Thursday, May 22, 2014

I'm very pleased and scared to be here*

January = 4
February = 1
March = 1
April = 7

Total = 13
    First - I apologize in advance, there is at least one book review that is long, I will try to cut it down but I'm not sure I can decide what to take out of it.   

Rebekah by Orson Scott Card  
  This is the second book in the Women of Gensis series by Card.  The first is Sarah (Sarah and Abraham).  I really enjoyed this one.  It was frustrating at times but not because it was poorly written or anything, but rather because I found myself empathizing with Rebekah and knew she must feel frustrated.  I think Card did a great job of turning this biblical story into a novel and explained/gave reasons for some of the things you don't quite understand in the bible.    

Deep in the Meadows by Lisa M. Cronkhite    
  There are few books that infuriate me. There are books I struggle to get through but not many put me in a bad mood. This one did. There are a few reasons that I thought up that would lead me to be particularly hard on this book:

• I have grown accustomed to reviewing stories with my writing group and looking for plot holes, clichés, descriptions (scenic and emotional - making sure to show not tell), and overall making sure the story is believable.

• I don’t want to sound cocky because I’m not – but I feel I write better and yet I haven’t been published.

• I feel lied to. I was told it was a great scary novel – the only thing I found scary was the writing and that an agent actually allowed it to be published (dang it- there I go again).

The main character, Bee, is flat and inconsistent. From the first page I don’t like her and the dialogue between her and her brother feels forced. Then Bee’s brother dies in a car accident and we are shot ten months into the future where her family still hasn’t even begun recovering from the tragedy. Bee is apparently the only one who is seeing a counselor (the school counselor at that), though her mom seems more deeply impacted and out of touch with reality than any other character. Bee can’t make up her mind about how she wants her parents to feel about her - in one paragraph she is hoping her dad will get upset with her for skipping school because if he’s upset it’s better than nothing. A few sentences later she's relieved he hasn't figured out she skipped school because he's been through so much. Bee needs to commit to which attitude she'll take, being protective of her parents or rebellion because they don't pay enough attention to her.

Even with the boys in her life. Since her brother’s death she’s fallen in love with her brother’s best friend and wants to be with him and yet when her brother's teammate asks her out she turns him down (despite just saying how “hot” he was) and her reasoning is that she can't bear to be reminded of her brother. Really? Hanging out with his best friend on an almost daily basis and being in love with him doesn't bring up the same problem?

Bee begins to see her brother all over the place, none of these experiences are particularly scary or even make my heart rate increase by a fraction.  The narrator tells me that he seems to want to tell her something, but I never get that impression. 

As I said, this book is supposed to be scary and I did find the writing hauntingly bad. For an example – in one scene Bee finds herself in a bathroom covered in blood (though not her own because if it were she'd be dead). She says, "the image of red has stained my mind. I was swimming in it". Then she escapes and after who knows how long of wandering through a cornfield (must be one wealthy farmer) she comes to a highway and right across the street is a comfortable looking home. An old, oblivious lady wearing a pink apron lives there. She takes in the stained clothes and asks if Bee was in an accident and despite having a swim in blood earlier does not seem to have the appearance of someone who actually needs to explain themselves because the women quickly moves on to inviting her in, having her sit on her old lady couch and then say she needs to get out of those damp clothes...damp from what? The narrator has already said the blood dried and apparently to the point the woman either couldn't tell it was blood or had bad eyesight (yet knew to ask if she had been in an accident). The women focuses first on getting her something to drink rather than checking the blood covered girl for wounds, getting her something clean to wear or getting more of an explanation before inviting her into her home, or – calling the cops like a smart person. I'm reminded several times of the kind of horror movie where the characters’ stupidity make you hate them all. Because even though Bee’s been kidnapped, taken across the state line and woken up covered in blood she thinks, "I can't let my dad know about this- he's too fragile" or “I can’t call the cops, they’ll think I did it.” Because (sarcasm font) in all those crime shows on Prime Time TV only the people who go to the cops are suspect. (close sarcasm font). The author seems to want us to feel frightened about this whole thing, so she says 'blood', 'red', and 'nightmare' a lot.

The worst – Bee finally gets home (no one really asking about all this blood she is supposedly covered in), strips off the clothes and checks herself for wounds to make sure that the blood isn’t her own….I’ve been told by the author in the first chapter that she is about 17 and smart. I know 10-year-olds who understand their body and blood loss better than this girl. Bee says she can wash the blood off of her body but she’ll never wash the red away from her mind…poetic (oh sorry – sarcasm font there).

Other lines I hated:

"Will every lie I make lead to another?" Yes. You idiot. You're not a toddler learning this for the first time- you're 17.

"Pure evil drips from his tone" Goosebumps, she must be up against the vilest villain ever conceived (sarcasm). The “bad guy” was never scary.

And every single fight Bee has with anyone because it is so forced and ludicrous it doesn’t even trick me for a second in to believing the author has ever had a verbal fight with anyone in her life.

I may have hated Bella from Twilight and not found the writing to be the strongest, but at least I was pulled in enough to rather enjoy the first three books before the fourth one and the movie ruined the whole series.

If I could give negative stars to a book – this would have a negative 5 out of 5. The only good part was that the writing is so simplistic (though aggravating) that it only took a few days to read it.

Rachel and Leah by Orson Scott Card

Oh the bibical story that always made me go, "What the?!" I only have one complaint about this one, apparently there was supposed to be a sequel.  All the other stories either wrapped up nicely before the end or wrapped up as the other one began.  This one just ended with only have the story told.  Then Scott mentions in a little segment afterwards that the rest of the story would be in "The Wives of Israel" which from what I can tell - was never published.  Nonetheless, he did a good job "explaining" the story and really making you understand Leah (I'm assuming I would have come to like Rachel in the next book because I didn't really get to see her in the first part of the story). All in all I think it was a good book, I couldn't put it down (but I did for work). 

Legend by Marie Lu

A typical end of the world teen novel.  I liked it though.  No hard feelings.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robins

An interesting look into the social hierarchy of high school (and even high school teachers) from all different parts of the country and all different groups.  What I liked most was that each of the main people focused on in the book were issued a challenge and the challenges helped them to break out of their label and also to see for themselves that they were more than their "friends" and sometimes family led them to believe. 

Partials by Dan Wells

I downloaded an audiobook from the library and listened to a good hour of it one day while out for a walk.  I was a little confused about a few things and thought it was interesting how the author was just jumping right in, but I can't say I didn't like it.  But then I got to a part that led me to believe I was not listening to the first book in the series...It turns out I was on book 3!  So I had to hit the pause button.  I found the first book and it wasn't in audio, so I read it on my teeny tiny phone.  But I'm thinking book 3 will make more sense now.  I really enjoyed this book, it is incredibly well written, the world is well described, the characters feel real and there seems to be real development.  Such a nice relief from that last book which I will never mention again (spit on it). 

The Tyrant's Daughter by J. C. Carleson

This book was also well written. It was a nice change of pace.  The main character finds refuge living in America after her tyrant father is murdered by his power hungry brother.  The story follows her family (her mother and little brother) as they acclimate to America and try to survive their new lives.

I think I'm finally catching up :)

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Gah! I should know that quote. I know it's amanda bynes that says it...Hairspray! sorry. took me a minute!


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