Tuesday, January 14, 2014

On My Nightstand - January

I use Grammarly's online grammar check because bad grammar makes you look as cool as a bulldog in a rugby shirt (fact - this is something that I have actually seen on my facebook newsfeed). But on a real note.  Ohemgee.  Why was this website not active while I was at Uni???  Run a quote through this baby, and it gives you the reference in whichever format you're using!!!!  And that's just the start.  This is amazing yo. < Grammarly informs me that 'ohemgee' is not a real word.  Grammarly might be right. (Also, I am well aware that my grammar is often less than perfect - so I'm about as cool as that bulldog *shrug*).

Hyperbole and a Half - Allie Brosh.

I'm a huge fan of Allie Brosh, and the book version of Hyperbole and a Half did not disappoint.  Oh man.  If you haven't come across HaaH before, check out her blog here.  The book sticks to the same format, including full colour illustrations throughout, and I personally feel that it is best read with on a pick-up-and-read-a-chapter basis.  The jokes are more surprising that way.

I loved it.  If you love her blog already, you are guaranteed to love the book too.

The Taming of the Tights - Louise Rennison.

I loved:  

The comedy.  It was still good, despite the recycling of jokes from previous novels, there was enough fresh stuff to keep it fun.  You have to understand, Rennison is mad.  I have never encountered a sense of humour quite like hers, and I love it.  She is the queen of catching you unawares.

Many of the characters.  Some of them are especially endearing.  Ruby's dad still has the best lines.

The setup.  A Performing Arts School stationed in Yorkshire, complete with a quaint village and very quirky villagers.  It's a fun world to step into.

The romance.  Always the romance.  This one features the ultimate bad boy, and he's a pretty amusing/strange/fun character.

I didn't love:

Tallulah is a little too naive at times.  It borders on implausible, and is often annoying.  Though I must say, I still think she is a sweet heroine.

The obsession with boys and corkers.  Oh dear.  There were times when I felt a little bit like I was reading my pre-teen diary.  Also, despite the continued (and sometimes embarrassing) emphasis on boys and snogging, there was little to distract from the fact that there were hardly any scenes that actually included boys, let alone snogging.  And like I was reading a teenagers diary.  Oi.

The story dragged a little, and I found myself more often than not, turning to another read.  When I think about it, nothing much really happens at all, until quite late in the book.  The last few chapters are quite fun though, and almost make up for it.

All in all this felt very much like a pre-teen rather than YA read, which in retrospect it probably is (the cover design certainly gives this impression).  Clearly I was barking up the wrong tree, and despite having a great fondness for Rennison's brand of hilarity, this one was not for me.  I still totally recommend Withering Tights though.

NB. I accidentally read Taming of the Tights without reading the prior novel, A Midsummer Tights Dream first.  In retrospect it really didn't make any difference whatsoever.  Will I read the rest of the series?  Not sure.  But probably, actually.

The Maze Runner - James Dashner.

First of all, creepy.  At times almost... too creepy.  (the first half anyway, at about the midpoint I became desensitized).  I enjoyed the creepy, but going to the bathroom in the middle of the night took on a whole new level of undesirability. 

I loved: 

That the story hooked me from the start, and for the most part kept me hooked.  This wasn't necessarily because the protagonist was in constant immediate danger, which can grow pretty old, pretty quick, but had much more to do with the slow doling out of answers to the host of mysteries the novel presents.

That Dashner took time to world build.  It's an unusual world - understatement - and I appreciated being offered a pretty vivid picture of it.

That the characters were three dimensional.  I even liked a some of them, and after Allegiant, this was especially refreshing.

I didn't love:

The main character.  I found him a little bit annoying, and found myself increasingly frustrated with the choices he made.

That Dashner constantly told the reader exactly what Thomas was feeling, in any given situation.  This was especially tiresome when Thomas experienced mixed emotions.  The show vs. tell balance might be a hard one to strike, but Dashner definitely didn't get it right.  Also irritating was the repetition of certain points, particularly in regards to Thomas' lack of memories.  And so on. You can remember what a farm animal is, but not who your mother was.  It's not a huge deal, but it grated on my nerves just a little.

The terminology.  In The Glade, all the boys use a bunch of terms that effectively replace swear words.  I wouldn't have a problem with this (though I'm not particularly fussed either way), but I strongly disliked all the words they used.  Shuck, klunk, shank and so on.  They gave the book a very dated feel.

The story lagged a little in the middle, but the pace picked up again and it was easy to finish.  Overall, I definitely enjoyed The Maze Runner and would recommend it to other YA fiction fans.  It's not Dickens, but it was a fun read.  Like this lady, I'm not rushing out to read the sequels, but if they landed in my lap I probably would.

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post, nor were these books sent to me as review copies.  However the link at the top  was placed there in return for an Amazon voucher.  I'm only human.  And plus, that site is cooooool!


  1. Oh I tots. clicked the link ;) I'm going to use it just 'cos its fun. I often get books for Christmas - love that I can devour novels during the Christmas season, as I never seem to be able to make time at other times of the year. x

  2. I LOVE your book reviews. Thanks to you I downloaded the Daughter of Smoke and Bone books on Kindle - LOVED THEM!!! Can't wait for the finale in April. Glad I didn't read them any earlier to have to wait any longer for the conclusion. Best thing about summer...? All the BOOKS you get to read. x