Monday, June 27, 2016

Quick Reviews: Signs Point To Yes

Title: Signs Point to Yes
Author: Sandy Hall
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Length: 288 pages
Original Publishing Date: October 20th, 2015
Series: Standalone
Rating: 3 stars 

Cute, but definitely didn't have the same personality, uniqueness and vibrancy as "A Little Something Different". I liked the conflict, and I had some swoon moments over Teo. Honestly Ravi just reminded me of the brother on "The League". And not in a good way. There was a lot of interesting stuff in this book though that was thought-provoking and different. Ultimately, pretty run of the mill.



Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger
Author:  Rae Carson
Genre: YA Historican Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Length: 432 pages
Original Publishing Date: September 22nd, 2015
Series: Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Rating: 3 stars

Love the concept but I feel like Lee's "gold sense" was under-utilized. Also, very typical set-up for the journey, in my opinion. I won't ruin it with spoilers here but all the initial conflict was nothing new and merely there to provide incentive for Lee to run away to California. Some parts of the novel were slow too, and seemed to be lacking in conflict. Like, okay, I get it- they're on the trail. Still on the trail. Waiting. Still waiting.

That being said, SOOO cool to combine historical fiction (especially Oregon Trail stuff) with some magic. Love it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Quick Reviews: Blood Red Road and All Fall Down

Title: Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Length: 459 pages
Original Publishing Date: June 7th, 2011
Series: Dust Lands #1
Rating: 2 stars 

I was so disappointed by Blood Red Road! 

I'll give you two reasons that I believe contributed to it. 

1) The audiobook sucked. No offense to the narrator, but I wasn't really digging the way that she read. There was a lot of action and yelling in this book. Normally, I don't really notice the way that narrators portray yelling, but this narrator did a "whisper-yell" that was really bothersome to me. If we're in a high pressure moment, I'm not down with the narrator whispering "Jack" and pretending that it's yelling. 


2) I wasn't reading it when it first came out. In 2011, it was a completely different landscape for YA Dystopian fiction. This was the height of our obsession, and I think I might have been more excited if I had read this book back when I wasn't judging dystopian books so tough. Now, there is little that I see in Blood Red Road that I haven't seen a million times before, and I was so disappointed by the lack of originality. 




Title: All Fall Down
Author:  Ally Carter
Genre: YA Thriller
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Length: 310 pages
Original Publishing Date: January 20th, 2015
Series: Embassy Row #1
Rating: 3 stars

I wasn't expecting a whole lot from All Fall Down, which may be why I was pleasantly surprised. Turns out, there's a lot of drama and fun that can take place on a fictional Embassy Row in a fictional foreign country. 

This book has a lot of things that I love: quick pacing and a lot of action, awesome world-building, and an awesome psychological thriller aspect that I'm obsessed with. 

The weaknesses? I was less impressed with Grace than I think I ought to have been. Part of that was because she didn't feel fully developed to me. We just have a boring ol' regular girl with not much characterization and then the situation she was slammed into. So, not a lot to make her complex. 

The relationships with the other Embassy kids were definitely a little juvenile, and I can't tell if that's weak writing or if that's the fact that the book was written for a younger group of teens. 

Basically, expect the unexpected from this book, and I can't tell you much more than that!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Are Audiobooks Considered Reading?

Here's a question that I'll throw to others out there: do you consider listening to audiobooks "reading"? I ask because I was one of those people who scoffed at audiobooks and railed on them. And then I started working at Nordstrom and now I listen to LOTS of audiobooks (eg. 15-20 a month).

So I still say "reading" when talking about the books I listen to. But the other day, my dad scolded me, saying that I wasn't actually reading. 

Here's my argument: no, I'm not actually sitting and reading text. But since I've started listening to audiobooks, my comprehension has gone way up. When I was much younger, I was a "speed reader", but that actually just meant that I skipped the boring paragraphs in books. SMH. So when I was 14 and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince came out, and I finished it in 2 days for my book club, I patted myself on the back. But when it came time to discuss what happened, I couldn't remember anything that my fellow readers were talking about! This is because I skipped it all! And while I stopped doing that as much as I got older, I still skipped stuff. 

With audiobooks, I cannot skip parts. So I remember things far more clearly and get a better idea of the book as a whole- whether good or bad. I may not be able to read the book, and thus I can't always learn new words and how to spell them, but luckily my vocabulary is pretty high already so it's not like I am often encountering words that I don't know. 

Ultimatley, it doesn't really matter whether audiobooks are considered reading or not, because they're the only way I can satisfy my craving for books these days when I'm working two jobs. Luckily (or unluckily for my reading habit), those days are coming to a close. I'll keep you updated whether I stick with audiobooks or slowly transition back to ebooks and physical books. I will say this though: now that I've become accustomed to them, I really have a special place in my heart for audiobooks and hearing what the narrators come up with.