Saturday, February 11, 2017

Book Review: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: Elsewhere

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Goodreads Summary: 

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It's quiet and peaceful. You can't get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere's museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe's psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver's license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she's dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn't want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

My Thoughts:

Elsewhere is the story of Liz, who after dying at the age of 15, arrives at this place and finds out that not only is she dead but also that she will age backwards until she is a baby again, and then go back to Earth to start her new life.  For someone who is 15, Liz had a lot to look forward to in life, and as expected she doesn't take the news of her death very well at first. Toss in the fact that even in death, she will not be able to live her dreams and instead will become a child again, makes the whole prospect of being dead even worse for her.

I think my most favorite part of this book was the whole concept of the "afterlife."  Now don't get me wrong, because this book is not about religion whatsoever, but it does deal with a very interesting storyline and I think Zevin's take on the whole thing is definitely the most unique that I have read so far.  It's well developed and definitely very refreshing from most other stories dealing with the same subject matter.  This book does an extremely good job of combining grief and loss with happiness and humor, and perfectly blends everything in together.  The result is one super unique story that will tear at your heart, make you smile, laugh, and leave you thinking about the story and the characters even after you have finished reading it.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Book Review: The Unexpected Everything By Morgan Matson

Title: The Unexpected Everything 

Author: Morgan Matson

Genre: Contemporary

Age Group: Young Adult

My Rating: 3 / 5

Goodreads Summary:

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

My Thoughts:

This is one of those books that would be the perfect summer read, like when you are at the beach and want something fun and sweet to dive into.  Now you may have noticed that I just called this a perfect summer read, and yet gave it only 3 / 5 rating.  Why?  Because, while this is a fun, sweet book and there are many aspects of it that I really enjoyed, there were also a lot that I didn't really like.  But I am going to start off with the parts that I actually enjoyed.

One of the better aspects of the book would be all the relationship developments.  I loved Andie's group of friends and how they all helped each other out.  They were the reason behind most of the humor in the book.  What else was nice was watching Andie's growing relationship with her dad, and seeing how the two of them really worked together to mend their broken relationship.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Truth About Blogging & Me

Happy 2017!!

Yes, I realize that is long overdue, and that 2017 started over 2 months ago.  But as you may (or may not) have noticed, I have not been around here for awhile now, and since this is my first official post of 2017, it only seems logical that I start off by wishing everyone a belated Happy New Year! :)

Going back to not being around here, the last time I had posted was back in August- over 4 months ago.  In the past, I have done this several time as well- where I'd be posting infrequently, like only once or twice a month.  But I believe this is probably the longest I have ever gone without posting anything for awhile.

In the past, I have also written posts like this trying to explain why I was not blogging as regularly as I used to when I first started this in 2013.  But do you want to know something?  Those posts weren't completely honest.  But this one is.  Why?  Because I figured that if I really were to get everything back on track, than it's best for me to start off with the complete and utter truth.  

And the truth is that blogging has, or rather had become a burden for me.  Somewhere along the lines, I forgot why I loved blogging in the first place, and instead started to focus on how many page views I was getting, how many comments I got, etc., etc.  

And once I started to do that, I got discouraged.  My page views, while pretty good, were still not what I wanted them to be, and I got about only 0-2 comments every once in a while on my posts.  I tried to not care at first, and I didn't.  I figured I'd just keep on doing what I was doing, 'cause that was what I loved and eventually everything would work itself out.  

But THEN, I started reading other blogs and interacting with other bloggers, and I became jealous.  I saw blogs that were much prettier, that had much more interesting, better posts than mine.  That knew how to engage with their readers and fellow bloggers.  And it made me envious and even more discouraged that I didn't know how to write good, engaging posts, have funny gifs, or make my blog look pretty.  I forgot the big picture and why I had started blogging in the first place.  All I could think every time I sat down to write a post- weather it was a review or just a random discussion- was that there was no point to doing it, because after all, who would want to read it?  I thought that my blog was crap, my posts were crap, and in a way, I suppose I just gave up on my blog.