Review: A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook

"We all smiled because it was the truth: Living did take a lot more guts than giving up."

Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Egmont Format: Kindle eBook
Source: Library Rating:  (2/5 Stars) Synopsis: 

Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin’s summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents’ divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.

Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog— and Emmy definitely doesn’t. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.

Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.

Through the first half of this book, I didn’t like it at all. The back and forth pacing of the two narrators was odd, the topic matter was gritty in a way that made me slightly uncomfortable even though it was portrayed in an almost cheerful light, and the characters themselves were whiny and annoying. But something had me hooked, so I kept reading.

Once I reached the 60% point, it felt like the clouds had broken. I suddenly liked the characters, and the plot was working far better. But the romance? Not so much. I didn’t see it at all, and at the end of the book it went from 0 to 100 in pages. I also have to say that the pacing felt a bit to fast, and the second half felt the slightest bit preachy.

However, despite all my criticisms, it must have been an entertaining read because I finished it in a day and it did manage to hold my attention. If you really like the look of it, it might be worth the read. 

September 2014 Recap

Besides my birthday on the 1st and the occasional gathering of friends, September was mainly a month of school, school, and more school.

But, within those many hours of school I did manage to read quite a few books. (Have you guessed yet that I procrastinate homework by reading books? Because that’s kind of how it goes.)

September 2014 Books

Books I Read This Month:

#1 - Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz 

This book was beautiful. It had a much different subject matter and style than the kinds of books I normally enjoy reading, but it was one of those rare kind of introspective contemporary books that I actually liked. It’s told in a very lyrical style, the characters are interesting and have depth, and it’s a great story about friendship, love and discovering things about yourself and the world.

#2 - Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer 

[Review]

#3 - Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1) by Leigh Bardugo 

The world building in this book was fantastic. The types of magic and the social systems and the descriptions of the castles and landscapes were all really great. I’m hoping I can get the other two books to read soon!

#4 - I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1) by Ally Carter 

[Review]

#5 - This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith 

This book was really cute! I went into knowing nothing. I’d seen it around but I didn’t read the summary or anything. (I’m actually really glad I did that- it made discovery in the book even more exciting) I kind of enjoy books about celebrities trying to blend around normal people and things like that, and this book had the added bonus of having a great story and an amazing cast of characters. Makes me want to read all of this author’s other books. 

#6 - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith 

I didn’t like this book as much I liked the first Jennifer E. Smith book I read, but like the other it had great characters that really moved the story forward. It was also a really emotionally compelling read and sad/bittersweet scenes were done very, very well. The main complaint about this book is I just wanna know what happens after! Guess I’m not used to standalone books…

#7 - A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, #2) by Soman Chainani 

I read and reviewed the first book in this series last month and I really, really liked it. This second book was very good as well, but it was also… kind of odd and through a lot of it I didn’t really get where the author was trying to go with it, and parts of it kind of felt like a repeat of the first book. The main thing that saved this installment was the large amount of good character development. Hopefully the next book in the series will be less confusing.

#8 - Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

This book appeared on my kindle. Literally. I turned on the wireless after having it off for months and it was just there. Naturally, I read it. (What else do you do with a book that shows up on your kindle?)

This book was way more paranormal romance-y than I would ever read. Female protagonists that spend 80% of the book pinning after a tall handsome not-so-nice boy… Not my thing. At all. The things that kept me reading this book were the writing and the alien lore. Despite the topic matter the writing flowed really well, and the aliens, well… I just really like sci-fi and the lore of these particular aliens was kind of interesting.

#9 - Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira 

This book reminded me a lot of The Perks of Being a Wallflower- it was told through letters, and it had some similar subject matter. Despite the similarities, I liked this book a bit more than Perks. Maybe it was the main character or the setting that made me feel a bit more engaged with this book. But mostly, I think it was because of Laurel’s sister and because I liked the whole concept of writing to dead people, and how Laurel compared who they had been and what they had done to her own life.

The writing in this book was also very beautiful. There was very good description and storytelling, and a lot of it read like poetry.

Document You Life: September 2014

Review: I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter

I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1) by Ally Carter

I'd Tell You I Love You by Ally Carter

"I suppose a lot of teenage girls feel invisible sometimes, like they just disappear. Well, that’s me—Cammie the Chameleon. But I’m luckier than most because, at my school, that’s considered cool."

Genre: Young Adult Espionage Publisher: Disney Hyperion Format: Paperback Source: Bought Rating:  (4/5 Stars) Synopsis: 

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

I read Ally Carter’s series Heist Society a few years ago and I absolutely loved it. I loved it so much that I have already read the entire series multiple times. I have no idea why it took me so long to get to reading the first book of her older series, but I’m very glad I did because this book was likewise very good.

I loved the description of the scenery, and I loved the idea of a spy school for girls and the worldbuilding, and the plot was both engaging and amusing. But for me characters make a book, and I love Ally Carter’s characters.

The main character Cammie has a very interesting story and even though she’s been raised in a spy school she is a very relatable narrator. She’s strong, smart and very loyal to her friends- all qualities that make me like her even more.

Her friends are also very interesting, and their relationships with each other and Cammie are all very well written and have a perfect amount of inside jokes and good natured teasing, but there’s also great moments where it’s shown how much they really care about each other.

I thought the background characters were also amazingly thought out. Even characters who barely appeared in the book were given names, back stories, and reputations.

Another thing that was really great about this book was it’s writing style. It was mostly written in a standard first person style, but the chapters were interspersed with lists and investigation reports. There are also parts where Cammie talks directly to the reader, as the entire book is supposed to be a very long spy mission report, which is a concept that I think makes the book really cool to read.

All in all, this was a great and very fun book about teenaged female spies, and I look forward to reading the rest of this (already finished) series!

I found a bunch of clips from the last year or so and I thought I might as well make a DYL video with them since I wasn’t going to use them for anything else. Enjoy?

“Thieves aren’t supposed to want too much- which is ironic, but true. Never live anyplace you can’t walk away from. Never own anything you can’t leave behind. These were the law’s of Kat’s life- of Kat’s world. As she watched her father sip hot coffee and sneak smiles at her over the top of the cup, she knew that, strictly speaking, no thief is every supposed to love anything as much as she loved him.”
— Heist Society by Ally Carter.