Tag Archives: September 2014

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Stole the picture from Goodreads

In the past I have really like Rainbow Rowell writing. Attachments, not so much. I understand this was Rowell’s first novel and I think it shows. Everything feels super contrived.

So, this novel is about Lincoln, basically 90’s loser that is cute. Today he would probably fall into the hipster category. The original hipsters, the ones that didn’t try. He is, what amounts to, an internet night watch man. He reads his co-workers emails in case they are breaking company policy. Meet Beth and Jennifer-they don’t care about company policy. They rattle about personal problems all the time. This is where it starts to turn fake and plastic like, other than Lincoln being cliche. We, the readers, only get to read exchanges from Beth and Jennifer. Sure, we hear that others vaguely exist but we only get the exchanges from Beth and Jennifer. There were so many missed opportunities with this to built Lincoln and add interest.

Jennifer and Eve were probably the best characters in the book. Lincoln didn’t disappoint me, but he didn’t wow me either. Beth was….okay. Chris wasn’t believable, like at all. Lincoln’s mom was a typical mom, nothing too exciting going on there. Doris was also a pleasant character but it felt so convenient for her to appear. Then there was the subplot and backstory Sam, believable but so flat and boring. She was “different” in a trendy sort of way and she was extremely predicable. These clauses are oxymoronic (I’m making that a word!) which sums up Sam. The Dungeons and Dragons gang was alright. I don’t understand anything about that so I felt a touch lost. Then there is Justin, a walking cliche. SPOILER ALERT: I’m sure him and Dena will be divorced within a year. Justin is a total tool.

All the cliche movie references were kind of annoying. I was surprised there wasn’t more internet shorthand in the emails. The plot was pretty stale, especially for a publish date of 2011, even though it was a throwback. Maybe I just can’t appreciate throwbacks? Not sure.The ending was very OOC. I had to back up a page because I thought I missed something. Anyone that’s read it, please tel me if you agree.If you want something cutesy to read, go ahead, this isn’t terrible but don’t expect the fantastic work of Fangirl in Attachments.

I give Attachments a 2.5 rainbows out of 5.

Found on Google Search

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The Secret Place by Tana French

Image from GoodReads

Let me start by fan girling over here…and over there and every where. I love Tana French. I first picked up Into the Woods in high school and it intrigued me but I had no money to buy it. My dear sweet Rob G bought it for me and it was all over from there. Tana French gripped me and never let go. French was the first author that I was ever mad at but still in awe. All over her books have engrossed me and spit me out feeling feelings unknown to me in complicated way.

This book has a little bit of everything-murder, boarding school, best friends forever, ghosts, Frank Mackey, pop music, boy problems, secret places, and edgy motives for the characters. I liked it, a lot but it wasn’t love.

The beginning of The Secret Place was very underwhelming. The characters are beautiful complex as normal but the plot is just a thin, ragged sheet holding the book together. However, I think it was that way by design. Moran has a lot of hope riding on a wisp of maybe evidence and it makes the audience in tune with him-like it could fall apart any second and we could be back to our old lives. My favorite thing in the beginning is when Detective Moran interviews these girls at a boarding school. He is so adept at reading them that it makes me wonder if he is too good.

After that scene with Moran and the girls the plot thickens and comes together. It becomes real and then suddenly I’m invested. This middle section has a lot of flashbacks and not a whole lot of detecting which is fun but I was hoping for more of a balance. The investigation is what is, for me, driving the plot. Conway and Moran are getting along too well but I don’t expect that to continue.

The meat of the book contains fantastic character development and a slow unveiling of the events led up to the murder. I am not disappointed in the least with the quality of the mystery. I don’t know who did it just because there are so many possibilities on how it could play out. In true French fashion, nothing is cut and dry.

When Frank Mackey arrives on the scene I am blown away. You get this feeling that everything in his career has led up to this moment, and while he might feel guilty for causing it, he is prepared to handle the situation. I seriously have a crush on this guy even though he’s old and not real. Frank is a welcome explosion in this case. So much is tightly wound and he is blaring. The contrast really increases the divide between the girls and the adults. It becomes harder and harder to identify with these boarding school girls the more you learn about how twisted they are. Frank is this crashing force that pushes everything apart.

As the book concludes, the identity of the murder slaps me and I feel stupid. I don’t like it, in a good way. I don’t like how they use the ghost either, in a bad way, but everything is ending much cheerier than other French books. I am still left feeling overwhelmed about what happened despite the almost lovely ending. I have come to really appreciate the whole back story. It’s delightful.

Audiobook: The girl narrator annoyed me and distracted me from the story in the beginning but I either got over it or the story got so good it didn’t matter because 2/3 through I found myself not minding at all.. The guy narrator’s voice of Julia was horrid. Redo?

Overall I give this book 4.5 hoes out of 5.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

In Honor of TBT: Here is the first review I wrote! When I started, I wrote with spoilers, so beware.

This book is about a princess trusted with special destiny in a fantasy world. Sounds boring already. The characters could have been so stale. The gender role bashing could have been eye roll worthy. The culture blending could have been so fake and over done. But it wasn’t.

From the first page Carson ignored pretenses practically required for writing this kind of story. Young princess in an arranged marriage that isn’t prattling about how unfair life is and how she wants true love? My hopes soared. A princess that isn’t a size zero and has trouble with over eating?  Normal sibling rivalry? I got scared in the next chapter I would be let down because everything good was in chapter one.

No. Nothing let me down, well…nothing serious.

Spoilers may exist from this point on-Read at your own risk.

The first showing casing of Elisa’s intelligence comes when she takes her sister’s advice. The sister she doesn’t like. The sister that is better at politics than Elisa. More than two thirds of young adult heroines would never do that. They have to be free and learn from their mistakes and yada yada yada.

The attitude that Elisa has toward her arranged married and Alejandro is jaw dropping-ly appropriate. She doesn’t balk at it, she doesn’t have false expectations about insta love, and she is clear about her desires. She tells her husband/acquaintance  right off the bat-“I don’t want to be intimate tonight.”

What a novel idea, communicate with words your feelings/preferences/control instead of acting crazy. Since Alejandro isn’t a scum bag, he completely respects that.

There is no insta love with anyone. Love isn’t even central to the story-plenty happens without it, like war council, kidnapping, battles, losing important people.

Oh and a mystical god gave her a belly jewel that makes her special and appropriately, she is pious, yet struggles with her faith. Some people think that makes this Christian Lit. I’m going go with no, while they might have a lot of common elements I am sensing Carson is just accurately portraying someone that had something supernatural happen to her in which her society has an explanation that works. The religion portrayed in this book has common themes with Christianity but I would not say parallels it.

I also love how Elisa isn’t an island. I mentioned this before, but Elisa doesn’t ignore everyone’s advice and just do in heart what she feels is best without reasons to back it up. She listens to the people that she respects and she learns without having to make disastrous mistakes. Yet, you never feel that Elisa is a puppet because she makes her own choices after mulling things over plus she has character growth over the course of the novel. She starts out self centered and then starts caring about the people around her more. She learns about her own abilities and their limits. She makes mistakes because she isn’t experienced and some have disastrous results. This makes her worthy of role model status.

Now the other characters are not as well developed.  Rosario, her nurse, Cosme, Humberto…they are multi-faceted but I don’t think they get the depth they deserve. Hopefully in future novels this will change. Alejandro did get a fair amount of depth but without true exploration. This is actually a good choice on Carson’s part  because there wasn’t time in Elisa’s life to truly get to know him. Elisa, and the audience, learned that he was complex but that was it.

I think Humberto’s death was appropriate. Too often love interests are saved by the author just because they are love interest. The world is cruel, war is brutal, and killing your enemies’ treasured ones is effective. Not killing them removes the horribleness of war.

Now, Elisa started off the novel overweight but then she goes through a tough physical trial and slims down. A lot people also had a problem with that because she changed herself. That is ridiculous. Elisa grew as a human being to have more self control and endurance and people are mad about that? Elisa is stronger for this change, not weaker. I applaud Carson for this realistic choice.

Some of the bad things-a few haired brained schemes worked when they shouldn’t have but this fantasy so I’ll let it go. The antagonist were not super developed and there should have been more time spent developing them, especially individual leaders.  And finally, after being made Queen Regent over the land Elisa carves off a part for a new country and makes a new Queen. Woah. No way is the Quorum going to be peaceful about that or the public.

 NO SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT.

I will be reading more of this series, I will be reading more from Carson, and hopefully if just gets better. I will give this book 4.5/5 roses for good writing and refreshing characters.