Book review: No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

22403036No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre:Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: February 24, 2015

Pages: 272 (Hardcover)

good good

Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they’ve lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail doesn’t know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn’t have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the “end of the world.” Because of course the end didn’t come. And now they’re living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl.

opinionLook, let’s just get straight to the point. Was I made by the end of this book? Not quite. Did I still have a lot of questions, like how some loser conned more than two dozen people into giving him pretty much everything? Fuck yes. But more than that, I was disappointed. I felt so underwhelmed by every aspect of No Parking at the End Times, even during the parts where there should have been a lot of religious insight,fuck, any kind of insight, I got nothing. You’re better off skimming a pamphlet on the ‘New World’ rather than read this book.

Why? Because nothing happens. And when something does happen, it’s 77% into the book, where no shits are given anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good build-up, leaving room for nothing but suspense however this is ridiculous. And when you pair a boring book and awkward writing that’s full of unnecessary words, well, the outcome isn’t pretty. Moreover, for a novel that has so much on the Now, there’s almost nothing on the Then part. The book is mostly surrounded on the decisions that Abigail’s father has made and still making, how his mistakes have caused the family to lose greatly. So when I was reading and found close to nothing, honest to God, nothing on what made him switch gears and decide to listen to Brother John, I couldn’t help but scream. Adding onto this, the characters aren’t fleshed out. Abigail, I could understand for the most part because I could relate to her but only to a point. Halfway done, I stopped caring about her as well as the other characters. They just don’t stick out, especially Brother John, who is supposed to be this magnificent man sent down from God. Obviously he’s not but I did not see the appeal of him. He always gave generic answers, didn’t read any fucking verses from the Bible despite always having it on hand, and all around, didn’t even act like he was really into it. As a con artist you have to at least fake to have your heart in it, this guy gave no fucks. Now, does that sound like a man two relatively responsible adults with two children would give everything to? It doesn’t to me, I still don’t understand where Bliss was going with him.

Nonetheless, there are some mediocre things that I didn’t mind. One of them being the Before chapters albeit short and mostly pointless because they tell only snippets of what happened, of how they got to California rather than giving the whole picture.

No Parking at the End Times might have been great since most books about the Rapture don’t really go into after the ‘event’, only about two weeks later. What made me even more disappointed is the fact that the beginning is so good. Like, guys, it’s so good. It’s intense, mysterious, and exciting. I was giddy with pleasure (that died like two or three chapters later). Would I recommend this novel? No, like I said before, I got more information from a pamphlet, hell, even the damn internet than I did on the actual Rapture, or on anything religious. This should tell you something about how badly this book is written when I have to complain multiple times about the religion aspect of it. And I don’t even like religion.

1.5 Odd Clouds
1.5 Odd Clouds

2013 Book Challenges: August Edition

I really have to make these last four months count! I’m so close to finishing most of my challenges. I CAN TASTE THE VICTORY!

2013 Reading Challenge

Goal: 100

Read: 9

Total: 73

Sweet Peril (Sweet#2) by Wendy Higgins

The Uprising (The Forsaken#2) by Lisa M. Stasse

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn#2) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Insurgent (Divergent#2) by Veronica Roth

Ostrich by Matt Greene

The Pledge (The Pledge#1) by Kimberly Derting

A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

Sylo (Sylo#1) by D.J. MacHale

2013 Debut Author Challenge

Goal: 13

Read: 1

Total: 14

Ostrich by Matt Greene

2013 TBR Pile

Goal: 50

Read:2

Total: 15

Insurgent (Divergent#2) by Veronica Roth

The Pledge (The Pledge#1) by Kimberly Derting

2013 YA Contemporary Challenge

Goal: 30

Read: 4

Total: 18

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn#2) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Ostrich by Matt Greene

A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

2013 Sophomore Challenge

Goal: 20

Read: 4

Total: 6

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn#2) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Sweet Peril (Sweet#2) by Wendy Higgins

The Uprising (The Forsaken#2) by Lisa M. Stasse

 

How are you doing with your challenges? Post links in the comments!

2013 Book Challenges: July Edition

*Does happy dance* I have finished one of my challenges! Finally! Goodbye, Début author challenge! Even though I’ll probably continue to read other Débuts just because.

2013 Reading Challenge

Goal: 100

Read: 11

Total: 64

Freaking out by Polly Wells

Beyond Parallel by Matthew Turner

Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell

Prep School Confidential (Prep School Confidential#1) by Kara Taylor

Proxy (Proxy#1) by Alex London

Gated by Amy Christine Parker

The Bone Season (Scion#1) by Samantha Shannon

Siege and Storm (The Grisha#2) by Leigh Bardugo

Clean by Amy Reed

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Running Lean  Diana L. Sharples

2013 Debut Author Challenge

Goal: 13

Read: 6

Total: 13 (I’m done here! YES!)

Beyond Parallel by Matthew Turner

Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell

Prep School Confidential (Prep School Confidential#1) by Kara Taylor

Gated by Amy Christine Parker

The Bone Season (Scion#1) by Samantha Shannon

Running Lean  Diana L. Sharples

2013 TBR Pile

Goal: 50

Read:2

Total: 13

Clean by Amy Reed

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

2013 YA Contemporary Challenge

Goal: 30

Read: 5

Total: 14

Freaking out by Polly Wells

Beyond Parallel by Matthew Turner

Prep School Confidential (Prep School Confidential#1) by Kara Taylor

Gated by Amy Christine Parker

Running Lean  Diana L. Sharples

2013 Sophomore Challenge

Goal: 20

Read: 1

Total: 2

Siege and Storm (The Grisha#2) by Leigh Bardugo

How are your challenges going? Send me links so I can check them out!

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Genre: Fantasy and New Adult

Release Date: August 20, 2013

Pages: 480 (Hardcover)

The Bone Season

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

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

opinion

I can see why there’s so much hype around this book! There’s a lot of action and drama and all that fun stuff packed in here. And I really like this novel, I do. The Bone Season held my attention for a lot longer than I thought it would, but unfortunately there is just so many things that I can’t overlook and allow me give this book a higher rating. Nonetheless a lot of people will still enjoy this, maybe even love it. I’m just not one of those people who can overlook things easily.

The first thing that I can’t stand about this book is the abundance of information. And it’s also not only a few pages long, throughout the book, I had to skip everything about Paige’s past life and albeit important, information on all of the different types of clairvoyants and such things just to make sure my head didn’t explode. There’s just too much info-dumping which leads to the disorganized plot. A lot of things happen in the book, like I mentioned before, there’s a lot of action but it’s all over the place and a bit confusing at some parts. Another thing that frustrates me about The Bone Season is the protagonist, Paige because she’s not only predictable but crazy as well. She is constantly getting into trouble for no good reason except to get killed, and then she gets everything handed to her. There’s very little proof that makes me like Paige even in the slightest because of the way she acts and receives everything because she’s ‘special’. I really dislike her character.

Samantha Shannon does a fine job building a believable world though. With everything that’s happening, I fell in love with the setting and the atmosphere, everything feels like it’s happening right in front of me and I couldn’t stop reading. The story is also well written, it’s smooth and exciting. I love the way that Shannon hooks readers in with simple yet complex writing.  A lot of the characters are well-developed, especially Arcturus. He’s really complex and layered with lots of passion. Even when I didn’t want to, I felt myself loving him.

The Bone Season is a novel many people will love, no doubt. There’s tons of action and friendships and pain with a little bit of romance that takes the backseat. But there’s a few things that stand in its way of being an amazing start to a seven book series. Still, I recommend this to anyone who likes a lot of action and a well-developed world and don’t mind an abundance of information. Or are willing to skip half the book to get to the good parts. Hopefully there’ll be a lot less info-dumping in the next book and Paige grows up a lot more.

2.5 Clouds
2.5 Clouds

Book Review: Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas

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Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: Contemporary and young adult

Release Date: March 5, 2013 (Original date: June 1, 1996)

Pages: 224 (Paperback)

Rats Saw God

For Steve York, life was good. He had a 4.0 GPA, friends he could trust, and a girl he loved. Now he spends his days smoked out, not so much living as simply existing.

But his herbal endeavors — and personal demons — have led to a severe lack of motivation. Steve’s flunking out, but if he writes a one-hundred-page paper, he can graduate.

Steve realizes he must write what he knows. And through telling the story of how he got to where he is, he discovers exactly where he wants to be….

opinion

A beautiful story about love and how messed up it can make us. Told from the perspective of Steve York, a teen going in a downwards spiral from really great to not-so-great. The beginning is fast paced and funny but somewhere during the second part it slows down a lot.  The characters are original and very likeable I fell in love with Doug, Steve, and Sarah right away. Overall,this is a great read.

There is only a few flaws that kept Rats Saw God from being a five-star read for me. One of those things is that it’s really disorganized with the past and present stories. Instead of taking readers to the past for an explanation for something that affects Steve in the present, Rob Thomas takes readers to the past of something that doesn’t have any real connection to anything in the chapter. Another reason it didn’t make my favourite shelf is because during the second half, things slow down by a great deal to an almost snail-like pace which made the story seem boring even though it shouldn’t have been. And even though I love Steve, he’s a great character, during the second half of the story, Steve becomes this lovesick puppy that is not as funny as he was during the first half.

Stories with a male protagonist, I expect there to be tons of humour and sarcastic content. I don’t know why, I just do. Rats Saw God delivers and surpasses my expectations with very funny, realistic characters and a relaxed, sarcastic writing style. Steve, as a character really grows and learns a lot throughout the novel that it’s hard not to feel empathetic for him. The relationship between Doug and Steve is strong too, with their love for nothing (a.k.a. Dadaism) and video games, it’s a lot of fun to read about them.

Rats Saw God is quite a moving novel about love, life, and growing up. I recommend this to anyone looking for a fun read with a serious undertone. And really, this novel is a story within a story, which is a bonus.

Four Dreamy Clouds
Four Dreamy Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Prep School Confidential (Prep School Confidential #1) by Kara Taylor

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Prep School Confidential (Prep School Confidential #1) by Kara Taylor

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Genre: Contemporary and young adult

Release Date: July 30, 2013

Pages: 304 (Paper Back)

Prep School Confidential (Prep School Confidential #1)

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn’t care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This is such a fun novel! I couldn’t put it down, it’s an easy read with lovely characters and great pacing. Some things are predictable, I knew who the killer was only after reading about Isabella’s death but there are a few surprises that kept me at the edge my seat as well. So many things going on in the book that I think Kara Taylor did a fine job organizing.

Prep School Confidential has a few flaws that I couldn’t overlook. Throughout the novel, there’s quite a few clichés concerning the new girl and the mean girl and quite a bit slut shaming. Some characters like Remy feel really choppy and underdeveloped. Readers are told that she’s nice and strong, etc. yet, there are only a few instances that proves this and she doesn’t feel as real as I wished she should. Also, Isabella plays a huge part in the novel, both dead and alive. After her death, readers are told that Isabella was actually a completely different person but I didn’t feel it. The information given is lacking and albeit there are points given that show that Isabella had a dark side, they could have been elaborated on.

The writing is so fun! It’s light and laid back which makes it for a amusing read (even with murder in it). The romance in Prep School Confidential is so laid back and relaxed, nothing felt too contrived or fake to me and I loved it. I could see Anne with either one of them. Most of the characters are well written and beautifully developed, I felt satisfied with Anne and the obstacles she faces.

Overall, this is something I was not expecting. I went in hoping that I didn’t want to punch every character and that the clichés were a small amount. Even with the clichés, Kara Taylor managed to entertain me with her tale of murder, mystery, love, and life without getting on my nerves too much. I recommend this to anyone looking for a great summer read to pass the time with some heavy tones but an overall light read. Now, I can’t wait for the next book to come out!

3.5 Cool Clouds
3.5 Cool Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

2013 Book Challenges: June Edition

I FINALLY HAVE ONE FOR THE SOPHOMORE CHALLENGE! YES!

2013 Reading Challenge

Goal: 100

Read: 9

Total:53

The Archived (The Archived#1) by Victoria Schwab

Winger by Andrew Smith

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend (Confessions#2) by Louise Rozett

Archlight (Arclight#1) by Josin L. McQuein

Kindness For weakness by Shawn Goodman

Taken (Taken#1) by Erin Bowman

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

2013 Debut Author Challenge

Goal: 13

Read: 2

Total: 7

Taken (Taken#1) by Erin Bowman

Arclight (Arclight#1) by Josin L. McQuein

2013 TBR Pile

Goal: 50

Read:0

Total: 11

2013 YA Contemporary Challenge

Goal: 30

Read: 4

Total: 9

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend (Confessions#2) by Louise Rozett

Winger by Andrew Smith

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

Kindness For weakness by Shawn Goodman

2013 Sophomore Challenge

Goal: 20

Read: 1

Total: 1

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend (Confessions#2) by Louise Rozett

How are your challenges going? Send me links so I can check them out!

Book Review: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy#1) by Richelle Mead

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Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy#1) by Richelle Mead

Publisher: Razorbill

Genre: Fantasy and young adult

Release Date: April 16, 2007

Pages: 332 (Ebook)

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy#1)

 

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger…

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

(My Opinion)

If you asked me what Vampire Academy is about, I’m not sure I could give you a straight answer. Most of the book is really rushed, and then BAM! We’re almost at the end of it when everything slows down and gets good. But those 300 pages before it? Not a clue. This could  possibly be the reason why I’m giving the book such an average rating or maybe it’s because of the lack of information on Rose and her life. Either way, Vampire Academy is an average read.

Rose is our protagonist who does whatever the hell she wants to do. Which is awesome! But a little too mysterious for me. Countless times, it’s mentioned very vaguely things she’s done with boys, but not what made her stop, or what made her start, or what made her the way she is. Because of this, it made it hard for me to sympathize her as much as I wanted to when she’s called a “Blood whore”, or slut, etc. Also, to the ending of the book, Rose changes and sort of becomes this lovesick puppy who is a bit annoying.

What I did enjoy about this is that most of the characters are well-developed and the novel itself is just beautifully written in a fun, sarcastic-like way. I also like the fresh take on vampires with the good ones being called “Moroi” and the bad ones being called “Strigoi” and also the fact that the good vampires need guardians which are called, “Dhampir”. Vampires are always portrayed as these strong, dangerous, independent creatures who sometimes protect weaker creatures, not the ones who need the protecting! Overall, Vampire Academy, it’s a fun and a really fast read that anyone who loves vampires will like. I can’t wait to find out what will happen between Rose, Lissa, and Dimitri.

Three Clouds
Three Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer#1) by Michelle Hodkin

8591107The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer#1) by Michelle Hodkin

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Genre: Fantasy and young adult

Release Date: September 27, 2011

Pages: 452 (Paperback)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1)

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

(My Opinion)

Oh, the potential this book had. Stating the obvious, there is a romance in this novel. And this romance caused this novel to tumble and fall to its knees. Even with an awesome plot, it still couldn’t help the book as much as I had hoped. Throughout the novel, there is close to no character building and most of the characters feel like ink on paper.

A lot of creepy things happen to Mara once she moves to Miami. Things happen to the people around Mara as well. These odd happenings should have been a lot more dominant in the story but aren’t because they are far and few between. Which makes them seem quite random instead of building up to something more.  I wish Michelle Hodkin put more of these odd things into the book to help it be consistent. Now, onto the romance. But, don’t get me wrong, I liked it, the actual romance is funny and sweet but there is just too much of it. Once these two characters are apart it seems that it is short lived because the other character pops up out of nowhere so that they can be together for another fifteen chapters. It’s ridiculous and readers will get irritated and annoyed very quickly no matter how cute Noah’s accent may or may not be.

A big thing for me and books is the writing. I either like it or I don’t and fortunately for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I really, really, really, liked the writing. It’s like butter, so rich and smooth and dreamy. Everything flowed very nicely that, this almost 500 paged book felt like a 200 or 300 paged book. I also loved the ending even with how predictable it is. It’s very intense and scary, a crazy cliffhanger that forces you to need to read the second book.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is no doubt a book that many readers will love. But it’s also a book that a lot of readers will dislike because of the romance. But I did enjoy this and recommend it to anyone who loves books where the romance takes over and killer cliffhangers. Fingers crossed the second book has a lot less romance in it!

Three Clouds
Three Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me#1) by Tahereh Mafi

10429045Shatter Me (Shatter Me#1) by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Dystopia and young adult

Release Date: November 15, 2011

Pages: 338 (Paperback)
Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

(My Opinion)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi seems to be a hit or miss novel for most people. And I can understand why with the overuse of similes and metaphors that makes this novel quite different from other dystopian novels (in both a good and bad way). Another thing about the novel is there’s a lot of strike out text. I’ve never read a book with strike out text before and I think that’s why I had such a hard time trying to get comfortable with it. But, during the second half of the book, the strike out text is a lot less prominent than it is in the first part which helps make the novel a lot more bearable. Although this book does have some problems (that can sometimes be overlooked) I really liked this. Tahereh Mafi took a very mainstream, very overused idea and added a very cool twist to it.

The beginning is odd, there’s too much use of similes and metaphors. Even simple sentences have been changed into more complex and ‘poetic’ sentences. It reminds me of that episode on friends where Joey finds out how to use a thesaurus. (Season ten episode five: The One Where Rachel’s Sister Baby-Sits.) Because of this, the writing is really clipped and straight to the point instead of smooth and kind of casual (for the lack of a better word). I also don’t like the romance much because the book focuses almost always on the romance instead of the actual plot.

With all that being said, I still liked most if not all of the characters. They’re all different and pretty well-developed with strong personalities especially James who is a very realistic ten-year old. I love how Juliette is explained to us, although she’s had her powers for a long time now, she’s still learning about them and how to control them. We’re showed this with a few examples of just how killer her touch is with not only children, but against adults as well. It’s pretty amazing.

The idea to bring in superpowers into a dystopian series is pretty creative. It helps make the story stand out in a genre that is all the same (for the most part). Shatter Me is a thrilling read that is both intense and exciting. I recommend this to anyone who likes dystopian novels as well as people who like a lot of romance and a kick ass protagonist.

Four Dreamy Clouds
Four Dreamy Clouds

For quotes from this book click here.