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September 4, 2015 / Melanie Rosson

Graduates in Wonderland by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale

pan, jessica and kapelke-dale, rachel - graduates in wonderland( thumbs_up) If you need a novel to get you excited about traveling again, this is it. If you know me, you know I’m only into traveling places I know and love, like Vegas, Reno, and Los Angeles. However, it aided me in changing my perspective a bit.

This story is told between the emails of two girl friends who travel to different states/countries after they graduate college. One starts out in New York, the other in Beijing. Soon, they travel elsewhere – Australia and Paris. But then, the book ends with them eventually both moving to London.

The stories seem to jive best as love and career stories. The women are moving to get A+ partners as well as A+ careers. The traveling gets them wired because it’s a new experience. Unlike me, learning a new language and new customs thrills them.

So this made me not only want to travel somewhere new, (without learning a new language or custom,) but also read more travel-based literature. But I don’t know if anything will live up to this. Warning though: it starts off pretty slow.

September 4, 2015 / Melanie Rosson

Scars from a Memoir by Marni Mann

mann, marni - scars from a memoir( thumbs_side ) I didn’t expect much from this book as it was to continue another book, Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales – usually I’m not fond of that series-type nonsense. This was better than I expected, but there were still some things that made it pretty awful too.

This story follows the main character after she gets through rehab for her heroin addiction. She resists temptation time and time again, and has unwavering support by most of the people around her. It’s awesome that the author could still build a gripping story that continued after the crazy drug narrative as told in the other book. The ending is also solid -not predictable at all.

However, I hated how much erotica she squished into this novel. There was hardly any in the last book, but in this one she has so many scenes where she is describing in great detail how the characters got it on. That was not the experience I wanted.

There were other problems I had with the writing as well that weren’t present in her last novel, but they’re small so I won’t delve into them. Just trust me, definitely not as good as the last one. But also not a huge disappointment either.

August 20, 2015 / Melanie Rosson

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

ozeki, ruth - a tale for the time being(thumbs_up) I don’t usually like books that tell stories that read from a diary or letters, but this is an exception. Ruth supposedly “finds” a diary of a young Japanese girl, Nao, washed up on a beach on her desolate island.

Ruth reads about her moving from the United States to Tokyo, and the challenges that Nao faced. Nao wrote about her father’s depression and the extreme bullying she dealt with at school, daily. She read out about Nao’s grandmother, a buddhist monk, and her great uncle, a suicide pilot. Ruth wraps her own life’s thoughts around Nao’s and seeks to find out more about her.

It is a great read, and got me out of the genres I usually stick to. Note: I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by the author, not the real book which supposedly has a lot of footnotes and such.

August 20, 2015 / Melanie Rosson

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

hawkins, paula - the girl on the train( thumbs_up) This book has been compared many time to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. And for good reason – it is a who-done-it murder mystery with a twisted ending. Very similar.

There are many characters who narrate the story. The alcoholic Rachel, the adulterous Megan, and the husband stealing Anna. The book starts off with just a lonely Rachel making stories in her head about a couple she sees in their backyard while she is on the train every morning. But then she finds out the wife of that couple goes missing, and knows there is more to the story than the police think.

It’s gripping and the character detail is fantastic. A great fiction read.

August 20, 2015 / Melanie Rosson

Pillbillies by K.L. Randis

randis, kl - pillbillies(thumbs_side) This is okay, but doesn’t compare to Spilled Milk by Randis.

It follows a drug dealer, Jared, who ends up letting his sister drown in bathwater because he was too high to check on her. He sets out on a quest, (instigated by another drug dealer who wants Jared to work for him,) to find the person who sold him the heroin that caused this tragedy.

This book doesn’t end, there is another one (or two?) that follow. I don’t really think it’s worth reading the second. It is interesting, but a bit over the top with the plot.

August 10, 2015 / Melanie Rosson

Spilled Milk by K.L. Randis

randis, kl - spilled milk(thumbs_up) I haven’t come across too many abuse novels that don’t immediately make me addicted to reading them. Spilled Milk is no different. I finished it in one day – I couldn’t put it down. And I can’t even count how many times I cried during it.

Brooke, the main character, grew up in a large family. Her father was a tyrant – physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive to the children. The sexual abuse was mostly aimed at Brooke. None of the children felt safe enough to seek help. Brooke was the only one of her siblings who focused her extreme emotions into positive outlets rather than negative. She soon found herself surrounded by caring friends – and only with glimpses into their families did she finally find the courage to speak about her own.

Awesome book.

August 9, 2015 / Melanie Rosson

Bennington Girls are Easy by Charlotte Silver

silver, charlotte - bennington girls are easy(Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov) I never give bad reviews to books because I never seem to finish the bad books. However, I’m trying to change that and now review even the ones I don’t finish.

This is horrible. I thought I would find funny how pretentious and snooty her characters were supposed to be, but the writing makes it hard to.

First of all, there are way too many characters. I can’t keep track of people, and there is very little character development. Sure, she provides a list in the beginning – but very few descriptions. Second, it’s like the drama of this story unfolds only over the phone, and is still completely distant from the reader. It doesn’t hit home, or make me feel connected to the girls. Finally, on the topic of being connected to the characters – there is nothing to like about either of the girls. They’re haughty and not easy to relate to.

I only looked at the amazon reviews after I checked out this book from the library. 49% as one star. No surprise.

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