What I Read In May

This post was previously named Library Finds. Honestly, I have no time to be going to the local library and, by the time I’ve picked out a book to read, take it home and start it, I’ve already lost interest. So I’ve had to knock that on the head. The truth is, I’ve been spoiled by my Kindle. I love having the option to pick up and put down whatever book I choose, whenever I want. So, for the first time in over a year, I put my Kindle Fire back on charge, in order to read some of the books I’ve been hoarding on there.

The Line by Teri Hall

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Rachel has grown up on one side of the line: an invisible/uncrossable barrier that encloses part of the United States. The other side of the line is known only as Away, where those cut off by the government reside.

It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help. – Goodreads

First on the chopping block, I had to do a quick google search to find out what this was about. I started this book with low expectations. It seemed 2 dimensional, even for a YA dystopia. They can go one way or another. I did not like this book. Mostly because literally nothing happened. All the world building was done during a “pop quiz” which did nothing to open up Rachel’s universe to the reader. The characters are boring and unlikable, as hard as I tried. And believe me, I did try.

Would I bother to read the sequel? No. I learned a lot of useless facts about orchids, though.

Rating: 1/5

The Declaration by Gemma Malley

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Anna lives in a children’s home, despite the law stating procreation is illegal. She is surplus, learning to serve those who have a legal place after the cure for death allowed earth’s inhabitants the right to immortality. Then, Anna meets Peter, who is confident he is not extra, he is not unrequired. He knows her parents and wants her to escape with him.

Unlike The Line, The Declaration had me hooked almost from the beginning. The premise was interesting and a look at the world we could, but probably will never have. The characters weren’t the most awe-inspiring; I didn’t really care too much about them, which is never a good sign, but neither did I want them to fail. I think that if the plot didn’t have such snap decisions, it could have been a terrific book. As it stands, it was pretty good.

Rating: 3/5

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

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Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family. But after she’s convicted of murder, she awakens to a nightmarish new life as a chrome – a criminal whose skin colour has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime. Hannah is Red for the crime of murder. The victim, says the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love – Goodreads

I loved this book. When She Woke is the perfect blend of dystopia, drama, romance and thriller. Jordan’s story telling is beautiful, effortlessly weaving Hannah’s world and making it believable. This book is heavy on religious guilt, I can imagine it would not be easy to read if you are part of the Christian faith. Up until the last 100, or so, pages, it was amazing, a 5 star book. But the ending felt too rushed, as if the writer was nearing her deadline and had given up trying to make it work. The religious plot went into overdrive and became a bit much, making it too dramatic. Which was a let down.

Rating: 4/5

Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein

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A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.
Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.
Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.
Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.
Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.
Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.
By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead. – Goodreads

I opened my Kindle and clicked the most recently added book, which turned out to be Premeditated. It had been forever since I downloaded it, so I had no idea what it was about. From the get go, it was all a bit silly. I get that teenagers make irrational decisions but, come on, pal. What’re you doing? It was so unbelievable. The ending was great – much, better than the rest, and it almost makes up for the despicable characters. I loved the writing style and ending, but the majority of the book (and the very last chapter) was just ridiculous.

Rating: 2.5/5

Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman

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Orange is the New Black documents Piper Kerman’s 15 month prison sentence for a decade old crime.

Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.–  Goodreads

I’m a huge fan of the TV show and I wanted to love this book, but unfortunately, real life Piper is just as sanctimonious and whiny as fictional Piper. The entire book is centred on a rich, white girl going to prison for a crime she commit only because she had “fallen down the rabbit hole”, whilst enriching the lives of everyone around her and people simply falling at her feet because she’s just so wonderful. Excuse me while I throw up. The real stories belong to the inmates at Danbury, but they are skimmed over unless Saint Piper has time to help them turn their lives around with her unrelenting “street smarts” and beauty.

Rating: 1.5/5

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

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Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy. As power and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way. – Goodreads

I was so confused by the first half of this book. I couldn’t equate the admittedly good writing but annoying characters, with the award-winning novel. But the second half of the story was fantastic. It was a bit incesty, but if you focus on the back drop of the war and the personal growth, How I Live Now is brilliant. Rosoff did a fantastic job with the teen voice, making Daisy irritating and dramatic but transforming her into a women aged beyond her years. It was sad and triumphant in one. I was impressed, for a change.

Rating: 5/5

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2 responses to “What I Read In May

  1. We had to analyze How i live now for the literary course i took in Uni and it was the easiest one to talk about because it had so many things that either intrigued me or made me feel slightly awkward. The whole incestuous relationship between Daisy and her cousin was not something i enjoyed but the rest was great. Our creepy, old professor seemed to love it though.

    Liked by 1 person

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