Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Next up is the first book I read from Rainbow Rowell.  I’ve been heading a lot of talk about all the books from Fangirl and especially Eleanor and Park and how it torn the readers apart and an amazing YA romance and all that stuff.  I’m always down for a good romance even if I have to say that so far, a lot of books haven’t quite hit the spot.  Maybe its because I’m getting older and even if I like reading YA and children’s book, I’m starting to get a little fed up of lack of originality. I’m extremely forgiving of it and I easily fall for a good love story and even then, I’ve been in the lower than average group for feedback.  I’m thinking its just a phase but who knows. Eleanor and Park is supposed to be different so I’m hoping that it will be! 🙂

Let’s check it out!

Eleanor and Park
by: Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.-Goodreads

Eleanor and Park is definitely something special.  Maybe its because everyone says how amazing it is that I had higher expectations than I should so it didn’t quite me blow me away so much or its because I keep noticing how this story feels like a Taiwan TV drama or something except with a more bittersweet or tearing you apart reality to it.  Eleanor and Park is about first love and being different and first impressions and all that high school stuff we encounter.  Eleanor and Park are beautiful characters and its goes to the extent of even different cultures and social standings of coming from different families and backgrounds.  There’s a “real” drama to it that makes us know that the breaking up is almost inevitable and it makes us feel kind of like a first love where you want it to last even when you know it won’t but at the same time, you can’t help but to hope that the odds are with you and not against you.  I think that’s the power of the story of Eleanor and Park and what makes it even better is the way it ends.  I think that part is important to the experience so I don’t want to go any deeper about it so to not spoil it for anyone that hasn’t read it.

Eleanor and Park does the best in giving us some very great characters in Eleanor and Park.  Eleanor is an oddball who comes from a pretty bad family background with a mom that doesn’t seem to care and being away because she wanted to escape her stepfather and the bad that he is for her and her siblings.  Eleanor is in danger and we know it every time its her side of the story.  She pretty much has nothing and doesn’t really know much because she has never had the chance.  Park is the exact opposite of her and from a chance encounter on the bus, they grow into unlikely friends and takes a lot of courage to be able to become friends and more to break down barriers of the stereotypes of school and all that.  While on the surface, Eleanor and Park contrast in their backgrounds, deep down they both have their struggles at home and outside.  They both struggle with different stereotypes and they find solace in each other.  The beauty is that the best relationships are found in the simple things from what we like such as music and comic books (or anything else that is interesting and sharing them). It also shares the message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that sometimes we are more judgmental about ourselves than others are and that makes us more sensitive but sometimes, others don’t understand the way things come off in words to someone else in whatever situation.  Those are just a few messages that this novel about young love highlights.

When I first finished Eleanor and Park, I can’t say that I didn’t feel a little frustrated because it focused a lot on the misfortunes of a young girl and the boy being the more fortunate one but giving it a while to settle and remembering it now, there are many memorable parts and the ending kind of creeps up on us unknowingly.  First loves etch a mark in our hearts and the rare first love will last but there’s something very unforgettable about Eleanor and Park and how they portray it, adding that hint of bitter and sweet to put this together so that we cheer for this young love to be together.  There are a few moments that feel a little clunky and maybe its even dragged on in some other parts and there are frustrations in some of the other characters that may or may not reflect reality (since I haven’t lived a life like Eleanor’s) but this novel definitely tries hard to dig deep into our emotions.  It didn’t exactly tear me apart but it made me feel for this story and kind of stun me a little by the final act and epilogue. It made me think more looking back at the novel than when I first put it down. It makes me wonder what a second reading would make me feel now. Maybe one day I’ll revisit it.

Have you read Eleanor and Park? Did you like it?

Book Review: Never Mind My Thigh Gap by Sarah Newton

Wow! Its been a long time since I reviewed a book.  Don’t worry. I have a few coming up but we’re here to take care of some business!

First off, I received this book in exchange for an honest review! Thanks so much for sending it to me!

Now, let’s check out this lovely book recently released on February 14th, 2016.

Never Mind My Thigh Gap
By: Sarah Newton & Bronte Huskinson

Never Mind My Thigh Gap

“One ordinary girl, one extraordinary moment” Alice is tall – just under six feet to be exact – but her self-esteem couldn’t be smaller. When her relationship starts wavering, Alice’s perfectly beautiful best friend somehow convinces her to join a modelling competition, “for a confidence boost.” But Alice is just a normal girl; she loves ice cream too much, has an unhealthy addiction to American TV and lusts after the elusive thigh gap. She can’t even walk in heels, let alone in a bikini, but she finds herself joining Runway Models anyway.  The finale is only a few months away.  Will Alice catwalk her way to self-confidence or fail, proving everyone right? People can surprise you. – Goodreads

Goodreads rating: 3/5 stars

Never Mind My Thigh Gap is a decent novel.  It reads rather well and the writing is pretty good also.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect going in as is usually the case with any indie books.  However, the message it wants to give is very meaningful.  When I was in high school, I could relate to what Alice was going through.  I wasn’t pretty as it was described for her here and I guess in a way, I saw a different side of what the “popular” girls were doing also.  Its a story about finding yourself, pretty much a coming of age for our main character as she learns what is valuable to her, find the self-confidence and believe that she is great the way she is, even with her obsessions and flaws.  She didn’t need to be with the popular kids and she just needed friends who would accept her for who she was no matter how different they were. The heart of the novel never gets lost in any of this.

Most YA novel does suffer a little from some story flow issues and some awkward dialogue.  Never Mind My Thigh Gap is the same thing.  However, I do believe that this is just how you’ve experienced high school or say, how each of us was as a teenager.  This book is not directed towards me and while I can remember high school even if it was over 10 years now, I never quite remembered talking like that but the idea of falling into traps and watching the cool kids and indirectly seeing their problems being rumored about and whatnot was a thing that happened.  By far, the most relatable theme that mostly any girl (or even guy) could get is the concept of self-image.  How do we perceive ourselves and how do we be comfortable and confident with not only who we are but how we look. That message getting through gets all the points for Never Mind My Thigh Gap.  I remember doing that not even just in high school but even some days now, I fall into that same thing.

However, this novel also has one thing that didn’t quite work so much for me.  It sells itself based on the Runway Model competition being the centre of where she finds herself but, we actually don’t experience a whole lot of Alice being in the competition.  It does linger in the background and a lot of the friendships and relationships are changed and warped because of her joining it but its never the competition that does any of this, or maybe I’m just missing the point. Never Mind My Thigh Gap is a story about teens going through this and just because of a situation changing their views about themselves because they opened up their world to accepting something different and finding where they belong.

Overall, Never Mind My Thigh Gap is a decent read.  It keeps its readers interested and intrigued and it carries a good message for the audience its directed to. Even if it doesn’t quite deliver on more detailed competition portion, it does do a good job at highlighting teenage high school struggles with friends and self-confidence and loyalties.

Paper Towns by John Green

Let’s tackle another John Green novel! If you remember, I read The Fault in Our Stars a month or so ago.  While I’m not a die hard fan, it was an alright novel.  Not so much the more I think about it.  Its incredibly quotable, of course.  I highly doubt I’d go back to reading it though.  However, the trailer of Paper Towns dropped and I saw it a few months ago.  Of course, by now, the movie has gone on the big screen and left it, so I never went to go see the movie but that was my motivation in reading the book.  The trailer was intriguing to say the least.  Its the sort of coming of age adventure that I like to check out.

So here we are with Paper Towns! Let’s see what its all about! 🙂

Paper Towns

by: John Green

Paper Towns

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew… – Goodreads

Goodreads rating: 2/5 stars (I’m just going to open with the ratings now.  I’ll go back and restructure my posts soon.  It seems like a good way to do it.)

I’m pretty lenient and forgiving with novels, especially YA novels.  I probably shouldn’t since Young Adult is this whole new genre with a thousand trending books every year and a lot of it is hyped up for reasons I can’t decipher.  Anyways, point is, I’m stopping this John Green run unless you all tell me there is a book about a thousand times better than anything you have ever read.  He’s really not for me.  Paper Towns was a new level of boring.  I don’t know if its the pacing or the events or just the writing style.  I had an incredibly hard time getting absorbed into the book.  You know how sometimes you are fully aware of the exact thing you are doing in reality, like I’m reading a book sitting in a bus or standing in line baking under heat.  It didn’t whisk me away from reality or even slightly fall in love with the characters.

Paper Towns has a good premise.  Its really not a bad idea.  What does make it not so great is that what started out as an adventure and finding yourself and discovering the whole idea of how everyone has more than their appearances.  Hey kids, that’s life! I’m not the semi sarcastic, semi bubbly enthusiastic person I am on my blog when I’m at work.  I wasn’t like this even when I went to school.  In high school, we join groups and we bend to peer pressure and these things happen.  So, I get this is a young adult novel and its about teenagers which is why I think the premise is commendable.  However, my issue here is the characters and just the course of events. Its not even the believability of it all.  I can get behind the Paper Towns thing and wanting to leave and start fresh, impulse and adventure, wanting to be you and getting away from all that home stuff, even the whole randomly choosing your childhood friend/neighbor who is really more of an acquaintance.  But this book is about clues, chasing down and finding a girl mindlessly.

To be honest, the characters in here were pretty meh.  I mean, Margo was nothing special.  I guess it works because she isn’t supposed to be. She just is because Q thought she was and has this massive crush on her. While Q is actually just a law-abiding citizen.  You know that typical coming of age teenage boy who a spontaneous girl sends on an adventure.  You know one, you know them all.  Except Q is kind of self-centred and very one track mind. His best friends even point that out and he becomes conscious about it and changes. That’s the character development.  Its not even that there isn’t character development but rather its like at some point, Q doesn’t even know why he’s looking for Margo.  It seems like a reflex or is it the desire to feel wanted or to feel important like he’s done something out of the mold of his routine life and wanting normal things? I don’t know what it is. The characters weren’t that appealing.

Don’t even get me started on the ending. Okay, look, I had a much worse ending in my head that if it did happen, I’d have thrown the book into the fireplace and burnt it.  That didn’t happen so I didn’t have to bake myself in my already pretty hot house.  Point is, the ending was still really like: I don’t know how to work in circles around this anymore so lets just draw this to a close.

Overall, not a fan of Paper Towns.  I can’t even see the appeal.  The characters aren’t very special.  The pacing and story is so boring and honestly when you get to the ending, it really feels like you just went on a wild goose chase for absolutely nothing.  I gave it 2 because one, the premise is there.  Its just the execution wasn’t quite there.  Second, there are some few parts that were interesting to read.  The clues after clues was fun here and there and the beginning had a few decent messages about stepping out of ordinary and having adventures but it just kind of fell apart in this slow tiring way. Its sucks to feel this way for a book because I’m not harsh on books and I really wanted to like this one.

Have you read Paper Towns? Are you a John Green fan? What is your favorite book of his?

The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner

Wow! If anything, these book reviews are falling way behind. It happens when I had more time to read than to write (aka waiting in line for an hour before movies and overshot data on my phone).  I’m about two reviews behind so I’m working hard on getting things back to speed. After The Cuckoo’s Calling (a more grown-up book), I always like to fall back to some YA fiction.  My choice after looking for a while was the next book in the Maze Runner series by James Dashner.  If you missed it, you can check out my review for the previous two below:

#1 The Maze Runner
#2 The Scorch Trials

For a recap, I loved The Maze Runner and enjoyed the Scorch Trials but not quite as much. Not exactly sure what to expect for this one, The Death Cure.  Let’s check this out! 🙂

**If you have not read and finished up to The Scorch Trials, please stop reading as Book 2 reveals are mentioned a little.**

The Death Cure
(The Maze Runner #3)

The Death Cure

by: James Dashner

Thomas gets out of The Scorch Trials and wakes up to find himself locked up by himself in a dark cage.  His meals are delivered to him on time everyday as he loses track of time.  When they finally release him, he learns about WICKED and the lines between who is on his side or not is getting blurry.  Is WICKED good? While they took away all his memories, he starts remembering more about WICKED but this time, he is on the run outside of WICKED to track down his friends and get them out. Will he be able to do it?

Let’s start off with the basics here.  The Death Cure is not exactly as great as The Maze Runner but its definitely a lot better than The Scorch Trials.  It was a lot of fun to watch and it worked well because it went back to being how we know the first one.  It was fast-paced, lots of stuff going on to keep the amp up and Thomas wasn’t a whiny baby that didn’t know when he had to man up.  [Just a side note: Its sad because that’s the reason why I’m worried about The Scorch Trials.  While Teresa gets a bigger part, Thomas turns into this character that I really loathed reading about.  Where was all the courage and bravery he had in the Glades?]

Back on The Death Cure, we now have a label for the virus called The Flare.  We know what its about and in this one, Thomas tracks his friends back to one of the cities as we see how the normal people are coping with it.  There’s more outside world than the WICKED but if its anything we learned in The Scorch Trials, even when it feels like there is no control, WICKED is control of everything.  Trust and loyalty is taken in to the grand scheme of things here.  Who can Thomas trust? Who is looking out for the greater good? They even get the option from Janson, who has a much bigger role, to move to the next phase which includes getting back their memories.  Is getting the memories back a good thing? Are they even their own memories? WICKED is all about finding a cure for the future but to what ends?

Its a lot of questions that we’ve had rumbling around in our heads through the last two books to this one and demands answers.  The Death Cure does a decent job at doing it.  In the end, it makes you question: is WICKED good or bad?

I don’t have much to say about The Death Cure.  The ending was meant to be a surprise that kind of took me by mild surprise because a lot of people like to do this sort of ending nowadays in movies or books.  It was a little apparent at a certain point. I can’t say that this ending wasn’t a possibility that popped in my head but still, points for making this work for the most part. What makes The Death Cure feel more intense is again we have a time limit in place so things need to proceed faster and it pushes the plot along.  Also, it puts some of our favorite characters that we’ve grown to know in the last two books into iffy situations that take the ethical and emotional turn.  Its always better to have that sort of test especially with the friendships bonded over the rest of the trilogy.  Honestly, that is the big thing for me.  I never thought the love bits were a necessity and Thomas and his lady friends really don’t interest me all that much.  Although it was still apparent in this one, it was enough to not overshadow the main goal and the urgency of the entire situation.

Overall, The Death Cure was a quick read.  It wasn’t exactly a page turner but it was easy and thrilling.  I like it more than The Scorch Trials and less than The Maze Runner.  The ending worked hard to add that twist in, although used frequently in the last few years, it seemed to be the only outcome that would be kind of a surprise and would apply here.  The setting being outside of WICKED controlled headquarters is a good one because it lets us see what the Flare is and how the world has been fallen.  Thomas being more like the one in Book 1 definitely was a plus.  In the end, it does wrap up the main questions we have: Is WICKED good? Is there a cure for the Flare?  While I’m not totally behind whether the ending was great or not, the intentions are good.  It ties up The Maze Runner trilogy decently.

Have you read the Maze Runner trilogy? What are your thoughts on it? 

Cover Reveal: Death Before Daylight by Shannon A. Thompson

Welcome to another cover reveal! This time around its for the third book in the Timeless Death Trilogy called Death Before Daylight.  While the previous two cover reveals were for novels in the trilogy being re-released, Death Before Daylight has never been launched.  I had the opportunity to read it, thanks to the lovely and talented author, Shannon A. Thompson.  You can check out my review here. But today is not about me, its about Shannon and her announcements of when this trilogy will be launched and her books.

Without further ado, I present to you the cover of Death before Daylight:

Death before Daylight


Two eternities. One ending.

“Harmony would only come with destruction.”

The moment Eric and Jessica are reunited, they are torn apart. After the appearance of a new breed of shades and lights, the powers shift for the worse, and all three descendants find themselves face-to-face in the Light realm. When Darthon is in control, the last thing everyone expects is to finally hear the truth.

While Jessica learns the reason of her creation, Darthon’s identity is exposed to Eric—and only Eric—and Eric can no longer defend himself. With the eternities of the Light and the Dark resting on Jessica’s shoulders, she must choose who she will be—a light or a shade.

In the end, someone must die, and the end is near.

Message from the Author

It’s here! It’s here! The final cover of The Timely Death Trilogy has finally been released. A special thank you goes out to Clean Teen Publishing and this lovely Member of the Dark who is helping share this message today. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, re-releases on July 28 – with an all new interior and exterior – and both are beautiful. Seconds Before Sunrise follows on August 25, and Death Before Daylight (the only novel of the trilogy to never see the shelves before) is finally getting it’s day . . . hehehe . . . Well, it’s releasing September 15. Even more exciting? You can win prizes throughout all of these events and more by becoming a Member of the Dark . . . or a Member of the Light. Check out the details below! I look forward to speaking with you!

Shannon A. Thompson (a.k.a. SAT)

Dark Activities

Become a Member of the Dark (or Light) by emailing ShannonAThompson@aol.com. Your email will never be given out, and you are not required to do anything, but you will win more prizes the more you participate.

Win a paperback of Minutes Before Sunset via Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/131705-minutes-before-sunset

Pre-order Minutes Before Sunset: http://www.amazon.com/Minutes-Before-Sunset-Timely-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00WTRV9FC/ref=reader_auth_dp

Stay Updated via The Timely Death Trilogy FB page:

Visit the Extras Page:

Pin your favorite photos from The Timely Death Trilogy Pinterest board:

**Doesn’t that cover look awesome!! I’m loving all three of the covers for the trilogy.  Plus, its not just looks.  This series is really great and I had a lot of fun reading it!!**

Death Before Daylight by Shannon A. Thompson

The start of 2015 has been pretty awesome.  I’m getting a lot of chances to check out some independent novels.

Up next, I have a review for the final book in the Timely Death trilogy by Shannon A. Thompson called Death Before Daylight.  This novel is not released yet but Shannon was nice enough to send me a review copy.

If you’d like to check out my review of the first two books: Minutes Before Sunset & Seconds Before Sunrise. I’ve linked it up with the names.  If you haven’t read the first two, you will want to go back to check those out.  In a nutshell, I absolutely loved the first one.  While the second one was less of a page-turner and connected with me a little less, it was still a pretty good read. At the end of the second part, I have to admit that I really anticipated reading this third one.  Lets check it out!

Death Before Daylight

by: Shannon A. Thompson

death before daylight

 A few months after the battle between Light and Dark, the society itself has lost a few of its own.  Normal humans have a cover story that hide away what really happened but behind the scenes, Jessica and Eric, although with their memories again, have to deal with the urgency of the situation.  The Dark is agitated by what could happen and when the Light will make their attack.  The battle and the after effects have caused most Shades to slowly lose their powers while surprisingly, Jessica and Eric are not gaining in strength.  After a close encounter with Darthon, Jessica knows more about her existence and the meaning behind it.  At the same time, Eric’s meeting with Darthon has revealed a few unknown secrets to him, especially stuck with being the only person that knows the true identity of Darthon.  The war is between Light and Dark but its as much between Jessica, Eric and Darthon and the choices they will make for their own side.

Right off the bat, Death Before Daylight picks up relatively soon after where the second book leaves it off.  The Dark is in shambles and everyone is feeling the effect of it except for Jessica and Eric.  That makes them wonder about what is going on.  Although, it took me a few moments to remember a few details of the second novel, when it all came back to me, it worked out well. The final part is an intensely paced novel.  I enjoyed it immensely, maybe the best out of the three and I loved the first one a lot. The structure of the novel stays the same with fluctuating between the two narratives of Eric and Jessica, our main protagonists.  What I liked the best about this time’s narrative was that it flowed tremendously well making the story flow flawlessly as the situation switched over back and forth as the focal point changed. This made it feel like the importance of Jess and Eric creates a balance.  At the same time, this time, the readers spend a lot more time with the enemy Light leader, Darthon that we’ve only read a lot about through what our characters have heard and had one battle scene.

Death Before Daylight also works because it now puts our main characters in more dire situations.  It really focuses on how our main characters are all stuck in predicaments where although there seems to be choices, there are so many lives at stake with each decision making everything more intense.  As this is the final novel of the trilogy, there are surprise reveals of hidden identities and honestly, the ideas felt really refreshing. Plus, there was a bigger focus on the whole back story of both Jess and Eric, each having their own demons to slay in a way.

Overall, Death Before Daylight was a really awesome read.  It was refreshing and intense all at the same time.  It was intriguing with lots of twists, hidden secrets and reveals.  The narrative flowed perfectly and the pace of how the events unfolded was really well done.  Its been a while I’ve read such a fun trilogy finale.

Remember to head over to check out what Shannon is up to at her blog right HERE! If you haven’t read the Timely Death trilogy, I highly recommend it!