Reviewed: The Moon and More

The Moon and More A week before this book was released I didn’t even know about it but as soon as I heard I had to have it straight away! I usually get books from the library or buy them (if I think the’re something special) but very rarely do I read ebooks because I prefer having the physical book in front of me.

Not this time though, I had to read The Moon and More the week it was released! It was Dessen after all, I love all her books! Even if I forget them between reads and then pick up one thinking I haven’t read it and realise I have but it was just like all her other books so I forgot about it.

I was thinking the other week how Dessen is a bit like the Dan Brown of YA. They both have very popular, very formulaic books. Unlike Brown though, Dessen actually has some talent.

So, did The Moon and More keep in line with the formula? Girl with parent issues? Yup! Girl who just finished school or on summer holidays? Yup! Girl just met new/interesting/quirky/weird boy just at the exact time that she needed too? Yup! Set in the fictional town of Colby? Yup! Yup! Yup!

Even with all that, something wasn’t quite right about this book. When I first heard about the book I remember seeing Dessen write how she got inspired by a pool boy (oh yeah!) and how maybe her next book should be from the perspective of a local of Colby rather than from one of the tourists there for the summer.

I was in Emerald Isle, which is the beach town in NC that is basically my Colby, sitting by the pool at our rental house, reading a book. I heard the gate open and looked over to see a guy coming in, shirtless, with a bunch of pool cleaning equipment. He smiled, waved. “Hey, how’s it going?” he said. “Good,” I replied. “You?” And then he started talking. About the busy season, and being from Emerald Isle and what it was like to be a local in a vacation spot. He told me about his job cleaning pools, and his side job working on a charter fishing boat, all while cleaning the pool. When he left about fifteen minutes later, I thought: Well, there’s my next book. It was like he’d just walked in and handed it to me.

Maybe this is what doesn’t work. Emaline is a bit of a Colby snob to her tourist friends, often complaining that they go places she’s been going her entire life because, you know, there’s so much option in a small beachside town. This attitude and her inability to learn just isn’t interesting. No one really is. They’re not likeable either, they’re just… boring and I find myself not caring about their story.

To say I was disappointed in The Moon and More is an understatement. If I were writing a Dessen style book to describe how I feel about this book it would be called “Not Quite Right” and it would be how Colby feels old and used now. I’d be the returning summer tourist who usually greets her with a smile, now sitting her down to tell her it’s time for us to part ways. Sorry Sarah but it’s not me, it’s you.

Reviewed: Sisterhood Everlasting

Sisterhood EverlastingSisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what to say about this book, I’m not even sure I liked it. I found out a few months ago that a fifth Travelling Pants book had been released and as I had bought the other four over the years that I should know how it ends.

Flash forward ten years and the girls aren’t quite the sisterhood they used to be. Although, I don’t think their characters really did much growing up in those 10 years, mostly just growing apart. Especially Lena, Kostos seemed like a man in his 30s and Lena still seemed like a lost teenaged girl, pining for the boy she loved and lost all those years before. Although, maybe that is what Brashares was going for, that Lena just locked herself away from life. The theme is sort of shoved down your throat throughout the book, and oh.. Bee is broken. Which, if you’ve read the previous books, you’d know anyway.

I read the 4 books leading up to this in about 3 weeks and I’m glad I did, while this book could easily stand up on it’s own it was good to re-visit the characters again and see them for their achievements and also their flaws. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, they didn’t seem to do much changing and a whole lot of staying the same, except Carmen… although she didn’t seem to learn much of anything along the way.

It was good seeing that they hadn’t turned out incredibly successful, ecstatically happy with life and still together and everything was fabulous, I was sort of expecting that something a bit like Now and Then but, thankfully, that didn’t happen. It was good to see some sort of realism in the book, even if part of me wanted them to be incredibly successful and ecstatically happy.

Overall, it was a good read and a nice, if surprising and sometimes sad, way of ending their stories.

… and then I was finished with The Boy Who Lived

… Or, the story of how Slytherin got screwed over every. Damn. Time.

If you have been keeping up with my goodreads account (http://www.goodreads.com/kalliste) you will have noticed I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series, for a really, really, long time. This post may contain spoilers but as I am possibly the only person in the world to only have read it for the first time this year I don’t think that matters.

I’m not sure if the title or sub title gave it away but I wasn’t a huge fan of Harry’s… The supporting characters were more interesting and less worthy of being stabbed in the eye with a fork as far as I’m concerned. One in particular, the wonderfully quirky Snape.  I love a villain and even if Snape wasn’t the real big bad I still enjoyed him being an incredible annoyance to Harry. Given the chance, I’d pat Snape on the shoulder and tell him “don’t worry, the boy who lived got nothing on you half blood prince”.

Speaking of the Half Blood Prince, I think it was my favourite of the books with Prisoner of Azkaban a close second. It was a bit darker than the books before it, it gave us more on why Snape is the way he is,  it was an insight into Voldemort that we hadn’t seen before and then Dumbledore dies and everyone’s mind = blown.

Oh and Prisoner of Azkaban introduced us to Sirius, enough said.

Least favourite? Goblet of Fire of course. If you’re wondering why it took me 10 months to finish the series, this is your answer. If anyone ever asks me to a Quidditch World Cup, I will give them a hearty “hell no!” because apparently they take more than 100 pages and are possibly the most boring event in the history of man. Until the death eaters start causing some havoc, that is.

Overall it was a good read, if a little long… I don’t think I’ve ever read a series with quite so many pages. I wish it had been less predictable though. Harry is introduced as our good guy in white who learns about his mirror, the dark Voldemort who’s this terrible villainous wizard that everyone is incredibly afraid of. From the get go you automatically expect that Harry will triumph over Voldemort, it’s just a case of finding out how… thousands of pages for it to end up just how you expected it too. I hoped for something more.

That isn’t to say it wasn’t written well, in a world where Twilight is considered well written Young Adult fiction it is good to have something else that stands up against it as an example of what happens when Young Adult fiction is written well. I’d be much happier to have kids/teens brought up in a Harry Potter world of wizards and predictability than a world of  sparkling vampires that ruined a genre.

If only Voldemort had ruled supreme though or Harry died and somehow Voldemort was still defeated. Anything would have been better than the obvious.

Plus, if that had happened, we probably would never have had to be subjected to the name Albus Severus Potter.

A better, brighter you

My last post mentioned a book that started it all. I received a few comments from people interested to know more about it. The book was You inc. which claims to help you “attract amazing success into your life and business”  which I imagine every other self help book claims as well. Initially I was pretty reluctant to read it, I would never have read it if my boss (at the time) hadn’t suggested it or you know, bought it for me to read. He was investing time in me and the least I could do was invest some time in improving myself right? Right!

The book itself is separated into 4 parts: You+, You+Business, You+Leadership and You+Sales, I have to admit that I didn’t finish the Sales section or enjoy the Business section. That is  just me though, maybe you have aspirations of building your own business and selling the idea to anyone that will listen and it will give you that big idea. The part for me that was most useful was the “You+” section, eventually anyway. As I mentioned, I was reluctant to read it and wasn’t willing to put to much of myself into it until it came to a question, THE question as I think of it, the question that changed everything:

Are you living in the place where you belong, with the people you love, doing the right work, on purpose?

I thought about it and the answer scared me. I didn’t feel like where I was living was home, I wasn’t sure about the person I was with but I did enjoy my work. I hadn’t purposely chosen to be there though, I had sort of fallen into everything that had happened to me never really pushing myself to do anything. Which was pretty much the story of my life.

It is a pretty big day when you realise you’re not really living your life and making all your decisions from fear and mostly, that one line in a book can make you open your eyes and decide it’s time to change it all.

So that is what this book did for me, it made me think about what I wanted and what I didn’t have but it did it actually make me change anything? No it didn’t, I needed a bigger push for that but it did open my mind to a new way of thinking. That being said, I imagine if I never took the time to read it I would  probably still be where I was 12 months ago feeling helpless about what to do about anything and everything.

I’d recommend giving it a try though if you’re looking for a little, or maybe a big push into the right direction to making life better for yourself.

Reviewed: Going to Far

Going Too FarGoing Too Far by Jennifer Echols
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was all to predictable and the plot just seemed all kinds of unlikely.

Going to Far is the story of rebelious Meg who ends up in gaol one night and is assigned one week riding around in a cop car to see the real world… I suppose. Enter John, all round good guy who wants to save the world. Doesn’t hurt that he is pretty too right?

Guess what happens? I bet you can. The book is narrated by Meg and it just, hurts. I hated her as a character in the first 5 pages and the big reveal (if you can call it that) doesn’t change my mind. I can feel anything but annoyed with her throughout.

In my opinion John is far too patient and possibly just plain stupid.

Although, it is an MTV book… I’ve never heard of that but it doesn’t surprise me this is what one is like.

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