Vibin Discussions: do you continue an average series or give up?

Monday, August 29, 2016

I have no patience for so-so books. I can DNF a book at the drop of a hat. I figure, why waste my time on a book that's not holding my attention, when I can be reading something better? But then there's those kinds of books, the average books that you like.. but also didn't. It's a 3 star book, maybe 3.5. You're conflicted, because there were good things about it that held your attention enough that you were able to finish it, but you found the MC irritating or the plot lacking. So it's kind of a mute point. And then the question is: do you continue with the series?
That's what I'm struggling with right now. Two trilogies come to mind when I think about this topic: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, and The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. Both had ridiculous amounts of hype surrounded it upon their release, and I was left wondering if something was wrong with me. Both were so average, bordering on boring. I had issues with the slow plot and MC in The Kiss of Deception, and found The Winner's Curse outright dull. I continued with The Winner's Crime because I had already bought it, and finished it with the same feelings, albeit with a bit more irritation.
So here's where my struggle comes in: spend the money on the next book, and have a 50/50 chance of enjoying it? I usually only consider this because I don't like having unfinished series on my shelf. I don't like not knowing. But then again, I don't like wasting money on books that I'm not going to really enjoy.

So what do you do? Cough up the money just to say you've finished the trilogy/series? Or do you say "Hell no!" and let the story sit unfinished on your shelf? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Mini reviews: Slammed and Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Monday, August 22, 2016

Slammed by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: January 5th, 2012
Pages: 317
Song I Played While Reading: Knew Better / Forever Boy Ariana Grande
Rating: 3.5 stars

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

I liked Slammed, but I didn't love it like most of Hoover's books. This was her debut, so her writing wasn't as strong, so I had a hard time getting into the story. Once I did, and I got over my issue with the first plot twist thrown in here (this is a spoiler, but am I the only person who doesn't think him being her teacher was THAT big of a deal???), I finally started to enjoy it. Naturally, CoHo had more in store for us, which I figured out pretty quickly. So all in all, this was good, but nothing phenomenal. It's definitely a fantastic debut, and I wholeheartedly believe that if she rewrote this I would probably DIE over it, but the writing lacked something for me. I highly, highly recommend starting with this if you want to start reading all of her work! Go by publication date. 

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: February 25th, 2012
Pages: 302
Song I Played While Reading: Knew Better / Forever Boy by Ariana Grande
Rating: 4 stars

Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge… how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’

Beisdes Layken's irritating inability to confront an issue, I liked this a little better than Slammed. Slammed was all about the drama before Layken and Will even started dating, and this takes place a year and a half latter. I loved seeing how their relationship had developed, and how all the side characters were doing: Kell and Caulder, Eddie and Gavin. Kiersten was a fantastic addition to the gang, and a fucking riot. I mean honestly, that's exactly how I want my child to be. We're thrown through another loop (IS ANYONE REALLY SURPRISED?) and I thought it was really well done. I wish we had gotten more details into the pivotal sex scene, though. I was looking forward to that for the entire damn book, so I was a little disappointed. This is definitely her cleanest work yet, and definitely could fall into the YA category.   
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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Friday, August 12, 2016

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2016
Pages: 367
Song I Played While Reading: Forest Fires by Axel Flovent
Rating: 5 stars

Sometimes the one who loves you the most is the one who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up- she graduated college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan- her first love and a link to the past she left behind. Her minded spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

There is no one like Colleen Hoover. Honest to god, her work hits me harder than anyone else's. Granted, not all of her work has struck me like It Ends With Us has, but I've probably cried at least once or twice during her other novels that I've read. In lieu of Hopeless, this struck a chord with me. Not only because I read an experience that really made me think and put myself in the main character's shoes, but because there's a tender spot on my heart that relates to the story.
It's not for what you're thinking, if you've read the book; it concerns the who, and how that person effected Lily. I'll go more into detail in the spoilery section, so for all my readers who haven't read It Ends With Us, please go out and get this. If you've never read her work before, brace yourself. She's good. Like, alarmingly so. And for all my readers who have read CoHo before, wether you liked her previous work or not, she's grown so much as an author. This is her best work to date, and I highly recommend everyone reading this.

Once again, Hoover has left me a sobbing mess. We all know there's more to her stories that just what meets the eye. There's multiple storylines that weave together that aren't mentioned in the synopsis, so I always prepare myself, especially after reading Hopeless, which hit me like a fucking train and left me comatose for days.
It Ends With Us is one of the few books that has made me truly connect to the main character, even without actually experiencing the horrors Lily went through. I've never been in an abusive relationship, or even been around one, thank you God, but with the way I was feeling, it felt like I had. Hoover has this unthinkable way of sucking you into her stories and making you think. She's truly a genius, and it never fails to amaze me. The level of understanding she has in her stories, of writing as if she's experienced every emotion, is groundbreaking. My mom is convinced that she's gone through everything she's written about, which I told her I highly doubted, but a small part of me almost believes it. She nails every emotion and movement and thought and feeling. It's almost scary.
I've come to realize that I have a major weakness. It relates to my sensitivity to emotions and people. I used to despise this aspect of myself, especially when I was younger, because I think that's what made me feel so alienated from my friends and peers. I felt things so incredibly deeply, yet buried my emotions. I still do that to this day, but not as severely.
My weakness is good intentions. Some of you might remember me mentioning this before, but no matter how terrible a person is, no matter what they do or think, if they have good intentions, or are doing things for what they believe to be a good thing, then I can't hate them. It's impossible for me to. Which is why, as you might have guessed, Ryle broke me. I'm incapable of hating someone for something they literally cannot control. I know his abuse to Lily is unforgivable and terrible, and it definitely made me queasy at times, but I couldn't hate him. To hurt the one person you love the most, to physically not be able to stop, even when one part of you realizes what you're doing, has got to be the worst thing in the entire world. I can't even imagine it, and my heart went out to him. He's half the reason why I cried so much.
I adored Atlas, and loved his part in her life. The Ellen Diaries were genius, not only in its originality, but in the way Hoover was able to use those to talk about Atlas. I'm hoping and praying that she writes some sort of novella about him. She posted on Instagram that she's been unable to write anything else because she can't get these characters out of her head, so I'm hoping for more! I would love to see Atlas and Lily together, and how he interacts with Emerson. And then to see Ryle getting some professional help, or even overcoming his demons, would be beautiful. I would cry so hard, y'all. What would be even better is him finding love again. Literally, RIP to my fucking soul, because I would not survive that.
The one thing I didn't really like was Lily getting pregnant. I loved the plot, the way it flowed naturally over that two year span, but that was the one thing that I wished hadn't happened. I just thought it was unnecessary. It complicated things on a level that seemed overdone in the moment, but as I closed the book, a small part of me conceited that it was a smart move. Lily probably wouldn't have left Ryle, or at least would have kept giving him chances. There was no guarantee that he would hit her again, that of which I had faith in, but there was also no guarantee he wouldn't hit her, no mater how much he loved her. It was heartbreaking. Honestly, Colleen Hoover writes great stories, and there are definitely some fantastic moments that alleviate the pain, but her selling points are the heartache. It's that nasty heartache that runs parallel to hope, because you can't help but hope for the best, but know with a sinking heart that it's all going to fall apart. It always does. RIP to my heart during the scene where Lily tells Ryle she wants a divorce. It felt like I was getting stabbed in the heart.
I think this topped Hopeless for me. This was truly an incredibly piece of work, and now I'm dying to read the rest of her novels.


"He rolls his eyes like he's frustrated that I'm not getting it. "I just got off a forty-eight hour shift," he says dismissively. "Focus, Lily."
I nod and replay his words in my head. If I didn't know better... I'd almost think he was...
I inhale a calming breath. "Ryle," I say carefully. "Did you seriously just knock on twenty-nine doors so you could tell me that the thought of me is making your life hell and I should have sex with you so that you'll never have to think of me again? Are you kidding me right now?"
He folds his lips together and, after about five seconds of thought, he slowly nods his head. "Well... yeah, but... it sounds way worse when you say it."

"Ellen, I am confident that the next sentence I'm about to write has never been written or spoken aloud before.
When he was wiping that cow shit on me, it was quite possible the most turned-on I have ever been."

"I kiss him back, both disappointed and relieved he's not coming over. "I have a grand opening in a few days. I should probably sleep, too."
"When's your next day off?" he says.
"Never. When yours?"
I shake my head. "We're doomed. There's just too much drive and success between the two of us."

"People say that teenagers don't know how to love like an adult. Part of me believes that, but I'm not an adult and so I have nothing to compare it to. But I do believe it's probably different. I'm sure there's more substance in the love between two adults than there is between two teenagers. There's probably more maturity, more respect, more responsibility. But no matter how different the substance of a love might be at different ages in a person's life, I know that love still has to weigh the same. You feel that weight on your shoulders and in your stomach and on your heart no matter how old you are. And my feelings for Atlas are very heavy. I cry myself to sleep and I whisper, "Just keep swimming." But it gets really hard to swim when you feel like you're anchored in the water."
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Monthly Wrap-up: July 2016

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Wooooooow, WHERE HAS MY SUMMER GONE? I'm both anticipating and dreading the next two months. I move August 12th to a neighboring city, so I'll be spending the next two weeks packing. I have to figure out where I'm gonna put my bookshelves, since only half of them will fit in my room. School starts at the end of this month, which kind of makes me want to vomit. Then in September, Summer Fest, this festival my neighborhood throws to end the summer, will be happening, and I'll get to go and have one last hurrah with my best friend before she leaves me for UC Santa Cruz. I'll also be helping her move in, which will be bittersweet. So, lots of changes! I also need to find a second job, because winter is brutal for a country club employee. 

Books I read this month

Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies by Laura Stampler - 3.5 stars // Goodreads

I managed to almost finish my July TBR, which was incredible. I struggled with reading in May and June, so I was a little worried I would barely get half way through my July TBR, but I ~technically~ completed it. I just substituted The Memory Book by Lara Avery for The Thousandth Floor. 
I DNF'd How To Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather and Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige, which I'll go more in depth on in a different post.

On the blog
July was my first month where I initiated my new blogging... policy? Style? Whatever you want to call it! I came to a few realizations in June on how I wanted to run my blog, and so far, it's working out perfectly. Quality over quantity. I posted a review/discussion on The Raven King, then introduced a new feature on the blog (I link my reviews on Goodreads in my reviews tab). Next, I fangirled hard over The Graces, giving it a whopping 5 stars because it was so fucking perfect. I reposted my excerpt of The V Girl by Mya Roberts because I'm an idiot and got my tour date mixed up, then continued with another blog tour, one for Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies. Then I finished up this month with my review of The Thousandth Floor

Music I've been loving
Handclap by Fitz and The Tantrums // Too Good by Drake // Needed Me by Rihanna // Leave Me Lonely, Side to Side, and Touch it by Ariana Grande // Lights Down Low by Jessie James Decker // Tangerine Girl by Asher Roth // Drink to That All Night by Jerrod Neimann // Closer by The Chainsmokers // Dang! by Mac Miller // Wonder by MOONZz

Books I acquired
I'm a part of a traveling book shingdig on Instagram, and the amazing Erica from cozybooksandcoffee on Instagram (check out her page, it's seriously GORGEOUS) sent me The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Then a new bookish monthly subscription box sent me July's book box, which had The Walled City by Ryan Graulin and The Young World by Chris Weitz. (I have a 10% off code for any of the boxes if anyone is interested! It's Vibin10.) Little Bird Publicity sent me this gorgeous ARC copy of The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr, and finally, Penguin Random House sent me a finished copy of Results May Vary by Bethany Chase. 

Life shenanigans 
I was finishing books left and right in the first two weeks of July. That's when the bulk of my reading was done, but then something weird happened to screw it all up: I actually wanted to be social. There was one weekend where I had turned into my worst nightmare: I could barely stand to look at a book or my blog, or even be alone, and instead waned to be surrounded by people 24/7 and party. I was antsy and needed to be doing something. I remember telling my mom before, "How do people want to be around other people all the time? I don't understand!" Well, now I do. Thankfully, I've gotten over it a little. I can be alone and blog and read, but a part of me is still yearning to be out doing something, you know? I think it's because in a couple weeks, everything will be different and I won't have time to do this stuff (or be with my best friend, like I mentioned earlier), so I've been trying to cram in as much as I can do in a day.

The Graces definitely took the cake for my favorite book of the month, though Dangerous Girls came as a close second. What was your favorite book this month? Here's to hoping August is a successful reading month!<3
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