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Bone Gap Book Review

I had almost no idea what was happening in the last chapters, yet I loved the whole thing.

I am a big fan of Laura Ruby’s book, Bone Gap, because of how well she was able to make a mundane place (from an outsider’s perspective) seem enchanting at mysterious. The small Midwest town of Bone Gap is home to two brothers: Sean and Finn O’Sullivan. Ruby’s book is full of surprises about a great deal of things and leaves you questioning reality. The only problem I had with this book was the ending; I had almost no idea what was happening in the last chapters, yet I loved the whole thing. HOW????

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on unless you’ve read this book or don’t care about the spoilers I’m about to drop every other sentence.

The list below is the collection of all things I absolutely loved about the book and will elaborate on.

  1. The rich language to describe the bland setting of a farm town.
  2. The many references to how corn grows, looks, and speaks (I’m telling you, corn can TALK.)
  3. Flashbacks are always a plus.
  4. POWER TO THE HONEYBEES.
  5. Where do I put this on my bookshelf? Fiction? Mystery? Fantasy? The world may never know…
  6. Some very strategically placed plot twists (can I get a what, what?)

 

I give Laura Ruby an imaginative pat on the back for the words she used in this book. I’m starting to transition from hardcore fantasy (y’know the kind with the spells and the time travel and the epic battles, yada, yada, yada) to more of a fiction/realistic fiction genre. I had no idea what this book was about when I put it on my reading list. The one and only explanation as to why I picked it up is that the cover had a cool looking bee on it. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this book wasn’t going to be a drag thanks to exotic words used in the story. I was overwhelmed by how much I resemble main character Finn’s “spaced off” and pondering mind. The first chapter’s starting line is “The corn was talking to him again.” It seems ridiculous, but after reading one sentence I promptly closed the book, took a deep breath, and stared at the wall for a minute. I don’t know how I felt it, but I just KNEW that this book was going to be good when I first cracked it open. Another strong foundation of this book is the immediate use of flashbacks and references to the past. I am a big believer in flashbacks because they blow my mind the most when everything ties together. A closely related subject that comes to mind are plot twists. Near the end of the story Finn discovers he has a condition called prosopagnosia, which in short, is the inability to recognize facial variation (more on this later) and can’t remember what anyone’s face looks like.

One character I thought was pretty awesome was Pricilla, or as she liked to be called, Petey. Her mother is a beekeeper, so she handles bees all day long and always has honey on hand. She is described throughout the story as a tomboy, with rough and ugly features, a face only a mother could love. Finn and her start dating, and after a while, she notices something different about him. She was the one who made the discovery of Finn’s facial blindness, and became upset by this. Petey finally felt that someone thought she was beautiful when Finn and her started to date, but when she found out that Finn couldn’t process her face correctly, she became upset. I understand Petey’s emotions, but it seemed very out of the blue and far-fetched that Petey could make Finn’s diagnosis on her own.

I’m not sure how I stand on the ending of the book. There was so much going on that I hardly put a thing together. Honestly, I won’t even try to go in depth on the last few chapters because I have no idea what went on. The thing that threw me off most was that in the bulk of the story, there was no evidence of fantasy elements, but then near the end, a whole other dimension was thrown in my face. A character called these places “The Gaps” and that’s why the town is named so. I was not deeply upset by the unnecessary confusion of the ending; I think things could have been more clear if another 20 or so pages were peppered in the last chapters.

I give this book two thumbs up because it sort of reminded me of where I live, even though I am far from Illinois. I did have to double back at the end to re-evaluate what happened, and I am still not totally sure, but even so the book was quality. I especially liked the plot twists and flashbacks tossed here and there. Broadly, I’d give this book a solid 4.5 stars.

Paper Towns Book Review

I really enjoyed my first ever John Green book, Paper Towns. But then came the ending…

I am starting this post late at night, but you got to do what you got to do when it comes to writing book reviews. I was recommended this book by a friend of mine; I’ve heard a lot of reviews saying you either love the book or you hate it. I’m one of those people in the world who have never read a John Green book, so I had no idea what I was getting into by purchasing this. I’ve said this before in previous posts but I’ll say it again, I’m not much of a romance person *gasp*. I did like this book however because the author, John Green, did not consume the story with romance. I have always heard that John Green has a certain touch when it comes to building an entertaining story around a couple; I was pleasantly surprised when reading Paper Towns for a variety of reasons. It was fantastic because the plot didn’t revolve around the relationship between Margo and Quentin, but really was more about a mystery. Well, fantastic until the extremely sucky end.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read this book stop reading this review.

The great thing about this book was that it was not overly mushy because the whole “guy gets the girl” thing just happens at the end. I read this book not for the yay, they kissed ending, but for all of the stuff in between. I was hooked at the beginning of this book (good job John Green) from all of the early action. I found the idea of all of the pranks the two main characters (Margo and Quentin) did at the beginning was a bit of a stretch, even for troublesome teenagers. To give you context, at one point during the beginning of the plot, they snuck into some high school senior’s house through the window and shaved off his eyebrow in his sleep. HIS EYBROW! I realize that this is just for comedic relief and to bring a little more entertainment into the story, so I won’t criticize it too much.

Green did a great job introducing all of his characters. He used a very simple but effective way to describe each character, making me feel like I had already known them for years. Deeper into the story, Margo runs away from home and makes a mystery of herself by setting up a series of clues of where she can be found. There is a gap in the story between Quentin and Margo’s night of shaving off seniors’ eyebrows and Margo’s disappearance. I was not at all bothered by this lull in the story because Green covered it well with going into more detail about side characters, specifically Quentin’s two best friends Ben and Radar.

I’m sorry to say this, but the ending of this book left me dissatisfied. John Green could have wrote a single word, “meh” as the last chapter, and I would have been happier. It’s a bit harsh, but the author really took the safe route and wrote the ending that he thought the audience would want. Of course, the readers DO want Quentin and Margo to be a thing, but it should have been written differently. After Quentin discovering where she camped out, she threw a fit like a complete brat, which made me not like her character at all. After her mini meltdown I, and hopefully many other people, thought she was not a very great person. She used and manipulated Quentin’s feelings for her to get attention, and somehow Quentin forgave her. Yeah, yeah, yeah, forgive and forget, right? No. The whole story was ruined, at least for me, because of Margo’s motives for her disappearance.

Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars; the storyline was all thumbs up until the flop of an ending. I’ve watched the movie “The Fault in Our Stars” but don’t plan on reading the book, so really this is it for me and John Green. I think that he is a great author, but he could have done much better with the way Paper Towns ended. I will probably get some hate about my badmouthing the ending of this book, but it’s the TRUTH.

The Martian Book Review

Say a ranking system goes from one to five stars, this book would be a five, plus some. Yeah, it was that good.

I have been thoroughly impressed by this book. The Martian was such a great read for me; say a ranking system goes from one to five stars, this book would absolutely be a five, plus some. Yeah, it was that good. I’m not sure how much fun it is to read a rave review but it sure is fun to write one, so here goes.

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you have not read this book.

The main storyline of the book is that during a mission on Mars, crewmate Mark Watney supposedly dies after a freak accident forcing other crew members to evacuate the planet. The plot of the book explores the challenges Watney faces while trying to contact NASA and come back home to Earth safely.

The first thing that impressed me about The Martian was that the author, Andy Weir, was able to write complex, science-y ideas in a simple way to make the average reader understand. When I read these specific types of sentences I felt like a rocket-scientist genius, but newsflash: I know practically nothing of the subject. This book obviously took a great deal of time just to get the scientific part believable for the audience. I don’t know how scientifically accurate the book actually is, but that’s not really why I chose to read it.

Another great thing about this book is how it is set up. The chapters are a bit longer than usual so sometimes I had to stop in the middle of a chapter if I didn’t have the time. But that’s just fine because the chapters were a series of logs written by Mark Watney in his struggle to survive on his own.  I could pause my reading after a couple of logs if necessary. These logs are relatively short, and are set up to summarize the most prominent events of the day. At first I thought this book would be quite a snooze; how could someone make months of being stranded on Mars interesting? The book starts out with Watney narrating through the series of blogs, then splitting the attention between Watney and a NASA center when NASA realizes that he is still alive on Mars. This was a great construction for this book, because in duller parts of the story Watney would crack a joke while explaining the science behind something. An example is when he is trying to configure “the Hab” which is basically his home as a life-supporting tent on Mars and says this bit: “Problem is (follow me closely here, the science is pretty complicated), if I cut a hole in the Hab, the air won’t stay inside anymore.” The joke is a bit out of context, but you get the idea.

Mark Watney is an all around funny and entertaining character which makes the story flow easily. There were no breaks or poorly written transitions in this book, which can sometimes occur when a story follows more than one person. Yet ANOTHER great thing about The Martian is that there is a movie that goes along with it! I saw the movie when it first came out before reading the book. I knew that there was a book that the movie was base off of; I’m not usually the type of person to watch a movie before the book, but I didn’t think the book was worthwhile at the time. How wrong was I on a scale of one to ten? I’d say around eleven (I’m a Stranger Things fan). In an epic science story paired with crucially placed profanities as comedy relief, Andy Weir’s The Martian has definitely made it to one of my favorites.

 

Current Favorite Books

Choosing only a few favorite books is really tough, but I have scrounged together some definite YES’s my current all time favorites.

My all time favorite books are not easy to list. I enjoy many books that I read, so choosing only a few as my favorites seems unfair. But, I will list a couple of my all time favorites that come to mind, but this certainly does not exclude other books that I have read. The order I put these books in is completely random and is not from top favorite to bottom favorite. I hope to add to this list of all time favorites soon!

Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling

This seven book series is one of the best stories I have ever read for sure. The books seemed to get better and better every time, my favorite being the 5th one, The Order of the Phoenix. Not to mention the movies that went along with them are really, really good. There are some books that I read that are very good but the movies that go along with them get trashed along the way (a great example would be the Percy Jackson series).

Salt to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys

I have not read Sepetys debut book Between Shades of Grey, but I have heard great things about it. This book was a fun read for me because of how she wrote it; I am usually not a fan of historical fiction but this book really got my attention. I had read nothing but rave reviews about it so I thought I’d give it a chance. This book will not let you down because of how well she writes the characters to come together. The way she weaves the four main characters to make them all fit equally is amazing, not to mention some pretty interesting historical backstories involved.

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

I thought that this book was going to be too intensely science-y for me, but Orson Scott Card was able to make the whole thing exciting. He was able to make a really thrilling book with how he chose his words. I liked how the book ended; it was quite a twist and I would definitely recommend this book if you haven’t read it already.

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

This book was a relatively quick read for me- thanks to Bradbury’s great pacing of this book that got me hooked right away. It is very good if you want something that makes you think more. The messages and symbolization of Fahrenheit 451 are riddled in practically every chapter of this book, which made this an even better book.

The Archived – Victoria Schwab

Victoria Schwab’s idea for this world is incredibly creative which was the first thing that drew me in. The blurb on the back cover was written very well to hook me. The first like was “Imagine a place were the dead rest on shelves like books.” Intriguing right? This book was just so surprising the whole time-especially at the end. I won’t ruin anything for you but let me just say that I love plot twists. The second of this series was not as good as the first in my opinion, but I am excited to se what the third book will have in store.

The Young Elites – Marie Lu

I really loved this book because it is such a mind bending idea. The idea of superpowers was not what really got me but how she described them. In most books where a character has powers, the powers come naturally. This book is different because the powers are described as “strings” holding together the world and everything in it. I thought that this was a pretty cool concept; how some people could see these strings and use them to their advantage. I like this series better than Lu’s other series, Legend. The second book of The Young Elites series, Rose Society, is very good also, but not quite as much as the first. I don’t want to spoil anything here, but The Young Elites has awesome PLOT TWISTS. As you can tell, I am a sucker for a good plot twist.

Allegiant Book Review

I’m not going to lie and say all 526 pages of Veronica Roth’s Allegiant were breathtaking, because that would be a lie.

I’m not going to lie and say all 526 pages of Veronica Roth’s Allegiant were breathtaking, because that would be a lie. I will say however, that Roth did use some very great writing to create this book. It was fun and action-packed and probably made some of the more sensitive souls cry at the end.

SPOILER ALERT! Stop reading this review now if you haven’t read this book yet.

Did I cry at the end of this story? Naw, my soul has been callused by years of book reading, so this is nothing. But Tris’s death still was refreshing. I don’t mean to sound so dead inside, but it’s true. Compared to many books that I’ve read recently, this story had a fresh ending. You see too often in this type of novel that the main character lives happily ever after; maybe a few supporting characters killed off, but all’s well. Roth exploited Tris’s fault of being protective and selfless, a characteristic that we had admired in the first two books. I certainly will never be as much of an Abnegation as Beatrice Prior, but I do aspire to be that caring. Tris had no reason to surrender herself for the good of her people, it was obvious that Caleb had debts to pay and that he should be the hero. But for the good of the story, the main character would be more fitting to be our heroine. This ending overall was a bit heart-aching, especially with the pain that Tobias felt after her death, but was very well thought out. Tris’s death taught us a valuable lesson about life and death. The quote about her death, in Roth’s words, was written as followed: “I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last.”

Now for the bad stuff about this book. I don’t want to be so harsh about this, but Allegiant left a lot to be desired with Tobias and Tris’s relationship. Although they did stay together strong in the end, it was quite a mundane addition to the story. It was like each time Roth described a kiss between them she just hit “control C, control V.” I’m not much a romance sort of gal in stories and it seems to be a key element in many YA books, but sometimes I feel positive about it. I am one of the more negative feeling people when it comes to romance in a book; it is hard to please me when it comes to this element of a story. This piece of the book was a complete letdown for me, because she had built such a great couple in the beginning two books. The part in the middle of the story where the two of them were questioning the solidity of the relationship just seemed like filler to keep the story alive. There was not much to it with those two, and it really disappointed me how unrealistic they acted around each other. The way Tris and Tobias talked to each other seemed so scripted and lifeless, I felt like I was watching a seventh grade play solely earn extra credit when I read these parts.

I’m done bashing the whole Trobias ship now, but not done with the bad stuff about this book. The beginning of Allegiant felt like it was completely separate from the other two books in the series; it was really hard to get into. Roth did not bridge the end of Insurgent well with the beginning of Allegiant.

Overall, I’d give this book a 3.5 out of 5. The reason for this is because there was too much fumbling at the beginning. The gap I felt between the 2nd and 3rd book felt bigger than what is comfortable, which gave me a bad vibe at the start of the book. Also, I’d rather have had Tris and Tobias not even be a thing in this book because their relationship in this book was dead weight. I’m going to get some serious Divergent series fans angry by saying that, but I don’t care. The ending was very well written in my opinion and was surprising compared to many other endings of novels I’ve read lately, and I would give that aspect of the story an A+.