Hello all! I’m so excited to get back to doing more bookish content and what better way to start than with a bunch of mini reviews? Thankfully, I managed to read quite a few more books last month, which I couldn’t be happier about! Fingers and toes crossed that I’m finally, finally over my slump!! So let’s get straight into it!
The Notebook– okay I’m going to start off by saying something controversial: I’m not a fan of the movie. As much as this annoys people (my sister included) I *hate* the main couple with a burning passion. So why, then, did I bother to read the book? Well, quite simply because there were a few old paperbacks where I was living and this was the only one that interested me. And, surprisingly, this was better than I expected. I thought it was well written and preferred how some of the themes of aging were dealt with. That said, Allie is still a cheat and no amount of blaming the guy she was with for not being perfect will make that any better.
Rating: 3/5 bananas
Safe Haven– yup, I was on a bit of a Nicholas Sparks sprint. I read this in the interest of seeing whether I’d been fair to the author for ignoring him all these years. I did prefer this overall- but then, I was pretty safe in the knowledge that I would, cos I’d already enjoyed the storyline from the movie. But, even though I committed the cardinal sin of watching the film first, I have to say I still preferred the book. This was particularly thanks to the fact that the characters and romance were far more complex than the generic vision I got from the film. Not only was the relationship better developed- especially given the empathic way the leading man understood what she was going through just from her behaviours- there was also a sense that the leading lady had to be a lot smarter to get away. Also, while the book was a tad melodramatic, I still felt dealt with subjects like abusive relationships, the aftermath of traumatic experiences and grief in a far more substantive way. That said, there was one spoilery flaw that kept me from completely loving it. Highlight for spoiler: I could have done without her talking to the dead wife and really didn’t feel like the supernatural element fitted with the book’s vibes.
Rating: 4/5 bananas
One in a Million– this was such a funny book! I especially loved the running joke about book design! I did think it was a cute relationship, BUT I didn’t fall for the love interest (which I find kinda necessary in romance- you want to want them for yourself). I thought the guy would make a great friend, however I just didn’t get how anyone could date someone who was so socially awkward that he needed basic cues explained. He was shockingly rude and had zero social graces. I sort of saw the heroine ending up with him, maybe? Yet a part of me felt like this was only because she had a lack of options at that point in time and that it was what the plot dictated. And random nitpick of the day: Batman is *not* a sociopath (at the risk of opening up the age old vlogsbrothers debate, I side with Hank on this one).
Rating: 4/5 bananas
The Wedding Date– alright, I was reading a lot of contemporary romance last month, which meant I was bound to dislike one of them… and The Wedding Date just so happened to not make the cut for me (also quick disclaimer in case there’s any confusion: this is not the more famous, more recent book with the same title). I found myself disliking everything- from the way the main character insecurely picked herself apart to the wish fulfilment way the romance panned out. I was almost gagging at the love interest’s attempts at sexiness and I didn’t buy that he was into her (he kept claiming to like her for her confidence- you know, the one I mentioned she was completely lacking to the point of being difficult to read about). I also didn’t connect with the writing style, complete with jokey lists- things like the quirky lists felt like they were trying too hard to make me laugh. And ultimately, the plot, the relationships and the showdowns only got a “whatever” out of me.
Rating: 2/5 bananas
Ash Princess– I feel like this book employed *all the infodumps*. Although some of the world building was good, there was just way too much over-explaining. There were some emotional tugs, but unfortunately the heroine wasn’t dynamic enough and, because I couldn’t help myself, I spent too much time questioning why the Kaiser kept her alive in the first place (I mean, I know this is part of the course of evil dictators in YA, but surely if you conquer a country and kill their leaders, it doesn’t make sense to keep the heir to the throne alive? Surely they can see that beating them occasionally will only piss off the populace? Surely they know they’re keeping the spark of rebellion alive?) Anyway, I do recognise that this sort of thing is done as a plot device and I (mostly) let it go. In the end, my main problem was that it was somewhat forgettable.
Rating: 3/5 bananas
Shiver– speaking of forgettable, this was so non-descript that I didn’t remember that I’d actually read it before (and according to goodreads I had). It was also incredibly juvenile as a story. I don’t think I’ve read a book that’s quite so instalove since the last time I apparently read this book. And I also don’t get how the main character doesn’t see that she should be more worried about her love interest being potentially dangerous. But nope- that sort of thing doesn’t enter our teenage heroine’s brain. A lot of the imagery was also a bit clichéd and missed the mark. Metaphors like “I tramped into the woods with all the grace of a polar bear in a dollhouse” felt random and didn’t work for me. On the bright side, I think a lot of these issues simply served to show how much the author’s matured as an author. There were glimpses of beauty her and some parts felt like a precursor to Stiefvater’s later work. I especially liked the concept of a cursed winter. Unfortunately I just didn’t give a damn what was gonna happen next.
Rating: 2/5 bananas
Life’s Golden Ticket– I’ll be honest, self-help books are rarely my thing. I wouldn’t have picked this up if it hadn’t been a gift (and for me personally the best thing about it was connecting it to the person who gave it to me). Still, that couldn’t make me get over the bland, childish-to-the-point-of-being-nauseating writing style. I think that’s the main reasons I found myself getting inexplicably irritated at the book. I can’t fault it for some of the messaging- however I found it overly moralistic and a tad annoying for being so obvious sometimes. I’m glad this book has helped so many other people, yet it really wasn’t not for me.
Rating: 2½/5 bananas
So have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!