Jan 31, 2013

Book Review of Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: February 12th, 2013
Pages: 348
Genre: Young Adult-Historical
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher.

Description from GoodreadsIt’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.


Review: Characters can make or break a novel. It is my opinion that unlikable characters can completely ruin a book no matter how well-written the plot is, but wonderful characters can make a book mesmerizing even if the story is mediocre. Not that the story is mediocre in Out of the Easy because it's not. But it doesn't have a very linear plot. It's not all that mysterious and/or riveting as I expected it to be. But the characters? Well, they make this novel. 

I felt very similar about this novel as I did about Sharon Cameron's The Dark Unwinding. That book didn't have the most exciting plot either. But I fell in love with the characters just like I did with the ones in this novel. There's something about endearing senior citizens in books that always manages to warm my heart. In this book, the name of the character is Willie. It's funny because from the way Willie is introduced in the book you would never know it. But she grows on you. I never thought I would say that I grew a huge heart for a brothel madam, but I did. 

The two love interests (sort of) in the book were similarly well-developed and incredibly likable. I wouldn't say there was a love triangle though, and despite the fact there are two boys vying for the protagonist's affections, romance is not the main focus in this book at all.

Instead, there is a mystery to solve. But this is kind of where I ran into problems with the book. Because the plot wasn't all that riveting and neither was the mystery. It was interesting enough, but there are really no surprises here. I figured out who committed the murder pretty much from the very beginning and it's not all that shocking. 

But the main reason this wasn't a 5 star read for me was because I felt the book lacked a focus. What WAS the main point here? Was it the mystery? Was it the relationships? Was it the crappy mother-daughter relationship? Not sure. Everything about the book lacked focus. 

What you need to know is that Josie hates New Orleans. She has a very unstable and dysfunctional relationship with her mother. Her mom is a prostitute at a brothel on Conti Street run by a madam named Willie who ends up being quite the character. Josie works at a used bookshop in the city and she wants to go to college more than anything, but with the way her mother is, any dreams Josie has she has to make come true on her own. 

A man comes into the bookshop and then that very same evening, something very bad happens. And that's where our story truly begins. But it doesn't because it's not all that much of a mystery. Meh. I don't know what else to say. 

The writing was interesting and I liked the way it was styled, but I almost felt it was too simple, and for a setting like New Orleans, I certainly expected it to be more atmospheric than it was. I can say that I really loved the voice of Josie and felt her character was brilliantly rendered. 

So in the end, I was left feeling a bit confused. I expected to be blown away by this book and I was highly anticipating it, but I was let down a little bit. I liked it enough and I do think it will find an audience, but alas it was not what I expected it to be. 

I think it is important to mention that this book made me sob my freaking eyes out at the end. There is something that comes up that I found incredibly shocking and didn't see it coming though I suppose I should have now in hindsight. Still, in the moment it caught me by surprise. 

Do I recommend it? I guess. With reservations. If you like really strong characters, I think you will enjoy the novel. But if you are looking for a plot that keeps you turning pages late into the night, I'd give this one a pass.

3/5 Dragons


Jan 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #12



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where we post upcoming releases we are looking forward to.

This week we have a running theme with ghosts and the word 'ghost' in the book title. We also have gorgeous covers. These were both floating around on Goodreads this week so you may have seen them but I also have not seen them elsewhere and I just couldn't resist posting about them. I couldn't NOT post about them because they both look UHHHmazing. 


Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013



Description from GoodreadsIn a 1920s seaside town, Clare discovers a mysterious glass house in the backyard of her new summer home. There she falls in love with Jack, the ghost of a boy who can’t remember who he was before he died. Their romance is a haven for her from the cruel pranks of her society friends, especially her best friend, Bridget, who can’t wait to grow up and embark on romances of her own. As Clare begins to suspect an affair between her mother and Bridget's father, she retreats to the glass house. But that haven begins to crack when she realizes that Jack has lied to her about his name . . . From a dazzling and fearless new voice comes a shimmering story full of wonder and mystery, in a world where every character is haunted by lingering ghosts of love.




I think this is middle grade. And I love the cover to death. I'm not sure if this is the type of book I would normally enjoy, but I have to try because it sounds absolutely wonderful What do you guys think? Does this sound like something you would want to read?

                                                                       Publisher:  William Morrow
                                                                       Release Date:  August 6th, 2013

Description from Goodreads: Though ruled by industrial-age British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaysia continue to adhere to ancient customs. In the sleepy port city of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

The daughter of a respectable family that has lost its fortune, Li Lan has few suitors. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the Lim family, the city's wealthiest clan. They want her to become a "ghost bride" for the family's son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. A rare historic custom among Malaysian Chinese, a ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at what cost?

Invited to meet the Lims at their opulent mansion, Li Lan is drawn to the nephew of the family, the attractive new heir. But then she begins to receive sinister nightly visits in her dreams from the deceased son. To save herself, Li Lan must plunge into a shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its hungry ghosts, haunted mansions, and not-quite-human denizens-including the mysterious Er Lang, a handsome guardian spirit.

With Er Lang's help, Li Lan will uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets, and the truth about her own family's history. But will she be able to return to the world of the living? And will she be content with life in the human world again?

Brimming with mystery, romance, and the supernatural, and featuring a smart, winning heroine, The Ghost Bride heralds the arrival of a masterful new talent.
Gorgeous cover, isn't it? And it has an Asian setting so you know this is one I have to get my grabby hands on. It's up for request on Edelweiss if anyone is interested in reading it early. I didn't request it because I am so behind right now but I am definitely wishlisting this one. The cultural folklore in this one sounds amazing. What do you you think?

Jan 29, 2013

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic: Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever.


There are characters you love, characters you would shag, characters you would exchange friendship bracelets with in a second, and characters that you would keep in your closet forever  confess your eternal devotion until the universe imploded.  

Unfortunately, this is not a list of those characters.  This week, we devote our Tuesday to the characters who make you cringe and make you want to toss the book right out the window.



WHY DO YOU EXIST?! YOU ARE HERE JUST TO MAKE ME WANT TO SET MY HAIR ON FIRE!!!1!one

Listed below are the top ten most frustrating characters to ever grace the imaginary book universe. 

10. Catelyn Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin - I can't quite pinpoint her personality because she runs from one range to the next in a matter of 2 pages.  To quote from my Game of Thrones review: "horrible character, poor choices, oh woe is me, I am so much more noble and I am always RIGHT when I overreact, but no one else can overreact. " She doesn't warm my heart.  At all.

9. Deanna Lambert from A Story of a Girl by Sarah Zarr - I know this book was a fan favorite on Goodreads, but my feelings tend to sour when a girl hates her best friend because of the guy she is dating, and forced herself on said guy for attention.  No.  No no no.

8. Corial from Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn - The story was touching, but the main character was a shallow character and very flat.  She wasn't able to carry the story on her own due to the fact that she was too busy gossiping about everyone else in court. No, thank you.

7. Todd Hewitt from The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness - Not only was the entire book a sore spot in my heart, but Todd was so unlikable that I swore off the rest of the books by the end.  Where is the love for a character who treated a DOG like a horrible scab because the dog was loyal? Nope.

6. Daemon Black from Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I loved this book, and I adore the author, and Katy is so freaking awesome, but Daemon made me consider homicide as a favor to the rest of humanity. He's such an ass.  Period.

5. Prince Caesar from The Vampire Empire Series by Clay and Susan Griffith - The Vampire Empire series ranks in my top favorite books, but this doesn't deny the fact that this vampire needs a stake in the heart and a kick in the man bits.  I don't want to spoil the storyx, but the last book of the series cemented my hate for the guy for eternity. 

4. Tris Prior from the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth - Oh boy, this isn't going to win me any brownie points, but I have to be honest: Tris Prior causes me to break out in an explosive case of cursing.  I'll link the Insurgent book because that was the book that caused my newly found Tourette's to come to the surface. Eaves-dropping, constantly bitching about your boyfriend and self-sacrifice aren't qualities that I find endearing.

3. Joffrey from A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin - what a creepy little shit. I have no words to properly convey my rage I feel for this character. 

2. Bella Swan from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer - I know this looks like a cop-out, but I never had any strong, positive feelings for Bella.  Kristen Stewart really deepened those feelings as well when the movies released.  I should feel more sorry for her, but she wasn't a pillar of an upstanding citizen from the start.  So here she is, on the list.

1. Lugh from the Dust Land series by Moira Young - I told Kara I was considering listing this character ten times for this meme.  Lugh does not have an ounce, a speck, a DOT of decency in his entire character.  Every time he appeared in Rebel Heart, I did this:

Then this:


And finally, this:
The guy makes me angry. Seething, nose-bleeding pissed off. 
To quote Kara, I want to "feed him rat poison". 

Fucker.


What characters did you list for this week? Leave a link below!


Jan 28, 2013

Book Review of Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children
Release Date: February 14th, 2013
Pages: 300
Genre: Young Adult-Paranormal
Source: I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads: Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you’re close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner’s heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly--and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school--the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister’s shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances--she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . .

Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead--and the burning forces about to be unleashed .

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What the heck did I just read? No really. What was that? It started out great, then the pacing went awry, the writing got terrible, and I started rolling my eyes. A lot. I read books with stupid characters all the time. I read books with ridiculous metaphors and amateurish writing. But I haven't read anything this bad in a long time. It's weird because this book didn't start out all this bad for me. But, like a snowball rolling downhill, it gained speed, and eventually bowled me over with its shittiness. 

Dance of Shadows had an interesting premise and one I was really looking forward to reading. Unfortunately the awesome premise was all it had, because the execution completely failed. And the main reason for the utter failure was the poor writing. I included some examples of that in my status updates on Goodreads, but I will repost those in my review for my blog readers:

"Vanessa turned, only to find her lips inches from Justin's, so close that she breathed the scent of his skin, which smelled fresh, like the sun rising over the ocean."

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I just found this to be really poor writing and a completely uninspired simile. We had a pretty funny discussion in my status update for this one over what exactly the sun rising over the ocean would smell like, because, uh, that doesn't normally have a scent. 

"Their bodies fit together like two halves of a pair, and she fell into him, the taste of sweat lingering on her tongue as she let him envelop her in a warm and salty kiss."

"She closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of his sweat."

And that was another weird thing. This author had a strange obsession with sweat and salt. Because I edit, certain words stand out to me if they are overused. I don't think I could have counted the number of times she used the words 'sweat' and 'salt' if I wanted to. The other thing I must mention? Sweat is not sexy. Sweaty men are not sexy. Tasting someone's sweat when you kiss them? Vomit-worthy. WHAT THE HELL? I'm about to puke right now just thinking about that!

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The writing continued to get worse, and it never got better. There were times when I was able to look past it for the sake of the story, but then I would become disgusted by an action of a character--usually Vanessa. The author forgot to write her a brain! It is impossible for a reader to root for a stupid character who doesn't think things through. Vanessa trusted the wrong people when the facts were staring her right in the face. It was utterly STUPID. And quite unbelievable if I may be honest. No one in real life (that I know) is THIS stupid. So suspending disbelief was a little tough for me. 

Not only were the characters stupid, but every single one of the side characters was undeveloped and just a name with a face. Steffie, Zep, Justin, Blaine, Josef, Hilda, and that other girl whose name I cannot remember--all flat with no personality, no background, and I didn't care. There was a point in the book when one of the girls disappeared and I was highly amused because I did not even care. That's not a good sign. 

The book pretty much lacked any imagery or sensory language. There were hardly any descriptions and I could not picture the setting at all. The only reason I had any idea of what things looked like was it because it was set in New York City and we've all seen pictures and movies. If I hadn't had that background, I would have been completely lost.

Dance of Shadows was a cross between 

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and

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with the execution of 

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In the hands of a skilled writer the exciting premise could have been something great. But unfortunately it wasn't. And I was not a fan of this author's writing. And that is an understatement. It was horrible. I really wanted to like this book--oh how I did--but there was just no helping it. I love dance stories. They can be campy, classy, or whatever they want to be. But for me at the very least, decent writing and character development is a requirement. You won't find that here. So far this is the worst book I have read in 2013.


Someone please give this author a lesson in writing tension and showing instead of telling. For the love of all that is holy.

1/5 Dragons

Jan 27, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #5



Welcome to Stacking the Shelves. Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews. This is where we showcase books we have received or bought during the week.



As Kara has kindly reported, I have been battling the flu this week (A wonderful gift from the youth of America). My book haul seems to be as puny as my failing immune system for this week.



Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell - I bought this book because of the illustration on each page.  It has a flipbook and a falling rat!

Maximum Ride (Graphic Novel) by James Patterson - I tried to read the book back in November, and the writing was so horrible that I instantly went back and returned the book.  Everyone seems to love this series, so I thought I would give the manga a chance.

Kindle:


I, Nemo - reduced price at Amazon for the Kindle.  This has been on my wish list for some time now.

ARCs:
 photo ShakespeareVsLovecraft-DROBrien_zps9272bbee.jpg  photo 16129295_zps3164cc32.jpg  photo 15802506_zpsbafea98d.jpg

Shakespeare Vs Lovecraft: A Horror Comedy Mash-Up featuring Shakespeare's Characters and Lovecraft's Creatures by D.R. O'Brien - How could I turn down something with THAT description?!

The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino - The description sounds just so good.

The Mapmaker's War by Ronlyn Dominque - I can't get this one on my Kindle.  Grrrr....


What books did you add to your ever-growing shelves this week?


Jan 26, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #27



Welcome to Stacking the Shelves. Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews. This is where we showcase books we have received or bought during the week.


It was another huge week for me this week. I actually got 4 physical books in the mail which is a record for me, I think. The best part is that I am expecting a lot more so hopefully next week will be a fun one too. Because we all love getting books in the mail. Aside from that, I got a late NetGalley approval from Scholastic, which was a bit weird because the book has already been published, but I went ahead and downloaded it and I hopefully can get to it soon. I don't know. I'll try. I'm swamped. 


First up is this awesome book package I got from author Chris Howard that I won from the lovely ladies at Cuddlebuggery. Did I mention how much of a crush I have on this author? Cuz I do. Adorable, I tell you.

So, I got a t-shirt, a signed hardcover of the book Rootless, a signed and personalized book plate (I think that's what that is), a signed bookmark, and a stack of unsigned bookmarks. As if I needed more! I will be doing a read-a-long for this book with Steph from Cuddlebuggery and maybe Christina from Reader of Fictions, so stay tuned for that and follow along with my Goodreads updates. If you are interested, of course.

See the photos below for the package in its entirety.



Then I got three other books! There was actually a 4th I just got this morning but I am saving that for next week since I had already taken the picture. For the record, I finally got my digital camera working. You can tell by the photo quality. My digital camera is a little aged but it still takes THE BEST pictures so I love it. Links to these books on Goodreads are below the photo.


The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Another thank you for Steph at Cuddlebuggery for sending me her ARC of this book. I wanted it so badly. And now I get a chance to read it too! I've heard great things about this one.

Scent of Darkness by Margot Berwin

This is for TLC Book Tours and I need to thank Pantheon and TLC for this lovely finished hardcover. This blog tour is going up in March I think so I have some time before I need to read this yet, but it's a really short book so it shouldn't take me long. And it is set in New Orleans and you all know this is my favorite setting, so WOOT!

Sky on Fire (Monument 14 #2) by Emmy Laybourne

This is the sequel to Monument 14. Which I didn't love, but I liked it enough, and the ending left me reeling so I desperately needed book two. I think this one has the potential to be bad-ass though. I hope it is! Thanks to MacKids for this one. I can't wait to read it.

E-books


The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman

So the reviews for this one are banging so far. I hate that expression. Why did I just use it? April at Good Books and Good Wine reviewed this and loved it. I requested it a LOOOONNNGGGG time ago and they finally just got around to approving me. So I'll read it. But I don't know when. 


And that's it for me this week. Leave me a link to your post and I will try and come visit. Until next week, happy, happy reading!

Jan 25, 2013

Book Review of And All the Stars by Andrea Höst


Publisher: Andrea K Höst
Release Date: September 30, 2012
Pages: 204
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Source: Netgalley




Description from Goodreads: Come for the apocalypse.
Stay for cupcakes.
Die for love.
Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings.
None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world – and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind.
Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.





Review: With a description that opens with an apocalypse and cupcakes, I was almost a little hesitant to begin to guess what kind of book I was getting into when I started.  I really didn’t have high expectations for a story that added something so cutesy in the opening hook.  However, I am thrilled to announce that I have found a story that really stands out on its own, and even now, I still have some trouble comparing it to anything else I have read.

I believe it is important to note that there is a chance that an editor could correct some of the technical problems, such as word usage and issues with the large chunks of dialogue.  Even though I did enjoy this saga, I think it is important to point out that the writing could turn some people off of the story.  The huge walls of dialogue and the choppy, truncated action scenes seemed to suggest that this was not the final draft of the story.  At certain points in the book, I felt that the audience was finally able to piece together what was happening, and that the reader was treated as an outsider during critical plot development and pivotal points. Some of the action also tended to hit the chopping block, and during big struggles, it seemed that the action portions were not thoroughly fleshed out. One last thing: this is labeled as “young adult," but there is sex in the story as well – pretty descriptive sex, to boot.

With that out of the way, I’ll note that part of the appeal of this book was the boldness to step outside of the norm and try the apocalyptic story at a brand new angle.  I was often pleasantly surprised and celebrated Höst for bringing in something with creativity, and quite frankly, a story that gives you a break from some of the checklist-driven tales in the young adult section.  I fear to discuss in great detail some of the huge surprises and developments of And All the Stars, but I can flat out say that I never saw any of it coming.  I rarely get a huge shock, and this book threw me for a HUGE loop.  I was hit with something unexpected, terrible, and beautiful.  Bravo, Höst,  for going the extra mile and delivering one of the best book gut punches I have ever witnessed.

The characters were able to warm my heart in a short amount of time, and even though they all tend to follow the Maniac Pixie personality, each of the central characters did bring a certain flavor to the storyline.  The main characters were able to carry the story when the plot sometimes appeared to be a bit lacking.  Driven by character development and growth, And All the Stars drove forth the message about the undying human spirit without clubbing one over the head.  Madeline, the reclusive and introverted protagonist, brought a level of bittersweet emotion to the entire plot.  Her inability to open up and trust others only added to the tragedy of the entire story. The growth of her character, her struggles, and her triumph is a testament to Madeline’s struggle to overcome her own inner demons.

Overall, And All the Stars is an apocalyptic story that tests the endurance and the strength of people in times of need.  If anything can be taken away after reading this book, it is that in the face of our greatest struggle, we must rely on trust in others, and in our own decision, to get us through the darkness.


4/5 Dragons

Purchase And All the Stars here from Amazon. 


Jan 24, 2013

Book Review: An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer Blog Tour

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Pages: 352
Genre: Adult- Contemporary
Source: From the publisher via TLC Book Tours


Description from Goodreads: For fans of "Prep," "Dead Poets Society," and "Special Topics in Calamity Physics "comes an elegant and remarkably insightful coming-of-age debut, in which a young woman's serendipitous discovery of her college's underground Shakespeare Society leads to an unforgettable series of transformations. When Naomi finds herself among "the Shakes" at Wellesley, she finally lets herself embrace the passionate inner self she's always kept locked away. But when a sudden scandal unfolds, she will be forced to learn the limits of the relationships that have sustained her. An intimate and enthralling narrative, Elizabeth Percer's debut novel An Uncommon Education marks the emergence of a stunning new literary talent.



Review: I'm on the blog tour for this novel. And, umm, let's just say my reading experience with AN Uncommon Education did not go well. I try to remain as professional as possible at all times, but sometimes...SOMETIMES you just gotta rant. I'll tone it down, but I've got a lot to say, and I imagine my emotions are going to get in the way. 

At page 10, I was worried I was not going to like this book. By page 30, I was falling asleep. By page 50, I was so angry I was wasting my time on this snoozefest that I started growling. Around page 100ish, it picked up when the protagonist got to school. Fifty pages later, I was ready to scream again. At that point I figured I may as well finish. Yeah, I could have quit and saved myself the heartache, but I was on the blog tour. I was sent this book for review. I really felt an obligation to finish and give my honest opinion. So I did. I will admit to scanning the last twenty or so pages just so I could complete it. It was that bad.

Trying to articulate why this was such a poor reading experience is tough. There is nothing inherently wrong with the novel, just a combination of a lot of things that completely did not work for me. Poor pacing, lack of compelling plot, unlikable characters, etc. There was nothing that made me want to read from one page to the next. The language was pretentious and I felt the author was trying too hard. She went to Wellesley. She knows the layout of the buildings. I get it. How many times did I have to be told this?

It's tough for the reviewer when an author puts so many of his/her real life experiences into a book. I feel like if I criticize it too much it's a personal affront. I seriously do not mean it to be. The writing wasn't bad and it flowed okay, but if I had spent my hard-earned money on this book, I would have been pissed. It was literally one of the most boring things I have ever read. With the amount of classics I have tried to read these last couple of years, this is truly saying something. An Uncommon Education was soooo slow. Where was the plot? I don't even know how to summarize this book for you, but I'll try!

First of all, the blurb is deceiving. It makes this book sound like it's intriguing. Sudden scandal! Enthralling! Coming-of-age! Passionate! Think again. This is the story of a Jewish girl who has a mom with depression and a dad who has a heart attack. She makes friends with the next-door-neighbor Jewish boy and they begin a sweet friendship. Boring stuff happens and she continues to grow up until she goes to college and one of her classmates falls in the lake. This is a lot less exciting than it sounds. She joins the Shakespeare society, which again, is a lot less interesting than it sounds. Basically, this entire book is the summation of a childhood until adulthood. She's a normal, uninteresting girl. The story is a coming-of-age, but it's a boring one because there is nothing remarkable about this book or its characters. 

An Uncommon Education could have been less wordy and much shorter. That would have improved it, certainly. It still would have been pretty dull, but at least it would have been shorter and paced quicker. Instead, the author had to drag every scene out and make the entire first hundred pages one of the most tiring experiences I have ever had reading a book.

So why two stars and not one? Because I appreciate a wordsmith. I appreciate an author who can put words down on paper and do it well. I can only hope that the next book this author decides to write has a stronger plot and more compelling pages. 

2/5 Dragons


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