From the Bookshelf #14
It's been a wee bit since the last time I've updated a From the Bookshelf, but hopefully this won't be too crazy long of a post. These are the books that I've read recently, so if you want to see what those were, then just keep on reading.
* * *
Once Upon a Marigold, Twice Upon a Marigold, and Thrice Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
Star Rating: 4 (for all three)
As I was reading the first book in this trilogy, I was having a very severe deja vu experience. I couldn't remember if I'd read the book or not, but it turns out I've already read Once Upon a Marigold. However, I could remember very little of the plot. But it was so worth it to reread that one, and then read the other two. It's a very adorable love story between a boy named Christian and a princess named Marigold (hence the title). The books are so cute, and they are fairly humorous as well, which makes them a quick, but fun, read.
Lost by Jacqueline Davis
Star Rating: 4.5
Genre: Historical Fiction
I normally hate historical fiction. I find it either boring or not even close to the actual historical event that the author is trying to model. But this book. Ohhhhh man was this book good. It takes place in the time period of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (1911). The factory was a cramped place where very young girls were sewing the shirtwaists at top speed. By no means was this place one with good working conditions. When the fire broke out, many girls were trapped because of doors that weren't safety friendly, and broken elevators. To make matters worse, they weren't on the ground floor, so some jumped out windows hoping to survive, while others tragically burned to death.
The story itself in the book is about a girl named Essie, who meets a new worker at the factory who's named Harriet Abbott. Harriet is definitely not all she appears (and her character's history actually ties into real history that happened). Essie herself makes hats, and adores her little sister Zelda. To add another complicated level, she's in love with the boy in the apartment next door. I definitely recommend this book to historical fiction lovers, and people who just love a good story. When you learn the final pieces to both girls's stories, it'll tug on your heart. Trust me.
Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan
Star Rating: 3
This is the final book in the Brotherband Chronicles series that Flanagan has written (the BC series being a companion series to the Ranger's Apprentice). I adored his RA series, and I thought this series was decent as well. All of the books in the BC series are pretty good books, but the problem is that there's really nothing new in them. The protagonists are far to well equipped in the later books, and there's no tension during chase/fight scenes because the author makes it clear that the protagonists can wipe them out just by breathing on them. I had high hopes for this series, but the jokes and the descriptions were just too similar to each other as time went on, and it stopped being as exciting as I wanted it to be.
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
This is a story about a girl named Lennie who's struggling after the death of her sister Bailey. And what ensues is emotional confusion between her sister's boyfriend Toby, and a new boy in town named Joe. Toby comforts her in her grief, and Joe brings her out of it. Personally, I was Team Joe the entire time, because good golly, making out with your dead sister's boyfriend isn't exactly something you should be doing. Just saying. So the whole love triangle aspect didn't do it for me, but I adored the characters of her grandma, uncle, and Joe.
Another really cool thing was on various pages there would be a picture of a torn piece of paper or a fast food cup that had a poem/conversation/etc. scribbled on it by Lennie. And then it would tell you where this was found (ex: stuck on a tree branch, slid between the boards of a fence, etc.) Those were just cute little details in the book that I adored, and it really helped paint a picture of who her sister was. The family ties in this book were fabulous, and I love the connection to the title that the author makes within the story. I don't give this book a higher rating just because it gets decently sketchy quite a few times, and I felt like that was unnecessary for the plot.
Num8ers and Num8ers: The Chaos by Rachel Ward
Star Rating: 2 (for both)
Genre: Fantasy, Realistic Fiction
This plot stems from the idea of what if when you saw someone, you could see the date of their death. I thought that idea for a story was fascinating, and so of course I picked it up. However, the execution of the idea was horrible. I didn't like the characters, I thought the plot points were very sloppily done, and things with the love interest heated up and got sketchy like a week after she started hanging out with him, so there's that. There was just too many randomly introduced characters that had no point being in the story other than making the book longer, and I just found myself very bored reading it.
Even so, I finished book one. And then I very quickly read the second one, flying through it by mostly page-skimming. I just wanted to see if book two could redeem the first one, but I found the plot even more ridiculous than the first one, and I still didn't even like the new characters in that one. I give the author points for a cool plot idea, but the execution of it was very badly done.
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Star Rating: 4.5
Genre: Realistic Fiction
I can't remember ever really liking a Sarah Dessen book. They were always decent in my mind, but this book was actually a pleasant surprise. It centers around a girl named Sydney, whose brother has always been the focus of her family. Especially now that he's in jail for hitting a kid while drunk driving. To get away from the drama that follows her around in her brother's wake, she switches school, meeting Layla and her brother Mac who plays in a band. While sparks fly with Mac, Sydney learns more about their family and the other sister that reflects some of the trouble her own brother's been in.
I love the different families in this book. Layla's family that runs a pizzeria, and Sydney's own dysfunctional family. While I don't approve of the underage drinking, I loved this book. All of the fussy aspects that go into not only surviving high school, but also the irking things that come along with being part of a family. The characters are fantastic, and the part at the end of the book where Sydney's dad kicks butt is one of my favorite scenes in the entire thing, and I love the emotional journey Sydney goes on to try and figure out where she needs to go from here. It was fabulous and I really want to reread it sometime.
Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Star Rating: 4
Supposedly this was a companion to a book called Between the Lines, but it felt more like a sequel to me. I have not read Between the Lines, but I really didn't feel like I needed too, since this book explained all of the events that happened earlier. The big idea of this book is what do the characters in your favorite book do when you open it? And also, what would happen if you could take one of those characters out of the story into the real world?
The story was just so so cute, with just the right amount of tension at times to make it interesting. I adored the characters, and it was a really lovely little love story. It wasn't crazy suspenseful or action packed, but I did raise my eyebrows a few times due to plot things.
Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Star Rating: 2.5
I'm still not even sure what this book was supposed to be, since the author tried to cram way too much into just a few pages. A girl named Eve has a mother who's the head of a massive science/hospital company, but some of the procedures there are pretty shady. On top of that, her mother has challenged her to use this DNA programming system to create what she refers to as the perfect boy, not knowing what some people in the company have in mind for her creation. Solo, a boy who works at this same company, meets Eve after she gets into a horrific accident, and eventually they start to fall for each other. However, there are darker secrets in Eve's past that connects her to Solo in a way that she has no idea even exist.
The idea of this book seemed kind of interesting, but I stand by what I said earlier that the author tried to cram too much in too little of space. I saw very little character development, and the ending where the bad guys come in and the good guys need to take them down wasn't very exciting since we had very little villain development either. They were mostly just names and faces, without a solid background to make us want the villains to be taken down. Eve's best friend says some very sketchy things during the story, but I did like how sassy she was since it added some spice to the story. It was mostly a case of a cool idea, but bad execution by the author in my opinion.
* * *
Those are the books that I've been reading lately. What books have you discovered recently? I'd love to find some new little nuggets of goodness to read, so please leave a comment below.
That is all.