May BOTM Review

This month, I chose The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich as my Book of the Month book. I picked this book because the premise sounded interesting. A secret spy organization breeds love interests to stand beside famous and important people throughout history to collect and sell their secrets. I thought this book had the potential to be a great novel. There was a promise of a satirical aspect of love triangles, sci-fi action, and a bad ass female character. However, this book was a disappointment.

First, the main character, Caden, was not well-developed. Caden struggles between wanting to be the perfect Nice love interest and showing his true personality. Instead of a dichotomy, it feels sloppy. Caden has small outbursts where is true personality shines through. But it just feels like Caden is a whiney kid. I understand most of the characters in this book are teenagers, but few teenage boys I know actually whine. All of Caden’s relationships also feel forced. Caden is slowly developing feelings for his rival, Dyl, and doesn’t quite know how to process it. Just it just comes across forced. Same for his relationship with Juliet. There’s no underlying friendship. Caden is forcing himself to like Juliet or appear to like Juliet.

Second, Dyl is also hard to believe. Dyl and Caden are fighting for their lives to have Juliet choose one of them. Dyl is a Bad who has all of these action scenes, but they’re brief and frankly just made me roll my eyes at how stereotypical “bad boy” each set piece was. Borrowing from Twilight and having Dyl save Juliet from a truck. Dyl stepping in when Juliet gets “mugged.” Just his entire rugged bad-boy persona physically pains me. Then there’s how Dyl feels towards Caden. It goes back and forth about having feelings and just being “bros.” It is a little obnoxious. Dyl is too over the top and is forced to play someone a little too sexy for high school.

Third, the first two-thirds of the book are painful to read. I kept wanting to walk away from this book. It’s boring. It’s a cliché. Many lines were stolen from other big romantic moments. Like a blue horn from How I Met Your Mother. In fact, I’m fairly certain Dyl’s profession of love to Juliet was exactly what Ted Mosby told some of his girlfriends. The book was slow. No Hunger Games-like action as promised. I often found myself skimming large paragraphs nd even pages because Caden’s internal monologue and descriptions brought nothing to his character or often time the plat. The last third of the book is where we finally see some action. Juliet’s inventions are pretty cool, but again are borrowed from other sci-fi fandoms. Such as Black Widow’s body suit and an electrocution glove. The book does pick up pace and becomes somewhat easier to read, but I still don’t walk away from this book feeling impressed.

Finally, Juliet’s best friend Natalie is also being too forceful. I don’t think that Nat had to be a Love Interest also in order to drive the story forward. I suppose it truly does show how integrated Love Interests are into society. But I don’t like it. Maybe it’s just a personal preference, but I don’t need to see three “spies” from the same organization in order to drive a point home.

I also walk away from this book with a few questions. Mainly, I’m confused about the ending. How did a small group of teenagers take down a giant spy organization? I know some of the events are plainly explained, but I don’t believe it. I’m also confused about the mistrust thing about Caden not being sure who he can trust to breakout everyone else. What’s he so mistrusting about? He thinks he’s a great liar, he’s not, but he thinks he is. So, does he just assume everyone else is too? It would make sense, the spy organization breeds liars. And a year later, everything is fine? There were no repercussions about destroying an organization that it its claws in all aspects of society? I don’t believe this.

Overall, I was not impressed with this book. I didn’t like the writing style. It seemed too informal and a little immature at times. I also think that this book was hyped up. You’re supposed to wonder what’s fake and what’s real in this book. I can save you from wondering. It’s all fake. The LIC has its claws everywhere. This is the first book that I’ve chosen from BOTM that has let me down. Better luck in June!

 

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May Books

The end of the month means it’s time for monthly reviews. Below are the books I have finished this month as well as my general thought and feelings. There are many spoilers, so be forewarned before reading!

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough 

Everyone I know who read this book raved about it like it was the best book they have ever read. Because of this, I had high expectations. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t enjoy this book as much. It was predictable, slow-paced, and it took so much energy to finish.

The main characters, Louise and Adele are not believable. Louise becomes obsessed with Adele as she gets closer to and continues her affair with David. I don’t see how Louise can maintain a relationship with David’s wife. Especially as the details of David and Adele’s relationship unfolds. I also do not like how little we know about Adele’s past throughout most of the beginning of the book. Perhaps its personal preference, but not knowing what characters are talking about it annoying and not suspense. I understand that unraveling Adele and David is part of the draw to finishing this book. Instead, for me, it became a chore to read.

I can say that the last chapter of the novel is not how I thought the book would end, but it’s not “shocking.” If you can hold out reading the rest of the novel just to say “wow, that’s different” in the last chapter, then have at it. But I can’t recommend this as a must read.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This book was cute. It’s a story about first loves and family hardships. If you’ve ever been an awkward teenager, then you can relate to this book on some level.

As Rowell’s debut young adult novel, she nailed it. She picked up on teen angst, the self-image problems many teens face, and what a first teen relationship is like. Eleanor and Park are both awkward, but they’re not entirely misfits. They’re teenagers who don’t quite fit in. That’s exactly how I felt as a teenager.

The bullying that Eleanor went through is not stereotypical. Instead, it’s precisely the type of bullying that I have seen or hears many teenagers go through. This pulled on my heart a little and made me love Eleanor a little more. It is important to feel a connection to characters. Being 25, it’s hard to get into teen books because I feel old and weird connecting to teenagers. I looked at this novel as a reflection of how I went through high school.

Park and Eleanor fall in love with each other over the course of sitting next to each other on the bus. It starts with comic books and music. Then escalates to spending time together and blossoming into a new and awkward relationship for both of them. Park is dorky guy that gets frustrated with the way Eleanor is treated, both at home and at school. He even goes on to get in a fight with one of his childhood best friends to defend Eleanor’s honor.

This novel goes beyond typical teenage love. There’s a back story of abuse and a sensitive home front for Eleanor. Her step father, Richie is abusive. We don’t understand just how far his abuse goes until the end of the book. But, we are given moments of Eleanor and her siblings terrified of Richie’s screaming, Eleanor planning her days around not being in her step father’s way, and how Richie treats Eleanor’s mom. This abuse ultimately shapes the end of the book and drives Eleanor away from her immediate family for fear of her and Park’s safety. This novel is important in that aspect because these are not things that teenagers are equipped to face.

I look forward to reading more of Rowell’s work and certainly recommend Eleanor & Park as a must read for all teens.

After You by Jojo Moyes

After You suffers from the sequel syndrome-nowhere near as good as its predecessor. Admittingly, this book took me a little over two months to finish. I kept setting it down and forgetting about it. I hate when books are forgettable. But I was not drawn to After you the way I was with Me Before You. Me Before You kept me interested throughout the entire story. This sequel did not do the same.

I thought this book was slow. It is a good take on grief and how we can learn to move on without forgetting about the ones who touched our lives. Lou’s moving on circle moments were some of my favorite because of it. However, Lou finding out that Will had a secret daughter and taking on the responsibility of her seems like a bit of a stretch. I can see how it was within Lou’s caring nature and need to feel parts of Will again. But I don’t see how the book was primarily centered around this basis.

I also had a huge problem with Lou’s mother and her drive to become more independent. I feel like the feminist classes and things her mother advocated for were stereotypical in a way that highlights all of the negative connotations of feminism. From refusing to shave her legs to how her husband pitched a fit over a store-bought cake. It all felt like too much. This honestly did not add anything to the storyline.

If you’re curious as to what happens to Lou and everyone in her life after Will and have a lot of time to devote to reading through chapters of boring material, then this is a good book for you. However, if you were content with how Me Before You ended and don’t want to suffer, then skip this sequel.

A Court of Thorns and Roses By Sarah J. Maas

I LOVE Sarah J Maas’ writing style. I feel in love with her Throne of Glass Series. I’ve owned A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) and its sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury for almost a year. I figured when I preordered A Court of Wings and Ruin and still had not begun the series, it was time to start. I know this is supposed to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, so my expectations were high. I decided to detach any perceived notions I had and began reading.

I’ll admit that the beginning of the book was slow. Many times I wondered why so much detail was added and I just felt confused. However, everything came together nicely by the end of the novel. Details and conversations that I had dismissed early on became important. I had realizations as Feyre was having them.

The world that Maas creates is as magical as it is deadly. I love that all fearies are not fantasized. That Feyre is warned about the dangers of Prythian and can still be captivated by all of the beautiful things in the Spring Court.

The love story of Feyre and Tamlin can seem slow. Many of the faeries in the Spring Court cannot be forthcoming with Feyre and by default, the reader. But this also works to captivate and draw us in. We get to see Feyre slowly let her guard down after ensuring that her family is safe and her past promises were kept. I don’t think this is too much like Beauty and the Beast. First, we’re introduced into a new world separate from the mortal realm. Second, while a curse is the cause of the troubles in the Courts, it’s not a selfish love on Tamlin’s part. Finally, the “beauty,” Feyre has self-sacrifice in a way Belle never has to face.

The only minor issue I have with this book is that Feyre is supposed to be an illiterate human being and yet uses complex words. While simultaneously not knowing how to pronounce words like “position,” “queue,” and “unusual.” This doesn’t bother me enough to dwell on it for too long. I just thought it was odd.

Overall, I loved this novel. I’m excited to see where the series goes and what else Feyre gets into. If you love fantasy and being immersed in a different world through literature, this series is a great place to start. So far, I like this better than the novels I have read in Maas’ Throne of Glass series. ACOTAR was also my favorite book of the May. I cannot recommend Maas’ work enough.

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