Book Review “Now or Never” by A.J. Bennett

I rated it:

2stars

 

I honestly found so little enjoyment in this book that I can barely even remember what it’s about.  I had to go back and read the summary on Amazon in order to even write this review.  Synopsis:  Girl leaves fiance, girl moves home, girl sets out to have lots of meaningless sex with lots of different guys, girl falls in love with one of those guys.  The end.  The most interesting part of the book is when Derrick (the boy who Grayson falls in love with) goes to war and is nearly killed.  And Grayson has this weird ability to sense when someone close to her is hurt or sick so she knows before hearing anything about the accident.  There isn’t however, any point to her strange ability…just some random thing that the author threw in there in an attempt to make it more interesting.  I guess it wasn’t the worst thing in the world I’ve ever read (see this review), but I really wouldn’t recommend it.

I read this book as part of the “Indie Fever Reading Challenge”

I have read 4 of 15 books towards my goal.

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Click here for details about the 2014 Indie Fever reading challenge!

“The Last Time I Wore a Dress” A Review

I Rated It:

Gold+stars+copy

 

 

th  I had planned to begin this review with a little rant about how much I disagreed with some other reviews that I’ve read.  Realizing, however, that a book review is in fact an opinion, I am simply going to say that I take issue with several of the more negative reviews this book has received.  Daphne Scholinski didn’t address the gender identity issues as much as I had expected her to in the book, but I actually don’t think that took away from my reading experience.  Not having researched the book to much extent, I assumed that there wasn’t actually anything wrong with Scholinski.  This isn’t the case.  She came from a very dysfunctional home and suffered from significantly severe depression.  Her story gives readers an inside look at some of the flaws that existed in our mental health system in the not too distant past.  Daphne, who has officially changed her name to Dylan, is not trying to claim that there wasn’t anything different from societies norms as far as her gender and sexuality go.  She was a fifteen year old girl and while some people’s reviews indicate that they didn’t like the fact that she didn’t seem to recognize her true sexual identity until the end of the book, she probably didn’t understand it herself until after her years of institutionalization.  I think that the most important message that can take away from the book (and in my opinion, the one that everyone should take away from the book) is that she was sick. She was depressed.  She did need help;  but being placed in a flawed mental health system by her less than stellar parents, she did not receive the help she needed.  Despite all that, she was still able to find herself and pull through a very difficult time in her life.  I hope that after reading this book people will realize how flawed our mental health system was, how far it has come, and how much it can still be improved upon.

My Review-Atypical: Life with Asperger’s in 20 1/3 Chapters by Jesse A. Saperstein

I Rated It:

2stars

 

This book just wasn’t what I was hoping it would be.  I feel as if I’m being more judgmental of the book because the author has Asperger’s and at the same time, I don’t want to imply that someone with Asperger’s can’t be a good writer.  So, I’m going to try to set the author’s diagnosis aside and review this just as I would any other book.  It read sort of like a first draft/brain storm.  Saperstein compiled a whole bunch of his experiences with Asperger’s, but that’s all they were…experiences.  While I appreciate the how different the life he described was from the life of someone without Asperger’s, there really wasn’t any depth to it.  A lot of the chapters seemed to be structured like this:  “_______ happened to me because I had Asperger’s,   and it was different.”  There was no chronological or other kind of structure to how the chapters were arranged.  It may have actually read better as a collection of essays.   I really wasn’t able to pinpoint a specific topic for this book.  Obviously, it’s about Asperger’s, but what was special about his experience with Asperger’s?  What challenges did he face?  How did he overcome them?

atypicalOn the other hand, I would like to commend Saperstein for his efforts.  It takes a brave person to write about their life, particularly when they are pointing out how they are different from others.  Overall, I think it gives a decent first look into life with Asperger’s, I just wasn’t able to take much away from it personally.

Book Review: “What the Moon Said” by Gayle Rosengren

I Rated It:

4stars

what-the-moon-saidA student of mine was very excited about this book so I decided it would be fun to check it out.  It’s a children’s chapter book, I’d say the target audience is probably girls about ages 8-12.  If you work with upper elementary school kids or your just an adult who enjoys a simple, light read, this one is definitely worth checking out.  Esther’s superstitious mother does everything she can to keep bad luck at bay, but her husband, Esther’s father, still loses his job in Chicago when the Great Depression hits.  The family buys a farm and moves to Wisconsin.  Once there, Esther, who has never received the attention or affection that she would like from her mother, is determined to prove to her mother that she is deserving of her love.  Esther quickly makes friends with a girl named Bethany, whom she meets at church.  Shortly after meeting, however, her mother notices a sign indicating that she is “cursed.”  Esther is crushed when she is forced to end her friendship with Bethany, but she is determined to win her mothers love and doesn’t want to bring bad luck to her family as they struggle to keep their farm afloat.  This is a simple yet enlightening story about a family coming together to make it through the great depression and learning to accept each other just the way they are.

My Review: “The Accidental Exorcist” by Joshua Graham

I rated it:

3starsth-2 This book claims to be a novella, but it’s definitely more of a short story.  I think readers need to keep this in mind.  It doesn’t have the development and the more complex format of a novel.  It’s an interesting short story thriller.  Some of the reviews that I’ve read claimed that it was “preachy,” but I didn’t get that vibe from the book.  I think the author was attempting to enforce the idea of how powerful a persons beliefs can be.  In this particular case, they happen to be religious beliefs.  The story was exciting and interesting, but I think that it may be misclassified.  As I said, it’s a short story, not a novella, and I don’t think I’d necessarily call it a psychological thriller.  It does have some underlying psychological aspects to it, but overall I would just classify it as a thriller.  This author is no Edgar Allan Poe or Stephen King, but not many authors are.  It’s a solid short story.  Makes for a nice afternoon beach read.  I’m definitely planning on looking into more of Graham’s “Accidental…” books.

“Knotted Roots” A review

I Rated It:

Knottedrootsmain4stars

 

I was a little nervous when I started reading this one, but it turned out to be a bit deeper than I had originally thought it would be.  Roxie, who has just completed her junior year of high school, is sent away from her New York city home to spend the summer in South Carolina with her grandmother; her grandmother who she’s only met once.  I thought this was going to be the cliche story of a shallow teen who turns her life around after spending time in a small town.  That did happen, but there was a little more to it than just that.  Roxie falls in love while in South Carolina and struggles to accept her feelings for someone who is so different than she is.  She makes real friends and experiences what real family tragedy feels like.  By the end of the story, Roxie is even considering remaining in South Carolina for her final year of high school…all based on the events of one life-changing summer away from home. After researching the book further, I discovered that this is Ruthi Kight’s first novel.  I’ll definitely be reading more books of hers in the future.

I read this book as part of the “Indie Fever Reading Challenge”

I have read 3 of 15 books towards my goal.

Click here for details about the 2014 Indie Fever reading challenge!

 

Book Review: “No One’s Angel” by Kelly Walker

I Rated It:

3stars“No One’s Angel” is the story of Tess (Angel) and Axel (Arion) who met in an online gaming community.  After suffering abuse and obsessive control under her current boyfriend Nick, Angel sets off to find Arion in the real world.  The book gets pretty racy as the two of them discover their true feelings for each other.  Everything seems to be going well for the couple, until Nick figures out where Tess is.  At this point the book turns to the thriller genre a bit as Nick tries to reach Angel and Arion is forced to protect her.  Overall, it’s a fast-paced, well written romance novel with just a bit of suspense thrown in at the end.  With the explicitness of some of the sex scenes, it was definitely written for an adult audience so don’t be fooled by the title, the book cover, or the age of the characters.

I read this book as part of the “Indie Fever Reading Challenge”

I have read 2 of 15 books towards my goal.

Click here for details about the 2014 Indie Fever reading challenge!

 

 

 

Quick Look: “Jenny Pox,” “In Too Deep,” “Faculty Club”

   Jenny Pox by JL Bryan

   I Rated It:

Gold+stars+copy

I wouldjenny+pox only recommend this book to those with huge imaginations and a very open minds when it comes  to the supernatural.  Think Pretty Little Liars meets Zombie Apocalypse.  The final supernatural events far surpass anything that could be predicted. It was a super quick read and I really enjoyed it.  Definitely not for everyone, but I loved it!

 

 

In too Deep by Amanda Grace

I Rated It:

4stars

This is a very quick read and at the same time, it delves into a pretty serious subject.  It addresses the possibility that young women might cry rape for attention and status.  I can see how this could be a very controversial read given the difficulties that many women face when it comes to reporting true rape and the stigmas that they encountered once the have been lthabeled a “Rape-ee.”  This story takes place in a high school setting and probably isn’t very well suited for women who haven’t yet reached high school themselves.

 

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The Faculty Club by Danny Tobey

I Rated It:

4stars

 

This supernatural thriller combines voodoo, possession, and old fashioned hazing rituals.  After not being inducted into the V&D, a secret society for a select group of law students, Jeremy decides to explore what exactly makes this secret group so special.  His exploration puts him in several near-death situations and ends with an act of heroism.  One of my favorite things about this book is that there isn’t a long resolution.  Suspense, thrill, heroism, and cut to black.  Probably not a good read if your looking for something that’s going to leave you feeling happy or renew your faith in the ability of good to conquer evil.

“Giovanni’s Room” a Review

I Rated it:

3stars

 

James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, explores a young man’s confusion surrounding his sexuality in 1950s France.  This book quickly grabbed my attention as it “began at the ending” so to speak.  David is alone, his fiance has left him and is on her way back to America, and the as of yet mysterious Giovanni is soon to be executed.  I can’t imagine that this wouldn’t be enough to quickly draw any readers attention.  The events leading up to this tragic opening scene are revealed through a flash-back style narrative.  David’s fiance, Hella, has gone on a trip to Spain.  While she is away, David meets Giovanni, an openly gay man who works at a bar that he visits with his friend Jacques.  David decides to move in with Giovanni, but being engaged to marry a women, refuses to acknowledge that he may be gay.  A relationship forms between the two of them, but things quickly go down hill when Hella returns from her trip to Spain.  The novel explores the complications that arise for all three members of the “love-triangle” and presents a “worst-case-scenario” outcome for all of the parties involved.  I can imagine that this book was highly controversial when it was originally published in the 50’s.  It is an interesting story that provides some pretty powerful messages about sexuality, relationships, and love.  I feel that it’s probably a bit less relevant to today’s world, however, as views on homosexuality are quickly changing and becoming less of a taboo subject.

My Review: “31 Hours” by Masha Hamilton

I rated it:

3stars

 

This was a suspenseful, interesting novel that held my attention and kept me wanting more.  Unfortunately, it didn’t quite all come together in the end.  The book alternates between the lives of 4 different characters living in New York city over a period of 31 hours:  A young US citizen in training for a terrorist mission, his mother, a life-long friend, and a homeless man.  I’m not exactly sure how the homeless man fit in.  Everyone ran into him at one point or another in the Subway, but if any of them had a significant interaction with him I guess I wasn’t paying very close attention.  The mother spends all of her time searching frantically for the young boy while dealing with her failed marriage.  His friend is dealing with her own parents failed marriage and attempting to help her younger sister with her emotions.  The boy is, obviously, preparing for the mission.  And the homeless man is doing what (I’m assuming) most homeless people do.  The story just didn’t really have any kind of conclusion.  It was a quick, enjoyable read that ended abruptly and definitely could have gone on a bit longer31hours.  Maybe if it had been “48 hours” there would have been enough to leave me completely satisfy.