Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Just Didn’t Click With

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is: Ten Characters I Just Didn’t Click With.

Taken

1) Shannon from Taken by Dee Henderson. I just found everything about her so completely off-putting that I ended up DNF-ing the book.

The Murderer's Daughter

2) Grace from The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t really care about her. I think she often did things contradictory to her character development and I just didn’t really care enough about her to ever get really invested in this story.

Luckiest Girl Alive

3) Ani from Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. She was just all around unlikable.

The Dare (The Bet, #3)

4) Grandma Nadine from The Dare by Rachel Van Dyken. One of those characters that just drove me crazy every single time she was in a scene.

The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreak Chronicles)

5) Stella from The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak. I thought she was such a brat and she drove me crazy.

Emmy & Oliver

6) Emmy from Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway. She was kind of a brat sometimes, but she had less brat-like moments, too. Overall, I just never really connected with her character.

The Wrong Side of Right

7) Kate from The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne. She got a little better as the book went on, but for the first half of the book she just drove me crazy.

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

8) Willem from Just One Day by Gayle Foreman. I have zero patience for his gypsy lifestyle.

I guess I’m just going with a top 8 for now. I’m sure I’ll realize ones I forgot after I read some other lists. What characters didn’t you click with? Were you un-clickable with any of my choices?

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Review: What If by Rebecca Donovan

What If

Synopsis from Good Reads:

A new novel by the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Breathing Series . . .

What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?

Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.

Except this girl isn’t Nicole.

She looks exactly like Cal’s shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated-and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she’s hiding, the less he wants to know.

When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

This book was so not for me. I found the characters super annoying and the plot very predictable.

First off, I’m going to try very hard not to say any spoilers because there is a specific note from the author where she asks not to reveal spoilers and ruin the story for other readers. She also suggests a re-read now that I know the ending and can connect all the dots. Which is a nice idea, but this isn’t exactly The Sixth Sense, you know? I don’t mean that the ending is like The Sixth Sense, but I remember watching that movie in high school and being shocked by the ending and having to watch it again to see all the scenes that I thought was one thing but turned out to be something different. In What If I got all the clues the first time. I saw the truth coming from far, far away.

Ok, so what can I say that’s non-spoilery? The book is told mainly through Cal’s 1st person POV, with each chapter ending in flashbacks from the point of view of Richelle or Nicole, his childhood friends that he’s since lost touch with. Cal is a nice enough guy, but he’s kind of wishy-washy, an idiot with girls, a little obsessive, and a little cowardly. He runs into this girl that looks almost exactly like his old friend Nicole, but her name is Nyelle and she doesn’t act like she recognizes him. They slowly become friends. She’s flakey and free-spirited, and maybe a little (or a lot) crazy.

The first thing that annoyed me in this book was that the first time  Cal talked to Nyelle he didn’t say something like, “Hey, you look so much like someone I used to know!” That would be natural. That’s what anyone would say. And over the course of the next couple hundred pages, he still never brings it up. His best friend from back home, Rae, comes to visit and she agrees this girl looks like Nicole, but she won’t bring it up either. They both suspect it to be the same girl, but don’t pursue it for the longest time. It was just pages and pages and pages of everyone avoiding the issue and Cal going along with whatever annoying, crazy thing Nyelle wants to do. And it just annoyed me to no end.

What did work for me was the alternating timeline. It’s done really well here, but maybe a little too well. I really wanted to read more of the flashback scenes instead of the present scenes. And maybe a little too much was revealed too early in the flashbacks because it was pretty easy to figure things out really early in the story.

Overall, this story just wasn’t for me. I found the characters annoying and the plot to reveal itself much too slowly. The characters kind of reminded me of the couple from Just One Day  that I really didn’t like, but a lot of other people did, so if you liked Just One Day, you may really like What If. I’m in the minority opinion about that book, so I might be in the minority opinion of this book, too! I was going to rate it lower, but I’m going to give What If two stars, just because I like the alternating timeline.

Overall Rating (out of 5)

2 stars

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Disappointing Reads of 2014

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is a Freebie! I’ve decided to go with my Top Ten Most Disappointing Reads of 2014. Click on the links for my review (if applicable) or the Good Reads page.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. It seems like everyone in the blogosphere is obsessed with this series. I just don’t get it. I gave this book 1 star.

Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent, #0.1 - 0.4)

2. Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth. I was hoping that this book would in some small way make up for Allegiant. Or make me fall for Four again. It did not.

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

3. Just One Day by Gayle Foreman. Yet another book the blogosphere loves that I did not. I just don’t get it, guys.

The Dancing Master

4. The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen. I really enjoy Klassen’s novels, but this one was pretty bad. Especially the parts where she actually plagiarizes herself from another book!

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes

5. All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant. This book had so much potential, but just didn’t live up to it. I really wish it would’ve focused more on the reality show plotline.

Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1)

6. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. While it started out interesting enough, it had super unlikable characters and became very confusing.

We Were Liars

7. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I think this book suffered from too much hype. It had a good twist, but it did not make up for the rest of the book.

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)

8. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. Don’t get me wrong, this book was cute! But it was definitely my least favorite book of the series.

The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)

9. The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris. I love the fake relationship trope and had been looking forward to this book for a long time and it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

The Archived (The Archived, #1)

10. The Archived by Victoria Schwab. Yet another beloved book in the blogosphere that just didn’t do it for me. I found it way too slow and pretty boring until the end.

What Top Ten Tuesday topic did you choose? What are some of your most disappointing reads of 2014?

Review: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Foreman

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

I just don’t get it. Why is everyone so in love with this book? I will say that Foreman is a good writer. I had no problem with her prose.  Or even the general storyline. It was just where it went. So for those that haven’t read it and plan on it, I will say this was just ok for me and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. However, a lot of people really love it, so if you’re a big fan of YA Contemporary you may enjoy it.

***BEWARE OF RAMBLY SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON***

So Allyson is a high school graduate who has moped her way through a Trip of a Lifetime in Europe. While this is a little annoying, I get it. I can personally attest that having a Trip of Lifetime thrown at you when you are not in the right head space for it does not end well. But just before the trip ends, Allyson has a personality switch and decides to skip the last event to see some artsy guy in an artsy Shakespeare production. She takes the personality change even further when she leaves her best friend and goes with artsy guy, Willem, to Paris for a day.

This ONE DAY is supposed to be magical and romantic and change Allyson’s whole life. I just don’t get it. I don’t get why she likes Willem. Sure, he’s cute and foreign and charming, but it’s all in a narcissistic way. And I have no tolerance for his gypsy lifestyle.  They have a couple of moments where she “sees the real Willem” by his vague comments or a certain look in his expressive eyes, but she doesn’t really know him – or his last name, or his phone number, or his e-mail address. Their day together isn’t even that great, but Allyson romanticizes the fact that they avoid touristy things like the Lourve and the Eiffel Tower. When they break into a building to spend the night and she wakes up after having sex to find him gone, she freaks out. She ends up contacting her trip advisor who pays for her to reconnect with her best friend and extols these words of wisdom to Allyson after finding out he still has her super expensive watch:

“They’ll do that, sometimes. Take things as a sort of trophy. Like serial killers.”

So Allyson goes home and is so depressed (she thinks it’s because of being in love with Willem, I think it’s a cautionary tale of why you should wait to have some emotional maturity before having sex) and bombs her first semester of college. She finally decides to give herself a new start – by taking a class about Shakespeare. She finally makes a friend and he convinces her to look for Willem just so she can find out what happened. What if he didn’t really leave her?

So then some boring things happen where she fights with her parents and gets a job and she goes back to Paris to look for him. She meets up with some more gypsies who help her search. And by this time I’m hoping that she DOESN’T find him. I’m thinking, what a wonderful book this could be if she doesn’t find him. She finally stopped being mopey and stood up to her parents and made some friends and is feeling comfortable with herself for the first time in her life and wouldn’t it be wonderful to just end it right there? She met a boy, had an odd day with him that she eventually used as a springboard to become the person she was always supposed to be.

But, instead, after some amazing coincidences (or Accidents or Fate) she finds Willem in another country. He’s performing Shakespeare. And he has a girlfriend. Or just another girl. And she decides the door has closed and SHE’S FINE WITH IT. She doesn’t approach him and is in fact planning on leaving again. Then she realizes that since her day with him she’s grown so much and she just needs to be brave enough to tell him all about it. So she goes back after him. She introduces herself (because, yes, this guy she’s in love with never bothered to ask her real name) and he’s surprised.

The end.

What? So has he been looking for her? Does he think she’s a crazy stalker? Are they now in love forever? Does he start following her on Twitter? I feel like I must read the next book now. But I don’t want to.

And am I the only one that really hopes their relationship ends in nothing more than friendship? I would find it so much more satisfying for Allyson to just grow into herself and not for a guy.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 2
Characters: 1.5 (Allyson is well developed, no one else is even close)
Readability: 3
Enjoyability: 1.5
Overall Average:  2 Stars

Monday’s Minutes

Monday’s Minutes is my weekly post where I share what I’m reading and what I’m reading next.

WHAT I’M READING

Omens (Cainsville, #1)

Omens (Cainsville #1) by Kelley Armstrong. This book has been on my TBR list forever and finally became available at the library. I’m not quite half way through yet, but I’m a little disappointed so far. After a promising beginning, the pace has slowed way down and it’s just kind of weird and confusing instead of mysterious. I thought about putting this down, but I’ve waiting so long to read it and am far enough into it that I want to see it through.

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Foreman. Everybody loves this series. I was about four or five chapters in when Omens became available and this one hadn’t done anything to interest me so far, so I made the switch. However, I’m planning on trying this again for a few chapters to give me a little break from Omens.

WHAT I’M READING NEXT

Boy, Snow, Bird    Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi and Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige just came off the hold list from the library, so I think I’ll be going with one of them.