Book Review: The Opposite of Loneliness

the-opposite-of-loneliness-9781476753911_hr.jpg

Synopsis:

An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world’s attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.

Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.

As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.

Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assem­blage of Marina’s essays and stories that, like The Last Lecture, articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

While I don’t think I’d ever read this book again (hence why it’s a borrow) I found this book to be interesting. Overall, I liked Marina Keegan and was both impressed and jealous of how great of a writer she was at her age, which made it even more heartbreaking that she lost her life before she really got to reach the level of success I’m sure she would’ve found.

I’d never read “The Opposite of Loneliness” but I vaguely remember hearing about Keegan’s passing and seeing the essay being shared on social media. Reading the essay now as someone who graduated college two years ago and preparing to enter grad school, it hit me hard and made me think, which is probably why it went viral. It’s well written just like pretty much everything else Keegan wrote that was included in this book.

Though there were some essays I certainly skimmed and a few short stories that I just couldn’t get into, with every piece I recognized how good they were. Maybe the story about the exterminator wasn’t my cup of tea but while it was non-fiction Keegan made it feel like an interesting (albeit kind of gross) story. Similarly, while I was confused by how some of her short stories ended they also left me wanting to read more because I liked the characters.

I say this all to say that don’t let my decision to never purchase this book dissuade you. This book was pretty great and it’s sad that Keegan didn’t get a chance to see how her writing touched so many people.

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“I want to devote my life to the things that I love. I want to create something lasting that I’m really proud of.”

Other Reviews

Reading Lark

Luxury Reading

The Bell Jar

Book Review: Roomie Wars

107156_57333deff1cc46d69a024c3451205920-mv2_d_1582_2500_s_2.jpg_srz_710_1122_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.jpg

Synopsis:

Zoey

Turning thirty is overrated. Who said you had to be married with a fabulous career and three kids? I had a great life. Single, freedom to do whatever I please, and best of all, stay home on a Friday night in my sweats, eating pizza while listening to the best of the ’80s.

I’m fine.

Drew

When a woman says she’s fine, she’s not fine. Zoey had it all. Stunning looks, ambition, the whole package. Then he fucked her up. He broke her.

And now I’m left picking up the pieces…again.

Zoey Richards, strong-willed and driven, settled on the geeky struggling med student to share her apartment with, not the perfect-in-every-way stud who would just distract her and undoubtedly break her heart.

When her ex comes back into the picture, Zoey seeks revenge and enlists her roommate’s help. All Zoey and Drew need to do is pretend to be a couple for one night. But one night can change everything. Refusing to break their “roomie code,” and in an effort to deny their feelings for each other, a war erupts between Zoey and Drew.

She lives in the past; he, for the future. If opposites attract, will these two gamble their friendship for a chance at love?

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I’m officially taking a break from erotica. All these books are starting to sound the same to me, which is why this book was particularly disappointing. At the start Drew is actually an average guy who’s a little chubby and is nervous around Zoey, who’s interviewing him to become her roommate. I thought this was cute and endearing and was ready to read a story where the guy isn’t some chiseled muscle man but is actually your average every day Joe. I should’ve known better (especially because of the cover; duh).

After the prologue the book jumps forward four years and Drew is now a health nut with a hot bod and now Zoe’s gained some weight and has become a slob because a terrible boyfriend she had that broke her heart. How stereotypical. If this didn’t already annoy me, Zoe and Drew’s personalities definitely did.

The book is told in alternating point of views and I didn’t find myself relating to Zoe nor did I find Drew particularly swoon worthy. Moreover, I found their jump from just roommates to something more strange because of how it played out. The synopsis makes it sound like it’s the return of her ex that sparks these feelings between Zoe and Drew but that’s not the case, it happens prior to that. I don’t want to spoil it so I’ll just say I found Drew’s quick flip to suddenly realizing he liked Zoe a bit unrealistic. Then again this is fiction so I guess I can allow that.

What really bothered me was Zoe and Drew’s relationship after they realized they had feelings for each other. It became this strange back and forth where they both knew they had feelings for each other but then for some reason or another they decided not to pursue those feelings. I think I would’ve been okay with this if it didn’t take them literal years to finally get together. Literally, the last quarter of the book starts jumping around in time from months to years before you finally get the happy ending you expect from a romance novel and by then the ending seemed strange because after all they went through it then just took one small move from Zoe for them to finally be together. Thus begging the question, why fill these last 20 pages with a will they/won’t they saga that came from left field?

Overall, I obviously detested this novel. However, if you’re looking for a quick romance novel that you don’t have to think too hard about Roomie Wars is a decent choice. There’s a bit of smut and Drew and Zoe’s flirtation was fun at times but overall they’re indecision and the strange way their love story played out ruined this book for me. Definitely a borrow, although I was able to buy this book for free so if you’re curious I’m sure you can get for free on Kindle as well.

Stars:

2-stars

Favorite Quote:

“I like you just the way you are, Zoey Richards. Don’t change for anyone.”

Other Reviews

Soph Reads Books

All Romance Reads

We’ve Licked That Book Blog

Book Review: Heartless

heartless book review blog.JPG

Synopsis:

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

Full disclosure, my knowledge about Alice in Wonderland is very limited. It’s so limited that for some reason I got it in my head that the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen were the same person, which confused me a bit while I was reading. In case you thought the same I’m here to tell you they’re two different people. My point is, I didn’t love this novel but I think that might be because a lot of the references to the original novel by Lewis Carroll went over my head.

For instance, I never knew the riddle, “Why is a raven like a writing desk,” came from Alice in Wonderland. I just thought it was a popular riddle until I read this book. So with that in mind please note that while I didn’t particularly love this novel that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t but here’s why I personally didn’t enjoy it.

First, I found Cath to be particularly infuriating. I hate indecisive characters and Cath didn’t make any real decisions until about two thirds into the novel. Also, while I realize the King of Hearts was purposefully made to be stupid and irritating I found him too irritating and every time he appeared I wanted to skim through those scenes. The only characters I truly loved in this novel were Jest and Hatta. I especially liked Hatta because I found his back story to be very interesting and he was pretty snarky, which I loved.

Otherwise though, almost every character drove me crazy. Cath’s mother was particularly annoying and while her father wasn’t as bad he was also pretty bad. Cath’s friend and maid was okay but the fact that I can’t even remember her name is a clear indication that she wasn’t all that memorable (I looked it up; it’s Mary Ann).

Also, one character, Jack, was extremely annoying and rude to Cath and that’s never explained. I thought it might be because he’s like a childish boy who had a crush on her so he treated her poorly but it was never said. He was just irritating for no reason. It was so strange!

Overall, this is definitely a novel I won’t be rereading however I almost want to make this a buy just because the cover is so incredibly gorgeous. But alas, not even the cover could save this one for me. I loved The Lunar Chronicles and had high hopes for Marissa Meyer’s follow up to the series but unfortunately Heartless was sorely disappointing.

Stars:

2-stars

Favorite Quote:

“Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to.”

Other Reviews

Read at Midnight

Delicate Eternity

Angel Reads

Book Review: Wayfarer

IMG_6271.JPG

Synopsis:

Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas-the eighteenth century privateer she loves-and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository

Review

*Warning: There will be minimal spoilers about Passenger in this review. Read at your own risk.*

I had high hopes for Wayfarer but ultimately I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. My biggest complaint about Passenger was the lack of action and excitement but at the start of Wayfarer I was excited and sucked in. Etta and Nicholas were separated because a shift in the timeline and although I loved their romance it was great to see them off doing their own things and having to fend for themselves. However, as the story went on my excitement fizzled out and I was just wishing for this book to get to the point already. I wasn’t sure what the point was but I just couldn’t find it in me to care about these characters or their mission. I just wasn’t hooked.

That being said, I did enjoy learning more about the history of the travelers and Etta’s parents. At the end of Passengers I didn’t like Etta’s mom Rose and although I still don’t love her I feel like I at least understand her a bit more (even though there’s still some loose ends I have questions about). Similarly, this novel introduced a couple of new characters that I really liked and I definitely enjoyed Sophia much more in this book than I did in Passenger.

Also, while I didn’t find the plot all that attention grabbing I did think the writing of Wayfarer was incredibly beautiful and I took down so many favorite lines because I liked so many. Alexandra Bracken is an incredible writer, I just don’t think this book was for me. All the long descriptions about the places and the explanations about time travel made me want to skim but obviously these were necessary parts of the book.

Therefore, in case of Wayfarer I think it’s more of “it’s not you, it’s me” situation. I just couldn’t get into it and I was glad when I was finally done.

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“It is no shameful thing to be beaten when outnumbered, not when you were brave enough to try. Nor is a scar or injury something to despair over, for it is a mark that you were strong enough to survive.”

Other Reviews

Vilma’s Book Blog

A Midsummer Night’s Read

Reading with Jenna

Book Review: Fly

fly.jpg

Synopsis:

Meet Colton Wade, FMX rider…

I’m just a small town guy who caught a lucky break. Now I’m living the dream, on the brink of high-flying super-stardom. But something’s missing.

That something is Taylor.

She’s my best friend. The one who makes me want to push harder and higher. The one I fall back on when shit gets tough. The one I’d give it all up for.

I’d do anything to protect her. To make her dreams come true too.

But a single night changes everything.

And now the one she needs protection from…is me.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I’ve said this before but I am still a sucker for best friends turned lovers romance story. Even though I know how it’ll end I continue to read them anyway. It’s my guilty pleasure, I guess. Plus Fly is currently free on Kindle so I figured why not. That being said, if I actually had to spend money on this book I definitely wouldn’t have purchased it. Although it was certainly a quick read I wasn’t all that impressed with any of the characters.

The novel is told in alternating point of views between Colton and Taylor and while Colton certain sounds attractive he wasn’t swoon-worthy in the slightest. Nothing he did made me think, “Oh yes, I see what Taylor sees in him.” He was just okay. Speaking of Taylor, although I should probably expect this from books like this, it was intensely infuriating that Taylor not only failed to realize just how much Colton was into her but also how much her other friend, Matt, was into her as well.

That was my other big issue with this novel. I wasn’t sure what the point of Matt was. Just to make Colton jealous? Colton seemed jealous of every guy that came into contact with Taylor, though, so why was Matt necessary? He was just a nuisance and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to think of him. He’s clearly the villain but like did he maybe have real good intentions with Taylor and was just looking out for her? Or was he really just trying to get into her pants? I’m not sure.

Then there was also Colton’s ex Bria who floated in and out of the novel as well. I hate when authors make a woman a villain just because she also wants to me with the guy that the main character wants to be with. Colton slept with Bria, apparently multiple times, but how dare she wish Colton would still want her and be in a relationship with her. Couldn’t she see Taylor was here now and she should move aside? Yeah, no. Colton was in the wrong and while Bria definitely made some snide comments to Taylor that were unnecessary I also couldn’t blame her. I felt bad for Bria and I’m pretty sure the author didn’t want me to.

All in all, I thought this book was all over the place and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to get from this novel. This novel did end on a cliffhanger though, so of course now I want to know what happens next but I refuse to pay for this next book. However, if I can get it for free I’ll definitely read part two.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“He held me like he owned me, and in a way, he does.”

Other Reviews

The Staircase Reader

Little Miss Bookmark

Collector of Book Boyfriends & Girlfriends

Book Review: Decidedly Off Limits

decidedly-off-limits-stina-lindenblatt1.jpg

Synopsis:

Best Friend Rule #1: never want the guy’s sister.
Oops.

Trent Salway is one of San Francisco’s hot up-and-coming-under-thirty bachelors. A highly successful mutual fund portfolio manager, a workaholic, and a ladies’ man, he’s got everything he could possibly want…except one thing.

Physical therapist Kelsey Quaid dumped her ex-fiancé six months ago because she was tired of not even being a distant second to his career. Which is why despite secretly crushing on her big brother’s best friend for as long as she can remember, there’s no way Kelsey can go there. One workaholic in her life is more than enough, thank you very much.

Before Kelsey’s brother leaves on his Navy SEAL mission, he asks Trent one simple request: make sure Kelsey isn’t dating any assholes while he’s away. As Trent does his best to do just this, he and Kelsey spend more and more time together. Sparks fly, as do a few items of clothing, and the next thing they know things are getting physical between them. Now, Trent has to decide what to do about the woman he’s falling for—the one whose brother would take him down faster than he takes down the enemy. And Kelsey will have to decide if Trent is just another workaholic or if he’s decidedly off limits.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & NobleChapters

Review

I’m typically a fan of the “best friend’s sibling” trope but the writing style of this novel really ruined it for me. Told in alternating POVs between Kelsey and Trent, both of their narrations are written as if they’re having a conversation with you and expecting you to respond. For example, at one point in Kelsey’s narration we get this:

Did you see who was third in line? That’s right. The Viking.

Then later in Trent’s POV we get a similar thing:

Did you recognize the woman who tried to outbid Kelsey?  She was Beatrice Peterson, or Reese, as she preferred to go by.

Also, I still I have no idea who Beatrice is and why she’s so terrible, besides the obvious reasons, so no Trent, I did not recognize her. This was literally so frustrating. It was as if the author, Stina Lindenblatt, was attempting to do a breaking down of the fourth wall, like in House of Cards, but with a book and it just didn’t work well here. At least not for me. The thing is I know I’ve read other books that are kind of written like this that I loved but I think Lindenblatt just tried too hard with this, especially because we got it in both POVs so the voices started to sound a little similar.

Additionally, there were just too many points where the narrators kept asking me to “imagine” things or “remember when” something. This seemed to happen at the start of a lot of chapters and in both POVs and it was so irritating. Still, despite how infuriating I found the writing style to be I did push through and finished the novel and it wasn’t totally terrible. The plot itself was fine, in that it was exactly what I expected it to be. Boy likes girl, girl likes boy, both think they can’t be together, they hook-up anyway, keep it a secret, there’s some kind of conflict, they go their separate ways, only to realize they’re perfect for each other. One major issue I did have with the plot was the “break-up” scene. It just felt so anticlimatic to me and completely out of nowhere. There was no build up and it was so abrupt that I had to go back and read it over to make sure that was the break-up scene. Seriously, the whole moment only took like two pages.

Still, I did really like Trent and Kelsey as people though. I thought their dialogue was great and their chemistry was good. Even so, overall I wasn’t all that impressed with this novel and I’m glad I only spent 99 cents on it.

Stars:

2 stars.jpg

Favorite Line:

“I love everything about you. Your love for your job and the kids you help. Your love of life. Your love of those funny little owls. Your amazing photographs. Your heart. I love it all.”

Other Reviews

Scandalicious

My Tiny Obsessions

Words We Love By

Book Review: Smut

Smut-AMAZON-Copy.jpg

Synopsis:

When I first met Blake Crawford, all I wanted to do was hit him in the face.
Maybe the groin.
Okay, maybe I wanted to kiss him too, but that’s neither here nor there. I mean, he may have a gorgeous English accent, sexy full lips and an ass I’d like to bite but…
Where was I?
Right.
Being in the same creative writing class, he’s the last person I wanted to speak to, let alone be paired up with for my final assignment.
But here comes the kicker…not only did our project end up getting us both As but we found out we work well together.
Really well together.
I hate him and he hates me and yet we churn out gold.
We’ve started writing self-published erotica under a pen name and let me tell you one thing…
Writing dirty sex scenes with the sexiest, most infuriating man you know is a lot harder than you think.
And keeping our hands off each other?
Well that’s another story…one with an ending I didn’t see coming.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository

Review

Smut was a quick, fun read. The novel is told in alternating point of views between Amanda and Blake. This was your typical “I hate you but come to love you” kind of story. Amanda doesn’t like Blake because he’s a playboy that sleeps his way through most of the women in their writing class. Blake doesn’t like Amanda simply because she doesn’t like him. Naturally, they’re forced to work together for the final project of their class and they realize that just like with most people there’s more to each other than their perceived notions.

I think my biggest issue with this book was the reason why Blake and Amanda started writing erotica together. It felt like when they finished their writing project that could’ve been the end of the book except for the fact that Amanda and Blake weren’t together yet. So the last half of the book felt a bit forced, as if the author realized she needed some reason for Blake and Amanda to finally hook-up so she added the writing secret erotica together storyline. Similarly, I thought the inevitable moment when Blake and Amanda finally acknowledged they had feelings for each other was a bit anticlimactic. I expected something bigger and to me that part just fell flat.

Overall, I did find Smut to be a cute and funny read but I probably wouldn’t ever read it again. The smut in Smut was also well done so that’s also a plus. Still, this wasn’t an all time favorite for me.

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“She doesn’t have my affection, my future, or my heart. You do, Amanda. You do.”

Other Reviews

Black Heart Reviews

Obsessive Book Nerd

Book Baristas