Book Review: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

18170549The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Publisher: Scribner

Genre: Essays, Fiction, and Non-Fiction

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Pages: 240 (Hardcover)

good good

 Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.

As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.

Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina’s essays and stories that, like The Last Lecture, articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon & Schuster  for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

When I was sent a copy of this book for review, I’ll admit, I was nervous. I never never read anything that isn’t young adult and fiction because I find it either too hard to relate to or too boring (History has never been a strong class for me). But I took a plunge and even though it took me forever and a year to finally finish it, I’m glad to that I did. It’s a moving art piece and even more so on their own. However, with each different section, I found my interest waning and waning until I had a hard time paying attention.

The book I believe is sectioned off into three pieces: Essays, fiction, and non-fiction. My attention started decreasing during the fiction part. I found Winter Break cute but completely pointless. When I finished the story, I was scratching my head trying to figure out why the fuck I cared about some girl and her long distance relationship and her parents not being in love. I didn’t care because nothing made it stand out to me which I found happens a lot in her short stories and more specifically, her characters. The characters throughout her stories are all right but I couldn’t  actually connect with them. They fell flat for me and I was quite disappointed by it. Moreover, for some reason, non fiction and I don’t click whatsoever so I had the hardest time getting through that part oh her book.

In addition to all of that, I did enjoy the essays and most of the fiction. There’s just something about her writing style that’s both enchanting and interesting that I couldn’t get enough of. I also liked how Keegan uses different formats and techniques to tell her stories from young adults to seniors and from a regular to emails. Her characters do have different lives and I enjoyed the diversity that she brought to them. Another thing that I enjoyed is the light humour that presents itself in a few stories to make things less serious.

The Opposite of Loneliness is an enjoyable read. There’s at least one story or essay that speaks to each reader. I recommend this one to anyone looking for something new to read and is willing to step out of their comfort zone for the first time. Although the characters are quite unique there are a bit underdeveloped but I liked how different each story is. I know I enjoyed it and I’m a little less terrified of stepping out of my comfort zone now.

3.5 Dreamy Clouds

3.5 Dreamy Clouds

Album Review: Rose by The Front Bottoms

download (8)Rose by The Front Bottoms

Record Label: Bar None records

Genre: Pop punk

Release Date: June 17, 2014

Songs: 6
good good

 The Front Bottoms are an American acoustic-indie-punk band originating from New Jersey that formed in 2006. The duo have since released two albums: The Front Bottoms and Talon of the Hawk. As well as one EP: Rose. Band members are: Brian Sella (Vocals, Guitar) and Mathew Uychich (Drums, Bullhorn, Megaphone).

opinion

The Front Bottoms truly grow on you. I remember listening to them for the first time at a friend’s house and I hated them. Their music was too strange for me, especially the singing which killed it all. Luckily, I couldn’t get one of their songs out of my head and I decided to search them up. This band might take time to love but no matter how long, love always goes their way. Rose seems to be a tribute to the old times, and to the fans. It’s obviously something that they’re proud of and happy to release and although I wouldn’t recommend starting with this EP, it’s still fairly great.

The beginning of Lipstick Covered Magnet is not properly done. Sella’s voice isn’t the greatest but the singing is worse than usual. He holds the notes longer to give them a sing-song texture and it doesn’t work in his favour.I hate to say it but it’s annoying. Same with  Awkward Conversations is only a repetition of the same group of words with nothing new to bring after the first minute.

Moving onto the good stuff, the first track starts off very strong. It has a steady beat and strange with great lyrics and a chorus of voices singing along.  I love the trumpet piece displayed in Twelve Feet Deep. I also love how this song is so easy to picture, the room-mate sleeping, the skipping of class (who hasn’t done that?), and most importantly, the stupid shit that make up the good times. Moreover, Jim Bogart has a sweet duet and a soft guitar piece that doesn’t distract from the vocals. There’s a great build up which leads to a few seconds of hardcore drumming.

Overall, This album is a tribute and I do like it. But then again, I think I’d like anything they release because of their relatable lyrics, smooth beats and even smoother tempos, but most importantly the vocals. It took me a very long time to get over the out of key singing but I get it now and I think that everyone will get it sooner or later. Favourite songs are Flying Model Rockets, Twelve Feet Deep and, Jim Bogart.

4 Awesome Treble Clefs

4 Awesome Treble Clefs

Songs On The Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. Flying Model Rockets-3:14

2. Lipstick Covered Magnet-2:34

3. Twelve Feet Deep-3:45

4. Jim Bogart-3:18

5. Be Nice to Me-2:47

6. Awkward Conversations-2:46

Book Review: Dissonance (Dissonance#1) by Erica O’Rourke

17334538Dissonance (Dissonance#1) by Erica O’Rourke

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: July 22, 2014

Pages: 496 (Hardcover)

good good

Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Dissonance is  a well paced story that doesn’t delve into the science behind the multiverse too much. I had a lot of fun reading about Del’s crazy life and her hardships and those of the people around her. However, I wanted to like this one a lot for than I did. I wanted a kick ass heroine who knew how to make her own decisions without help. Del is a pretty badass character and I loved reading about her but I hated how much her life surrounded Simon even before everything went downhill. I wanted her to stick true to her image or at least to her goal. Still, a great novel that’s refreshing!

The beginning is the most confusing part of all. Although there is a lot of action and interesting things happening, there’s so most info-dumping and name dropping that it all felt like a huge whirlwind that barely made any sense. The romance is predictable and I disliked almost all of it. Nothing about Simon stood out to me and I  couldn’t understand the connection that Del has for him especially when she breaks a huge amount of rules to keep him from leaving her.

Nonetheless, Erica O’Rourke has taken an idea that’s starting to be more common in YA books and added a refreshing writing style and a new perspective. I couldn’t get enough of Del’s voice! It’s so different and reckless that I found myself staying up to get the book done. The world building is well done and very tricky considering all of the different choices and things that happen. I also liked how some chapters started off with a rule that Walkers have to follow.

Even though there are a few flaws in this book, for the most part, I really liked it. It’s fast paced and fully of cool twists. The characters are fun, the worlds are great, and even though the ending is predictable and crazy cheesy, I’m extremely excited to read the next book in this exciting new series. I recommend this book to anyone who’s read and liked stories about alternate universes and fun characters.

3.5 Dreamy Clouds

3.5 Dreamy Clouds

Book Review: Linked (Linked#1) by Imogen Howson

14999965Linked (Linked#1) by Imogen Howson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Genre: Science Fiction and Young Adult

Release Date: June 11, 2013

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

good good

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

opinion

Last year, there were these twins in my English class and they would usually finish each other`s sentences and holy crap! It was the coolest thing ever. With that being said, reading about twins that can see each other`s lives and feel the same emotions is crazy cool. I was instantly hooked to this one. However What I got was cool twin powers, sure, but that’s about it. The writing is choppy and awkward especially since it’s told in third person. Not enough is explained and I was bored and annoyed for most of the book.

There’s a lot that goes on in Linked that have problems. One of them is the setting and the world building. It’s poorly explained and I couldn’t imagine anything that happened. None of it makes enough sense especially the science fiction part. I thought the story would have been a lot better if the story was told as fantasy and not sci-fi. Another huge problem is the romance. Holy crap, is it bad! They haven’t seen or spoken to each other in months but he confesses his love for her? I understand that when you think you’re going to die, you will do some fucked up shit but this one just didn’t make sense! Their relationship from the beginning is told as a big brother little sister kind and I couldn’t see it as anything else.

Even though I had a few problems, I did like the relationship between the girls. They’re so unique and cool, especially their freaky twin powers.

Linked was not what I was expecting. I went in excited but finished confused and disappointed. I couldn’t picture anything that happened and I couldn’t believe the relationship between Elissa and that dude and the only good thing about it is the relationship between Elissa and Lin. I don’t recommend this book to anyone unless you’re one of those people who can either read and love everything, picture everything, or just really love science fiction novels.

 

2 Clouds

2 Clouds

Album Review: I’m Almost Happy Here, but I Never Feel at Home by Hotel Books

a3716073364_2I’m Almost Happy Here, but I Never Feel at Home by Hotel Books

Record Label: InVogue records

Genre: Indie/Post-hardcare and Spoken Words

Release Date: July 1, 2014

Songs: 11
good good

 Hotel Books are a California based band that formed in 2011. So far, they have released one album: Call Me Human. One Double EP: I’m Almost Happy Here, But I Never Feel at Home. And four EPs: Amid the Beautiful Devastation, Found Out I’m Not So Brave, 2013 Tour, and I’m Almost Happy Here.  Band members are: Cam Smith (vocals, drums), Daniel Adams (bass guitar), Jordan Leal (guitar), Johnny Blackwell (guitar), Daniel “Cowboy Dan” Colasanto (drums).

First of all, I would like to thank the PR, Earshot Media for giving me a copy of this album to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Using a mix of ambient music and intense, bone chilling spoken words, Hotel Books are a band that I’m giddy to talk about. Like most people, I try my best to connect with everyone and everything around me, especially the things that I love and while listening to I’m Almost Happy Here, but I Never Feel at Home I feel so connected on such a personal level just by simply hearing the intros and the broken and raw vocalist tell the band’s stories. It’s exciting and fresh and like no other type of connection because spoken words is supposed to reach into your soul and take a part of you to make you remember how awesome spoken words is.

The record starts off with threes songs that are a bit muffled. Lose Yourself is a bit all over the place and albeit this type of form works for them, it doesn’t do so well here. Although the intro for Cult Leader is awesome and sassy, the quick and clipped guitar tempo doesn’t quite match the speed of everything else during the beginning of the song. Because of this, the song sounds off and a little panicked, trying to play catch up. Moreover, Nicole is a sweet song. As an instrumental, it’s soft and calming, with a beautiful tone to it but when paired with the harsh vocals, it gets confusing and sounds like two different songs trying to forge together but not fitting correctly.

Nonetheless, vocals in most songs are amazing as well as the lyrics. Listeners of this album will be able to easily hear the raw emotions in every song and be able to feel the love through the words. They’re sad but so beautiful, ah! Constant Collapse starts off quietly but I like the build-up, the screaming and guitar riffs are paired well with the intense drums. This song is full of so much emotion and anger and sadness and love. It’s an easy song for most people to relate to. A song about romance that was flimsy yet great turning to crap. Another great song is Dreaming or Sinking,the words are so very smooth and flow nicely in this one. There aren’t any long awkward pauses, the build-up is great and really emphasises the words that are being spoken as well as the crescendo for the volume is perfect. Adding onto that, the Bass drum is well pronounced in Two Eight One. It’s rhythmic and is in time with the vocals. The crescendo not only for the guitar but for everything, moving as a whole is perfect. Near the end, the lone guitar is creepy! The riffs are steady and moderately loud but have a huge thud to it. However, what’s creepier is Lungs which starts off with, “Scream Hallelujah until you cough up blood. ‘Cause the Devil came for our minds but left with our love.” Woah, talk about a tough life. Anyway, the song has great build-up, the drummer is obviously having fun with this one. The tempo is great, it picks up speed when the vocalist starts giving more into it by seamlessly following the lead and then slowing down when the song hits its soft spots that need as much emphasis as possible. Hotel Books ends the record off with Car Crash which is, by far, the most realistic song on the album. They truly did save the best for last. You can really imagine the crash. The pain, the fear, the strength. I get chills listening to this one. It’s a realistic look on what goes on when someone is seriously injured. They’re scared, they pray, they curse, they’re doing something and trying not to die and sometimes they don’t while sometimes, they do.

Hotel Books has strongly fabricated their beliefs of love and faith into their music. I say that it’s strongly knit because the way they connect back to their religion and love is in a way that makes the utmost sense. In Car Crash, I think that most people, even atheists would turn to god and try to strike up a deal. Or even in Constant Collapse where it’s romance and a painful love. It’s done in a way that wouldn’t make people uncomfortable but connect. Favourite songs are: Constant Collapse, Dreaming or Sinking, Two Eight One and Car Crash although throughout the album, songs are heartfelt and strong. I could easily picture myself in them.

4 Awesome Treble Clefs

4 Awesome Treble Clefs

 

Songs on the Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. Lose One Friend-2:58

2. Lose All Friends-2:19

3. Lose Yourself-3:01

4. Constant Collapse-3:33

5. Dreaming or Sinking-3:19

6. Two Eight One-3:20

7. America’s Next Model-3:06

8. Cult Leader-3:41

9. Nicole-3:30

10. Lungs-4:15

11. Car Crash-4:33

Book Review: Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt

18629799Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: July 8, 2014

Pages: 256 (Hardcover)

good good

It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn—resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital “T.” And okay, smolderingly sexy.

Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention—and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. Or even a friend-with-benefits. The note is not supposed to lead to anything.

Oh, but it does. They hang out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings.

Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster—exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride…

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon Pulse for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Quite frankly, I’ve never been a fan of Lauren Barnholdt nor have I ever really enjoyed her books and I’ve read like three or four of them. Her books lack that realistic, raw feel that a teenager has during a relationship and in a romance. Her books are mostly fluff and toned down which infuriates me to no end. I’m not a fucking child. The audience for her stories are not fucking toddlers so I don’t understand why she makes everything fluffy and light and boring. Through to You is the exact same as all of the others with the same problems. Barnholdt tries to make this one a bit more edgier with one of the main character’s being very broken. Sadly, it doesn’t work in her favour and by the end of the story, I felt disappointed and tired.

This story tries too hard, it really does. The story is typical-the good girl with a million phobias of anything fun falls for the bad boy who’s biggest fan is trouble. It’s annoying because the story is fluff, and the characters are underdeveloped.  The main characters have rough problems, sure, but neither of them feel realistic and are mentioned off-handedly during the book which makes this book try to be important and moving. It’s not. Furthermore, Harper is flat-out annoying, I had a very hard time caring for her and her problems. Adding on to that, the relationship between these two is odd. I found it hard to believe that after never feeling anything for a girl, (that wasn’t sexual) Penn is flipping out over Harper and when they break up three weeks later, he’s still obsessing over her and her every move in their shared class. Plus, there’s close to nothing about Harper that seemed it would make Penn care about her even weeks after they break up. I’m sorry, but no.

Well, at least the cover matches the characters more. Also, the writing is all right in the middle of the story, the descriptions are mediocre but didn’t bother me. I wasn’t furious while reading this one like I was while reading The Thing About the Truth.

Through to You isn’t as bad as some of Barnholdt’s other novels, believe it or not. The beginning is confusing and dual perspectives isn’t properly done, but I didn’t feel overly angry while reading this one. However, I still wouldn’t recommend it to anyone since the characters are not developed, the romance is forced and close to pointless, and the whole story is extremely predictable that I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it.

One Lonely Cloud

One Lonely Cloud

Book Review: Blazed by Jason Myers

18668474Blazed by Jason Myers

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 17, 2014

Pages: 528 (Hardcover)

good good

 Jamie uncovers life-changing secrets from his past when he’s sent to live with a father he’s never met in this gritty novel from the author of Exit Here. and Run the Game.

Jamie is invincible when he is high. His anger, his isolation, his mom’s manic mood swings—nothing can shatter his glass castle. But one brutal night upends everything, leaving his mom broken and Jamie betrayed.

Sent to live with a father he’s never met, Jamie is determined to hate the man he blames for his mother’s ruin. And he blocks out the pain with drugs, fierce music, and sweet, sweet Dominique. Except the more time Jamie spends at his dad’s, the more his mother’s scathing stories start to unravel. Who is he supposed to believe? And how much will he have to sacrifice to uncover the truth?

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon Pulse for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

If you take away the shitty parents, all of the drugs, the romance and made the protagonist older, have siblings, less talented, and changed the setting, Blazed would pretty much be The Catcher in the Rye. Jaime is told to be this insanely smart and talented person and while he is mostly talented, I don’t think he’s that intelligent. If anything, he’s judgemental and a complete douchebag despite his circumstances. He calls everyone who doesn’t listen to indie bands and alternative rock, ‘phonies’ and ‘fakes’ (sound familiar?). He discriminates against women, saying that ‘we’re all just the same. stupid bitches that are out to destroy everything. Cold hearted whores, all of them’ (I’m paraphrasing but he says something along the lines.”   I’m sorry, but I can’t believe this book. It’s annoying in almost every way and half the book is completely useless.

First off, the writing style is choppy and confusing with nothing properly explained. There aren’t enough flashbacks to make the relationship between Jaime and his mother seem realistic and caring. Another problem are the characters and how lacking they are. Sure, they have some cool traits sometimes but for the most part, they’re underdeveloped and forgettable with close to no redeeming qualities just like the book itself. Everyone listens only to rap and indie bands, do a shit ton of drugs and then complain about how phony the world is. What’s even worse is how Myers sets the world up. San Francisco is a huge place, it’s not possible for every character to know and love every single band and every single book that’s mentioned here. It’s just not.

There is very little that I liked about this book. I spent so much time reading it, I had to find something that made up for the many days that I had lost. The chapters are very short. I also liked the bands that are mentioned, I have found a few new bands that I like. That’s all. Nothing else makes this novel a good read.

Blazed was such a wild card for me. I went in excited, the setting is wild and confusing. I would have been fine if it was only the writing that was that way. Unfortunately, it’s the whole book and I had very little patience for it but I somehow finished it. I hated it and I don’t recommend this book to anyone.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds