Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer | Book Review

First Published: 2006
Young Adult, Dystopia
Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.
Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

Good god, I loved this book so much! 

Honestly, I didn't really expect to. Me and dystopians have a rocky relationship - I just don't really like the genre and the depressing situations and stories it tells. That doesn't stop me from trying out really hyped dystopias, but more often then not I'm underwhelmed by them.

Life as We Knew It wasn't one of those dystopias. First, despite it being super popular on GR, I hadn't really heard anything about it prior to the book being on sale on amazon. But the cover looked familiar, and I read the synopsis and something just clicked, so I decided to just get it.

Best. Decision. Ever. 

Most dystopias start after the end, in a world ravaged and ruined, and introduce us to the new rules and reality of that world, but Life As We Knew It shakes that old and tried formula by starting not after the end, but before it even comes.

We get a glimpse of normal, every day life. Life we could very easily be a part of, because it's our world, until something big happens to shake everything down. Something moon-sized big, and everything goes bat-shit crazy.

But what's even better about this novel is that there is no quest to save the world, no chosen one, or rebellion, or people trying to uncover what's really going on or anything of that sort. Instead, we have one family... struggling to survive. To keep each other alive as life as they knew it cease to exist.

And it was beautiful.

Miranda's narration was both thought provoking and inherently human, chronicling the end through the eyes of a teenage girl. And she's just that; a teenage girl. She reacts as a teenage girl, even though she's forced to think past it and make tough decisions. And I thought it was absolutely brilliant.

Her mother, Laura, and her two brothers, Matt and Jon, complete this four people unit, and they were all fantastic because they were flawed. Sometimes, they let things get to them. They fought. They worried. Sometimes, they were unfair.

And it made it all that more perfect.

This book is slow - no way around that, especially since the agonizing wait and the uncertainty is such a big part of the story - but in no point did I get bored. I was riveted, and so connected to the characters and their stories that I teared up, especially in the good times, because I could literally feel how precious they were to these people.

Word of warning, though; this book will make you want to stock on food, water and batteries and really savor every pint if ice-cream and chocolate you get to eat. It will make you irrationally paranoid when you hear of earthquakes or tsunamis. And it will make you thankful you're not living in that version of our world... yet.  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Listen to Me by Kristen Proby | Book Review

Fusion #1
First Published: 2016
Adult, Contemporary
Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy...exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.
Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.
Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?
This book was a surprise hit for me. I got it on a whim because it was on sale and I liked the cover, and figured it would be a nice romance to immerse myself with (I love the theme of everyday person falling in love with someone who lives in the limelight) 

But I didn't really think I would like it as much as I did. Maybe it's wrong of me to be like this, but I always approach books I don't know much about with a grain of salt, and I knew absolutely nothing about Listen to Me.

Listen to Me's first win is by having a crew of women who are smart, sassy, funny and successful. There is something so damn bad-ass about women who know what they want and make it happen, and Addie is just one of those people.

Listen to Me's second win is having a rock star that is not a douchebag. You'd think those would be plentiful in the romantic genre, but they so often fall into piggish, jerky assholes that for some unfathomable reason get the freakin' girl, and I can't understand or stand it. Not Jake Keller, though. He has a healthy sense of self esteem, of course, but he was such a sweetheart! More rock stars should take his lead in literature... and possibly in RL.

Listen to Me's third win (yes, this book has many good things about it) is the banter and the relationship these two develop. I love banter. It's my bread and butter, and theirs was golden and so fun to watch, and they made a cute couple that stood on equal terms.

But Listen to Me's biggest win is the friendships it depicts. Whether it was Addie's friends, Jake's or an intermix of the both, all the relationships were strong, healthy and supportive. This is such a fantastic example of how friendships should be, and it was emphasized through the top notch dialogues between them and the love and care that shined through every word. Truly heartwarming!

The one thing I didn't like? It was a freaking kiss on the cheek. For god's sake, get over yourself!