Review: The Salmon of Doubt (Dirk Gently #3) by Douglas Adams

The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams
Dirk Gently #3
Science Fiction | Fantasy | Humor
Published by Del Rey on May 28th, 2002
★★★

On Friday, May 11, 2001, the world mourned the untimely passing of Douglas Adams, beloved creator of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, dead of a heart attack at age forty-nine. Thankfully, in addition to a magnificent literary legacy—which includes seven novels and three co-authored works of nonfiction—Douglas left us something more. The book you are about to enjoy was rescued from his four computers, culled from an archive of chapters from his long-awaited novel-in-progress, as well as his short stories, speeches, articles, interviews, and letters.

In a way that none of his previous books could, The Salmon of Doubt provides the full, dazzling, laugh-out-loud experience of a journey through the galaxy as perceived by Douglas Adams. From a boy’s first love letter (to his favorite science fiction magazine) to the distinction of possessing a nose of heroic proportions; from climbing Kilimanjaro in a rhino costume to explaining why Americans can’t make a decent cup of tea; from lyrical tributes to the sublime pleasures found in music by Procol Harum, the Beatles, and Bach to the follies of his hopeless infatuation with technology; from fantastic, fictional forays into the private life of Genghis Khan to extended visits with Dirk Gently and Zaphod Beeblebrox: this is the vista from the elevated perch of one of the tallest, funniest, most brilliant, and most penetrating social critics and thinkers of our time.

Welcome to the wonderful mind of Douglas Adams.

Douglas Adams has been a favorite author of mine ever since I picked up Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy four years ago. After completing the trilogy of five multiple times, as well as the first Gently novel, I spotted this at the library and declared it an act of fate.

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Review: The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: The Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa

The Lost PrinceThe Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Fey: The Call of the Forgotten #1
Fantasy | Young Adult | Paranormal
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 23, 2012
★★★

Don’t look at Them.
Never let Them know
you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My name is Ethan Chase.
And I may not live to see my
eighteenth birthday.

I really don’t know what to think about this book still, and it has been a little over three days since I read it. About a year or two ago, I pretty much marathoned the first series, The Iron Fey, and from rereading my reviews, I only really liked The Iron Queen. I mean the other three books were decent, but The Iron Queen seemed to be the only one I truly liked. From what I remember, Meghan was my biggest problem.

Therefore, this book should’ve been a relief, right? New characters? Same world? (Because I did like the world.)

Well, not really.

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Review: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven BoysThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle #1
Young Adult | Paranormal | Fantasy
Published by Scholastic Press on September 1, 2012
★★★★

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

For years, I have been pressured to read this book. My book friends, my friends that have read it, Goodreads, BookTube–everywhere, everyone wants me to read this book. But finally, my English teacher decided to make The Raven Boys available for one of our Literature Circle books, and I snatched it up. A close friend of mine loves this series, and I figured why not?

Boy, am I glad that I decided to read this book. It was so good.

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Review: Winger (Winger #1) by Andrew Smith

Winger

Winger by Andrew Smith 
Winger #1
Young Adult | Contemporary | Realistic Fiction
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 14, 2013
★★★★★

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids in the Pacific Northwest. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

There’s something incredibly refreshing about a book that focuses on growing up (Ryan Dean is 14 years old) and living your life yet still follows a plot. Although the plot wasn’t mountain moving like saving a country or destroying a government, it was very clear: get Annie to fall in love with Ryan Dean. That wasn’t exactly an easy task considering Ryan Dean was 14 and Annie was 16 along with the fact that Ryan Dean thinks every girl is hot. He’s also a major pervert.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” Annie said. “Did you bring any swim trunks? We have an indoor pool and Jacuzzi.”
“Wow,” I said. “No. I didn’t.”
I looked down, then shrugged and looked over at Annie and whispered, “I’ll go without.”

Therefore, not am I only glad that I get to read about a hilariously perverted 14 year old boy, I get to read a hilariously perverted 14 year old boy who learns that life is more about girls and more about living.

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Top Ten Books I Want to Read but Don’t Own Yet

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Wake up, Caitlin

Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He’s magnetic. He’s compelling. He’s dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else–her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

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Book Review: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Keuhn

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Keuhn
Young Adult | Contemporary | Realistic Fiction
Published by St. Martin’s Press on January 11, 2013
★★

When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.

To be frank, I wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did. I’ve read so many rave reviews on Charm & Strange, therefore I expected something specular and riveting. What I got was extremely confusing and mediocre. Right off the bat, you’re confused. You’re thrown into this story that’s being told by this unreliable narrator who’s a bit on the crazy side, meaning he really doesn’t know what the heck to think, because he may or may not be suicidal.

Honestly, as a reader, you never get any of Win/Drew’s backstory from the actual story until the end or until you draw your own conclusion (that, if judging by the werewolf “callings,” is probably wrong). Before reading the book, I had read the summary once, so I was a bit blind going into the book. At first, I thought Win and Drew were two completely different people. I mean, they lived such different lives! Long story short, by reading the summary you’ve pretty much read the book.

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Discussion: Finishing a Series with a ‘Meh’ First Book

discussion

Today’s discussion topic will be about finishing a series when the first book was just alright for you.

When it comes to YA books, I go into them with a higher expectation than any other genre, therefore my end rating for YA books is generally pretty harsh. And my reviews tend to be pretty harsh as well. This results in the majority of the books I read in the YA genre ending in 2.5 or 3 stars.

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Book Review: Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
Standalone
Young Adult | Mystery | Contemporary
Published by Kathy Dawson Books on March 25, 2014

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.

I must warn you first that I am really into bad boys in young adult literature. I don’t know why, but they thrill me. I suppose I liked Nearly Gone as much as I did because Nearly reminded me of myself in many ways. Firstly, I’m very competitive and serious when it comes to my grades. I constantly compete with the smartest kids in my class to set the learning curve (I fail most of the time, but I still try). Secondly, I love puzzles. They confuse the heck out of me, but I love them. Thirdly, Nearly likes bad boys. Yeah, I like bad boys as well.

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Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me That I Must Read

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. (: This week’s topic is books that people have told me that I absolutely must read! tttAnna and the French Kiss–Do I even need to elaborate? Yes, I have purchased this book. No, I have not even read the first word. Yes, my friend Sav has even borrowed it and read it. So has my friend Lauren. But me? Nope. Nada.

My Life Next DoorSo many people have been telling me that this is a good book, so I just had to buy it! You know, back in January. It’s been about seven months. I think it’s time that I sit down and read this.

Eragon–You would not believe how many people at school have told me to read this. I’m talking about the kids that despise reading with their very being. Yes, they’re telling me to read this descriptive monster. Admittedly, I own it. And the sequel. Fudge my life.

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