Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

3 stars

I read a Dean Koontz book back in high school called Intensity. I remember it being so scary suspense that I couldn’t put it down and finished in a few hours. It was scary and in a good way that puts the fear of Jesus in you. I think I checked the locks and doors in our house for weeks afterwards.

It’s been a decade (or so) since then and now horror books and movies don’t appeal to me as much. So when a friend raved about this series I was a little hesitant. But I’m glad I picked this up. Guys, it’s actually not that scary! I’d say it’s more The Sixth Sense level than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In fact, that’s the premise behind this whole story.

The Story:

Odd Thomas is a fry cook for a diner, he’s a little strange and known for being the town wierdo. He sees dead people.

And he uses this paranormal gift to prevent crime or to solve them. In this first novel, Odd comes across a stranger, gets serious bad vibes and tries to save his podunk California desert town from apocalyptic danger with the help of his girlfriend Stormy and the town sheriff.

The Characters:

Odd- I really like him. He has some baggage, which you learn of in length as Koontz does a lot of character building, but seems like a really nice guy who just wants to marry his sweetheart and to stay out of the spotlight. Which is odd (is it a pun when it’s his name?) for a 19 yo guy. How many guys want to settle down at that age? He does seem a bit reckless at times too, however, it seems like all characters in horror books/movies do things that have you shouting, “NO, don’t go in there!”

Stormy- She’s beautiful, alluring, and eclectic. Perfect sidekick to a crime preventing, dead-people-seeing humble hero.

Wrap-up:

I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a little slow and the whole time I kept thinking it was a rip off of The Sixth Sense. But I’m going to read the next one and see if it gets better. I’ll keep you guys posted.

-Hannah

 

The Rules of Persuasion

The Rules of PersuasionThe Rules of Persuasion by Amity Hope

1 star

ARC received from Netgalley for a fair review.

The Story-The Rules of Persuasion was 95% predictable, but 100% full of angsty cuteness. Honestly, if you have read any YA contemporary where a boy or girl get’s someone to be their fake boyfriend or girlfriend then you have read this book. The only the thing that is different is the circumstances surrounding the initiation of fake relationship. This review may contain what is considered spoilers, but honestly I think everything I write in here should be entirely expected….so I’m not going to mark it all spoiler. Let’s review this trope recipe:

-someone needs a favor/blackmails
-they actually run in different circles/don’t like each other
-they write down all the rules
-the rules doesn’t stop them for getting a dose of the feels
-shit is going to hit the fan right

Well, you get the idea….

The Characters
Meg-Somehow this girl was supposed to be a girl that wasn’t like other girls. But let’s face it, she was just your average girl, minus her family issues, not some crazy special snowflake. The downside is, that she is sort of a forgettable character. I just finished hours of reading about her and this is what I know:
-she likes to wear high heeled boots that click clack, preferably in black.
-she has two friends, but she only really hangs out with them in school…except to get ready for a date..
-she’s not really into anything in particular…….like really, what are her interests? Sure she watches black and white movies…on rainy days…she likes the beach because of her sister…she graffiti’s because of her sister…in fact she wears black because of her sister… She wants to be a counselor, why? Because she got good counseling…after what happened to her sister. Don’t get me wrong, that’s great and all. But who is this chick? I don’t know, I hardly remember her.

Luke-What can I really say? This is a contemporary YA novel. Let’s hit every cliché thing that accurately describes Luke:
-he’s rich, but wants nothing to do with his family
-he’s good looking
-he’s good at sports too
-he’s also smart – party because he has to study hard for his family
-he has an ex gf who’s a heinous bitch.
-You know what else? He’s got dimples & smirks a lot. That’s right. He was smirking within 2% of the book. I almost decided to keep count of all the times his smirkiness was mentioned….but it got old really fast. Let’s be completely real, if someone smirked at you that much you would be sort of weirded out right?

The Connection-Despite the book being cute, it wasn’t entirely relatable. I understand the need for these kids to act out in their own way but there were a few things that just plain bothered me. The biggest part was how the rich kid was somehow supposed to feel bad for being rich. Like I’m sorry that you had to move from a house where you had a walk in closet at one point. Also, not everyone has parents that allow them to commandeer their old motorcycles… there is something that really irks me when a character bashes another one about being rich, like somehow that makes them a bad person. You know what that makes them? Rich. It shouldn’t be used as a way to make the poorer character seem like a better person.

I’m sorry for all the lists in this review. It was sort of unavoidable to do while pointing out everything. Now if you’ve never read a fake bf/gf book before, it could all be fresh for you and you might like it. Unfortunately, this book didn’t have enough spin to it to make me actually like it that much.

Strange the Dreamer

28449207Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

2 stars

“And anyway, she asked herself, what real risk was there? It’s just a dream, she answered, though of course it was so much more.” 

Strange the Dreamer is the story of Lazlo Strange, a decided dreamer. What does he dream of? The mythical lost city of Weep. Despite the lack of interest in Weep that his colleagues has, Lazlo is assiduous in his studies and finds himself an opportunity of sorts to travel to the city, literally, of his dreams. He along with a band of variety of specialists find themselves on a expedition to find out what happened to the city 200 years prior when it lost communication with the rest of the world, and most importantly what has been haunting the city since. Through the journey Lazlo experiences more life than he had ever read of in his books.

The Story-The one word I think of is oxymoron. This book was so enchanting but at the same time sluggish and boring. There was beautiful prose and imagery, but it only amplified the buildup of the story. While I am happy I didn’t DNF the book, I doubt I will be picking up the next installment, unless I don’t have anything better to read. The part that really made me just so mad in this book was didn’t even happen until 70% At that point, I had to decide if I was too far invested to give up, which clearly I didn’t.

All I can say is, the ending only just barely makes up for that curve ball. If you can suffer the few chapters there is quite an exciting finish, that may or may not be expected. Thinking back on it, it really is the only way to end the story (minus my complaint that will come later in the spoiler at the end of this review).

The World Building– What makes this underdog story unique is the pitch that Laini Taylor gives it in. Here we have this whimsical city that would make a 5 year old Lazlo gallivant in an orchard pretending to be warrior from, risking a beating from the monks that took him in. The world that Lazlo comes from is drab in comparison to his dreams, and it is because he is a dreamer that we get the opportunity to have such a vivid world.

The Characters
Lazlo-Obviously he is what really drives this story. Without Lazlo’s idiosyncratic imagination, we would have nightmares. It’s his candor personality that makes him so lovable. The way he covets weep, shows respect to it, and does his best to understand it helps us empathize with the people of Weep when we discover what has been going on.

Sarai– It’s Sarai’s contriteness that diverts our predilection against the haunting of Weep. She is unintentionally ostracized from her companions due to how she was raised and what was expected of her.

Now there were definitely some characters that got some extra sections that were unnecessary, as well as some that should have received a little bit more love. I think it is largely due to the long winded world building and the curve ball chapters. But who knows, maybe the next installment in the series will focus in on their story, their struggles, and what their dreams may be…even if they are broken.

*****Spoiler time******
The insta-love was just a shock to my system. Here I was engrossed in this underdog story with a beautiful world building, and then BLAM! a chapter on two lonely characters learning to kiss. I don’t mean like a quick paragraph of *smooch smooch* that feels great!. I mean this part of the book was written just like the rest of the book was, achingly beautiful but long winded.

I totally understand that they were lonely, and they had this connection that is dreams and the beauty in it. But what the what?? Their love was rushed while everything else in the book took time. Now while I thought that it was necessary for the Goddess of Nightmares to have a connection with Strange the Dreamer, they could have had a bond of friendship, a true camaraderie, or heck even just a slow simmering romance.


*****End Spoiler*****

Don’t remember who wanted book playlists, but here, at least, is my theme song for this book The Dear Hunter – The Kiss of Life. I thought of this song as I was reading throughout the entire book, and I actually do find it quite fitting. Also, it’s from one of my favorite bands. ❤

-Scrill

What to Say Next

30199656What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

“I realize we all walk around pretending we have some control over our fate, because to recognize the truth – that no matter what we do, the bottom will fall out when we least expect it – is just too unbearable to live with.”

My first thought after reading What to Say Next was this: Kasie West, move over. I think West has dominated as my favorite author for YA contemporary (partly because she pumps out books so quickly) However, Buxbaum is fast on her way to being my new favorite. Tell Me Three Things was already on my favorites this, and not this one gets to join its ranks. I will read anything by her now. If you are a fan of YA contemporaries, don’t wait too long to read this. It is sooooo goooood. Heartwarming and devastating at the same time.

WTSN is about Kit whose dad just died in a car accident, and in an attempt to avoid the pressure of acting normal again sits with the guy, David, who always sits alone. Expecting to be able to sit without expectations and without talking, Kit finds an unexpected friendship with David. David finds his world expanding exponentially as he comes to befriend Kit.

The Story-Guys this book was both heartwarming and devastating at the same time. At first, I thought this might fall into the ugly duckling trope… you know the one where one character helps the shy character break their mold, be popular, or just live up to all their hidden potential. Now while Kit eventually did break David out of his shell, she didn’t expect him to or want him to change. It was the experience of befriending Kit that helped David change. The change wasn’t to make more friends or be popular; it was to embrace himself as he was.

“Usually they end with me promising to try harder, though I never really know what I’m promising to try harder to do.
Be normal I think.
Be like the neurotypical, which is another way of saying “everyone else.”
Be less like me.
I no longer want to be less like me.”

Truly, the peculiar friendship that they build is what drives this story; the awkwardness and coping with the heavy matters as well as what can be the most trivial things to the “normal” kids.
What’s also great about this book as a YA contemporary about a boy and girl is that it is not largely driven by romance or hatred. Their friendship was brought to them by the death of Kit’s dad and a huge part of the book is how being friends with David acts that helps Kit get not necessarily over it, but through it, along with the other issues she has going on. It’s David’s awkward directness that helps her feel like she doesn’t have to pretend she’s okay.

The Characters– I love David Drucker. Of all the boys in any YA contemporary book, I think he is my favorite. It isn’t because he’s good looking, smart, or just generally a sweet guy (in his own way). It was his inner monologues. David takes everything literally.

Also, the way David approaches his problems are so logical, even though sometimes his logic isn’t how we understand it. It’s the moments when he doesn’t understand why things are happening the way they are that pushes him overboard, and that is probably the most devastating part because it’s in those moments when you realize the only person who can really help him is himself pushing outside of his normal understanding.

“…let her no shit pass without comment, even though she knows it’s an expression I do not like. It makes me think of constipation, which makes me think about grunting, my least favorite noise, after squawking and chewing. I also have a list of favorite noises. It has one item on it: Kit’s laugh.”

Kit’s a bit in over her head emotionally, and I feel sorry for her situation. What I loved about Kit was that she didn’t have any ulterior motives or negative feelings towards David to start. She is aware of how he has been treated in the past or how he’s reacted in stressful situations, never made it her mission to be any sort of bully towards him. With that being said, she still fell into the category of kids that ignore him, until that is he changes her view. In her way she helps David experience teenage life like he’s never had the opportunity to and he broadens her narrow way of looking at life.

The Connection-I feel like this book takes on the bullying aspect without it being the sole focus. It’s more of the reaction from David that we experience. In this situation it is a much highly irregular situation as it wasn’t just because he was poor, ugly, or just unpopular. It truly was his personality that triggers the way people treated him…not that it’s any excuse. The sad part is everyone knows that this kind of treatment happens and it’s incredibly heart breaking. It’s heart breaking for both people like David, for the kids that just don’t know any better, and for the kids who pretend it isn’t happening. I think that’s where the book really hits home, because let’s be real, its actually small amount of people who are the true bully, it’s the rest of us that stand by that make the vast majority and why people can relate to Kit, even if the rest of her circumstances aren’t the same.

-Scrill