Top Ten Books I Almost Put Down

TTT BannerTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their amazing blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t. Some of these are happy stories of later success, and others are the “I hated every second but I finished it anyway” sort of books. It’s in a scale of worst to best (because we need to end on a happy note).

1. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka. I reviewed it… a week… maybe two weeks, ago, and it was one big rantfest. I loved the first 25%, but the rest was just teeth-grinding and face palming, and saying, “Ten percent more, ten percent more.”

2. Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. Another that I enjoyed enough to be almost halfway through the ARC before I decided that I really was ready to snarl and throw this book. 

3. Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum. RAGE. RAGE RAGE. I see red when I think of this book and how it ended, because the first 75% was so perfect but then crash and burn and ughhh it makes me so mad. And I was so far into the book that I couldn’t justify not finishing it, so I cried through the rest in a ball of anger.

4. The Here and Now by Ann Brashares. This was one of those that wasn’t quite bad enough to put down, but it didn’t get me going either. I was remarkably apathetic the entire time reading it. I felt like a gray blob – zero emotions at all for the 250 pages.

5. The Sound of Shooting Stars by Heather Allen. I liked the concept, I liked the characters, but the way the plot went in the end kind of killed this other-wise fluffy two hour read for me. In the end, I was meh about it.

6. Thin Space by Jody Casella. The first quarter was a bit bland for me, and I nearly set it aside, but I pushed through and actually ended up enjoying the rest of the story. Plus, that twist had my jaw dropping at the end.

7. Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton. Because the main character is emotionless for the first 25%, it’s VERY difficult to get in the right head space to enjoy this book. But as she starts to change, I became so immersed in the story that I zoomed through to the end.

8. The Warrior Heir by Cinda Willaims Chima. It started out iffy for me, mostly because I couldn’t understand the world building. But I stuck through, and I really enjoyed the rest of it. And the second book, Wizard Heir, is even better!

9. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. This is mostly because you’re thrown into the middle of the story and have to figure it all out in a few pages. I couldn’t tell WHO the narrator was, but I finally figured it out and I honestly fell in love with this book.

10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Never thought you’d see that one, did you? After I ranted and raved about how much I LOVE this book, and how it changed my life (serious), THIS is on my list of almost-put-it-down? Yup. And actually, I DID put it down for a while. I read 40 pages, couldn’t get into it at all, and walked away for almost two (three?) months. But then I started it all over again, and, well, the rest is history ❤

That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!

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ARC Review: A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka

Title: A Girl Called Fearless
Author: Catherine Linka
Genre: YA, dystopia, romance
Publisher/Publication Date: St. Martin’s Griffin/May 6, 2014
How Did I Get It? Netgalley
Format? Ebook

Synopsis from Goodreads: Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A., at least as normal as any girl’s life is these days. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The death threat is past, but fathers still fear for their daughters’ safety, and the Paternalist Movement, begun to “protect” young women, is taking over the choices they make.

Like all her friends, Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life. When her dad “contracts” her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his struggling company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices: Be trapped in a marriage with a controlling politician, or run.

Her lifelong friend, student revolutionary Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. As their friendship turns to passion, the decision to leave becomes harder and harder. Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death.

From Catherine Linka comes this romantic, thought-provoking, and frighteningly real story, A Girl Called Fearless, about fighting for the most important things in life—freedom and love.

Amazon | Barnes and NobleBook DepositoryGoodreads

The Yacht

Where do I even begin… I can sum up my experience with this book in one word: disappointment. Linka had such a stunning, mind-blowing concept that I just about danced when I was approved for the egalley. But as soon as I got to reading, I had this sinking feeling in my stomach. It just didn’t go where I was hoping, at all. Rather than a thought-provoking exploration of sexism and womens’ rights in a unique dystopian world, as I was hoping, I read a shoddy attempt at a Romeo and Juliet type story. The focus was almost entirely on the romance after the first 15%, and that’s where it all went downhill for me.

Basically me after 50%

When Avie is bought Contracted by an asshat-who-shall-not-be-named, she immediately rebels and refuses to be brought under his sadistic, sociopathic control. To which I thought: “HELL YES GIRL YOU TAKE HIM DOWN.” And then Avie considers running, at the urging of Yates — AKA “he who thinks with his other brain” — and whoosh there goes my hope for an actual rebellion.

Here’s what I had hoped for: Avie marries the bastard, pulls a Margaery Tyrell, and takes the Paternalists down from the inside. Trophy wife turned into a certifiable badass. Politics, seduction, manipulation, shadows and assassins and general sneaking about.

See those eyes? Take. You. Down. In a full skirt and flawless makeup.

Here’s what I got: 250 pages of pure selfishness on Avie’s part, complete and utter neediness, zero character development, and insta-love to the nth degree. Oh, and a somewhat love triangle with a country bumpkin who I actually kind of liked, but turned out to be a cardboard prop to provide some drama. Political standoffs and violent protests that actually gave me the flavor of rebellion I was hoping for, but were quickly forgotten as the romance and selfishness swept in again.

How is this girl called Fearless — that’s my question. The only fearless character was Ms. A; I would have loved to read this book from her POV, or even Sparrow’s (though she’s borderline crazy so I’m not sure if it’s fearlessness or just insanity).

Ultimately the plot became so convoluted and hard to follow, and yet nothing happened. Seriously. They sat in some hut in a frozen tundra and schemed pointlessly. The ending, meant to be heroic and inspiring, was really just an unexplained character 180 and a too-easy conclusion to the story. I’m not even sure it was a conclusion; I smell a sequel.

By the 80% mark, I was forcing myself to finish the book. If I wasn’t so close to the end, I would have DNFed. But I treated myself to dinner, sat in the restaurant, and didn’t leave until I had flipped to the last page. I’m sure I treated the patrons of Chipotle to a variety of disgruntled expressions, including but not limited to: puffed cheeks, pursed lips, furrowed eyebrows, eye rolls, and facepalms.

The dangers of reading in public: your face may look like this

I will say this, though: the Goodreads average for this book is 4.11, so it may just be me. Ultimately, it just wasn’t what was looking for from this concept, but it may suit someone else’s desires perfectly. If you want a star-crossed romance in the middle of a misogynistic society, mixed with daring escapes and death-defying plans, then you may enjoy it. But for me, hoping for behind the scenes/in the shadows/subtler plot twists, it just didn’t work.

My Final Rating:

One Anchor

Weekly Update 20 (March 30)

Well hello Sunday my old friend. I can’t believe another week has passed again! Guess what? I didn’t buy any books this week! My ban is successful so far! Although I did have some fantastic times on NetGalley, and I was approved for a few books that I’d been dying to read.

STS 3.30

Throwaway GirlEssenceA Girl Called Fearless

I also found a new CD that I’ve been making grabby hands at for the past few days: All This Bad Blood by Bastille. I’ve been listening to it on youtube for now, and it’s released in stores in the physical format at the end of April. I’m making myself wait, even though I could get the MP3 version now, because just like my books, I prefer physical copies.

Other Life News:

  • I’ve been having a bad bout of insomnia again; I can’t fall asleep till 12 or 1 and then I’m up and down all night and waking up far earlier than I have to. I’ve been averaging 5 hours a night for the last week… Tired doesn’t even begin to cover my feelings right now
  • I finally read Allegiant, and while it was the most painful book I’ve read in a while, it was also a perfect ending to the series. I can see where some people got so angry, and I was too, but once I stood back and looked at the whole picture, I think the ending was perfectly suited to the themes and morals of the series.
  • I’ve been a bit frustrated with my weight loss attempts – I’ve been swinging back and forth between three pounds. I lose them, then gain them, then lose them again. I’m going to keep taking my supplements, but I think if all this continues I’ll get my thyroid tested again. I had some blood tests about two years ago, and they said I was bordering on some stuff, so I’m starting to wonder if I finally tipped the scales and will have something diagnosable. Because this whole protein shake and salads focused diet with zero changes is really starting to kill my morale.
  • Veronica and I saw the Divergent movie last Sunday! And other than the dude who so rudely sat RIGHT NEXT TO US IN A WIDE OPEN THEATER and then proceeded to hush us when we fangirled, we had the time of our lives. There were some fumbles here and there, and I think people who haven’t read the book won’t get it as much, but it was nearly as good an adaptation as Catching Fire in my opinion. There wasn’t much that I would have changed!
  • My mom and I went shopping at Bath and Body Works since they’re soap was super cheap and we had a coupon on top of that, and I found a new perfume that I’m IN LOVE with! I seriously can’t stop smelling myself. It’s kind of creepy actually. It’s called SKY and it’s kind of flowery and springy – perfect for the weather here in California right now. I sprayed it on the dashboard of my car so it smells good ^_^

If you missed it, this week I:

What’s coming up this week?

  • Veronica and I will announce the winners of our Alternate Reality Giveaway (Monday)
  • I participate in Top Ten Tuesday and share some books that got me into or back into reading (Tuesday)
  • I’m going to review Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Wednesday)
  • I’m going to share some of my fears about my reading future (Thursday)
  • I’ll review Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum (Friday)

Hope you all have a good week!