Book Review–Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

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This is the 100th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge. I didn’t make it to 114 this year, but I was pretty close!

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Published January 1st, 2005 by Square Fish

 

 

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

 

 

——

 

Elsewhere is a book about death, but it is also a book unlike any other that I’ve read. The idea itself is intriguing but kind of depressing. I certainly hope that the afterlife is much different in real life. Still, an interesting idea. I especially liked how the animals could talk, though I have to admit the first chapter really threw me off at first.

I liked the characters well enough, though I didn’t connect to any of them as much as I would have liked. I felt like I was being held back from getting too close to them. The plot was fresh and somewhat unpredictable most of the time. Worth reading at least once.

 

 

 

3stars

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

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This is the 99th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
Published March 16th, 2010 by Simon Pulse

 

 

Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don’t like your best friend’s boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He’s easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he’s paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna’s boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah’s best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she’s thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It’s wonderful… and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can’t stop herself from wanting more…

 

——

 

***This review may contain slight spoilers***

The book started off really strong in the beginning, but kind of fizzled out for me about halfway. I like the characters of Sarah and Ryan. I am very against cheating but was able to understand (and feel for) Sarah’s situation. And while I was annoyed with Ryan’s inability to end things with Brianna, I could also kind of understand why he hesitated, given her situation with her parents.

While the situation was presented realistically, I did not like Brianna. While I felt awful about her parents, she was a terrible friend. While what Sarah did was wrong, Brianna was very hypocritical about judging her.

I like that the book ends with a less than happy ending–made it more real. Probably not something I’d read again, but Scott did a good job with the stereotypical “I like my best friend’s boyfriend” story.

 

 

3stars

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–A Time to Die (One Last Wish #1) by Lurlene McDaniel

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This is the 98th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

A Time to Die (One Last Wish #1) by Lurlene McDaniel
Published April 1st, 1992 by Laurel Leaf

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Kara Fischer has cystic fibrosis  and only months to live. But the close-knit bond  she develops with Vince, who also has the disease,  helps her come to terms with her own illness.  Given one last wish, Kara wonders if miracles could  really happen.

 

 

——

 

I probably would have liked this better back when I was into paperbacks like this. The main character has cystic fibrosis, and while it was refreshing to see a character from this POV, it was also pretty depressing. The book had a nice sentiment, but really didn’t make me feel nearly as sad as I imagined I would be. Probably won’t be checking out anymore in the series, as these type of books are no longer my thing.

 

 

2stars

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena (Goosebumps #38) by R.L. Stine

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This is the 97th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena (Goosebumps #38) by R.L. Stine
Published 1995 by Scholastic

 

FORGET FROSTY!

Jordan Blake and his sister, Nicole, are sick of the hot weather in Pasadena. Just once they’d like to have a real winter. A real winter with real snow.

And then it happens. The Blakes are off to Alaska! Seems that Mr. Blake has been asked to photograph a mysterious snow creature there.

Poor Jordan and Nicole. They just wanted to see snow. But now they’re being chased by a monstrous creature. A big furry-faced creature…known as the Abominable Snowman!

 

——

 

Not one of my favorites, but still a fun winter-themed read. I thought the snowball twist was a nice touch.

 

 

3stars

 

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

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This is the 96th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Published October 26th, 2010 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

 

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

 

 

——

 

Ended up just barely liking this one. Loved the initial idea, as well as the plot, but the characters and their pretentiousness constantly grated on my nerves. Even so, I ended up liking Lily and the relationship as a whole. It was a cute story overall. Probably wouldn’t re-read, but it ended up being a nice winter read.

 

3stars

 

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan

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This is the 95th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan
Published 2005 by William Morrow

 

John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound streamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, flung drool on guests, stole women’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewelry. Obedience school did no good—Marley was expelled. Neither did the tranquilizers the veterinarian prescribed for him with the admonishment, “Don’t hesitate to use these.”

And yet Marley’s heart was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless, too. Marley shared the couple’s joy at their first pregnancy, and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. He was there when babies finally arrived and when the screams of a seventeen-year-old stabbing victim pierced the night. Marley shut down a public beach and managed to land a role in a feature-length movie, always winning hearts as he made a mess of things. Through it all, he remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit’s end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.

 

——

 

I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while, but just never got around to it. Maybe the timing is perfect, since I may have not appreciated this book quite as much if I’d read it before. A few months ago, I lost my own fur babies (ferrets). The main reason I finally decided to pluck this one off the shelf is because we have our own little trouble-making dog and I thought it would be a good, relatable read. It’s nice to know that our dog isn’t too much of a troublemaker now.

The movie is good and emotional, but the book is even more so. I laughed, read out parts I found particularly amusing to my fiance’, smiled, and of course, wept. I knew the ending was coming, had found the movie version pretty sad, but it’s absolutely nothing compared to the book. The book also really shows how much patience this family had in regards to Marley, and concerning unconditional love.

If you are a dog or pet lover, this one is for you. Just be warned that it is a very emotional read. It’s even more touching, I think, because it’s true. I hope writing this has helped heal John and his family. I am truly sorry for your loss.

 

 

 

4stars

 

 

jncname

Book Review–The Forgotten (Animorphs #11) by Katherine Applegate

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This is the 94th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Forgotten (Animorphs #11) by Katherine Applegate
Published October 1st, 1997 by Scholastic Inc

 

There’s been an accident. Someone crash-landed a Yeerk Bug fighter. And the Yeerks have been trying to cover it up – quickly. But not before Tobias spots it. So the Animorphs and Ax decide to steal the ship to show the world that Earth has been invaded.

 

——

 

Probably the most pointless in the series so far. The new setting was cool, but at the end, I was kind of mad at how things turned out. It made very little sense and doesn’t seem to add to the series at all. The only positive thing I get out of it is Jake’s character development, but that could have been done without the lame plot. I hope there aren’t anymore books like this one later in the series.

 

 

2stars

 

 

 

jncname