Friday, May 16, 2014

#FridayFeels and Heavy Thoughts

In #FridayFeels we leave plot analysis for other posts and focus on the kick in the feels.

Have you seen the movie trailer for If I Stay? This has been one of my favorite YA/NA books for two years now and I already know (combined with TFIOS) this is going to be the summer for weeping at movie theaters. Trying to explain this book to someone who hasn’t read it (“Well, you see, it’s about a girl having an out-of-body experience and reflecting on her life… awesome, right?”) but Gayle Forman can just reach inside my chest cavity and twist in a way few authors can.

As someone really close with my family, and as someone who thinks a lot about loss, Mia’s reflections hit deep. The most hurtful things about loss isn’t usually the moment of loss itself, but the bleak outlook on every day of life afterwards; the void that will gape every time someone should be there and isn’t.

Feelings in this book might also stem from the fact that Gayle can write the most sensual hand-hold I've ever read.

Happy Friday!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Top 10 Books I Almost Put Down... But Didn't

This feature brought to you by the Broke and the Bookish!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
This is a book I got 3 chapters into and then had to put aside for a while.  I just wasn't in the place for paranormal, but I sure am glad I picked it back up a few months later!  As someone who loves backstories, this is a true gem!

Candor by Pam Bachorz
I just wasn't digging this insta-love novel, but I finished it out.  It actually managed to surprise me, and I'm not unhappy I stuck it out.

Ashby Malinda Lo
I totally dig the overarching themes of this novel- Cinderella retelling, feminist, and pro-LGBTQ.  My issue was in the details- the prose fell flat and felt lifeless to me.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
I wrote an earlier post on my feelings on this novel.  That camping trip and 14 hour car ride convinced me to see this novel through to the end.

Aging Nation by James Schulz and Robert Binstock
I had to read select chapters for a class I took and while interesting... it was dry (as you might imagine).  This is my field, though, and while not action-packed, I was very moved by the economic struggles older adults are facing and will continue to face as a result of a "graying" population.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
I just couldn't bear to torture myself with several hundred pages of undeserved misery on beautiful, innocent Tess Derbyfield.  It was a book club that got me through, and although it lacked joy, it wowed me with the poetic style of prose and forward-thinking feminism.

Fallen by Lauren Kate
I wanted to throw this book against the wall it was so inane, but for the sake of crossing it off my list I persevered.

Ages of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Not a fan.  The title is ironic-- it's the age of miracles, the world is ending, a girl is coming of age, and yet somehow nothing remarkable happens in this story.

Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I was not a fan for the first 400 pages.  I just couldn't get into the narration.  The last 100 pages were a sob-fest, though, and for that I regard the entire novel highly.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I know everyone loves this book, but it just wasn't for me.  I almost dropped it but I'm glad I didn't because when all is revealed at the end, my mind was blown and I wanted to go back and re-read it all with opened eyes.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review of Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini, Or, This Sounds Familiar...

Imagine a high school girl living in a small town with her father who is more of a peer than a parental figure- and she plays an equal role in the household duties such as cooking. Now imagine this girl is so beautiful every boy in town wants to date her, though she is oblivious to this fact because she feels so awkward and uncomfortable in her body that she can’t imagine anyone wanting to kiss her. That is until one day when the new family moves to town and stirs up gossip. It’s a big family and they’re all impossibly attractive. Our small town girl finds herself unreasonably drawn to one of them, and their instant mutual attraction is only thwarted by the concerns of his extended family and the impossibility that they could ever have a physical relationship. But they know in their souls that they were destined for each other and they will betray whomever they have to in order to be together. Does all this sound familiar?

Yes, I'm totally comfortable right now
Can't you tell by my posture?
No, this isn’t Twilight. Meet Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini. It starts off in beautiful Nantucket, Massachusetts with an easy to like Helen Hamilton. Helen has always felt a little different, but it isn’t until the appearance of the Delos clan that she finds out the truth about herself: she’s a demigod (genetic inheritance from her absent mother) and one of the strongest of her kind.

It’s refreshing to meet a heroine who isn’t “just a human” while her supernatural boyfriend gets to have all the fun. Helen is stronger than all the Delos boys- she can manipulate gravity and summon lightning. That’s pretty kick-ass! Unfortunately, Helen doesn’t seem to find too much empowerment in her newfound skills. In part because she has been conditioned from a young age to hide this side of her (her mother somehow enchanted Helen so that she would get mega-menstrual cramps any time she exposed herself; I know they call it “the curse” but that’s overkill), in part because she’s too wrapped up in her insta-love with Lucas Delos (whose true name was meant to be Paris; you see where the story is going, right?). 

Our love is instant and eternal
The story started off strong with a tall, awkward girl (I’m also 5’9” so I was pumped to be reading a story about a tall girl who was also fated to wear too-short pants, after all these stories about teeny little short heroines), some super creepy blood-weeping Furies and mysterious dream-walking. All signs pointed toward go… until Lucas started being an Edward. He will decide for them what information Helen should know. He will tell her how to spend her time and what’s safe for her and how their relationship will progress.  He can get jealous and possessive... while simultaneously telling Helen they can never have a relationship and she should get over it already.  

Most frustratingly, he can cuddle with her, flirt with her, kiss her neck and entice her to bed, but any time she tries to reciprocate, he complains that she is trying to seduce him and end the world and she has to learn to control herself. Because, oh yeah, by the way, they are from two different demigod Houses, and if they were ever to consummate their love, the wrath of the gods would destroy the world. Because nothing is simple when you’re a teenager and it isn't hard enough to make sensible, adult choices about sex. But while he’s allowed to let his hands wander, he will literally pin her down if she tries to do the same back to him, because he “only has so much willpower.” Why is it always assumed that women have willpower when men don’t? 

This image can be applied to:
Helen being the most powerful
Lucas being controlling
How Lucas envisions Helen whenever he's turned on
Your pick!
I like the Greek angle, and I’m digging all this supernatural/paranormal stuff (the girdle of Aphrodite! Falsefinders! Controlling light!) but while Angelini writes enjoyable details, I’m not convinced that she has mastered overarching plot.


Friday, May 9, 2014

New Feature: Friday Feels!

In which Sam introduces you our brand-new, Mad But Magic Friday feature: our FRIDAY FEELS!*

Welcome, mini-Mad Ones!  We wanted to shake things up this spring with something fresh and new, and here's what we have for you: our FRIDAY FEELS!

Kate put it best when she pointed this out:  "I have a lot of feelings.  All the time.  Sometimes I have feelings and it's not enough (or just too obsessive) to write a whole review about.  Or maybe the book is crappy but there's one character that just makes me want to curl up with the book."

That's why we decided it was time to share our #FridayFeels.  In the meantime, we'll keep up with our regular Monday reviews, Top Ten Tuesdays, and various other sprinklings of fun stuff.

Thanks for stopping by, our mini-Mad Ones!


*We here at Mad But Magic performed a diligent web search to see if another blog already had this feature after the idea popped in our heads -- a few other blogs have used the words but we couldn't find another book blog with the feature.  We're certainly not claiming it as our own -- we hope everyone shares their #FridayFeels! We just want to make readers aware that, as far as we know, we have not appropriated this feature from another blog without their permission.

**How obvious is it from the above disclaimer that Sam just graduated law school? Too obvious. How many times has Sam mentioned that she's graduated now? Too many.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame as Pieces of Art

In which Sam starts out serious then slowly descends into goofing off, but can you blame her?  She just finished law school!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we'll let the covers do the talking today!  One caveat: this is a JUDGMENT-FREE ZONE.  I promise not to judge you, if you promise not to judge me :-)

As always, thanks to The Broke and Bookish for this fabulous feature!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review of Jolie Kerr’s My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag . . . And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha

I will admit that I’ve been addicted to Jolie Kerr’s column “Ask A Clean Person” for quite a while now.  Even as my apartment slowly descended into something resembling a health code violation, I took solace and joy in reading her straightforward, sunny replies to some truly heinous cleaning questions.

Every person who wrote in sounded like the owner of this room
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...