could have been better.  The writing style was a bit choppy for me and I wished the plot had been strong and the characters more developed.

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