Song of the Week (Revamped) #9-Sippy Cup by Melanie Martinez

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

Photo: Jeremy Witteveen | wittefini.com

Photo: Jeremy Witteveen | wittefini.com

Melanie Adele Martinez is an American singer and songwriter. Melanie Martinez auditioned for the American television vocal talent show The Voice and became a member of Team Adam.

Such a creepy song! But a great beat it is. Martinez is an artist that relies on old childhood memories (hers and ours) in order to create her songs. It’s disturbingly good. Strange and mellow and relaxing. But not.

Favourite part:

Blood money, blood money
How did you afford this ring that I love, honey?
“Just another shift at the drug company, ”
He doesn’t think I’m that fucking dumb does he?
It doesn’t matter what you pull up to your home
We know what goes on inside
You call that ass your own, we call that silicone
Silly girl with silly boys

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Book Review: Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss

18190738 (1)Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss

Publisher: GreenWillow Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 464 (Hardcover)

good good

Thomas is supposed to leave for the army in the morning. His father was Army. His brother, Jake, is Army—is a hero, even, with the medals to prove it. Everyone expects Thomas to follow in that fine tradition. But Jake came back from overseas a completely different person, and that has shaken Thomas’s certainty about his own future. And so when his long-estranged friend Mallory suggests one last night of adventure, Thomas takes her up on the distraction. Over the course of this single night, Thomas will lose, find, resolve, doubt, drive, explore, and leap off a bridge. He’ll also face the truth of his brother’s post-traumatic stress disorder and of his own courage. In Bryan Bliss’s deft hands, graduation night becomes a night to find yourself, find each other, find a path, and know that you always have a place—and people—to come back to.

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

opinion

Meet me Here makes me so sad, guys.

And I get it. There’s a lot of shitty things going on. Thomas has a really sad life, his brother is not himself, his parents are abusive, and he has no say in anything. However, that doesn’t mean that by bringing in an old flame will solve his damn problems. This book is just a joke. I just hate how the plot is, the way Mallory randomly shows up in his life. Why? No? Stop? On top of all of this, Bliss has made the story insanely predictable (and I say this while skipping over quite a large chunk of it). By this, I mean that despite the story being about the way Thomas and his brother are different, their relationship is nothing new. The brother is the go-to golden boy who loses all sense of himself. now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with this, what I am saying is that it is played out and not executed as well as it could be because the only times we really hear of him are when their father comes into play.

I wish I could have liked Meet Me Here but it lacks in every area. The writing is nothing stellar, the character are extremely dull and of the generic kind, and the plot…well what plot is there, really? I mean, nothing matters in this book. Instead, if you’re looking for brother relationships with war themes, I recommend Something like Normal and The Things a Brother Knows. 

One Lonely Cloud

One Lonely Cloud

Book Review: True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

24485772True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen 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’m really glad this got to be one of my first summer reads. It’s fairly light yet a solid novel. With great characters and a steady plot, Kenneth Logan delivers a lovely coming of age story. Although I didn’t absolutely love James, the secondary characters are the ones who really had me. Derek, Hawken, Topher, and the parents. They kept me lightly on my toes by not being the predictable supporting characters that I assumed they would be and I really enjoyed that.

Despite the high rating I’m giving it, there are some flaws. One of them being the intense info-dumping in the very beginning. During the first chapter, readers are handed an essay long description on characters that have yet been introduced. A prime example of this is with Theresa, where James explains their long history and feelings. This could have been easily handled with showing us the friction of their relationship rather than telling us because I started to quickly lose interest. The book, for that matter, is mostly telling rather than showing like from the letters and how James writes them to how he speaks and thinks of his friends. Instead of being put in his shoes, understanding his pain and struggle, I just felt as if I was reading a very personal, extremely distant essay (sorry for the contradiction but it’s the only way I could really explain it. Like a cold ‘I love you’). The whole book is surrounded by the letters and how they make him feel and transform him as a person but I felt this part of the novel was poorly executed because I couldn’t connect with it as I was being told about it instead of showed it. More is written about the letter than what is actually in them. Which is really sad as the letters are his way of expressing himself.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed True Letter from a Fictional Life. it’s straightforward plot wise, it contains plenty of twists, and holds some sad truths about the world we live in. I’m glad Logan made the characters different, especially with Derek because of course there are more issues outside of the LGBT community and just even shining a small light on those issues like race and religion is always appreciated. Moreover, I still liked the idea of writing letters, as a strong believer in this approach to dealing with anger (I’ve been writing letters to people since I was in grade two, I swear) I could connect with where James was coming from. looking past all of the telling and lengthy explanations, the writing itself is quite smooth. It’s easy to lose yourself in the story and keep on reading until everything gets resolved.

You should read this. It’s not a heavy book, definitely finish it within a day, no more than a week. The writing style although not unique, has a one-of-a-kind approach to a popular topic and I loved reading about it. There’s more to this novel than what one read will tell you.

4 Dreamy Clouds

Book Review: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

23315831

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 23, 2015

Pages: 352 (Hardcover)

good good

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

opinion

I actually don’t know what to say about this one. It’s not a bad novel, it’s just…childish. Or at least it is during the beginning. Emmy and Oliver’s relationship has this huge ten-year gap because Oliver’s kidnapping and I think this is why I had such a hard time liking the story. Since he left when they were still little children, it just picks up where they left off. It’s all, “Emmy does this” and, “Oliver does that.” If stuff like this doesn’t bother you, it’s actually a great novel that’s very sweet, however if it does, maybe just skim until the middle.

Or even skim the first chapter because it’s the summary only more in-depth. Oliver left, there was a note, Emmy misses him. And although the story is Emmy’s, I feel like there should have been more to it. Like, Oliver talks about his life, about what he did during those years however, it’s hard to truly picture it since he only says snippets and then that’s it. I did feel for him and his pain however, I wanted to know more so that I could relate more to him. Also, the blow-ups that happen between Oliver and his mother happen too quickly. As a person who has gone through bad shit and seen my friends go through bad shit, parents just aren’t that quick to ground people over small things. Another thing that’s lacking is the town. Like, what town? There is no town. I didn’t get the small feeling of people watching his every move, the ‘think this way,’ or anything. It just fades into the background so whenever Emmy mentions something about their town, it’s always confusing because WHAT TOWN IS THERE?!

But Emmy & Oliver is a sweet novel. The characters are strong and witty, especially Drew who honestly killed me every time he opens his mouth. The relationship between Emmy and Oliver is cute. It’s more of a friendship than anything else and I enjoyed reading about it. I also liked the relationship between Oliver and his father. It’s not your typical one, it’s a strange and realistic relation between two people who need time to figure out their feelings. I got that and I loved it. One of the best relationships ever. The small in between chapters that tell of secrets and memories between Emmy and Oliver also helps paint the picture of how close these two were when they were younger. It put me in a memory of my own childhood where I would always make up weird sayings that only my friends and I understood. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think any of us actually knew what we were saying to each other but we still understood, deep down.

Would I recommend this book? Yes I would because it’s focused on more than just romance and I love that about books. Although the execution at times is sloppy and annoying, it does get its footing and tells an amazing story about time. So, yeah. Go pick this one up it’s cute and sad and summer friendly.

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds

Book Review: A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing#1) by Rhiannon Thomas

22535481A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing#1) by Rhiannon Thomas

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Retelling and Young Adult

Release Date: February 24, 2015

Pages: 337 (Hardcover)

good good

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

opinion

There’s a reason why not many authors write fairy tale retellings. It’s a hard thing to do. What’s even worse is when the fairy tale is the dullest one in the world. So no, I didn’t like reading A Wicked Thing and for readers with a low tolerance for boring shit, I don’t think they’ll like this one either.

It’s boring. From beginning to end, this book was my pal for lulling me to sleep. The writing is also really bad since it honest to God switches from how they would talk back in the day to how we talk ow. I had no patience for this and almost gave up on the book. Bad thing I didn’t because those uninteresting and underdeveloped characters from the beginning of story? They don’t get much better and Aurora is literally too annoying to give even a sliver of a fuck about.

Still, it has some good stuff. Not a lot, but some (thing). The witch part is well done, I felt the suspense and the creepiness. I was actually excited when the witch showed up and started making fun of everything. However, the witch doesn’t appear until the very end. That’s about it as far as stuff that I actually enjoyed goes.

A Wicked Thing was doomed from the start. Sleeping Beauty is a magical tale, sure, however, it’s quite dull and that makes it really hard to work with. I don’t recommend this unless you need some help getting to bed thanks to exams and stuff.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

 

 

Book Review: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

22456945Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre:Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: March 3, 2015

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

good good

Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.

Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; and not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere— until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?

opinion

I’m in love with Hannah Moskowitz. I love her writing, her characters, the way that I feel like I personally know her solely from reading her books. I feel like she puts a lot of herself into her stories. Not Otherwise Specified isn’t… a bad book by any means. But it is a what the fuck just happened ? kind of book. From the setting to the dialogue, all the way to the fucking cover I just…

I don’t think I ever encountered a book by an author I loved that has had info-dumping, but Not Otherwise Specified has it to the max. I’m not even kidding. Sure there are a lot of witty comments that make some of the several info-dumping parts bearable but just barely. Also, the dialogue is really bad. It’s all cookie cutter edge with ‘he says’ or ‘I say’ ‘she says’. They say a lot of shit, I get it. Now make it interesting by adding actions. And I don’t know if it’s just me but all anyone talks about are eating disorders and theater and a dash of the LGBT community thus making the characters not as fleshed out as I would have liked. I got bored quite easily reading this one because I was waiting for something out of the ordinary. It didn’t really come. Anyway, the relationship between Bianca and Etta is so crazy and unbelievable that I had a hard time taking to it. Bianca barely talks and somehow, she’s clinging to Etta for dear life after like a month? Of course these scenarios happen, but I’m sorry there’s just so much planning that could have made it seem realistic. Bianca has too much to lose (I think) to just allow Etta into her life instantly.

Still, this is Hannah Moskowitz and after a while, the random-all-over-the-place-but-not-really-I-don’t-know writing didn’t stand out so much to me. In addition to this, Etta is such a handful, not only for the secondary characters but for readers as well but I liked her for the most part. She’s loud, confused, happy, and pissed off. I liked her because of how strong she is and how strong she makes the other characters. The struggle that goes on in the story is so true.  She tries so hard to work on herself, so hard to get her old friends back, to get healthy, to get in really that I felt for her. It’s so hard to really ‘fit’ in somewhere and I felt as if Etta is the memory for all of us, because I’m sure that everyone has felt like a sore thumb at least once in their life.

Let me say it again: I love Hannah Moskowitz and I believe that this love for her has made me second guess my thoughts on the book. I really want to believe that I got a faulty copy because it just didn’t work for me. Especially the cover, just looking at it makes me mad not because of the person on it, but just the fact that the publisher probably paid a lot of money for something that looks thrown together in ten minutes. It’s poorly photoshoped, poorly lighted, and just all around, poor colour choices. I know for a fact, they could have done better. But anyway, yes, I think I would still recommend it solely because it is Hannah Moskowitz and she’s awesome but Not Otherwise Specified is not that great. It’s a solid, ‘meh’ book with ‘meh’ characters and a ‘meh’ setting.

3 Mediocre Clouds

3 Mediocre Clouds

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