Thursday, April 2, 2015

March 2015 Wrap-Up

The beginning of April is upon us. NOOOOOO!!! That was a little melodramatic and I'm quite sleep deprived, but I wanted to at least get this blog post out to you before April is magically over. Currently, I'm in the midst of prefinals week hell. Yep, I swore. That's what it feels like and there is no way I can accurately reflect my frame of mind using any other term. My college is weird because it operates on a pregnancy schedule and by that I mean we have three terms (semesters) instead of the usual two that other colleges have. So while most of you are off enjoying your spring break and just in general loving the month of March, I am churning out paper after paper in a month without any breaks. A week from now, I'll have written about 25 pages worth of essays. (Sidenote for those currently in college. Do you ever think about how you could have written a full length novel, which could have made you a New York Times Bestselling Author in all the time you spent writing essays for college courses. Nope, just me?

Anyway, this intro had a point which I should get to. Since March is always the worst month of my college career, I didn't get a chance to do enough fun reading. I wanted to. I was just forced to read other books and plays that I probably wouldn't have read if given the chance, with the exception of Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie, which I read in my Race and American Identity course. All of you should read at least one Alexie book, really. I feel like Native American literature doesn't quite get the attention it deserves. So without any further blathering, here are the two books I managed to read during the month of March.
  • Hourglass by Myra McEntire 


Never before has this gif been more appropriate. Really. I just wish I'd finished this book last month because I didn't want to start off this post with a negative review. Oh well. Maybe I would be happier if the YA genre didn't churn out these sorry cliched excuses for books. Ok, I need to hold back the rage here for just a second to properly address the book. So Hourglass is one of those books that lures you in from the start. I mean look at that cover! Whoever made this cover should be given an award because they have done the impossible: polished up a turd so well that it looks like a diamond. The same goes for whoever wrote the synopsis. Brava! I'm sorry, I didn't stop the snarky rage. 

Anyway, the story claims to be about Emerson Cole, a girl that can somehow see ghosts ever since her parents' accident and death. (I should have figured she would be a terrible character because having the name Emerson basically guarantees you'll be insufferable). She currently lives with her brother and his wife, who care about her for some inexplicable reason. To help with her ability, her brother reaches out to the organization, Hourglass, who sends over Michael to help Emerson live with her unique ability. Rather than get an awesome book where Emerson slowly comes to terms with her ability and learns more about the secretive Hourglass organization, we get 50-60 pages of insta-love. No real plotline mind you just pages of Emerson pinning over Michael, who could be a sexy lamp and it wouldn't make much of a difference. Actually I lied. A sexy lamp wouldn't be threateningly overprotective. You know that cliched YA bad boy love interest line: "I'm so sorry I'm being such an insensitive, illogical douchebag, I just love you so much babe that I gotta protect you from ever getting hurt." I may have paraphrased that just a little. 

What happens after those useless insta-love pages is a whirlwind of out of left field plot devices that Emerson accepts right off the bat. I would tell you all of them, but for some reason I don't feel like spoiling the book. You also can't forget the stock characters and plot devices that are used here which include, but are not limited to, the amazing female best friend who the main character belittles/insults in her inner monologues and then promptly forgets about once the insta-love gets going, the completely ridiculous villain reveal featuring a character that was only in about two scenes the whole entire book, a main character that is incredibly selfish and insufferable, but everyone in the book apparently loves, and of course a complete lack of world building. This isn't a dystopian novel, but time travel is involved and nothing is consistently explained/established. I also can't overlook the rampant misuse of mental illness, particularly at the end when it seems like she emphasizes her mental instability just to get her brother to let her visit Michael, by which time her problems are solved with a makeout session. In a world where plenty of people are struggling to advocate for those suffering with mental illness problems, this book certainly can't be helping. 

Needless to say I'm not recommending this book and I hope you ignore Hourglass in favor of a much better book.

A Note from future Penny: Now that I look back on this review, which I wrote right after I finished the book, I may have been just a bit too vitriolic. That being said I'd don't have the time nor the will to edit a review of a book I definitely didn't like. I think I'll just keep this as an example of what happens when I read a book so stuffed with predictable cliches. I bet I'm not the only one who rages when a book completely fails to meet expectations. I'd love to hear about the books you've ranted about in disappointment. 
  • Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas


Honestly this series!!
All of my fellow nerdfighters out there should get the reference
I'm just finding it hard to remember what my life was like before this series. It's been a really really long time since I've been this happy about a series and I'm finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that I have to wait months for the next book. Oh well. At least I still have all the novellas left to read. Heir of Fire continues to follow the awesome female protagonist, Celaena Sardothien, who has just been sent to Wendlyn by the King of Adarlan at the advice of Chaol, who wants to protect Celaena from the corruption of the king while putting her in touch with part of her identity she has been neglecting. (How can I explain any of this without giving away spoilers. I think what I've said should be sufficient, but if not please, PLEASE read the synopsis for the previous books in the series). For the most part, this book was just as action packed as the previous ones, with the exception of Celaena's training near the middle of the book, which got to be a bit repetitive and tedious to read. I'm also having a hard time trying to accept all of these love interests going on, which probably contributed to my decision not to give the book 5 stars. I just don't see the point of love triangles or love squares or any other shape you can think of. I would rather the main character form complex relationships with other characters that don't need a romantic tinge to them. Speaking of other characters, this book also introduces a number of really great side characters with engaging story arcs, particularly Manon's. I knew from the last book that the witches in the realm were going to get involved somehow and I'm excited to read what happens. I really don't know how I'm going to be able to wait until September for the sequel. If you haven't read this series, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW! GO! GO! If you did read and enjoy this book, what other ones would you recommend that are similar in style? I love to read about them in the comments.

Sadly, that's all I read this month. Hopefully April will bring some desperately needed free-time. Unless I'm too swamped with homework this weekend, I'll be posting my April TBR. The books I didn't read this month will most likely carry forward into the next as well. Now I have two latin quizzes that I desperately need to study for, so have a fabulous night!