Winger – Bookish Thoughts

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Winger
By Andrew Smith

Rate: 3.5 / 5 stars

What I Thought:

This book was a doozy.

So it was definitely far from perfect. At times the main character annoyed the ever living shit out of me, and the story in itself just seemed totally unbelievable. To be honest, the whole novel was like a mediocre version of John Green’s Looking for Alaska. The plot line felt unbalanced, the most of the characters were bothersome, and the story just had no drive.

However.

I did manage to read the 400+ page book in about 24 hours. I absolutely fell in love with Joey. Even the main character Ryan Dean won me over by the end. Actually, the ending saved the entire book for me. I found myself attached to the story enough to cry at the end, and I even did that book hug thing where you just sit and grieve while clutching the book to your body for like five minutes after finishing it.

I just wish that some of the magic that I loved at the end was more evident throughout the entire novel. It did feel like it was being written by an immature 14 year old, and although I guess that was what Smith was going for, it was a bit of a turn off for me. Regardless, I made it through to the end mildly amused, and ended up liking the book and appreciating the ending.

So there you have it: nothing spectacular from this one, but likable enough.

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P.S. We’re just not going to talk about how long ago my last post on this blog was. You get it. Life is hard.

Sept Bookish Wrap Up

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Hey everyone! So I want to make this wrap up a regular thing on my blog. Lately I’ve been paying more attention to reading and really enjoying it again. I’m so glad that my reading motivation didn’t die off once I started school. Obviously I’m not reading as much as I did in the summer months, but I did read some great books! Below, I’m going to list the books I read with my star rating and a quick summary of my thoughts.

I only read 5 books this month since I had a LOT on my plate for my classes. My one class requires nightly readings that are dense and take up a lot of my time. Also, there was one book that took up a lot of my time because I just couldn’t get into it.

So this is what I read in the month of September:

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
4 / 5 stars
I know there were quite a few people who didn’t fully enjoy this book, but I had a great time reading this. I feel like I totally got it, and it was so much fun to experience! I liked the unique characters, and I feel like I actually got something from the story. I recommend it! (Also isn’t the cover stunning?!)

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
5 / 5 stars
I read this on recommendation from Ariel Bissett from Booktube. She praises this book, and now I know why! I absolutely ADORED this story. I was enamored from the start, and I sped through it. It’s touching and fun and insightful and a billion other wonderful things. PLEASE READ THIS. It was beautiful.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
3 / 5 stars
I had heard a lot of great things about this novel, but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this one. I found it lackluster and annoying for the most part. I get what was trying to be accomplished, but as someone who genuinely struggles with the mental problems discussed in this book, I found it repetitive and regressive.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
2 / 5 stars
Brace yourselves: I greatly disliked this book. This was the one that I had trouble finishing. I have a ton of issues with this novel. I was annoyed by the inaccurate portrayal of a plus size girl and an interracial couple in the 80s, but mostly the insta-love. I’m enraged with the amount of hypocrisy in the YA community. Every time there is a case of insta-love (two characters falling unreasonably in love without knowing each other for very long) or historical inaccuracy, the community bashes the book like no other. However, because this book was written by the almighty Rainbow Rowell, everyone shuts up and takes it. I loved Rowell’s other novel, Fangirl, but this is bullshit! They pick everything apart when it comes to the details of a book, and this book has A LOT wrong with it. I’m just annoyed. The story was sickening, inaccurate, and overwhelming. I don’t even want to talk about the ending. I may do a full review for this one, because I have a lot of negative feels I would like to let out.

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So that’s what I read in Sept 2014! Some good, some bad, one ugly.

I did start reading Gone Girl. I found a copy for super cheap at walmart, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. EVERYONE’S been talking about it, and I needed in. Currently it’s a bit boring; I’m around page 150. However, I’ve heard some crazy things, so I’m hoping it picks up soon.

What have you been reading lately? Any suggestions?

Happy fall, y’all!

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If I Stay – Bookish Thoughts

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If I Stay
By Gayle Forman

Rate: 3.5 / 5 stars

What I thought:

I liked this book, but I’m a little unsure of it. I had no problems getting through it, but something about it just didn’t sit right with me.

Nothing happened. Nothing. The accident happens in the beginning and then, boom. Flat-lined. (No pun intended?)

Sure, I loved the anecdotes. I loved how I came to appreciate and even love each character which every passing memory. But really there was no plot. The themes that I were expecting didn’t bleed through, and it left the reading experience a bit dry. I understand that “Ghost” Mia was unfeeling and cut off, but it just didn’t work for me.

The book dealt with a very emotional thing, but I felt nothing until the last 5 pages. The only character I ended up feeling anything for was Adam when he poured his heart out at the end. I ultimately had no empathy for the characters.

I liked the story; I liked the characters. I just didn’t take anything away from this story. And with this serious of a plot, I expected more. However, I will read the sequel, and I’ll probably check out the movie, too.

p.s. I did cry at the end. Those last few pages really did save the book for me.

p.p.s. I’ve been really critical of books lately. I need something to come along and wow me asap.

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Shatter Me – Bookish Thoughts

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Shatter Me
By Tahereh Mafi

(Book 1 of the Shatter Me trilogy)

Rate: 3.5 / 5 stars

What I Thought:

So this story is totally predictable and cheesy and 100% like every other popular YA dystopian on the market, but I did still enjoy it.

The characters are nothing special, but they’re likable enough. I do appreciate Warner’s character, he’s a good example of a dynamic villain, and I like how his character “plays” with Juliette, the protagonist. However, Juliette is definitely not one of my favorite characters. But that has to do with the writing style more than anything.

To put it bluntly: the writing style reminds me of a try-hard, pretentious teenager writing a #deep story for their creative writing class. It was particularly painful in the first 10 or so chapters, with all the cross outs, run on sentences, and broken phrases. It was killing me. Does Mafi even know how to use commas? Because every single compound sentence was lacking the comma before the conjunction, and it was absolutely tortuous to me. There were so many over-the-top metaphors and descriptions that made the text come off unnecessarily pompous. The writing was not creative and did not add to the richness of the plot; all it did was distract the reader.

The romance was gag-worthy, but I expected it. I also have to admit that I did get swept up in it from time to time. I just love reading about love sometimes, okay? It was a plot point, and it worked well enough, so I can’t complain. But yeah it gets goopy at times; be warned.

The whole “special” abilities thing for this story was just okay. I had a lot of questions, but with 2 more novels and a couple of novellas, I hope they’re answered. As for now, the whole super power thing is kinda lost on me, but I’m not giving up yet.

Bottom line: Nothing too spectacular about this series thus far. However, the story did intrigue me, and I had an enjoyable experience reading it. I do plan to finish out the series.

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The Lovely Bones – Bookish Thoughts

The Lovely Bones
By Alice Sebold

Rate: 2 / 5 stars

What It’s About: A young teenage girl gets murdered in her own backyard. She watches from heaven as her friends and family struggle to live on without her.

What I Thought:

Okay, so I went into this book with some high expectations, and that might have tainted this reading experience for me. All the blurbs on the cover claimed it would be a reading experience like no other, but I just ended up bored to tears.

This book was so. Freaking. Slow. It definitely caught my attention within the first few pages with the general idea, but the pacing of this novel is really imbalanced. It took me an excruciating three months to finish it because of this. Some sections picked up with the action, but I found myself not caring about any of the characters, or the story at all. That’s not what a book’s supposed to do.

The ending is what really threw me off. The whole book has a fantasy feel with the narrator being dead and looking down from her heaven, but the last 30 pages was too much. It got weird and honestly made me uncomfortable. It shook me out of the book even further, and it took way too long for me to get past a handful of pages. The worst part, however, has got to be the epilogue. There was no wrap up to the novel! None what so ever! The guy I wanted to know most about was killed off last second in the lamest way possible.

None of the characters got any kind of closure; actually, none of the characters had any kind of growth at all. The relationships between them were shallow and incredibly uninteresting. The only exchanges that I enjoyed were between two of the “side” characters, Ruth and Ray. The reader barely gets any insight into Ruth’s life, but at the end she becomes really important for a couple of pages, (well sorta, like I said it gets weird) and then is forgotten soon after.

This review is a jumbled mess, because the book made no sense, and it was terribly formulated. The writing was actually quite nice, but that doesn’t make up for the plot or the characters or anything else that makes a good book. I’m just dumbfounded by how so many people praise this book. It’s giving me a headache to even think about.

I apologize for the disaster that is this review, but bottom line: this book isn’t worth the time. Unless you read it blank-mindedly and try not to actually think about what you’re ingesting.

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Almay Liquid Lip Balm (Review)

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I’m not a huge Almay fan; this is actually the only product I own from them. However, I heard some gal on youtube talking about these, and one day I decided to try one of these “liquid lip balms.” Then a few months later I somehow found myself with almost the entire collection. I have 8 shades total, and I believe there are 10 total. I only have 7 shades swatched here though; the other one got lost in the depths of my backpack.

Now let’s get down to it.

They’re all creamy finishes with decent pigmentation; obviously some shades are more vibrant than others when on the lips. They have the perfect amount of shine for me! Just enough to make my lips look pout-y and plump. Also, they have a sweet vanilla/cupcakey smell that I find delightful, but it might bother others. The wear time is pretty average for a gloss: probably around 2-3 hours depending on the shade and what your mouth is up to. Some of the shades do have a light staining effect as well.

As for the liquid lip balm claim? These are pretty moisturizing; they feel fantastic on the lips. They don’t dry out my lips as they fade, which is a huge plus. The label says its “color + care” and although they feel comfortable, I wouldn’t say they’re doing anything for my lips. I’m not complaining, though, these look and feel really good.

Lip Swatches:

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Blooming Balm

– A light neutral pink. This was the first one I ever bought. Although it isn’t very exciting, I wear this one so often. It’s the perfect topper for a huge spectrum of pinks, because it’s pigmentation isn’t overwhelming. I also like this shade for a more natural, easy look.

3.2 3.1

Cantaloupe Cream

– Very light orange. This shade has very little pigmentation, but I like using it over corals to make them a little more orangey/peachy. This line doesn’t really have a true coral: probably one of it’s main cons.

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Lilac Love

– This is one of my favorite shades. It’s light but the color is definitely there. I am totally digging the light purple-pink shades for this spring and summer. This is a fool proof way to rock the color!

4.2 4.1

Apricot Pucker

– Medium orange. This shade is basically just a darker version of Cantaloupe Cream. Since this shade isn’t fully opaque, it layers with the natural color of my lips and creates a really pretty coral color. I actually really like how this looks!

5.2 5.1

Apple a Day

– Sheer, true red. I love wearing this when I want a red lip, but I don’t want to fully commit to a full punch lipstick. This was the shade I had wanted to try in the first place and had to hunt down for quite a while. I definitely recommend this one! This shade also stains the lips, and the color lasts even after the shine wears off.

6.2 6.1

Pink Pout

– A medium raspberry pink. I like this shade, but it’s nothing outstanding. I like this for a nice wash of color, though, and it does the job for a nice pink lip.

7.1 7.2

Just Plum Good

– A medium purpley pink. Although this gloss looks a little intimidating in the tube, the color sheers out perfectly on the lips for a pop of purple. The shade is still vibrant, but in a subtle, wearable way. This was one of my go to’s for the winter months, and I’ll continue to rock it into the warmer weather.

Hand Swatches

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Blooming Balm – Cantaloupe Cream – Lilac Love – Apricot Pucker – Apple a Day – Pink Pout – Just Plum Good

 Bottom line: these are pretty good glosses. There’s nothing about them that is super spectacular, but they smell good, look good, and are easy to wear. These are great beginner glosses as well! These will definitely remain a staple product in my makeup cycle.

What’s your favorite summer gloss?

xoxo Gigi.

P.S. How is it possible that the bottom half of my face can look so different just with slight shifts of the camera angle? Looking at all those close up lip swatches is messing with me.

 

The Lady with the Pet Dog by Anton Chekhov (Short Story Review)

Rate: 2.5/5 stars

Disclaimer: I had to read this for a class, this was the response I wrote for it.

Chekov’s short story “The Lady with the Pet Dog” seemed like it was going to be a charming piece, but it was instead disjointed and disturbing. Once past the choppy, excessive descriptions, the reader could finally focus on the fact that this bored middle aged man was preying on young girls to pass the time. The story was unsatisfying, the characters were left undeveloped, and the plot overall was unengaging.

Other than the main characters, everyone was just so transparent; they didn’t have characteristics or anything really that described them as something other than human. The writing of the characters definitely left something to be desired. It was odd how Gurov was able to leave his family for long periods of time without explanation, and Anna’s background was confusing and uncompleted. Both characters just came across underdeveloped, especially by the end when they finally fell in “love.” Their love story felt unfinished and immature. Although the plot embraced the idea that love can happen to anyone at anytime, the whole thing seemed out of place and inappropriate.

Many enjoy the writing style of Chekhov, but the pompous, stream-of-consciousness was overall irritating. There were specific parts that had wonderfully written phrases and thoughtful ideals, such as, “He had two lives: one, open, seen and known by all who cared to know, full of relative truth and of relative falsehood, exactly like the lives of his friends and acquaintances; and another life, running its course in secret.”  It was the pieces like this that made the story any bit bearable and worthwhile.

The plot line was predictable, and the characters were unlikeable and underdeveloped. Overall, the short story was disappointing, bland, and surprisingly very forgettable.

xoxo Gigi.