What Goes on Tour by Claire Boston

This book is about a writer named Libby, who goes on a book signing tour, during which she meets Adrian, AKA rock star Kent, and ends up taking care of his niece.

Let me just start by saying this was definitely a guilty pleasure book. I was originally not going to read it, and was saving it for when I needed a book late at night but didn’t want anything heavy. This was the perfect solution. It was heart-warming, and lovely, but it didn’t weigh on my mind when I wasn’t reading it.

That being said, I did enjoy the book. It just wasn’t a I-have-to-find-out-this-second-what-happens kind of book.

There were aspects that I really liked. I liked Libby; she was a fun, interesting character, who let her insecurities eat away at her, but who was still strong. Her point of view was pretty interesting as well, since it wasn’t just about the romance aspect, but also about her friendship with Kate. (Speaking of…) I really loved his niece, Kate. She and George (Adrian’s manager) were by far my favorite characters. Kate was cute and adorable, and she made me laugh most of the time (the rest of the time I was thinking, Oh God, baby it’s okay. You’re going to be okay). George was just an all around great character; he was originally introduce as Adrian’s manager, but it is clear from the start that he really cares about Adrian and Kate.I can’t say that I felt anything significant for Adrian; I definitely liked him; but I also thought he was a total idiot and at times even came close to hating him. At the same time, though, I never really blamed him for anything that happened in the book, mostly because of his past (no spoilers!!! But I gave everything he did in the book some serious thought before posting this, and why he would do some of the things he does, and it sort of made sense to me. Still made me a little upset with him. But it made sense). I really loved his niece, Kate. She and George (Adrian’s manager) were by far my favorite characters. Kate was cute and adorable, and she made me laugh most of the time (the rest of the time I was thinking, Oh God, baby it’s okay. You’re going to be okay). George was just an all around great character; he was originally introduce as Adrian’s manager, but it is clear from the start that he really cares about Adrian and Kate.

I’d have to say, though, the best part was the ending. I didn’t much care for the beginning of the book (although it captured my interest enough to get me curious, it wasn’t as giggle/gasp inducing as the last 100 or so pages), and the writing itself hit me as kind of plain, which happened to work in favor of the text (what I mean is that it allowed the story itself to develop through the characters rather than having very flowery or beautiful writing that would work in a different novel; I don’t think it would have made the book better, although it may have been more fun to read). Overall, I have to say I wasn’t too impressed, although the story itself made me smile.

I’m not spoiling anything here. If at any point you read something about this that interested you, either here, the back of the book, or another review, by all means go ahead and read it. It didn’t enrapture me, although I did enjoy it as a guilty pleasure novel. I would say if you like this kind of romance novel (rock stars and authors), then I say go for it. I do not have many warnings, except to say that there might be some colorful language (I can’t remember for certain if there actually is any, but just in case), and that it probably won’t be a book you put down and think about the entire day. Once you start, it is certainly easy to continue reading; and it’s easy to pick back up. But it doesn’t consume your thoughts the way Charlie St. Cloud might have (if that was a book you liked. I certainly did).

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I’m not putting a summary down. Most people know what this book is about, and if you don’t, you at least have a vague sense of it as a romance novel.

So instead of telling you what the book is about, I’m just going to jump right in.

I did not like this book.

When I say that, I mean I really did not like this book.

It’s not because I don’t like the style, or this type of romance novel. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, and I loved it. It’s probably one of my favorites. But I had a very hard time reading this book, partly because it was a summer reading book, as in I did not choose to read it (but if I’m being honest with myself, I would have eventually read it anyways). Mostly, though, it was because I could not find a single point at which I thought, Oooh. What happens next? I’d already seen the movie, so I had a vague sense of what happened, which normally wouldn’t have effected how much I enjoyed the book. But this one got to me. Usually, when you see a movie and then read the book, there is something interesting in the book that is not in the movie, or the movie is so good it makes you want to read the book. With Jane Eyre, though, it was like something was holding me back from enjoying it. And, sadly, I know exactly what it is.

This book is classified as a romance, right? But at no point did I see anything romantic about her relationship with Mr. Rochester. I found the man himself to be detestable in every way, and could not empathize with Jane when she called him her love. He treats her like a slave or servant the entire novel, he calls her ugly, he flirts with other women, and honestly, I just could not find any good point to him. And not only was he rude, but he was twice her age. Maybe that was okay then, but personally, it put me in a weird place where I was picturing this forty-so man with an eighteen-year-old girl who had just learned to be on her own two feet. And then he treats her with disrespect for the entire novel, so she proclaims her love for him! At no point did I see that as a romance, or even love. There was also the issue of redemption. If he had been redeemed, in some way, I may have appreciated her love for him more. As it was, though, he never did anything that said he should be the token of her appreciation; at least with Darcy she hates him until he proves that he can be a fair, just, and even kind person. At least Darcy fixes what he did, and all for Elizabeth. That I found romantic. But Mr. Rochester is just pitiful. And not only that, but is illogical and frustrating at times because he cannot be bothered to understand Jane as a person, her aspirations, her wants, her desires.

And that brings me to another point: Jane. I actually liked Jane, though at the beginning she annoyed me. I found parts of her narration to be pointless, like the first hundred pages, where we read nothing but her awful child hood. I couldn’t see how it was relative to the story while I was reading it, though now looking back, I guess it had some impact on my thoughts at the end of the novel, and I was able to see her character development. Only, her character didn’t seem to develop. She never seemed to change or learn anything new about herself after those first hundred pages. I’d say she never grew up, but I don’t think that’s true; she was simply mature from the start. But even after she learns what Mr. Rochester has been keeping from her the entire novel, she still pines after him, she only does it from afar. She never even tries to move on from him. I get that she’s supposed to be in love, but it never really felt like love to me. It just felt like loyalty and obsession. There never seemed to be warmth when she thought of him, until the very end. It also bothered me that Jane didn’t seem to have any faults. She was portrayed as an angel: smart, slightly (depending on your view) submissive, artistically inclined, maybe not beautiful, but not exactly horrible to look at either. She was basically the female stereotype for the time, and that really bothered me. Elizabeth, also a character of the time, was not good at piano, art, or really anything that was typical; she liked to read and take long walks, and didn’t have any real interest in fashion, though she loved to dance and be merry; she also had a temper on her, and was quick to judge. She was an interesting character, whereas Jane is too logical, and too calm, even when she should be angry, or distressed, or so happy her heart could burst. I wasn’t looking for dramatics; but a little bit of actual emotion would have been nice.

I understand that some people actually enjoyed this book. I’m not condemning them. But I did not want to finish the book; I did not want to read past page 50, let alone read a little over 450 pages of this.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Summary: It started with the bank robbery. And then Ed got the first card in the mail. Three addresses. Three messages. And that was only the beginning.

Okay, that was a little cheesy. This book is about this guy named Ed, who, after helping to stop a bank robbery, receives a card in the mail, with three addresses on it. As I said above, each address contains with a message that he must first figure out and then deliver.

This book actually took me a surprisingly long time to read. That mostly had to do with the fact that I had a lot going on. On that note, I have to say that I really liked this book. The writing style is absolutely amazing, the narrative is absolutely hilarious, and the story itself is very heartwarming, and at times heartbreaking. I loved it. I would definitely recommend it.

One of the things I loved about the book was the writing. Markus Zusak has this way of writing that makes the story seem very lyrical, and poetic; it was beautiful to read. It was already an amazing story, but the writing made it seem even more beautiful.

I also loved the narrative. Ed is a very very funny character, with an almost dry sense of humor; from the very beginning, he is being a “smart arse,” as he says. The book starts with:

“The gunman is useless.

I know it.

He knows it.

The whole bank knows it.

Even my best mate, Marvin, knows it, and he’s more useless than the gunman” (1).

That’s kind of his sense of humor. It’s amusing to read, and even funnier when he’s in messed up situations, like the bank robbery, but still keeps up with his persona of “smart arse.”  It was one of the things where, after reading parts of the sample, made me want to buy the book.

There really wasn’t anything I hated about the book, or that bothered me. The characters were warm, and real, and absolutely hilarious; my favorite is a three way tie between Richie, Marv, and Father “Tommy.” Not one of the characters is two-dimensional, and every single one of them has problems that make them perfect. Even Ed has issues that he needs to work out, and it’s really interesting to see how he develops as a character throughout the novel. The only thing that urked me had nothing to do with the book, and everything the do with me not having enough time in the day to read it. I wanted to stay up absorbing Zusak’s words and Ed’s thoughts, but my eyes got too heavy at night, or there was something that needed to be done.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who will listen. It’s an amazing, heart-wrenching novel, that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime. I do have a warning, and that is that there is violence, alcohol use, swearing, some confusing weather patterns for anyone used to America (like heat in December and cold in July), and there may be tears and laughter. Definitely pick it up at the bookstore, or as an eBook (however you read your books; I’m not going to judge, just read it).

Gravity by Melissa West

At its most basic, Gravity is about a girl named Ari, who has to try to prevent a war between two races: the humans, and the Ancients, with the help of her friends, Law and Gretchen, and a boy named Jackson Locke, who is actually more than just a boy.

I…guess I liked this book. It was enjoyable, and entertaining, but it didn’t keep my attention. I didn’t care if I was reading it or a different book, and it really wasn’t anything overly special. It was good, don’t get me wrong; I found that I liked some of the characters, but it was very predictable. At no point was I surprised by what happened throughout the novel. There were no shocking twists. It simply…was.

I think one of the issues I had with the book was that I didn’t love the main character, which is kind of an issue considering it’s told in the first person. In fact, now that I’m thinking back, I didn’t love any of the characters. I guess I sort of liked Jackson…but the truth is, I didn’t really care. I read the book purely for enjoyment, and I kept reading because I thought that it would get more addicting, that I would start to love the characters, or the plot, or just…something about the book that would keep my interest. But nothing did. I just kept reading, and reading, but nothing changed. I still didn’t love the book. And by the end of it, the characters just started to annoy me. It was like they had no real emotions, or at least not tangible ones. Like, they were all so black and white, that even when their emotions did show, I didn’t care, or it didn’t even matter to me. And it really bothered me that they thought they had to be strong the entire time; and it wasn’t even an actual thought, they just refused to show any emotion. Even when they were alone, there was no emotion. It was like they were robots, for the entire book.

I found myself actually skipping paragraphs. I would be reading the dialogue, and then Ari would start to talk about something in her prose, and I would just skim through it, not even paying attention, because none of it interested me. And I know that that is awful, and that you’re supposed to read the entire book before deciding that you don’t like it, but I couldn’t read those paragraphs. It just bored me so much.

I do not mean to say the book was bad, it just didn’t hold my interest. I finished it, so I must have enjoyed it on some level, but I never felt any attachment to it. It wasn’t a page turner. And I don’t think that I’m going to read the sequel; it just doesn’t seem worth it.

For those still interested, the book is appropriate for any age (there weren’t any bad language, or scenes that were inappropriate). I do not recommend this to anyone looking for something that will keep them invested. But if you’re looking for an in-between book, this one works just fine.

More Than This by Jay McLean

This book is about a girl named Mikayla, who catches her boyfriend cheating on her with her best friend. Then she met Jake. Jake, who saw everything, the whole spectacle, and decided that she needed cheering up. Only, that’s not the end to their night, which only ends in tragedy.
I loved this book. Well, more like the books following it. This one didn’t capture me as much, but at no fault of the book’s. The other two (More Than Her and More Than Him) just happened to be better and more enthralling. I did, however, really enjoy this book, and could not put it down.
At its base, this book is a simple love story. There’s nothing overly special about it; it’s just a romance novel. And that’s actually fairly accurate throughout the book; it’s just a romance novel. But there was something about the characters that made you want them to be okay, even if some of it was a bit…strange, to say the least. It was very unconventional, and at points I didn’t entirely understand why the characters were acting the way they were acting (I’m trying not to spoil anything).
I really liked Micky. Throughout the book, she struggles with loss, and acceptance, and not leaning too hard on others, but at the same time, knowing when to accept help. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Jake, mostly because I wanted to smack him and tell him he was being an idiot at times, although even that wasn’t entirely “hate.” Really, I just got a little frustrated with him. The characters I fell in love with, though, were Lucy, Logan, Cam, Heidi, and Dylan, their friends. They were all so warm, and supportive, and just genuine characters, not to mention absolutely hilarious.
Like I said, though, the other two books in the series (so far) have been my favorite. The second book is Logan’s story, with the third being a continuation of the story, and I just thought it was better. I couldn’t put it down, and actually finished reading the second one night, and the third the next. It might have had a lot to do with the fact that it’s a more haunting story; Logan has a lot of problems to work out, as does Amanda, and it made it seem less like “just a romance”, and more like I was reading their actual lives. It also made the story more interesting, and I was able to get more of an emotional reaction from reading their two points of view than I did in the first book. Don’t get me wrong, the first one was still sad and amazingly beautiful; the second and third were just…more.
I should warn you: there is a lot of cussing, drinking, anxiety, social issues, mental issues, abuse, and it is graphic both in language (as in characters speaking) and in image (everything else, pretty much). The book doesn’t focus on the physical part of the relationship as much as the romance and chemistry and mental issues, but it is still present, still there.
I would say this, though: to anyone looking for a romance, pick up this series. But start at the first. Don’t think just because I didn’t like it as much as the others that it wasn’t good. It was. Don’t read the books out of order!

From More Than This:

*Mikayla*
In one night my fairytale ended. Or it may have begun. This is my story of friendship and love, heartbreak and desire, and the strength to show weakness.
*Jake*
One night I met a girl. A sad and broken girl, but one more beautiful than any other. She laughed through her sadness, while I loved through her heartbreak.
*This is our story of a maybe ever after.*
He was right. It made no difference whether it was six months or six years. I couldn’t undo what had been done. I couldn’t change the future. I couldn’t even predict it. It was one night. One night when everything changed. It was so much more than just the betrayal. It was the Tragedy. The Deaths. The Murders. But it was also that feeling. The feeling of falling.

For those interested, this is from More Than  Her:

“For every action there is an equal or opposite reaction.”

For every choice you make there are rewards, or there are consequences. It was my choice to walk away the first time.

And my choice to chase her the second.

But sometimes you don’t get a choice,

and all you get are the consequences.

 

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,

while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Unless that someone is Logan Matthews.

Because loving him didn’t give me

the strength to walk away.

It didn’t give me the courage to fight for him.

And when it was over, all it gave me was a broken heart.

The Things We Cannot Change by Kassandra Kush

This is actually, technically, a series. It goes, Prologue, The Struggle, The Healing, and the Love Story, which actually kind of annoyed me, because it could easily have just been one long book.

Basically this book is about a girl who is Ms. Popular, is extremely rich, and has a perfect boyfriend (it’d be more accurate to call her Ms. Perfect). It is also about the boy who is not only her polar opposite and has a tendency to burry his emotions, but who also finds out that her boyfriend is abusing her.

Personally, I found this book extremely emotional. On more than one occasion, I had to stop reading because my eyes were tearing up so much. It is very heart wrenching, and I thought that that should be the first thing I tell you, as a warning. If you don’t want to be emotionally vulnerable, emotionally attached to characters, or you don’t want to end up screaming and raging at how stupid the characters are being, at how stubborn they are because they are human and are portrayed as human, than you shouldn’t bother to finish reading this post. This obviously isn’t the book for you. But if you like books where characters are relatable and actually human, and the struggle they go through feels very real, then by all means, keep reading.

Like I said, the characters were very human. Zeke and Evie (the main characters) were two of the most flawed, insecure characters I have read; they were vulnerable, and courageous, and amazing people, while at the same time being complete cowards who were destructive and harmful to themselves. It took me no time at all to fall in love with Evie and Zeke, and some of their friends, like Dom, Koby, and Jenny, while at the same time absolutely hating on their enemies.

I also loved the writing style. It was very fast paced, and easy to follow; I was never confused or thought things were moving too slow or too fast. Considering the series is practically in installments, I spent no time ripping through the pages to get to the end. I must have read the first two or three in one day. And, at the same time, you feel like you’re actually in the characters skins. You feel like you’re a part of them, like you’re feeling what their feeling.

The one thing I did not like was the way the books were broken up. The first two parts could have easily been one book, and it annoyed me, to no end, that I had to keep going to the store to get the next one. It seemed to me like the books are more like sections, and they’re even labeled as “Part 1,” “Par 2,” “Part 3,” etc. And the entire thing just felt like one giant struggle leading up to the inevitable. Yes, it would have made a very long book, but it really wouldn’t have made a difference. It wasn’t like The Harry Potter series, where each book stood on its own, without any real help from the others (although you did have to read the previous books to fully understand what was happening, you could have picked up from anywhere, and enjoyed it, if not slightly less than if you had started from the first and read through all seven). It really did blend all together.

The series dealt with a lot of issues: abuse (physical, mental, and sexual; both from others and to yourself), substance abuse, cutting, graffiti, losing a loved one, bullying, being on your own and having to defend yourself, the healing process, among other things. It really talked about and delved into standing up for yourself, figuring out your own problems, and relying on others, as the main topics in the backbones of the plot.

The one regret I had, aside from the sections thing that I had no control over, was that it ended so quickly. I almost wish there was another part, so that I can find out what happened (it ended on such a cliff hanger that I have to assume there’s going to be another part to the series), but I’m also ready to lay the series to rest. I have yet to decide weather or not I will hunt down the next part, or weather I will just let it lie. But I will say that I do recommend it for anyone who 1) continued to read despite my warning, 2) liked what they read or was at least interested in reading it, and 3) can take being emotionally rocked and slightly horrified. This series is not for the light-hearted, or the easily upset stomach. It does batter and bruise, but I thought it was worth continuing to read, and I’m glad that I didn’t stop after the first part.