Category Archives: 2 stars

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

I cannot count on my fingers and toes how many times I wanted to throw this book across the room. Or better yet, slam it down on the floor. (get it? “slam”?)

I kid. I didn’t have such an intense reaction to Slammed. I barely had any reaction at all; I sat through the book like one sits through a cheesy, melodramatic romance movie. Bored and waiting for the next feature, or in this case, the next typo…

Slammed had such a fascinating premise. My favorite part of the book was Hoover’s inclusion of slam poetry, because I had only heard about it a couple of times before reading the book. Hoover incorporated love at first sight, forbidden romance, death, tragedy, and a multitude of other themes/motifs in the story. It should’ve been fantastic.

But it wasn’t. Continue reading

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As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

When I first heard of As I Lay Dying, I imagined a grand romance with star-crossed lovers fighting to stay together until the very end. I imagined a more mature Juliet calling out to Romeo to rescue her from her imminent doom, and I imagined a bittersweet ending bathed in pathos and poignancy. I expected an epic story featuring several deep themes: love, loss, heartbreak.

Well, now I know not to judge a book by its title.

As I Lay Dying is actually about the Bundren family, a messy group of uncouth Southerners who embark on a journey to Jefferson to bury their wife and mother, Addie. On the way they encounter difficulties ranging from storms to broken body parts, and their ambitions are tested accordingly.

I could justify any star rating for this book, but I based my two-star rating on how much I personally enjoyed it. Continue reading

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Struck By Lightning by Chris Colfer

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer details Carson Phillips’ struggle to gain admission to the school of his dreams: Northwestern University. He absolutely abhors everyone in his small, narrow-minded town – everyone aside from his ailing grandmother and depressed mom. When he realizes that he needs to create a literary journal to bolster his chances of acceptance, he blackmails various people from myriad social groups to write for him.

I empathized with Carson. Trust me, I did. I don’t live in the most conservative, small-minded town ever, but my area is far from New York City or Los Angeles. My yearning for college stems from my need to experience a different setting. In that respect I connected to Carson; his development in the ending spoke to me as well.

However, overall, I detested Carson. Lately I’ve read books with unlikable characters who are unlikable for no reason – like Carson, they’re not fleshed out or written well. Continue reading

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A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

If I had read and rated this book two stars a year ago, perhaps I would have felt guilty. But that phase of my life is over. Though I am still somewhat scared that all of my future English professors will peer into my mind, feel my distaste for A Farewell to Arms, and proceed to punch me in the face.

There are a lot of great literary things going on here, and I can see why Hemingway in general is so well-received. Despite his imperfect personal life, his writing conveyed great beauty at times. This book delves into the brutality of battle and war, the torrid tale of two star-crossed lovers, and a multitude of other motifs and themes. If my ratings were based solely on literary merit this book would be much better off.

But, this is a book I wanted to feel. Continue reading

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Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

When I finished reading this book in my AP Literature class, I literally cheered, clapped, and high-fived my friends sitting next to me. The cycle of complete despair had been broken! My soul could now sing a song of optimism and joy!

Before I read this book, I still had a sliver of doubt in my mind. The doubt that I should include a myriad more classics to my reading list, that my brain would rot and rupture under the strain of contemporary fiction.

No. Just, no. Continue reading

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The Story of Us by Deb Caletti

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

I must make a comparison to Sarah Dessen. Sarah Dessen’s books deal with teenaged girls finding their way in the world while fixing some flaw or issue in their lives. Her books are consistently great – so consistently great that some say they are formulaic. I, for one, love Sarah Dessen. Maybe it’s the romance maniac in me, or maybe I just love how she always amazes me with her writing. She’s like that annoying kid in your AP English class who always picks up on the simile or metaphor before you do, and always recognizes the right answer.

Deb Caletti’s books also deal with teenage girls finding their way in the world while fixing flaws and overcoming issues. This is where the similarities between Caletti and Dessen end. Continue reading

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Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Rating: 2/5 stars.

“You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.”

Well, that’s depressing.

I actually thought that while reading most of the novel. Either something along the lines of “well, that’s depressing” or “oh my gosh, so much violence.” There is definitely a reason the book is titled Fight Club.

And the book should be depressing, as it deals with heavy and unpleasant topics such as excessive materialism, lack of individualism, and deindividuation. Continue reading

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Crossed by Ally Condie

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

With Crossed, Ally Condie committed the crime of writing a slow-paced, conflict-lacking middle book in a series. I recall enjoying Matched to an extent, but reading Crossed caused me to question my prior positive feelings for Matched.

Condie can write. There were some beautiful phrases and sentences in Crossed. However, for the most part Condie’s prose lacked any power or punch – her writing was void of emotion. I noticed it in the first book, but attributed it to Cassia’s sheltered lifestyle within the Society. Now, I realize that Condie could not include a strong voice for either of her characters – in fact, I had a difficult time differentiating between Ky and Cassia. Continue reading

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Fading Into Magic by Vone Savan

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

Thanks to Mr. Savan for providing me with a signed ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really wanted to like Fading Into Magic. I was looking forward to seeing the theme of fate explored, as well as the concept of fantasy fleshed out. However, my expectations were not met.

The writing in this book was simple – there was too much telling and not enough showing. The main character, Madeline, often described how she was feeling but not in a believable way. Sort of like if I were to have a horrible day and only say “this day made me sad. I felt angry because of my math test. When my boyfriend kissed me, I felt disappointed.” The prose felt lifeless and did not pull me into the story or into the characters.

I couldn’t connect to any of the characters either. I hate to admit how cheesy the romance was – after two dates Maddy and Stefan are already confessing their true love for one another – and how static the background characters were. Sure, Dara had a little spark, but the depth of her relationship with Maddy was never developed beyond just being best friends since Elementary school.

The story reeked of Twilight similarities. Some hot guy comes to the shy and innocent girl’s school, they hook up, guy actually has a dark and terrifying secret, the girl accepts it, then there’s one final showdown with the bad guys of the book.  There wasn’t much conflict in the book and when there was it was resolved too effortlessly. Also, the magic didn’t amaze me like I assumed it would – simply saying spells and having their effects simply acted out didn’t appeal to me.

Overall I would recommend this book to a younger audience, probably those from the ages 10-12. Perhaps with a better editor this story could have earned another star, but I am honestly glad to move on to another book.

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Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

Yesterday I ordered an orange mango smoothie from Starbucks. I expected to enjoy it – after all, I like oranges, mangoes, and smoothies. Yet when I tried the drink in its entirety I almost spit. That’s sort of like what happened with Forgotten, minus the spit.

Forgotten possessed a plethora of potential. It’s realistic fiction with a paranormal touch, including a love interest and a mystery. The book had so much promise, but failed to deliver any punch.

Cat Patrick’s prose is good. Too good, in a way. It reminded me of a one-note song that takes a minute to learn on the piano – simple and effortless, but lacking depth and variety. After reading the first chapter I felt like I was reading recycled copies of the same writing over and over.

I had the same issue with the characters. Don’t get me wrong, I like ordinary protagonists. But to me, there’s a clear difference between ordinary and plain boring. London landed on the latter. And while the romance between London and Luke was cute, it was also monotonous: okay London, I get it, he’s attractive. What about his personality? Does he have a personality?

The plot. Egad, the plot. There were so many holes and inconsistencies that by the end of the book I wanted to scream. The worst part is that Cat Patrick could have made Forgotten amazing – like I said earlier, this book and the idea of London’s somewhat amnesia had gargantuan potential. Patrick just didn’t do anything with it.

I suppose the ending could qualify as a “shocker”, but I was too glad the book was over to care. It’s a good thing that this book is a fast and easy read, otherwise, I don’t know if I would have finished it.

If you’ve been following me or reading my reviews for some time you probably know that it’s not often I write a negative review. It’s not something I like doing, but I have to be honest – Forgotten is a forgettable read, and a book I’ll be glad to have out of my memory. Sorry.

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