Monday, September 14, 2015

“A Popular Author’s First Book” 2015 Challenge; THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky

Alright ladies and gentleman… It’s time to find a book that will make me cry.  I used one of those trusty internet lists that gave a number of books guaranteed to do this.  I had seen the movie previews for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and it looked kind of cute, so when this book was on the list, I gave a shrug and said, “Why not?”  That is how this book became my, “A Book That Made Me Cry”. 
Hold the phone!! That’s not right…  As much as I would have liked this book to have made me cry, sadly it did NOT.  I was completely dismayed once I finished the book.  What was I going to do with it now?  I started reading about the author, and it went on to say how he had written Broadway shows, edited other stories, and even wrote the show Jericho that aired on CBS.  Then at the very bottom, it states, “the perks of being a wallflower is his first novel.” Jackpot!! This author is behind the scenes popular, so it worked perfectly! Without further ado, here is my review of “A Popular Author’s First Book.”

                                                       by Stephen Chbosky


Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.


3.5 out of 5 *Stars*

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Bill (the wise young English teacher)

The way that this book was written through me for a loop.  There aren’t too many books I have read that were in diary or letter form.  This entire book was written as letters, recounting the day or week events to someone.  They always started as “Dear Friend,” and were signed, “Love Always, Charlie.”  The reader never knew exactly who “Dear Friend” was, only that Carlie heard that he was a good listener and did something that was morally right.  Charlie even said on countless times that he wanted to stay anonymous himself, so as the reader, we’re not sure whether Charlie, Sam, Patrick, or even Aunt Helen were their real names.  (Real as entirely real book characters can get… You know what I mean.) While at the beginning the story was hard to piece together with letters, it soon became easier and easier. 
Now, the character of Charlie baffled me.  He was so smart in his thinking, you forgot that he was so young.  When Sam’s boyfriend would take a picture of Sam, he recanted that he thought,
“He would take a picture of Sam and the photograph would be beautiful.  And he would think that the reason the photograph was beautiful was because of how he took it. If I took it, I would know that the only reason it’s beautiful is because of Sam.”
He would always talk about people’s happiness and if they looked the part or not.  He was always watching, always judging.  Sometimes he would compare people’s happiness to old photographs where everyone looked happy. 

“I just hope I remember to tell my kids that they are as happy as I look in my old photographs.”

He was so smart at times, where he would understand the most convoluted things, but when it came to life, it was as if he were a baby just starting out.  He wore his feelings on his sleeve and cried at the most unusual times.  Then there was his lack of knowledge for the most simplest of things, and how awkward he made everyday situations.  However, it was pretty funny when he found out what masturbation was though.  It was one of the only times that you got to see him behave like a normal teenage boy. 

“I thought that in those movies and television shows when they talk about having a coffee break that they should have a masturbation break.  But then again, I think this would decrease productivity.”

This one book covers so many hard to confront topics, but it does it through a socially awkward teenager that’s learning how to cope with his own demons.  It was a good book, but I wouldn’t call it entirely interesting.  Yeah, it had its parts, but I could set it down and not worry about when I was coming back to it.  Sure, I’ll recommend it though, it’s a book that doesn’t send one clear message, but numerous small ones that never get too deep.  If you’re looking for a light read, this is a book for you.  Now, I just have to see the movie.
On that last note, I’m going to pass along some words of wisdom that I thought were very well thought out and could pertain to anyone willing to acknowledge them.  Ok, off to find a different book that will make me cry... Till next time... 

““I would die for you, but I won’t live for you.” “every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people.””Charlie
Ok, off to find a different book that will make me cry... Till next time...    

29 books down, 23 more to go!
Happy Reading, Everyone!!

Friday, September 11, 2015

“A Book with a Color in the Title” 2015 Challenge; SILVER BASTARD by Joanna Wylde

There are a few authors I love out there that write MC romances.  Joanna Wylde is one of them.  I love her storylines, her characters, and the MC world she brings her readers into.  I thought it had to be fate when she named a book “Silver Bastard” and I still needed to read a book with a color in the title.  Who am I to mess with fate?

SILVER BASTARD by Joanna Wylde
Book 1 in the Silver Valley Series


Fourteen months. For fourteen months, Puck Redhouse sat in a cell and kept his mouth shut, protecting the Silver Bastards MC from their enemies. Then he was free and it was time for his reward—full membership in the club, along with a party to celebrate. That’s when he saw Becca Jones for the first time and set everything in motion. Before the night ended he’d violated his parole and stolen her away from everything she knew.

Five years. It was five years ago that Puck destroyed Becca and saved her all in one night. She’s been terrified of him ever since, but she’s even more terrified of the monsters he still protects her from... But Becca refuses to let fear control her. She’s living her life and moving forward, until she gets a phone call from the past she can't ignore. She has to go back, and there’s only one man she can trust to go with her—the ex-con biker who rescued her once before.

Puck will help her again, but this time it’ll be on his terms. No more lies, no more tears, and no more holding back what he really wants...

3 out of 5 *Stars*

Yum! Yum! Give me some! I am head over handlebars for MC adult romance books. You can read books that impact your life till you’re blue in the face, but I don’t care what you say, every once in a while you need to read a book where everything shuts off but the story.   Adult romance is my fall back genre for this.  Make it involving a MC, and I’m game.  This seems to baffle my brother, who is the president of a motorcycle club.  He says, “It’s not all about that though.”  I know this Big Brother, but every good romance needs an alpha male, and rugged men that drive motorcycles just fit the bill. 
This book did not disappoint on that score.  Puck was definitely alpha male material.  He was rugged, sexy, and had a devil may care attitude.  Becca had it right “the guy was mysterious.  Kind of like Batman.  On a motorcycle.” He was also fiercely protective.  This was obviously apparent after his first interaction with Becca and her rescue soon after. 
“Puck was dangerous in a decadent, indecent, cheesecake-at-midnight kind of way.”
Then there was Becca.  The only thing I liked about her was her name.  Everything else was completely misplaced and annoying.  Yes, you had a shitty start in life and you got dealt crappy parents.  Anybody was liable to be damaged after something like that.  However, her lack of trust in other people, her inability to let things go, plus her inability to accept any type of help became more irritating than compelling and it led to her downfall in the end.  This was frustrating to read. 
Now, I have to hand it to Ms. Wylde… She does create some very hot and intense “love” scenes.  There are some in her books that will go down in history and are seared into my brain.  I don’t know what happened with this book.  They were still there, but at the same time, that’s almost all there was.  Sure, there was a plot, but it was overshadowed by how much these to people thought about sex.  Yes, I get it, it’s an ADULT romance.  However, sometimes there can be too much.  Puck talks about his boner over the course of a motorcycle ride, even after he’s gone numb, or then there was the time he was trying to talk himself into something.
“throw Becca down across that table and fuck her ‘til she screams.  When Blake and Collins come rushing to the rescue, you can shoot them and carry her off into the mountains. Do it.”
Then there was Becca and her “va-jay-jay show.”  Oh, heck yeah it was HOT at times, but after so much talk it was almost tiring.  I started seeing them as sex machines, and their stories were an afterthought. 
However, I do have to admit that this book made my list of books with the most humorous dialog. Becca referring to him as Batman was comical.  There was Puck and the things that ran through his mind...
“I’d actually sat alone in the darkness lusting after a girl like some fucking Robert Pattison wannabe.  At least I smoked instead of sparkled.”
Then there was the elderly couple who Becca stayed with after puck rescued her, Regina and Earl.  Of course it’s Earl.  When you picture an elderly man that lives in the middle of nowhere, he is almost always named Earl.  Anyway, they were a hoot.
“Now just because you dropped a bomb on us doesn’t mean you can stop scooping the pie.  Maybe you’re not ready yet.”
“To date Puck?
“No, to be in charge of the pie.”
I love all of Joanna Wylde’s books.  I will recommend them every time someone asks, and I am still looking forward to new books that are being released.  To me though, this book is not one to rush out and buy.  I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be read.  It’s the start of another series of hers and you can’t read the others without reading the first.  It’s just not one of my favorites.  Of course, there was also the cliff hanger at the end of this book that introduces new characters that aren’t even in the MC world.  Needless to say, my curiosity was peaked.  I just hope her next books have a stronger storyline.  We will see.  Till next time…

28 books down, 24 more to go!
Happy Reading, Everyone!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

“A Pulitzer Prize Winning Book” 2015 Challenge; BELOVED by Toni Morrison

I was originally looking for a banned book, and that was when I found this one.  However, I saw that it had also won a Pulitzer and quickly jumped at the chance to cross that one off my list.  Well, after reading it, I can definitely see why it was both. Keep reading to see why…

 BELOVED by Toni Morrison

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.


3.5 out of 5 *Stars*

“The only grace you can have is the grace you can imagine.” – Baby Suggs

This was a book that I will not soon forget.  It started out as me, grudgingly reading this book to get it over with.  The way the characters talked was hard to follow.  I had to constantly go back and re-read things to read between the lines and somewhat understand what was going on.  Except, the story was compelling.  The characters had sustenance, the plot was firm, and the storyline was constant, not to mention the powerful topic. It sucked me in, and wouldn’t let me go until the very end.  This is where I see how it won a Pulitzer.

Half the time while reading, I didn’t know whether I liked something about the book, or not.  For example… The storyline kept jumping back in time.  It was interesting to find out what exactly had happened to the characters, and by spontaneously going back in time, the book gave different tidbits of information each time, which turned the book into one giant puzzle. On the other hand, the transition was so vague, it was hard to tell when they had jumped back to the present.

At times, the book was unsettling.  There was the time when the spirit picked up their dog and slammed him against the wall.  The purpose was to show how strong Sethe was, and it went on to tell how she took a hammer and knocked the dog unconscious before wiping away the blood, popping his eye back in the socket, and resetting his leg bone.  Just the picture was a little too morbid for me.  Of course there was also the reference to bestiality.  At first, it took me by surprise, but once Paul D thought to himself that sex with Sethe wasn’t much different that sex with a calf, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.  After that, it was nothing more than a stated fact of an event that had happened.  With the graphic violence, and talk of bestiality… This is where I see how it had been banned from schools.  Is the message and topic one the kids need to grasp?  Heck yeah, but as a parent, I can see why it was taken out of schools.   

Which brings me to the subject.  I knew slavery was bad.  I knew the things that had been done to them were bad, but when you read a book that pulls you in, it’s like living as their shadow and being right there with everyone.  Some of the things that were said just put a knife into my heart. 

“You protected yourself and loved small.  Picked the tiniest stars out of the sky to own;” Because everyone you loved either ended up dead or sold away from you.  How mothers were considered breeders and prevented themselves from loving their own children because they knew they would just be sold like cattle. Then there is the drastic lengths that a woman would go, just to protect her own children from that life.  That’s what this book was centered around.  Healing, growing, and surviving.

“Anything dead coming back to life hurts.”

So now we have this book.  After writing this review and going back through all my notes, I can honestly say that I liked the book.  Yes, it was written in a way that took a lot of getting used to, and even now, I don’t understand it all.  However, I keep thinking about this book, and my thoughts aren’t negative.  So yeah, I’m recommending this book to you.  It’s one of the more powerful books I’ve read, and I never would have without this challenge.  Now, I’m curious to see how the movie can hold up to it.  Stay tuned for that review at a later date.  Till next time…    

“To get to a place where you could love anything you choose – not need permission for desire – well now, that was freedom.”


27 books down, 25 more to go!
Happy Reading, Everyone!!