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Wordless Wednesday – Views of Marseille

Posted by on July 29, 2015 2:24 am in My work | 1 comment

marseille 14

marseille 13

I loved the port of Marseille; such a great view of the city! <3

Marseille, France,  August 2013.

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here!

Filling the Shelf – 174

Posted by on July 27, 2015 3:12 am in Book talk | 7 comments

Filling the Shelf – 174

Filling the Shelf simply is Mailbox Monday, but with a title that suits my blog! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Happy Monday everyone!

July is flying by so fast! I’m still on my YA contemporary fiction personal challenge, and it’s going great so far – though I’m a bit disappointed I won’t get to read all of them before the end of the month. The list is infinite!

And because there’s never too many books on my shelves, I added 3 more this week, and an audio one. So exicted about Ana of California: I’m a huge Anne of Green Gables fan, so having a retelling of sorts sounds extremely exciting to me!

fillingshelf174a

Ana of California by Andi Teran – Sophomore Year is Greek To Me by Meredith Zeitlin

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Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout – Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer

What books did you recently add to your shelves?

 

Audio Reviews : The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West & Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Posted by on July 26, 2015 3:03 am in 2.5 stars reads, 3.5 stars reads | 2 comments

An audiobook narrator can easily make or break a story, and in the case of these two audiobooks this is exactly what I experienced, though in different ways. One narrator made an okay story pure pleasure, while the other almost had me quitting the book.

* * *

the fill in boyfriend

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Narrated by : Shannon McManus
Pages/Time : 352/6h37
Genre : YA, Romance
Stand alone
My Rating : 3.5/5

About the Book  :

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about..

My Thoughts :

The Fill-In Boyfriend features one of the most shallow, self-centered characters I’ve read about in the past year, and I say this with a lot of love.

This was my third time reading Kasie West, and again, it was a pleasure. This is also one of these times where I am really glad I chose to listen to it rather then read it: the story is shallow and very predictable, and despite (or because of, maybe?) its fluffiness I think I would have skimmed through parts of it. Fortunately, Shannon McManus did a fantastic job of brining Gia to life. She was lively and heartfelt without being too theatrical, and she made Gia feel real and even, somewhat likable! Because of her, The Fill-In Boyfriend turned out to be quite an entertaining listen! A perfect summer story, especially on audio!

* * *

vanishing girlsVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Narrated by : Saskia Maarleveld, Elizabeth Evans,Dan Bittner, Justis Bolding, Tavia Gilbert, Joel Richards
Pages/Time : 357/9h40
Genre : YA, Mystery
Stand alone
My Rating : 2.5/5

About the Book  :

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around.

But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

My Thoughts :

I have such a weird relationship with Lauren Oliver’s writing. I always want to read her books and whenever I do, I really enjoy her writing; and yet, as it happened in Panic, I failed to fully connect to this story. The characters were well-rounded and the dynamics between them interesting, but I was disappointed with the predictable twist, and how forced it was into the story. I felt like the author was trying to cheaply trick me, which irritated me. I almost wished the twist was revealed in the beginning, so that we could freely observe how it affected the characters’ lives, which is where Lauren Oliver really shined in her writing.

On top of that, I found the story to be extremely slow; but that was, I believe, mostly due to the narrators, who spoke very slowly as if bored by their own story. It’s hard to stick with it when the narrators give you no reason to, and I ended up doing what I almost never do: upping the speed of the audiobook to get through it faster. It’s surprising to me, because I find myself much more patient on audio than on paper.

Because I’m an optimist reader who likes giving second (and third and fourth) chances, I still have that tiny hope in my heart that I’ll one day get to read another Lauren Oliver book that will capture my heart like Before I Fall did, but I was disappointed I couldn’t like this one more.

Review : Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Posted by on July 24, 2015 2:46 am in 4.5 stars reads | 2 comments

me and earl and the dying girlMe and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Pages : 295
Genre : YA
Stand alone
My Rating : 4.5/5

About the Book  :

It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.

This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.

My Thoughts :

It’s almost impossible to review Me and Early and the Dying Girl without mentioning that other book with a dying girl. You know the one. And yet, Jesse Andrews’ cancer story could not be more different from John Green’s heartbreaking tale.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is hilarious. I seriously can’t remember the last time I laughed this much while reading a book – and at the sillest things, too! I haven’t been a teenager in a long, long time, and yet I was completely entertained. My brain might have shrunk a size or two in the process, but hey, it was definitely worth it!

The book was so refreshing in so many ways : the humor, the male point of view, the lack of romance or other weepy occurences, the complete self-centeredness of the main character (which could be extremely annoying and unpleasant to some readers, I’m sure; but I was fully amused by the trainwreck that he was!) I loved that secondary character Earl was much more of a traditional, likable protagonist, and yet we were stuck following Greg around. His awkwardness was uncomfortably real, to my greatest pleasure.

And Rachel, a.k.a. the Dying Girl, is quite unremarkable. That too, was a surprising yet refreshing touch. Depressing, maybe. But as said before, this book couldn’t be farther away from The Fault in Our Stars. It won’t give you hope and butterflies, far from it; but if Greg’s sarcasm and faulty character work for you, then you’ll be in for an amazing wild ride!

It’s clear that I loved this book. Maybe as much as The Fault in Our Stars - just in a different way. And I love that, too; how two authors can take a subject, and twist it into two completely different tales. Tragedy or Comedy. Both absolutely brilliant.

Now, I cross my fingers that the film won’t let me down!