“Icons”—A Book Review(ish)

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Icons by Margaret Stohl…where to begin? Well, to be totally honest, that all I read…the beginning. I could only manage to make it 130 pages in before I gave up. And I’m not one to just stop reading books; I usually suck it up and finish them no matter how crappy (I think completing The Casual Vacancy can attest to that).

Maybe it’s because I just finished reading The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, which was awesome, so this book just couldn’t hold my interest in comparison, but Icons was just really boring. I hate to say it, but it drags on, just like the Beautiful Creatures series did. 130 pages into reading this book and nothing has really happened. I have ZERO attachments to the characters in the novel. I honestly could care less what happens to him.

AND, I’m a third of the way through and I still really don’t have a clue about what exactly is happening. Here is the gist of what I have gathered thus far:

1)      An event called “The Day” happened about 16 years ago, when an alien mother ship came to Earth and the majority of people just dropped dead.

2)      A few people lived (which was never explained how or why).

3)      A VERY select few that survived are known as “Icon Children.” These few children (only 3 that we know of so far) have different types of “abilities” and have a dotted birthmark on their wrist to symbolize which power they possess. The main character, through which this story is told, is one of these Icon Children. Both of her parents died on The Day, and she was rescued and raised by some man and grew up in some sort of borderland outside of the cites called the Grasslands or the Mission or something to that effect.

4)      It is never really explained what an Icon is, only that there are like 16 Icons above the few select cities that have managed to survive since The Day.

5)      All we know about these “aliens” are that they are called the “Lords.” Apparently they have never actually “invaded” Earth? They just kind of watch from afar? And some humans called Sympas work for the aliens?

I’m sorry, I just can’t finish this book. It is horribly slow and boring. One out of Five stars.

“Butter”—A Book Review/Rant

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Butter by Erin Jade Lange provided a new way to view online bullying and childhood obesity.

Butter is a big boy…and I mean BIG. I know that’s supposed to make the reader feel empathic and sad and all, but I really just couldn’t find the sympathy. Butter’s weight issues actually kind of pissed me off and got my blood boiling.

The opening scene is of him pigging out on a shit ton of junk food, and then seeing a story on the news about how airlines are going to start charging obese people for two tickets, since they take up more than just one seat. This upsets Butter, and he goes into a pouty fit and puts down the food, running up to his room to do the one thing (other than eating) that brings him joy…play his saxophone.

But in almost the next paragraph he says how he won’t keep his resolve to not eat crap food because it’ll never work and he’ll always be fat, blah blah blah. And how his mother is an enabler (and I’m not saying that she isn’t) and it’s her fault he’s so fat and his dad’s fault for ignoring him.  

“Mom’s mouth twitched in a sad smile, but she didn’t say anything. Somewhere around the time I turned eleven, she’d stopped talking to me about food or exercise or anything to do with my weight. And the bigger I grew, the more she pretended not to see it. I used to think she was embarrassed by me, but I eventually figured out she just felt guilty—like she was a bad mother for letting me get so big.”

Again, I know this kid being ginormous and not having any friends is supposed to make me feel sorry for him, but the book just infuriated me more than anything. He just gorges himself on food and whines about being fat. It literally just made me yell inside my head, “STOP EATING ENOUGH FOOD FOR 10 PEOPLE IN ONE SITTING AND GO EXERCISE! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!”

You may think I’m a horrible person for thinking this, but seriously, self pity and laziness will get you nowhere and one of my biggest pet peeves is people making excuses for their own crappy decisions. Grow a pair, own up to your mistakes, and be proactive to change!

 And Butter didn’t even try to make any friends at school. He just hid away in the corners (well as much as a giant kid can hide).

“I was rarely picked on at school. At a whopping 423 pounds, I was just that pathetic—that pitiful. Most people couldn’t bring themselves to be cruel to me.”

And even worse, he uses his own self loathing and eating habits to punish his parents (and I’m not saying his parents are completely blame-free with his condition, but blaming them for your own crappy state is so not the way to go about it…that won’t solve anyone’s problems).

“The food didn’t taste as good without an audience. If I had to be the one to carry the weight, it was only fair that they be forced to watch.”

So after humiliating himself at school one day, Butter comes home all upset and sees that people have made a list of “most-likelys” from his school. He’s listed as “most likely to die from a heart attack” and next to the prediction is a picture of him stuffing his face in the cafeteria.

What happens next? Does he decide to prove those kids wrong and start living a healthier life by exercising and watching what he eats? NO! Of course he doesn’t…he decides he’s going to kill himself online (so everyone can see it) at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. How is he going to do this? By eating himself to death. One last meal for the fat kid.

“I couldn’t control the kids at school. I couldn’t control my parents or my weight or my life…but I could command the conversation online. I could make sure the only things people said about me in cyberspace were the things I invited them to say. And if I could control that, then that would be all that mattered.”

The website Butter created in a moment of anger goes viral around the school, and before he knows it everyone wants to talk to him, the most popular guys in school want him to sit at their table and hang out with them on the weekends. But not because they truly like Butter as a person—it’s because they are morbidly obsessed with his suicide mission. They want to discuss things like menu of everything he’s going eat for his last meal.

The sick thing is, Butter likes the attention—even if it’s for all the wrong reasons. All he ever really wanted was attention, but he goes about it in the most cowardly way. Instead of trying to win everyone over with his insanely good sax-playing skills, or his kind heartedness, or his brains, or with humor, he gets their attention with his suicide plans.

The “protagonist” (I use this term as loosely as I can) is nothing but a whiny coward. If he wouldn’t have had his panties in a bunch in the first place and hung out in the corners, like a dog with his tail between his legs, and have actually put himself out there and TRIED to make friends, he wouldn’t have had to resort to such ridiculous antics to get attention.

Some of you may think I’m a complete bitch (and I’m not denying that fact), but all the spineless bullshit just irked me. I get that high school sucks (everyone is insecure in high school and anyone who says otherwise is lying), but you put on your big girl (or boy) panties and get through it. Don’t just throw a fucking tantrum.

This book was a quick read…I got through it in a few hours, and if people making excuses for their all of their problems doesn’t completely piss you off (like it does me), then you will probably enjoy this book. It does address issues like social media bullying and depression. So even though this novel pissed me off, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

“Gameboard of the Gods”—A Book Review

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I have to say, I was super excited for Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead to come out, seeing as I am obsessed with her teen Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series. But sadly, the start of her new adult “Age of X” series just didn’t do it for me, and I can’t help but feel disappointed. I pretty much had to make myself finish this book 😦

Set in the future the RUNA is basically the only government sanctioned area, which resides in the Vancouver area. All throughout the United States lays “provinces,” which are basically areas that the government keeps tabs on, but doesn’t necessarily reside in.

Justin March used to be a servitor (government official who goes around making sure religious organizations have a license for their establishment and are abiding by the government’s rules for religious practice). Justin was exiled four years ago for mentioning “the supernatural” in an incident report and was exiled to Panama City. You see, the government is big on trying to quell out any “nonsense” of supernatural happenings and trying to get people to stop believing in any kind of religious entity.

The thing is…Justin has been target by a god that is trying to get him to follow him.

“The truth is, when you banish the gods from the world, they eventually come back—with a vengeance. Humans can’t stay away from gods, and gods can’t stay away from humans. It’s the natural order of things. Our country’s treatment of the divine was too harsh after the Decline. Our people have pushed the gods away for too long, and now the divine is pushing back. That’s why these forces are stirring around us. There’s a vacuum here, and entities we haven’t seen for a very long time are rushing in, seeking followers. Belief is what powers the gods, and they’re picking out their elect to conduct their earthly business.”

Mae is a praetorian—basically a supped up solider for the aid of the government. All praetorians receive an implant when they sign on with the military that amps up their body’s natural defenses (insane amounts of adrenaline kick in during a fight, they no longer need to sleep, the implant quickly recognizes and dissolves any kind of poisonous toxins that enter the body—alcohol included).

Well, Mae got into a fight at the funeral of her deceased lover and ended up hospitalizing another praetorian. Her punishment: Justin March’s new bodyguard.

A string of unexplained murders have been going on in the provinces. A security camera from one of the victims shows a smoke/shadow intruder killing the victim and no forced entry is apparent. Thus, the government calls upon the aid of Justin March (seeing as he kicked ass at his job and seems to believe in supernatural weirdness). The government believes some kind of unorganized religious zealot is responsible for the string of murders, and wants Justin to find the unsanctioned organization, find the murderer, and have the religion stopped.

And so, Mae is to follow Justin around to make sure he doesn’t die while raiding sketchy “underground religious groups”, shutting them down in hopes of drawing out the one that may be responsible for the bizarre murders.

Oh yeah, and Mae has some “dark” goddess following her around, trying to get her to swear fealty. BUT, Mae can’t see it, even though she feels it sometimes when she gets in fights. Justin on the other hand knows that a god is after him because he has two ravens in his head that converse with him, telling him when he is being an idiot, and try their damndest to get him to give in and swear full devotion to their god. And yes, these ravens have names: Horatio and Magnus.

“Gods consolidate their power in places and people. Breaking belief is the biggest way to hurt one. You do that by disbanding their followers. Gods need people to believe in them. Could be as simple as someone like you revoking a license. Or it may take more drastic means. Destroy their place of worship. Take out some of their leaders. Once the followers start to stray, the god weakens. It’s why their all scrambling right now to build their power—and followers.”

So that’s basically the sum of the book. Justin and may going to different places of worship, checking for licenses and looking for the “mysterious murderer” while a whole lot of sexual tension hangs out (because naturally there are reasons Justin and Mae can’t be together).

I kind of felt like this book tried too much to be political and send “a message.” I found it really boring and it took forever for them to actually find out anything useful. I didn’t even find the “futuristic” world remotely intriguing.

Sadly, I can only give this book two out of five stars 😥 I will not be reading the sequel.

 

I do want to add that regardless of how let down I felt by this book, I am very eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Bloodlines series, The Fiery Heart, which is scheduled to hit bookshelves this November!

“The Eternal Ones”—A Book Rant

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The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller was completely redic. To be honest I can’t even remember a whole lot from this book because it was just a whole bunch of boring nonsense that never really led anywhere.

Basic overview:

Haven has had “visions” ever since she was a little kid, but her grandmother refuses to let her speak of it and sent her to therapy for many years to get her to stop talking about them. Haven keeps seeing herself as another person in a former life with a guy.

Then one day she sees celebrity Iain on TV and is all like, “OMG, I know him from a past life, I must leave my rinky-dink Tennessee town and go to New York to find him!”

With convincing from her gay bf and some weird backwoods pastor, she sets off for NYC. While there, she runs into the movie star, Iain and he instantly recognizes her and is all, “Oh, thank God, you finally found me. I became a movie star in this life hoping that you would see my face and come be in love with me again.”

Haven discovers some secret Ouroboros Society and unravels weird sketchy past secrets about a bunch of people who also keep getting reincarnated. Is Iain lying to her about stuff? Has she been murdered before? Does someone want to murder her now? Did her therapist back in Tennessee sell her out? Did her dead father believe her when she was a kid and was his death an accident?

Seriously…this book was ridiculous…and not in an entertaining kind of way. I got really bored with the back and forth, “I love him! I can’t trust him! I love him! He lied to me! But I love him!”

I give this book one star. I will NOT be reading the sequel.  

#harshtruths

“By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead”—A Book Rant

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By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters just didn’t quite hit the mark. I feel like it could have been a meaningful and deep story, but the main character was too damn annoying for me to feel sorry for her.

Daelyn has been bullied at her old school and tried to take her life by drinking bleach. It didn’t work. Her parents found her and rushed her to the hospital. Now she can’t speak because her throat is still in recovery and she is starting at a new Catholic school.

When she starts this new school, Daelyn decides that she will not make any friends. She will not look at or talk to anyone…because what’s the point in trying to make friends when she plans to kill herself—and actually succeed this time.

Daelyn stumbles upon a website that starts a countdown timer for 23 days. During this time period, it essentially guides her through the steps of purging her life of nonessential things and cleansing everything so that she will be ready to end her life when the timer runs out. Every day she logs into this site and blogs about her life, and reads other blogs about people who are getting ready to commit suicide as well. It gets pretty heavy, as some bloggers talk about being raped and abused.

Then there is this kid who starts sitting with Daelyn every afternoon at the bench outside of her school, where she waits for her mother to pick her up. His name is Santana, and he absolutely will not give up, refusing to leave her alone like she asks. He even ends up getting her to relent and come over to his house one afternoon.

Daelyn resists Santana as much as she can, because it’s too late to let people into her life, right? Throughout the entire book, even as she starts directly interacting with Santana, she still logs onto the suicide site everyday and continues with her preparations to kill herself.

I’m sorry; I just could not get into this book. In my opinion it was entirely ineffective. The main character actually has parents who are trying to be there for her and she is completely stubborn and won’t let them help her. And she likes this Santana kid, but is too f*cking obsessed with her suicidal plans to let him be the friend he wants to be. So she has all of these people (who are not the people from her other school who bullied her) trying to befriend her and help her, but she is too stuck her own pathetic head and feeling sorry for herself to even try to put forth any effort at life. Thus, in my opinion the main character was just whiny and lazy, and by the end of the book, I just kept thinking to myself, “Oh my God, just do it already so I can stop reading about it.”

I feel that books such as Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Hold Still by Nina LaCour were much more affective in their delivery on the issue of teen bullying and suicide.

I give this book two out of five stars.

“Across the Universe”—A Book Rant

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Across the Universe by Beth Revis is a horrible, and horribly boring, book. Maybe it’s just me (because I’m not much of a sci-fi person), but I just could not get into this story.

The beginning isn’t completely horrible, when they describe cryogenically freezing the main character, Amy, and her parents. They are putting them on a spaceship named Godspeed, where they will remain asleep on the 300 year journey it will take to “the new Earth.” This new planet is called Centauri-Earth.

However, something goes mysteriously and terribly wrong, when fifty years prior to reaching Centauri-Earth, cryo chamber 42 (Amy’s chamber) is unplugged and she wakes up early. Refreezing her would be risking death, therefore, Amy’s only hope at survival is to remain awake and live upon the spaceship.

Elder is being trained to be Godspeed’s new leader by Eldest, the current leader. Elder is a bit rebellious, and not completely content to follow the ways of the ship, like a good little soldier, without asking questions. Elder is also enraptured by Amy. She is the only teenager on Godspeed aside from Elder.

The rules that keep the ship running are completely utilitarian. Every person aboard the ship performs an exact function. They basically are mindless slaves, who farm to provide food for the ship. And they ALL look alike from years of breeding (and inbreeding) aboard the ship—this is also why Elder finds Amy fascinating…she has an actual hair and eye color.

The way the people on the ship live completely repulsed me…it was way worse than in other dystopian tales, such as Matched, The Hunger Games, and The Pledge. They are pretty much cattle. The breeding was the worse…when it becomes a generation’s “season,” they basically put Viagra in the water supply, causing everyone to hump like rabbits ALL OVER THE SHIP, with no regard, whatsoever, to modesty. They literally just mount each other and go at it in the middle of the road.

Of course there is a whole “unveiling” of a deeper plot, but whatever. I was totally disinterested by that point and didn’t even care.

And all of the reviews called the book completely romantic and spicy…completely FALSE. I don’t how I even made it all the way through this book. I give it one out of five stars.

“The Diviners”—A Book Review/Sort-of-Rant

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The Diviners by Libba Bray received some pretty awesome reviews, so I decided to check it out. I gotta say, I just wasn’t feeling it. It appears the whole ghost-serial-killer thing is pretty popular right now, but this book just didn’t quite deliver as well as Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star (which I also didn’t find to be fantastic, but was definitely better than The Diviners).

Evie O’Neill has a gift: By holding someone’s personal possession, she can sort of enter a person’s mind and tell them anything having to do with the object—including any thoughts or emotions a person may have ever had while holding the object. When Evie was drunk at a party in her hometown in Ohio, she got pissed off at a big-to-do rich kid and held an object of his to discover that he had cheated on his fiancé and gotten a girl knocked up. Refusing to issue an official apology, her parents shipped her off to New York City to live with her uncle, the curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. That’s the official name, anyway—Evie and her friends refer to it as The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. 

This story takes place during the flapper era, a time when bobbed hair, rhinestones, and feathers are the fashion. Evie is posi-toot-ly thrilled to be in the glamorous city of New York. She cannot wait to go to speak easies and drink large quantities of gin with her starlet friend.

During this time, though, a string of super strange killings are occurring in the area. Because of the bizarre nature in which the bodies are found, the police have called upon Evie’s uncle to help with the investigation, seeing as he specializes in the weird and paranormal.

That’s pretty much the whole premise of the book. Being completely honest with you, I couldn’t even finish it. The main character, Evie, got on my nerves like crazy. She is completely self-centered and spoiled. To her, life is just one big game and anyone that doesn’t go along with her childish whims is basically considered an asshole.

That’s basically all that has happened in the 335 pages that I did manage to stomach, nothing else happens except a small side story of a few other “diviners” (people with special abilities, such as healing and prophesying) a nerdy friend in Evie’s uncle’s apartment building having a crush on Evie’s Uncle’s assistant, and her uncle hiring a charming young thief that pick pocketed Evie upon her arrival in New York.

The only plus I would say this book had going for it was the song that the serial killer sang as he prepared to kill his victims: Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on, cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells ‘em off for a coupla stones.”

I’m sad to say that, despite the great reviews others gave, I can only give this book two out of three stars.

I don’t even have any fabulous quotes to share with you…the creepy song was the only part I liked enough to note.