About baw29640

Wri•ter \ˈrī-tər\: Neurotic librarian, lives in dream world, mutters to self, addicted to caffeine, edits compulsively, kills people for entertainment.

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

Iron Gold (Red Rising, #4)Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s nothing quite so painful as desperately awaiting the arrival of a preordered book, only to read it and find you’re not really enjoying it and can’t wait for it to end.

There’s a lot I could say about why this story was a complete disconnect for me, but I may actually be too sad and disappointed to say any of it.

Luckily, every single other person who read this seems to have absolutely loved it, so you should probably just disregard my opinion in this instance.

There was one new character that I adored and was fascinated by. However, I will confess that despite the tedious storyline, with multiple parts, some of which go nowhere as slowly as possible, the most upsetting thing for me was that this story made me dislike and lose interest in a character that used to be a favorite.

Ugh. I feel a book depression coming on. Send chocolate. Or tequila. Or a book that doesn’t feel like a chore to get through. *cries a million pretty tears of despair*

Really unpopular opinion time: this actually deserves 2 stars from me, but I just can’t do it. I still love the world, and it hurts too much to give it less than 3 stars. At this point, I figure I’ve suffered enough, just by having read the whole thing, so 3 stars it is.

Book 54 read in 2018

Pages: 600

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As soon as I rolled “Drama or Tragedy” for the book board game I’m playing, I knew I was going to pick up this treasure. I haven’t read Wuthering Heights since high school, so I forgot how AMAZING it is.

It’s vengeful, and full of self-absorbed, spiteful, difficult, narcissistic, and extremely flawed characters, which is so much fun. There’s tons of drama, and just when you think you can’t stand another second of someone, they up and die. It’s rather convenient, because well over 6 characters bite it in this story (I’m sure it’s far more, but I can think of 6 main ones off the top of my head), to my sheer and utter delight almost each time. I don’t know how many times I thought–Oh, thank goodness, s/he’s finally dead!

The setting is dreary. The tone is brooding. The characters are immature, petulant, and fake illnesses and mental illnesses to the point of actually making themselves ill. Either that, or they truly are ill, but I have no sympathy for them, considering how they handle themselves. It’s interesting no matter what way you think about it. Everyone seems to have a surprisingly weak constitution, and some of them seem to die out of sheer spite or unhappiness, or perhaps just because Emily Bronte got tired of them and decided to kill them off in the heat of the moment (And I don’t blame her–you go girl!).

This is quite possibly the most wild, self-indulgent, over-the-top, passionate, melodramatic, intensely dark piece of literature ever written, and I absolutely adore it. It’s clear that Emily Bronte had one hell of a fun time writing it, and she didn’t hold back one bit of malice, ugliness, or immaturity in creating these characters, which makes it so wickedly frustrating and satisfying.

Many of them relentlessly carry their misguided perceptions straight to the grave, which I also have to applaud, because in this day of “each character should change and grow” types of literature, it’s almost refreshing to see characters that adamantly refuse to change or be changed by life, no matter how dreadfully they screw things up or how much they hurt others. They take so much conviction into seeing things through to the bitter end, even if it leaves them unhappy, that I can’t help but admire that extreme level of commitment. These characters aren’t learning any lessons, or making any positive changes, but that’s almost a stronger message to the reader.

Under the circumstances, that makes this a love/hate book, and I find that people tend to land firmly on one side or the other. Even my whole family is in a divide over which of us hate and love this book, and none of us can understand the seemingly very wrong viewpoints of the opposite side, which is something I think Emily Bronte would have really appreciated.

Book 52 read in 2018

Pages: 464

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180 Seconds by Jessica Park

180 Seconds180 Seconds by Jessica Park
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was so compelling that I couldn’t put it down. Park is killing it in the NA realm, and I can’t believe I didn’t read this book sooner after loving Flat Out Love (I confess, I just realized this is the same author—so oops. I should have grabbed more of her work sooner). I suspect I’ll go try to get my hands on everything else she’s written now, in case it’s as equally fabulous as the 4 novels I’ve now read by her.

Not only is the basic concept intriguing (2 people stare at each other in silence for 180 seconds with unexpected results), but this story has so much depth, with such flawed but truly lovable characters. It moves in unexpected ways and feels fresh from other stories that I’ve read that are actually somewhat similar.

I have to confess that I get anxious around Indie novels, because I’ve had far more bad experiences than good ones. However, I think that’s partly on me and my apparently poor ability to choose fantastic reads like this. Instead of being scared, or avoiding them out of fear they will be terrible, I should do my homework better to find indie novels that are going to be a good fit for me, because there’s so much to miss when I overlook gems like this.

That being said, I’m taking suggestions below for people’s favorite indie novels of all time. Just don’t rec your own book, your best friend’s book, or a family member’s book. I get way too much of that on social media and am tired of advertising. No advertising/promotion here. I just want to hear honest comments about the Indie novels that you love to pieces and couldn’t live without. If I see something that resonates with me, I’ll be sure to add it to my list.

Book 50 read in 2018

Pages: 300

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A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa

A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North KoreaA River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the true story of Masaji Ishikawa, born in Japan to a Japanese mom, and an abusive Korean father, who was lured by false promises of a utopian society to move his family from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was only 13 years old. The family became part of the lowest social caste, and all of them suffered immensely under the brutal totalitarian regime.

I’ve read some tough stories about people with very difficult lives, but the abject poverty experienced by Ishikawa completely unsettled me.

I’m shocked and horrified by the ways in which North Koreans were (and probably still are) forced to suffer. The constant indoctrination didn’t surprise me, but the sheer stupidity and cruelty behind running an entire country and people into the ground was infuriating. It’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around how an entire nation of people can be abused and kept down in such a way. They’re so far down, they don’t ever even consider rising up, probably because any attempt to fight back against the system only leads to more sorrow and loss.

If you had asked me to point fingers at which countries are the most guilty of crimes against their own people, North Korea probably wouldn’t have made my top 5 list before reading this book. I mean, on some level, I knew things weren’t great in North Korea, but I had no idea how bad it really was.

My only minor complaint is that I wanted more. More depth, more explanations, more emotions, more stories, and even more information on aspects of Ishikawa’s daily life (and especially into his different relationships). I suspect some of what I really wanted to know was left out of this story or glossed over just due to sheer cultural differences. I’m sure it would have been deemed inappropriate for him to speak more in depth about either of his wives, and specifics of his relationships with them, but I definitely wanted to know more about all of that.

This is not a story of hope, so what’s beautiful about it is the honest way in which the story is told.

Book 51 read in 2018

Pages: 172

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