Book Review: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

13112869Genre: 

Young Adult, sick  Dystopian? Survival? Awesome?

Pages: 

320

Part of a Series?:

Yes. The second book, In a Handful of Dust, releases September 26th

Release Date: 

September 24th, 2013

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

My Review:

Back in September of 2013, one fantasy author that I’m massively addicted, Rae Carson, was touring for the very last book in her trilogy. And the closest she was getting to California was Las Vegas. Now LV is only a four hour drive from me. Its not that far. So I convinced my dad, brother and boyfriend to go on a mini road trip to go and meet Rae.

And it was way totally worth it.

But there was another author at the event that completely stuck out to me, and that was Mindy McGinnis. She was funny and fresh, and she was a debut novelist and that always jumps out at me. Plus, her story was about survival, and the inkling beginning thoughts of The Awakened were in my mind at the time, so everything about her stood out.

That was back in September and it took me THIS LONG to get my hands on this book. I don’t know why but it did. Thank you to Michelle, who was my Secret Beach Read Buddy, for sending this to me. I immediately opened it up, ready to dive in and I soaked it all up in less than 3 hours.

I LOVE this book. I loved the main character, Lynn, right off the bat. There was something about her that just makes you immediately like her. She’s not really familiar. She’s been raised such a different way than any of us have ever been raised. She’s been raised to survive, nothing else, but she has real feelings and you can tell that she wishes for more than just constant survival. The entry of others in her life, especially Lucy, really brings out more and more of Lynn than just survival and I love watching her journey. I love watching her give in, and fall in love with others. She’s only have known her mother, so it was beautiful to watch her discover the world through other’s eyes.

I also just loved the survival part of the story. It felt so real. My science fiction is science fiction. There is a virus, and reanimated corpses and everything about my novel feels kind of…out of this world. Not possible. Not this novel. The idea that water will run out, and it’ll become something to ration, to protect, to fight for is not exactly far fetched. I live in Southern California, trust me, I know all about droughts. I mean, sure, I can pop down to Ralph’s and pick up a 24 pack of purified water at any time, but how long will that last and what would we do, who would we sacrifice in order to survive? Mindy tackles that sort of world in this book and its incredibly compelling. I kept turning the pages because I just didn’t know what was going to happen next. Lynn’s world was a day by day struggle and you could lose anyone, anything, on one given day, and its addicting. Its full of so much tension but also laughter at the same time. It is full of so much human spirit and I just love it.

What I think I love the most about it though is that Mindy is just a terrific writer. She tells such a great story, from beginning to end, and that is just awesome. While In a Handful of Dust is a sequel, its also sort of companion as well. Not a Drop to Drink has a beginning, middle and end and I love that. I don’t think a lot of authors can accomplish that, and yet write a second book that must be read right NOW (the sequel is currently sitting on my Nook in e-galley format and I’m dying to return to it right now…). I think it deserves a ton of applause and praise because I was massively impressed by that.

Okay, now I have to go because In a Handful of Dust is calling my name and I also have to pack for ALA, which I haven’t done yet so…bye now. Basically, this book is amazing. Fresh, new, full of a ton of likable and kickass (in more than just physical ways) characters and the story will have you turning the pages frantically.

Plus, Eli? Be still, my heart! I am massively in love with him and my heart hurts. That’s all I’ll say!

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Tuesday Top Ten: Best Books I Discovered at a Book Event

Often times, tadalafil I’ll go to events to see an author or two, but I’ll end up discovering new ones. Sometimes I go to an event not having read any books by the authors on the list and I end up discovering a whole group of amazing authors to dive into. I think that’s what beautiful about book events. You always leave with a sudden urgency to dive into these new books.

So that’s what this week’s top 10 is all about. Its all about the books that came into my life because of book events. WIthout book events, I may not have ever read them but I am so glad that I met these authors and I could jump into these awesome books! Check out the top ten books I’ve read that I discovered at a book event :)

Yes, I know there are 12. It was SO hard to narrow it down haha.

12. Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler

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Aaron Hartzler was an author I first encountered at the LA Times Festival of Books this year, and then a week later at the Pasadena Teen Book Fest. He was funny and charming and his book sounded SO good. I’ve never been much into memoirs and non-fiction books but I felt like I had to give this a chance because I just loved Aaron so much. It tells the story of Aaron’s life growing up, and how he is raised in a very conservative family and what that was like, and that sort of thing. It reads like a novel and its just so honest and beautiful and funny, and I love every bit of it.

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11. Noggin by John Corey Whaley  

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The first time I saw John Corey Whaley was at the LA Times Festival of Books back in April. I had heard of him, vaguely before, and had purchased his debut novel for his appearance at Ontario Teen Book Fest but I hadn’t really heard of him. After attending a panel with him, Andrew Smith, Rainbow Rowell, Aaron Hartzler and E. Lockhart and I knew immediately I had to read Noggin. I just read it recently and its SO good, and I’m so glad I read it. Its about a boy who has his head cryogenically frozen because he’s dying of cancer, and he’s woken up just five years later, in a world where he’s famous but his best friend and girlfriend have moved on from him. Its awesome, and I don’t know that I would have read it had I not seen him at FoB and TBF.

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10. Also Known As by Robin Benway 

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The first time I came into contact with Robin Benway was at the LA Times Festival of Books last year, 2013. She was in a panel with Sarah Dessen (!!), Morgan Matson (!!!!!), and Gayle Forman (!!). I had Gayle Forman’s books in my TBR pile so the new author to me was Robin and I loved her. She was so encouraging and she really believed in pushing yourself and not giving up and I knew that I had to read her. She was just so inspiring. I read Also Known As last year, I can’t remember when, and I adore it. Its so fun and light and adventurous and it has a cute boy and kissing and its awesome. I love Robin too, she’s SO sweet :) I ran into her at Disneyland once, which was kind of creepy because I knew she was there (Twitter!) and had been looking for her. Total creeper status! But its okay, because we laugh about it now. And she’s just awesome and I can’t wait for her next book!

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9. Parallel by Lauren Miller 

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Okay, this is KIND of cheating. A little. I was sent Free to Fall in the mail by a publicist friend of mine and had been about halfway through it before I met Lauren Miller at the Ontario Teen Book Fest. I immediately went home and needed to finish it because she was SO fun, and smart, and I had a good time meeting her. Then I saw her about a week ago at a Girls Gone Sci-Fi event and knew that I had to get Parallel. So technically I was brought to this book, and to my love of Lauren Miller, through a signing. I finished this book about a week ago and it blew my mind. I started it with the intention of finishing it the next day. Instead, I stayed up all night to read. Lauren writes a beautiful love story, wrapped up into this intricate and heart pounding sci-fi phenomenon of parallel worlds. Its brilliant.

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8. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

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THIS BOOK BLEW MY MIND. Seriously. Its been almost a year since I read it and I still just get tongue tied just thinking about it. Its just SO good. I discovered Jennifer Bosworth at the Ontario TBF last year, in 2013, and she talked about her life in a small town, and how she grew up in a religious family and how she sort of turned away from that, and it just resonated in me a lot. Then I read this book, and I was just floored. It makes you think so much, and she’s not afraid to write something that probably makes a lot of people’s jaws drop. It was beautiful and I’m so glad that I found this through that event. I only wish to write something as thought provoking as this.

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I discovered Carrie Arcos there too, but sadly I haven’t read her books yet. They are both in my TBR pile haha!

7. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka

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I had no idea who Catherine Linka was or of this book at all until I was looking at the author lists for Pasadena Teen Book Fest and Ontario Teen Book Fest. Since she was an attendee at both, I knew that I had to check her out, and I realized that this book had yet to be released…and then I got my hands on an e-galley! Yay! And I love it. It takes place in Los Angeles (wee!) and its about a world where the female population is controlled almost entirely due to the fact that majority died because of something wrong in the beef supply. Its sort of futuristic but Catherine Linka raises a lot of attention toward the fact that women are constantly being controlled, our choices, our freedoms, our bodies, etc. Its a great book and I was glad to hear a sequel is coming! I can’t wait to read more! Plus, she’s the sweetest lady :)

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6. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis 

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I literally read this yesterday. YESTERDAY. I’m currently reading the sequel, which I found as an e-galley on edelweiss, yes, yes, yes. Sadly I do not have a picture with her, nor a signature because I just didnt’ realize it at the time. I’ve met Mindy once, at a signing in Las Vegas, when I basically dragged my dad, brother and boyfriend out there so I could meet Rae Carson. Because I’m awesome that way. But anyway, one of the authors that was there was Mindy and I’ve been thinking of this book ever since. I wish I had the money at the time to buy this book but its remained on my radar ever since. I received it as a gift this week and immediately dove into it. Its SO good, and I have so much inspiration from it to make the survival bits of The Awakened better. This book is all about survival and I think its brilliant. I hope I can meet her again one day, to get this book signed because I just loved it.

5. Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott 

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Okay, this is SO cheating. But kind of not. I said book event and that doesn’t necessarily mean that I had to meet them in person. Jessica Brody was having an online chat thing for the release of Unforgotten, the second book of the Unremembered trilogy, and she had Victoria Scott with her, whose new book, Fire and Flood was releasing as well. I adore Jessica and I really loved Victoria after that. She was funny, and fresh and she made her book sound like so much fun. I also won a small swag prize pack, that included a signed bookmark, so I knew I had to get this book. When it released just a few days later, I picked up immediately and went home and read it, and was SO glad I did. I think its brilliant and I’ve been literally dying since February to have the sequel. Any day now, Victoria, I’m ready for it ;)

4. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan 

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Another person I sadly do not have a picture with, even though I technically met her. Last year, when I met and interviewed Cassandra Clare, just after Clockwork Princess had released, I also met Sarah and Maureen Johson, who were her tour buddies. I had read a bit of Maureen Johnson, so she wasn’t new to me but Sarah was. I added both Unspoken and the Demon’s Lexicon to my TBR. I am not a huge fan of the Demon’s Lexicon BUT Unspoken was just brilliant. Jared Lynburn is one of my favorite book boyfriends ever. He’s beautiful and him and Jace Herondale should be best friends. For real. Sarah has this really fun main character, and she has diversity and her characters are real and I’m constantly laughing but also clutching the pages with fear. I keep trying to get my hands on a galley of the third book but no such luck…

3. Unremembered by Jessica Brody

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I had bought Unremembered and read about 30 pages when I met Jessica Brody for the first time. However, after meeting her, I knew I had to finish this book, and I did. I went home from WonderCon that day and literally finished the book that night. And now I’m a huge fan, and I kind of stalk her but I think we’re friends so that’s all good then, now isn’t it? But I think Unremembered is awesome, a sort of girl version of Jason Bourne, and following Sera on her crazy adventure is so fun. Watching her recite the most incredible knowledge and discover grilled cheeses for the first time and fall in love and all of it. I love it. Jessica was super funny, and I enjoyed meeting her that first time, and every time since. She said something about allowing yourself to write badly and I always remember it “Don’t be afraid to write crap; crap makes good fertilizer.” I try to remember that when I’m trying to write. She also told me, after I told her I was trying to be a writer, “Don’t try, just be one.” She’s awesome, basically, and I ADORE all her books, but especially this one.

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2. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 

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AGH! I love you, Leigh and your books and you BLOW my mind. I first encountered Leigh Bardugo at the Ontario Teen Book Fest in 2013, when she was on a panel with Marie Lu, Jessica Brody, Jennifer Bosworth and Morgan Matson. All amazing fantastic authors. It is still one of my favorite panels ever. But anyway, the moderator had said something along the lines of there being very little strong female characters in the past and Leigh immediately went “Uh, Alanna?”, like, duh! Alanna, for those of you who don’t know, is from Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series, which is brilliant, by the way. Any time someone mentions Tammy, I’m sold. I bought Shadow and Bone, and fell in love with her and her books. She writes epic fantasy, and its beautiful written and the characters are wonderful and the entire trilogy is just amazing, and without TBF, I don’t know if I would have ever picked it up.

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1. Winger by Andrew Smith 

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If you know me at all, even in the slightest, I’m sure you could have guessed at my number one answer to this. This is legitimately one of my favorite books ever, and I only read it just over a year ago. It crawled straight into my heart and stayed there, stuck. It blew my mind. I first came into contact, literally, ever, with Andrew at the Teen Book Fest in Ontario last year, 2013, and he made such a massive impression. He was funny and inspiring and I just knew that I needed to read his book. All the authors kept telling me that we needed to read Winger and I bought it almost immediately after the Fest, and just…it was just SO freakin’ good. I love it so much. I am SO glad that I met him at TBF because I have read so many other books by him since then and I just love everything he’s written. (I mean, Grasshopper Jungle…blew my mind! Craziest book ever). He also is such a great person that I’ve gotten to know, and he’s been so amazing, recommending me for different things, and that just makes me want to fangirl like crazy.

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Basically, the purpose of this post was this: discover new authors! buy new books! Get out there, and get to book events, even if you don’t know the authors because you never know when you’ll discover someone new, or discover a new favorite book. Its incredible and I’m grateful for the many events that I’m able to attend and all the authors I’ve discovered :)

What are some of your favorite books that you’ve picked up after meeting the author? Share in the comments!

Book Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

18295852Genre: 

Young Adult, viagra 100mg  Contemporary

Pages: 

337

Part of a Series?:

No

Release Date: 

April 15th, and 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, illness on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

My Review:

Here’s the thing about me and my experiences with Jennifer E Smith. I’ve read everything up until this point and honestly, I just haven’t massively impressed so far. Its not that I think she’s a bad writer because I honestly don’t think she is. She’s a really good writer. But I just haven’t had a huge liking for her stories. They’re too cute, too unrealistic, too short. That’s not a bad thing, definitely not but its not to my taste. There are lots of people that are searching for those kind of stories so you should definitely pick up a Jennifer E Smith book. I just prefer my books with a bit more substance.

I will say this, though: I really liked this one. Its not mesmerizing and it won’t be a book that I’m constantly recommending to people but I thought that this was her strongest novel to date. I thought the story felt more real and I really cared more about these characters than I had in the past. They only met for a brief moment before being split apart and I genuinely wanted them to be together.

But here’s where things divert from in the past. Jennifer’s characters seem to always work out the right way, and it ends up happily wrapped up, with hope and all that but this book is so different and I think that’s why I like it. She really went realistic with this one. Two people, who spent a lot of time together, who obviously left a mark on each other, are separated and yet, they continue to live their lives. They see other people, they have fun, they live without each other. Sure, they think of each other, write each other, they’re always sort of in the back of each other’s minds but they continue to have lives and that’s what makes it beautiful. That we don’t stop living for others, but we keep going, even when they’re there in the back of your mind. I love that.

And I love that each and every interaction they have with each other is beautiful and realistic and it still makes you want to root for them, from beginning to end. You know its cheesy and a tad bit unrealistic that these two could ever really make it work but you want them to anyway and I think that’s a great thing. That’s the first time that Jennifer has really made me root for someone in her book and I was glad for that.

I have hope for, in the future, that she will write something that I truly love but for now, I’m really satisfied with this one and I honestly think that this book was very fun, and very cute and I hope to see more of Jennifer in the future. Never give up on an author, you never know what they’ll produce in the future.

Rating:

3.75 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

18049084Genre: 

Young Adult, treat Contemporary, visit this site Light Sci-Fi

Pages: 

356

Part of a Series?:

No

Release Date: 

April 8th, 2012

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

My Review:

Look, its hard for me to give a 5 out of a 5 on a book. I used to just hand it out like it was free candy or something. But once I became a blogger, and really started reading books, not just for pleasure, but to really see what books were good, I started handing them out less. You have to earn that five out of five. You have to show me you deserve it.

John Corey Whaley did just that. I had seen him at a panel at the Festival of Books with Andrew Smith (literary god), Rainbow Rowell (the FEEEELS), E. Lockhart (I gotta get my hands on her new book) and Aaron Hartzler (can he be my best friend?). He was funny, his book sounded amazing and I was like, I gotta do this. I developed a massive crush on him that day.

And okay, he’s awesomely gay and has a boyfriend and whatnot, but whatever, people. I can so have a crush on him. I have a best friend crush on him. Or something. Moving on.

I saw him again at Ontario Teen Book Fest, and since I was the resident blogger for that, I was able to spend a bit of time with him, and he was just awesome. He was SO funny, and he told me that Godzilla was his fictional crush, and that Grasshopper Jungle would be the book he wished he had as a teen and I was like, this man is beautiful and I need to read his books.

So when my sister brought home Noggin from the library, I grabbed it from her, and proceeded to read it. She was angry because she’s the one that got it, but I told her I’d finish it before she would even crack it open and I was right.

This book is BRILLIANT. The whole time that I was in Travis’ head, I was a mess of emotions. This kid has it totally rough and I was on his side the whole time. So many people were getting angry and mad at him, getting upset at the way he was acting but they didn’t understand. He was pushing best friend and his girlfriend for things that seemed strange and wrong to them but it felt right to him. Imagine going to sleep tonight, and waking up, and everyone you knew was five years older, and had moved on without you. That’s pretty much exactly what happens with Travis. He never expects to wake up, and if he does, its going to be long after the people he’s known has been gone. He never expects to feel like it was a nap. He still wants his best friend in his life, he still loves his girlfriend incredibly and to have them moved on without him is so hard and I was on Travis’ side the whole time.

When you first read the synopsis, you’re thinking its a sort of science fiction book but its definitely not. Travis’ head is frozen, and they figure out a way to reawaken it on another body just a mere five years after his “death”. That’s where the science fiction ends. The story is of Travis struggling to find his place in the world where he is a rare thing, and where the world has moved on without him. He literally has to tackle this, without the people he’s always relied on, and they’ve done it already, they know who they are, they’ve moved past and its incredible and real. Corey writes this book so well, and there are parts when I want to laugh, and there are parts where I want to cry and there’s more than one part where I’m like, I would hate to be him. I would both love that idea of a second chance at life but hate that everyone had moved on without me. How hard, how emotional for anyone.

John Corey Whaley is an incredible author, and I have his first novel in my TBR pile, waiting for me to come and dive in soon. I can’t wait to read more by him because he tells a great story, and he has a way of balancing humor and romance and basic human emotion in one gigantic beautiful story.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Thoughts on the Delirium Pilot

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About a year ago, hospital the pilot for a TV show called Delirium, cheapest based on the best selling trilogy by Lauren Oliver, hit the desks of someone important somewhere and that important someone took a pass.

And I was fairly disappointed. Let me be clear on this: I’m not a massive fan of the Delirium trilogy. I think it has a great concept but it was not played out well over three books. I was very disappointed in the finale book and I thought that a TV show could perhaps take the concept that Lauren created and turn it into a better story. But alas, that was not to happen.

That being said: Delirium has a great concept. Its a world not unlike our own, but for one thing: love has been labeled an actual disease and everyone must receive the cure at the age of 18. Lena Haloway can’t wait to get the cure, especially since her mother committed suicide from being much too in love with Lena’s father, who had long since passed. However, Lena meets Alex, who shows her a world outside the one she’s known and she starts questioning whether love really is a disease.

I really thought this could make a great TV show.

Just in the last week, however, there was an announcement that the pilot episode would be available for a limited time to be viewed on Hulu. It was released yesterday and, of course, I had to sit down and watch the pilot. Here are my thoughts:

I warn you: if you haven’t read any books of the Delirium trilogy, I would refrain from reading this post. It will have book spoilers in it.

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What I Liked:

None of the actors, except perhaps Gregg Sulkin, were at all even close to what I pictured for the characters. However, I really thought that all of them captured what each character was feeling and how they felt. One that particularly jumped out to me was Daren Kagasoff as Alex. He was SO not what I pictured as Alex but I thought he captured the essence of him and that was really important to me.

I liked that they brought in Julian earlier. Julian makes his first appearance in the second novel, Pandemonium, and he certainly does not live next door to Hana. I liked that they kept up the curiosity of his character, and that he still had the sickness that kept him from getting the cure but I loved that they sort of seemed to be changing the direction he was headed in, from the book. In the book, he becomes a love interest of Lena and that annoyed me to no end. In the show, it showed more of a connection between him and Hana and I was kind of okay with that.

It stayed kind of close to the first book, and that’s the only book I really like in the trilogy. I thought that Delirium was a strong start but Pandemonium and Requiem just didn’t stick the landing. So when the pilot took a lot of familiar scenes from Delirium, I was fairly happy with that.

What I Didn’t Like: 

Yeah, it stayed close to the book…it did the entire first book in the entire first episode! I know there are two more books, and writers can do whatever they want once a book becomes a television show (look at The Vampire Diaries) but it just was so weird to me. It went from Lena’s failed evaluation all the way to when she escapes over the fence and Alex is shot.

And that being said, everything felt so rushed. In my opinion, the first season could have been the entire book of Delirium but they rushed it and I’m not really sure why. I can’t see the purpose behind it because it just seemed to be rushed character and story development. The pilot opens with Lena explaining about deliria, and the cure, and how she can’t wait for it, and by the end of the episode, she’s avoiding the cure, and running from the police, to the “safety” outside the fence. That literally takes an entire book of story and character development for her to get to that point and they accomplished that in one episode…but not in a good way. It felt incredibly rushed, like an incredibly rushed movie version of the first book and that disappointed me.

Now, perhaps if they had continued with episodes, I could see the direction they were going with and maybe it would have made more sense to me. But it just didn’t, and I could see why it wasn’t picked up for a full show. I was annoyed at how fast everything happened. No one, even those who haven’t read the books, could honestly believe that Lena goes through that change so quickly. It was just very rushed and sloppily done.

I also felt like they could have emphasized more how the cure changes you, makes you sort of robotic and without real feeling. We kind of got that with Lena’s sister but not enough to really know what the cure does to you. Why would Lena scream and kick at the idea of getting it if we don’t *really* know what it does to you?

In The End: 

I just didn’t like it. The more I thought about it, the more I was disappointed in how it went. It had the concept and it had the potential. The actors really embodied their characters, even though they’re not what I pictured and the world seemed really well built. I liked what they had started.

However, I felt, just like with the books, that they just didn’t execute it as well as they could have. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I just wasn’t happy with it. It was entirely too rushed, and you didn’t really have time to connect with the characters before they were thrown in a tailspin. Hana betrays Lena and tells her sister about Lena’s feelings. How am I supposed to care? We’ve only had an hour-ish to really love their friendship so what is it to me that there was this betrayal. Alex gets shot. Who cares? You’ve only watched one episode with him, how can you be attached to him? You can’t, honestly, and I feel like they needed to stretch out the storylines, give us a chance to get to know each character and watch them develop and change. Watch Alex and Lena fall in love, watch Lena change her mind, watch Hana change her mind, and it honestly would have been a much better pilot.

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Book Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

13418925Genre: 

Young Adult, doctor  Thriller

Pages: 

384

Part of a Series?:

Nope

Release Date: 

April 15th, decease 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, approved Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. 

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

My Review:

I love Jennifer L. Armentrout and she blows my mind over and over again. I read the Lux series and was massively in love, mostly with Daemon Black. Then I read the Covenant series and my god, that series is incredible. I just recently read The Return, which is the spin off new adult series to the Covenant series and there will be a review for that later. But when her standalone novel came out, and it was hitting bookshelves everywhere (literally, everywhere, taunting me and my wallet all the time), I knew I had to cave in and buy this. So I did.

And I read it in one night.

Which I realize is not exactly a hard thing for me to do. This is legit the girl who read a 750 page book in 5 hours and 45 minutes. If a book catches me, I can read it in mere hours. Which is what this book did to me, easily.

This was a very different book from Jennifer. For a moment, I forgot I was reading it by her because it just didn’t read the same as others I had read from her in the past. It was creepy and scary and literally had me turning the pages frantically to find out what happened next. Jennifer has always managed to make me laugh and to swoon but she’s never scared me before, not like she has in Don’t Look Back.

Don’t Look Back builds this mystery around the main character, Samantha, who is very nearly killed, and must figure out what happened to her, and her best friend. Problem is, she doesn’t remember who she is or who her best friend is, which, you know, makes things kind of difficult. Kind of. Then Sam starts to go…kind of crazy. She’s receiving cryptic notes and seeing things and hearing things that shouldn’t be there. Its incredibly creepy and Jennifer writes it so well. It reads like a horror movie, almost, a thriller, but its better than any movie I’ve watched. I’m not a huge fan of horror/thriller, I tend to find them lacking good stories, good characters, but this one was just perfectly chilling.

I also think its incredible that she’s able to weave such beautiful relationships throughout the book. Sam literally has to rebuild her relationship with everyone: friends, family, boyfriends, boys who are super cute who she wishes was her boyfriend instead, that sort of thing. And it all feels so incredibly authentic and confusing. So many of her relationships before her memory loss were frustrating and needed work, and now its even harder. These people remember what she was like, and she has to completely meld the two pieces of her together. Its confusing and that journey is taken so well through out the book.

There is also the conclusion of it, which obviously, as I write this, will be spoiler free. I hate ruining books for people. For awhile, I’d had a tiny inkling of what was going to be going on, but when it all came to an end, it was not the way I expected it. I knew the person responsible for a lot of the things going on, that part seemed to be creeping into my mind slowly. The why and how of it completely threw me off guard and I was wide-eyed all the way up until the last page. Way to go, Jennifer, for a completely surprising conclusion, and for scaring the crap out of me this entire novel. I was reading this at about 2 am and that probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve had.

Must read though. Seriously. If you like Jennifer Armentrout, you will like this very different novel from her. If you’re not a fan, read it anyway. If you’ve never read her books, then this would be a fun one to start with. Just remember to keep the lights on while you do so.

Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars