Mini Book Reviews

Book reviews of Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, and This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp


Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway || 3.5/5

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

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I previously read Far From the Tree, Benway’s other book, and I LOVED it. While Emmy and Oliver was an enjoyable read, it didn’t hold the same appeal. The plot was slow and heavily romance-based. I loved the premise, but much of the plot revolved around Emmy and Oliver falling in love.

The characters were well-developed (even the minor characters). Benway created quirky and lovable minor characters and I love them (especially Drew). Bonus: There are parents who are involved in their children’s lives! A rare spectacle in YA fiction. My favorite part of this book was Benway’s writing, which is simple, yet beautiful and very addicting. I read this book in one (very long) sitting. (But, to be fair, I probably wouldn’t have if I had anything else to do. It wasn’t that gripping.)

Read 7/2/18


Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor || 3.5/5

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

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While this was an enjoyable read with wonderful world-building, it was heavily romance-based. Much of the story involved the characters being stupidly in love and it was plain icky (sorry, but it’s true). Much of the time while reading this book was spent mentally yelling at the main character to stop swooning over the idiot and GET ACTUAL STUFF DONE. Another thing that annoyed me was how spectacularly beautiful the main character, Karou, and her love interest are and how many times this was reiterated. It’s a waste of words. We get it. You’re prettier than the average human bean. While the plot and characters were annoying for romance-y reasons, the writing and world-building were beautiful. The writing style was whimsical and had a magical feel. I fell in love with it. The world-building was unique and incredibly detailed. Overall, I recommend this book if you don’t mind all the sickly romantic junk.

Read 7/2/18 – 7/6/18


This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp || 2.5/5

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

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This was a kinda enjoyable read in the way that some songs have awful lyrics but have catchy, but bad, melodies and you kinda like them. But not really. The book is creepy, and not in a good way. In a “What have you done?!” sort of way.

I really liked the way the plot was done and how you only got bits and pieces of the story at a time. I liked the way it all weaved together at the end.

But. I didn’t like the ending. It was abrupt.

The multiple point-of-views weren’t done well. There was no difference in voice between the four main characters and I kept having to check to see whose POV I was reading from. I also didn’t get particularly attached to the characters, which resulted in a lack of suspense because I didn’t really care what happened to them. I didn’t like the writing style. It was bland and wasn’t unique. The book also failed at show-not-tell and it didn’t manage to create much suspense in general. This book wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t like it.

I probably wouldn’t have finished it if I had anything better to do.

Read 7/6/18 – 7/8/18


Currently Reading: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

TBR

  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (reread)
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
  • When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
  • Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Greta Thinks She’s A Labrador Retriever

I need a Greta. (I’ve finally repotted Sergeant Spike!)

Remember when you were first in love and the idea of taking a shower together seemed like such a romantic thing to do? That is until you realized that only one person could get under the shower head at a time. Plus, there really wasn’t enough room and soapy elbows polked soapy “insert your favorite […]

via Greta Thinks She’s A Labrador Retriever — Everyone Else Has the Best Titles

The Awkwardness Of Holding Hands While Walking

So I was telling a story to Arachnid about this moment… and I didn’t really finish it.

I’m going to ramble about awkwardness and hands and terribly scarring moments in my life. Be warned. Parental advisory is advised.

We were talking away under the trees as people started to litter into the building.

That’s when Fishy grasped my hand.

It was wildfire, but as the awkwardness dumped onto me, it was a bucket of freezing water. I could feel eyes peering at us like we were scum. Lightheaded with embarrassment I tried to look at Fishy, to register her emotion, but I couldn’t get past the tall obstacle of her shoulders towering over my vision.

And we were walking.

“Hey,” I asked, adding to the rather one-sided conversation I was rambling on about (how her hands were like a heater) “I’m cold.”

She put her arm around me. I relaxed due to the warmness of her hands but then realized the large lump of additional awkwardness in my throat.

“Actually…” I mumbled, “Let’s link arms.”

“Sure.”

I felt like an uneven staircase. Her elbow didn’t exactly bend where mine did due to severe height differences.

“Uh…” I started.

It didn’t take another word. She let go, then grabbed my hand, her fingers slowly interlocking.

I held back the urge to scream. The level of PDA between us at that moment changed from a slowly increasing linear graph to a rapidly growing exponential one.

Ask TheWebWeavers #1 || The Spider Squisher

Welcome one, welcome all, to our brand new advice column, Ask TheWebWeavers!

Our first question is from mainepaperpusher. This one is hypothetical.

Dear WebWeavers, Thank you for helping me with this problem. My boyfriend keeps telling me to squish spiders because he thinks they are creepy but I think they are good luck. What should I do?

I think that you should break up with your boyfriend immediately. Even if he is just suggesting that the spiders be squished and has not actually squished any spiders, even the thought of the act is despicable and cannot be forgiven.

But, I know that people tend to be attached to their boyfriends. So if you actually like him (I can’t imagine how someone would like a spider-squishing monster), you could attempt to educate him in the spider-loving path and if he succeeds, then your liking of him will be validated.

Most people’s instinct to squish spiders comes from the fear of spiders. Therefore, in order to eradicate this behavior, one much educate spider-squishers on the wonder that is spiders.

To do this, I recommend first showing him traditionally adorable pictures of spiders on the internet before progressing to actual pictures of spiders. Also, show him the magic of spider webs. After he can do this without screeching and/or flinching at the more hairy specimens, collect spider webs and have him touch or walk through them. After he can do this without screeching, you will reach the ultimate challenge. Have him hold spiders and gaze at their eight-legged beauty. Maybe take a selfie with the spiders. Have a painting session with the spider. Try multiple spiders.

Tolerance will come first. Acceptance will take time, but it can be achieved.

If your boyfriend can accept spiders as the graceful creatures that they are, you don’t necessarily have to break up with him. But it is recommended that you do.


Do you have any questions that need answering? Send them to Ask TheWebWeavers using the Contact Page. Please specify if you want your letter to be anonymous. If you want the world to know who you are (otherwise known as this small corner of the internet), we’ll add a link to your blog to help spread the love.

Mellow Yellow Episode 21: True Love

TICK, TOCK, ARA, and CHLOE are at a diner, waiting to be served.

CHLOE: We are just throw away characters! We have no story!

ARA: Except Mellow Yellow, I guess. I was in Outside In for a very short period of time.

TICK and TOCK: So… are we here to organize your next debut?

CHLOE (nodding): Yes.

ARA: But I’m dead!

CHLOE: I could bring you back to life with true love’s kiss! And it’ll be with a sunset and flamingos and gummy worms and dramatic lighting.

ARA (Catching on): OOoooh with stars too! (bumping TOCK’s shoulder) I’ve heard that you make a great star.

TOCK: I guess I am

CHLOE: And since the sun IS a star, you can be the sun too!

TOCK: Wait. That won’t fit into the story… It’ll be too cheesy.

TICK: Not to mention the mouth to mouth tension.

ARA: We don’t have to debut in Downside Up. I mean, we can always go to Ned the Narwhal, right?

CHLOE: NEIGH! WE’LL BECOME HORSES!

ARA: So… not Ned the Narwhal. How about SOSP?

CHLOE: I do approve, but did you like my pun? It was hilarious! (Laughing at own joke)

ARA: What pun?

CHLOE smashes ARA into a conveniently placed brick wall

CHLOE (ugly crying): ARA! WHY DIDN’T YOU GET MY JOKE? HOW COULD YOU?

(starts eating Tic Tacs)

TICK and TOCK look at each other with questionable faces.

RUE walks up to the table sporting a suit and tie.

RUE (In a silent French accent): Hello, good madames! Here is what you ordered! (Puts down plates and plates of shrimp sticks, red velvet wall cake, and little pieces of LENA’s rotten baloney)

TICK: Thank you, waiter. As you see our guests are a bit… emotional no— (Goes to sleep) ZZZZZ

RUE shrugs and walks away.

Suddenly JAY rushes up to the table.

JAY: Sorry, I’m late! (gobbles up some shrimp) So… when and where is the new debut of ours?

TOCK: Haven’t decided. (Rolls eyes at ARA and CHLOE) And you actually have working emotions!

JAY: Yeah. I got them fixed by MANAGER OPPA. So when is the debut?

TOCK: They said they wanted it in Ned the Narwhal with a sunset, flamingos, gummy worms, dramatic lighting, and stars. Ara will come back to life with a true love’s kiss and you will probably just be awkwardly standing there, censoring the mouth to mouth tension.

JAY: What part of the story? How long are we in it?

TOCK: Maybe just a sentence. In the middle. I’ll type it up once I get home.

JAY, CHLOE, and ARA: JUST A SENTENCE!?

TOCK: It’s important to be a necessity to the plot.

CHLOE: What if we are the judge’s three children? And Ara is from Earth so she can’t marry me legally. But the judge wants me to be happy, but he cannot break the law, so he sends me to Earth! And then on Earth, we kiss in front of a sunset once finding each other on the vast land!

TICK (awake from her slumber): GREAT IDEA!

TOCK: That will definitely be written into the story!

CHLOE and ARA: Hooray!

JAY: What about me?

TICK (ignoring JAY): I guess it’s settled.

JAY: WHAT ABOUT MEEEEE?

 

~~~END

 

*THis is AN Epilogue, oh WoW im sMarT*

TICK: So, Author, will Chloe, Ara, and Jay make a comeback?

AUTHOR: NEVER!

LICORICE: (running away) AAAAAH! SOME EARTHLINGS ARE KISSING IN FRONT OF THE SUNSET! THEY ARE CAUSING A SCENE! UNICORNIA IS BREAKING!

TICK: Really? WHOA!

TOCK: (Taking TICK’s chin in her hand) I wonder if we kiss now if the whole world would implode!

LICORICE: DON’T DO IT!

The world becomes a black hole

AUTHOR: THE SHIP HAS FINALLY SAILED! (ship sails in distance)

JAY: They’re sisters remember!? The line that you put on that family tree was a mistake!

AUTHOR (with dread): What have I done?

 

~~~END

 

Spinette’s Tips for Flirting

Honestly, I could write all about this topic to fill seven dictionary-sized books, but for today, I’ll keep it brief. These quick tips will change your terrible love life to an amazing one in just a single moment! Love is in the air, so on Valentine’s Day being able to make words fly out of your mouth like an angel is advised to get a lifelong partner. Is your love interest about to leave you? Do you want to ask your crush out to the dance? Here is the hub of all your answers!

Tip 1: Make eye contact

This is rule number one! Don’t blink, just stare away. If you do blink make sure you do it one eye at a time, so it comes off as a wink. This is how your love interest knows you’re listening, When they bring up something you’re into in conversation go on and wink or raise your eyebrows. For maximum affect, do the two actions at the same time. Also, when they question your staring make sure to stare even more— they didn’t think your constant eye contact was good enough.

Tip 2: Trap them from the very beginning, throwing a casual pick up line

“Hey hot stuff, you are looking real FINE tonight!”

“I barely know you.”

If your love interest responds with this phrase, that means you are heading in the right direction. This means that the love interest wants to know more of you, and is willing to devote his or her time for you. Do something that will ensure that he or she stays in your company such as sitting on their lap, holding their hand very tightly, or the classic breathing down the neck technique.

Tip 3: Touch those forearms

Touching the forearm is an essential part of the flirting process. Make sure you get in that forearm, that you caress that forearm, that you pet that forearm like it’s your puppy. Go up and down in obvious sweeping motions as you invite the love interest to grab yours. If he/she says yes, this probably means that you are going to get married someday.

“Do you want to touch my forearms?” *sweeping love interest’s forearms*

“Uh…um…yeah, about that, I really need to g—”

“Shh!” *puts finger on his/her mouth* “You’re my puppy now!”

Tip 4: Use metaphor and simile

Remember what your 3rd grade ELA teacher taught you? Here is the time to put it in action. Make sure, like any good compliment, that the flirts are oddly specific. A good example would be:

“Your dress is poofy as a bunch of upturned cupcake wrappers stacked on top of each other!”

Or…

“Your eyes are as green as strawberry flavored American Haribo gummy bears.”

This will make your love interest think that you are an intelligent and poetic person. Also, all the flirty compliments have to be related to food since really that’s your true intention.

Tip 5: Be a cat or dog!

Everyone loves cats and dogs! Adding a cute purr to every sentence, or giving adorable puppy dog eyes will enhance the flirting experience. Once your love interest is about to leave the party, give them a lick to the face.