Book of the Week-Just One Day

So I miss my blog. I know to most of you, page you guys are seeing posts, stomach so you’re okay, diagnosis you don’t realize but not having a computer and not being able to be there for my blog every day is driving me absolutely insane. Yes, I have this attachment to a piece of technology. Sad, but very true. I just love this blog and not being able to work on it SUCKS  big time.

So basically what I’ve been doing, thanks to my amazing and wonderful and PATIENT boyfriend, is borrowing his laptop when I can and writing out as many posts as possible. This is already my second post of the night, and I’m hoping to get a couple more in there. We’ll see how that goes.

But one thing that has come from this lack of technology is that I’m also not on the computer doing completely useless stuff as well! So that means I’ve been getting a lot of reading done; I’ve read 3 and 1/2 books in the last few days. Yes, yes I have. So expect a lot of reviews coming your way, including today’s Book of the Week.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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GoodReads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Genre:

young adult, contemporary, coming of age

Part of a Series?

Yes. The second book, Just One Year, is expected in 2014.

You May Like if You Liked:

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Where She Went, Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Plot Summary:

Good girl Allyson is in Europe, a tour of Europe that was a gift from her parents before she heads off to college. So far, it has been absolutely everything opposite of what she is expected, and as she heads back to London before heading home, she is feeling kind of defeated. That is, until two chance encounters with a handsome Dutch boy named Willem, who entices her to spend a day with him in Paris. She goes, even though this is something she would never do in a million years, and they spend a crazy, but amazing day together in Paris. When Allyson wakes up the next morning, however, Willem is gone, without a word and she has no way of finding him, and she goes home.

The story then picks up with Ally at college, still reeling from that one day in Paris. She knows that it was only one day, and that she didn’t even really know Willem, but its changed her, and she can’t remember who she is anymore. She needs to figure out why this one day has changed her so much, and what she can do about it.

The Bad:

I had an issue with how badly Allyson reacted to “losing” Willem. It was not so bad as the story went along but at first, it seemed more and more about this boy, and I hate when a story is all wrapped around a boy, and that really annoyed me at first. When she is just completely devastated and changed because of this one day, I was seriously irritated. As someone who broke up with her boyfriend of two years (we got back together) and that was painful. One day? I just wanted her to buck up and handle it. But when you realize that it is more than just the actual connection between Willem and how he kind of challenged the way she was living before, it made a lot more sense. It was more than just losing a boy, it was also about losing who she was with that boy. 

The Good:

Gayle Forman is absolutely beautiful writer. She is just straight up a really wonderful writer. She spins a great story, and a fairly believable one, at that, considering she created this crazy story of two teenagers running away to Paris for a day. Her writing itself is just so beautiful. She captures the simplicity of being a teenager and those sorts of feelings and thoughts, and so its so young adult but she’s also so rich and descriptive and she also doesn’t soften the truths of being a teenager. I think most people would qualify her as young adult but I would say she is new adult, and I really like this subcategory of new adult, that really takes it a step further (like in Tammara Webber’s novels) and isn’t afraid to show the grittier, more realistic sides of things. And she really accomplishes all of that with having such a talent for concise and beautiful writing, and the ability to tell a great story. 

I picked this up, and struggled a little bit in the first chapter. Sometimes when you pick up a book, its not what you want to read. Its nothing against the book itself; its just not what your  brain is craving at the moment. So I picked up a different book and read it (review on Friday!) and then I was able to return to this book. Once I did, it was time, and I fell into it as quickly as I did with “If I Stay”. 

The thing about Gayle that impressed me the first time around was her ability to create such an engrossing story with such well developed characters in SUCH a short novel, in If I Stay. I noticed this was the same with Where She Went, as well. I saw Just One Day and noticed it was longer and I wondered if it would be the same. She had already proven to me that she could write a great novel in a smaller amount of pages than most authors. But she really built a story. She told two different stories. She told the story of one day, and she told the story of Allyson’s life after that one day. That could easily have been two different novels, really but she put it together and it was amazing. 

It also leads to the sequel. What a horrible, terrible, amazing cliffhanger, Gayle. You did that with If I Stay too, and I want to shake you, happily, for that, because there aren’t many people who can really accomplish that more than once. I was racing to the finish, hoping to see what would happen and then it just ended and I was left with a desire to rush out to the bookstore and purchase the next book in the series. Unfortunately it is not released yet but I am now anxiously waiting because such a great book. 

Lastly, I want to commend Gayle for her characters. She’s writing contemporary fiction, which is in the minors nowadays with paranormal and dystopian and fantasy and science fiction, and if you aren’t John Green, you have your work a bit cut out for you. But the thing about contemporary is that you have to have this really great story, with well-developed characters because that is your entire novel. There are no fantasy elements to bring it all together. But Gayle creates all these believable and fantastic characters. Allyson, Willem, Allyson’s best friend Melanie, Willem’s former love Celine, Allyson’s parents and her friends at school. She really captures them all so well. She isn’t just great at creating these young adults, but her adult characters, even just her minor characters, all shine individually and its just so impressive and lovely to see. I seriously can’t wait to read the sequel. 

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars 

Recommended or Not?

Definitely. I love Gayle Forman and I’ve only just recently read her three books. It makes me sad because I had a chance to meet her with Morgan Matson and Sarah Dessen at the LA Festival of Books but I skipped her because I hadn’t read anything by her. Now I’m disappointed because I would have loved to have a chance to talk to someone who writes such wonderful and compelling new adult literature, in the contemporary genre. This is exactly what I want to do and I’d love to pick her brain. 

Got off topic a bit there. The point is, Gayle is a wonderful writer. You should definitely pick up this book, if you’ve never read anything by her. If you’ve read If I Stay and Where She Went, and you enjoyed those, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. 

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Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Book of the Week!

Don’t forget you can always check out older posts here, and to check out last week’s review on Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14!!

Happy reading!

Book of the Week-Monument 14

Well, side effects hello there my friends! Hope you guys are all having a great week, sildenafil and you’re reading lots and watching good movies and good shows, viagra 60mg and you’re just all happy.

I am definitely happy. I know I’ve been a little MIA the last few days, I was very busy with a Conan taping and the Percy Jackson premiere (more on that later!). But today, is August 1st! Do you know what that means? Oh god that means A LOT. New books by Tammara Webber, Rae Carson, Pittacus Lore, Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout to begin with. The new Harry Potter 15th anniversary box set. And then…CITY OF BONES FINALLY HITS THEATERS!

So excited.

But until then, I have a really great book to share with you guys today, so check out this week’s Book of the Week!

Monument 19 by Emmy Laybourne

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GoodReads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Genre:
young adult, apocalyptic, contemporary,

Part of a Series?:
yes, the second book, Sky on Fire was released this year.

You May Like if You Liked:
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth, Quarantine by Lex Thomas, Dawn of the Dead (movie)

Plot Summary: 

In my personal opinion, its the YA equivalent of Dawn of the Dead…but without the zombies, at least as far as I’m aware.

Dean leaves for school, like any normal day. He jumps on the bus to high school, with his 8th grade brother, Alex, on the bus behind him. The busses are making their way to school when a suddenly storm hits, with hail at abnormal size. The bus driver loses control and the bus goes crazy, flipping, and killing some of the students on board, and tearing the bus to pieces, while hail starts to hit more students. The bus driver of the junior high/elementary school bus comes to rescue them, and they take rescue in the nearest Greenway, which is basically the fictional equivalent of Costco.

The bus driver goes in search of help, leaving Dean and his fellow high school students that were on the bus (Jake, Brayden, Astrid, Josie and Nico), in charge of the two eighth graders, Alex and Sahalia, and a half a dozen kindergartners. When it becomes clear that the bus driver is not coming back, they have to take it in their own hands to survive, especially when their mini-pads (the book is SLIGHTLY dystopian) are off and they can’t communicate with anyone and the store has full, closing doors that prevent people from getting in…or out.

Dean isn’t a leader, he writes (in a world where pens aren’t used much anymore), and reads, and pines for Astrid from afar. But he has to band together with these people that he either doesn’t know or doesn’t really like to survive, especially when more and more things begin to happen.

The Bad: 

I really, really, really enjoyed this book but I did have a little bit of beef with that, and that was mostly with the main female characters of the novel. I was pleased to see a male main character because that doesn’t seem to be happening very often anymore. I actually didn’t realize Dean was a boy until they said his name, a good twenty pages in. So it was nice to see a male character too. I think sometimes we get so obsessed with these strong female characters, that we forget about the male characters as well. We can admire and applaud both.

Moving on though, the female characters in this novel did bother me a little. Astrid seems like she’s going to be a strong character, but isn’t, and her…state at the end of the novel kind of pissed me off. Sahalia was soooo annoying; her obsession with being noticed by the boys, and her pushing herself on them, putting on a white shirt and getting it all wet, and all of that, it was so…one-dimensional. I was not happy with her storyline either.

I did like Josie, which I’ll go onto later.

The end…I liked the end, because it kind of leaves you hanging, having to read the next book (which I haven’t gotten my hands on yet) and that was great. But I didn’t like Astrid’s state at the end, and I wasn’t a fan of Dean’s, as well.

The Good: 

It sounds like I didn’t like this book, when that’s actually the furthest from the truth. Despite my distaste for Astrid and her storyline, especially since it seems that she will be even more important in the sequel, I really enjoyed this novel, and I was disappointed when it ended because I wanted to keep reading.

With the obsession with zombie apocalypses and just good ol regular apocalypes, people are always making plans on what they would do in the event that it did happen, whether they are kidding or not. I’ve always thought that Costco would be a really great place to be stuck. Think about it: Costco literally has EVERYTHING. It reminds me a lot of Dawn of the Dead, where they are holed up in a shopping mall, another place that pretty much has everything. It seems like the ideal place to try and survive in a world that we’re fairly familiar with. I’m sure that I’m not the only person who has thought of this.

So Emmy Laybourne takes this idea and uses it, with teenagers and children, banded together to survive, when the day before, that wasn’t a concern; it was the concern of their parents. It was interesting to watch the dynamic that comes from that, how the original leader is the one who was the leader on the football field, but how he doesn’t really translate into a leader. Its interesting to watch who falls apart, and who steps up, how they divide labor, and how they plan on using the resources left to them. They are CHILDREN and they’re handling this stuff, and its kind of addicting because who knows when any of us will ever have to survive something of that kind of nature. I think of myself at 16 and I know I would have probably just fallen apart, and let myself die. Now? I’m hoping I’d be a lot better.

I also like that Dean is the main character. He’s not a hero, he’s not the leader but he’s not the bad guy either. He’s just kind of in the middle, observing and doing only what he’s told or what he knows he is capable of doing. He doesn’t agree or disagree with anyone, and he just sort of gets by. I like that about him. I like that he doesn’t immediately step to be either the hero or anti-hero. He’s living it, trying to survive, trying to take care of his brother, and I think that’s what majority of people would be, and this is the character that most people would relate to. His brother Alex is a technology genius and Nico is a natural planner and organizer and Jake commands a presence that Dean can’t. Dean is the average Joe, but you love him for that. You understand that.

I don’t want to give away too much about it, but its a great story of a bunch of kids surviving in a store, not knowing at all what is going on outside, and struggling to build their own little community, despite all that. Its a beautiful story, and a compelling one that keeps you pretty glued to the pages until the very end. And then the end makes you want the sequel super badly, even though you’re a poor college student who can’t buy new books as much anymore and the library doesn’t have the sequel…

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5

Recommended or Not: 

Definitely. I really liked the book, and despite my issues with Astrid and Sahalia, I think it was a wonderfully written book and it was a breath of fresh air. We’ve seen apocalyptic books, but most involve zombies, and the few that are more natural based tend to still involve adults in some way. But I like how this book focuses on the survival of teens and kids, without the influence of adults and how they try to build their own little society. Way to go, Emmy, you’ve made a fan in me :)

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Thanks for checking out this week’s Book of the Week post! I hope that you enjoyed it, and definitely check out previous ones!

And don’t forget to check out Kat’s review of Angelfall by Susan Ee!

Happy Reading!

Book of the Week-Of Poseidon

Okay, search so I know its totally Monday and the Book of the Week post comes out on Thursday but last week got a little ahead of me and I just completely skipped the Book of the Week. I know. I know. Worst book blogger ever.

So the Book of the Week review is a little late but its here, and I’m finally reviewing a book for you. You can expect me to be back on schedule this week, with the Tuesday Top Tens and Fandom Fridays and alllll that super fun stuff.

I am also going to start posting book reviews over at my co-blog, iFandoms Collide. I read a lot of books a week so I’m trying to review as many books as possible and this will be helpful, to spread it out between two different sites. So definitely become a fan of that site, follow it on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with my book reviews.

And now for this super belated Book of the Week post!

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

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Genre:
fantasy, young adult, romance

Part of a Series?
Yes, the first novel in the Syrena Legacy, followed by the recently released, Of Triton.

You May Like if You Liked:
Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Plot Summary:

This story is a dual point of view story told by Emma and Galen. Emma is a normal girl, living in New Jersey, who literally crashes into Galen on a summer vacation in Florida. She immediately feels attraction to him, but is also embarrassed that she ran right into him. Dismissing this, she and her best friend, Chloe, going surfing where they are attacked by a shark and their vacation turns deadly. Emma escapes with her life, and returns to New Jersey, heartbroken.

Galen is a prince of the Triton kingdom, a family of Syrena (mermaids, though they won’t call themselves that). He is called to land by a human friend of him, on the authority that a girl with powers of Syrena is here on land. Galen doesn’t believe it until he runs into Emma and he feels the immediate connection. Then he witnesses Emma calling off a shark and he’s convinced that she is of Poseidon, the kingdom once allied with the Triton.

Galen follows Emma to New Jersey, determined to convince her of her powers and her legacy, and to bring her home below the water. Emma doesn’t believe him at first, but when she starts to be able to breathe under water for long periods of time, and discovers her communication with fish. Galen begins train her, so she can change, and have her fins, and discover why she was raised on land, as a human for so long.

Because Emma is part of a kingdom at outs with the Triton and if she can change and come down below, she’ll be a perfect match for Galen’s brother, Grom, who is to become king. But Galen finds himself holding back, as he begins to fall for Emma.

The Bad:

Honestly, there’s nothing SO bad that I was like, ugh, I hate this part. I’m not saying this book was one hundred percent perfect but I really, really, really liked this book. I would say…and its not really Anna Banks’ fault, but I am getting tired of all these super beautiful heroines haha. Like, Galen can’t shut up about how pretty she is. I’m really looking forward to having some chubby, average looking girls out there. Sometimes I’m like, all right, Galen, we get it, she’s pretty. But she’s also kind of badass, too, remember? So there’s that. But that’s such a small thing and it doesn’t deter from the story, or my enjoyment of it.

The Good: 

I had seen this book randomly every where but it wasn’t until I discovered Leigh Bardugo and the Grisha trilogy that this book really caught my notice. From what I can tell, Anna Banks is a good friend of Leigh’s and they just finished a tour recently for Fierce Reads with Jessica Brody and Emmy Laybourne. I had a little extra cash this past weekend and bought the book.

I gobbled this book up in one day. My boyfriend was at a bachelor party so I curled up in bed and whipped my way through this book and THOROUGHLY enjoyed it.

First off, mermaids? Okay, sorry, I stand corrected, Syrena. Mermaids is the term that they were given by human folklore but their correct name, according to Galen, is Syrena. I love it. I just love it. I love the new story of it. I love that its not vampires or demons or fallen angels or any of that. I love that its so different. I love learning something new. One of the best parts of reading books that are fantasy or dystopian, fantastical is that you get to immerse yourself in a new world, a new culture. But a lot of the stories that have been coming out have some overlap in the stories and myths. I haven’t had a chance to explore the myths and legends of merpeople so that was SUPER fun to read.

I liked the mystery of Emma, her true parentage and whether she was a true Syrena or not, because her mom seems to have no idea what is going on. I love that she spends so much time trying to figure it out and its not immediately apparent. Its a journey to discover what she is capable of, what her body is like, what she can expect of her future. I liked watching that. I love journeys, especially in the young adult genre, because that’s when so many of us are going through journeys and changes and finding ourselves.

I also liked the relationship between Galen and Emma. I liked that even though you get both of their point of views in the story, and you know that they’re absolutely crazy about each other, there’s a ton a build up and it doesn’t happen right away because of Emma’s reluctance and Galen’s duty to his kingdom and his brother and the future of his people. I love the subtlety to their relationship and that it is more about friendship and discovering the truths about Emma than their love story.

Its a really great story, an addicting one that will keep you glued to the pages until the very end, trying to figure out what Emma is, what she is going to be, and trying to figure if Emma and Galen are ever going to get together. Plus the end of Of Poseidon ends in an epic cliffhanger, which has me DYING for the next book! If anyone is feeling at all sympathetic toward a poor college student blogger, you can throw a copy of Of Triton my way :P

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not? 

Definitely. You may not think mermaids and their myths and lore is your type of thing, but I wouldn’t have thought that either until I picked up this book. It was nice to read something new and exciting for a change, and I can see why she, Emmy, Leigh and Jessica go on tour together with their unique stories. I think anyone with a love for fantasy and for young adult literature would absolutely enjoy this novel.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this review of Of Poseidon by Anna Banks.

Check out last week’s review of Struck by Jennifer Bosworth and stayed tuned for a review of The Abandon Trilogy by Meg Cabot as part of The Romance Bookies Meg-A-Readers blog hop!

And you can read other Book of the Week posts here.