Author: Rainbow Rowell

Audiobook Review – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

October 18, 2014 Dani Dani's Reviews 0 Comments

Audiobook Review – Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Maxwell Caulfield, Rebecca Lowman
Published by Listening Library on September 10th 2013
Length: 12 hours and 48 minutes
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Attachments, Landline, Eleanor & Park

four-stars

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

“’No,’ Cath said, ‘Seriously. Look at you. You’ve got your shit together, you’re not scared of anything. I’m scared of everything. And I’m crazy. Like maybe you think I’m a little crazy, but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg. Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and socially inept, I’m a complete disaster.’”

I always know that I have loved a book when I don’t want to leave its universe. Rainbow Rowell has a gift for making her characters so real, but with Fangirl it was a new experience. Not only did the characters seem relatable, I wanted so desperately to be in the story right along with them. I wanted to befriend Cather when she was feeling lonely, or struggling with a new short story to write, or being downright crazy. I wanted to learn to be a cool girl from Reagan, and smack Wren when she was being awful. And Levi, *sigh*.

“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”

The most frustrating part of Fangirl is that both the Simon Snow series and Carry On, Simon fan fiction used throughout DOESN’T EXIST. The fictional series is a coming of age tale in magical universe with wizards and vampires and quests to save…who knows what – like a perfect love child of Harry Potter and Vampire Academy. It’s a serious problem that I can’t read these books, because they sound like they were written exactly for me. I have to know what happens with Simon and Baz. I want to read the faux-published series, and I MUST read the fan fic by MagiCath.

“Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.”

This is my third Rainbow Rowell novel in as many months. It’s pretty safe to say she’s becoming one of my favorite contemporary authors. She reminds me just how much I can enjoy books that don’t happen in far off places, with regular folks, and that give me “all the feels”. If you are looking for some chick lit with substance and an ooey-gooey center, you have found it. Already exhausted Rowell’s four novels? I highly recommend checking out Sophie Kinsella or Emily Giffin.

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Banned Books Week – Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

September 25, 2014 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 12 Comments

Banned Books Week – Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman, Sunil Malhotra
Published by Listening Library on February 26, 2013
Length: 8 hours and 56 minutes
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Attachments, Landline

three-stars

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

 

“You saved my life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporarily. But you saved my life, and now I’m yours. The me that’s me right now is yours. Always.”

It’s 1986 and Eleanor is forever the odd girl out at school due to a combination of her weight, her crazy red hair (causing the nickname “Big Red”) and her eclectic fashion sense. Her home life isn’t any more glamorous where she lives with her mother, her cruel step-father and her group of siblings that all share a room with her. School might not be the sanctuary she might hope for but it’s still an escape. One day, not finding a single seat on the bus, she takes a seat next to half-Korean Park who is almost just as much of an outcast as Eleanor. They begin sitting next to each other every day, not saying a single word to one another and slowly but surely, their relationship grows over comic books and music without words being spoken.

I went a long time without picking this one up. Mostly because I’m extremely selective when it comes to contemporary YA but I had read (other than Fangirl) all of Rowell’s other books and I figured I should at least give it a shot. I didn’t find any real issue with it but it wasn’t a breakthrough novel for me. It likely didn’t help it that I had read Pushing the Limits earlier this year which is extremely similar: opposites attract, one of the two have a bad home life, they develop a strong and ‘unbreakable’ bond that changes their lives. I didn’t really care for Pushing the Limits and I felt about the same for Eleanor & Park. It must be said though that I appreciated the less than perfect girl, Eleanor was overweight with crazy hair and has a mad love for music. I wanted to love her. I loved how we didn’t have the obligatory insta-love, but rather a slow-building love that developed in silence. I wanted to love it, I really did.

When we aren’t given glimpses of Eleanor & Park falling in love, we’re shown just how awful and terrible Eleanor’s home life is. She has to make sure to take her baths when her step-father isn’t home since their bathroom is lacking a door, she can’t afford a toothbrush or batteries for her Walkman which is everything to her, she’s not allowed to have friends over and she’s interrogated fiercely if she leaves the house. Her mother, in fear of her husband, won’t help her and leaves her to suffer his wrath alone. It was heartbreaking yet resonated an honesty that I think is sorely lacking in most YA contemporary. While it was heartbreaking though, it was also hopeful, because Park gave Eleanor a much-needed spark that she needed in her life.

So where did it go wrong for me? I loved their slow-build love, their lack of vocalizing, it was obscure and different from any other love story I had read before. It didn’t stick to that same path though, it ended up veering off into typical territory with them declaring their undying love for one another after a few short weeks. I can completely understand finding that person that gives you that spark when you need it most in your life, but must it always transform into an “I simply cannot live without you. I will die.” It’s overboard and dramatic. Their bonding over comic books and music was wonderful and built a friendship between the two of them before the romantic feelings ever came. I kind of wish that it would have been kept as a friendship because I never truly felt the attraction between the two of them like I should have. The aspects of this book I loved, mostly the beginning, still made this well worth the read and I’m glad that I finally picked this up.

From a post on BookRiot “…members of the district’s Parents Action League deemed the Rowell’s breakout YA novel Eleanor & Park “dangerously obscene.” The”too hot for teens and taxpayer money” novel was ordered off school library shelves and there was a call to discipline the school librarians who chose the book.” Also, “The Parent Action League cited 227 instances of profanity in the book (including 67 “Gods”, 24 “Jesuses,” and four “Christs.”) as well as crude and sexually charged material that was inappropriate for students.” Despite my less than glamorous rating, I still feel like this is a valuable read that will open teens eyes and I would personally recommend it to my teens to read. Sure, there’s profanity. Sure, you’d like it if your teens don’t use it but regardless of how sheltered you keep them it’s simply not possible to shelter them from everything. Dangerously obscene. You know what’s dangerously obscene? Banning books. The only thing we’re accomplishing is making sure that our future generations are narrow-minded and in denial about the realities of the world.

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Early Review + Giveaway! Landline by Rainbow Rowell

July 3, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2014 34 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review + Giveaway! Landline by Rainbow RowellLandline by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 8th 2014
Pages: 308
Genres: Chick-Lit, Magical Realism
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Attachments, Eleanor & Park

three-stars

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

‘ There’s a magic phone hidden in my closet. And I think it’s connected to the past. And I think I’m supposed to fix something. I think I’m supposed to make something right. ‘

Georgie McCool’s life revolves around her career as a TV show writer. She loves her job but when a Christmas trip with her family goes awry because of work complications, Georgie realizes her job is getting in the way of being there for her family. Her husband is still intent on taking the trip and leaves her home alone for Christmas. Staying with her mom one night, Georgia uses the old yellow landline from her childhood bedroom to call Neal one night. When he answers, she realizes the Neal she’s speaking to isn’t aware they’re married or have children because he’s the Neal she started dating back in 1998.

This seemingly simple story of a marriage on the rocks takes an expected magical realism turn. Georgie is able to take to her husband before he’s her husband and before all the issues that they’re currently dealing with rear their ugly head. Georgie can’t determine whether her ability to speak to him in the past is her chance to correct things in their relationship or her chance to end them before they even start. The ability to go back in time and change things is something I think everyone has wished for at some point or another but will changing things actually be for the better?

Landline is written solely from the point of view of Georgie and I did think the story would have benefited from having both sides of the marriage being told. I felt Neal was a slightly underdeveloped character and hearing his thoughts and feelings on things would have been a helpful addition to understanding it all. The reasoning behind leaving Neal underdeveloped seemed to be because it was meant to be clear that Georgie was solely in the wrong for their relationship issues and he didn’t need to change anything on his end. Georgie’s devotion to her career shouldn’t have been something she needed to feel guilty about and I felt Neal should have been slightly more understanding when Georgie decided to cancel their trip. This was after all a once in a lifetime opportunity for her and it was upsetting that he couldn’t understand that after all their years together.

The story focuses solely on the issues with their marriage and is only going to be understandable if they’re also relatable which I think will be problematic for Rowell’s YA readers that still wish to read anything by the author. The fact that Rowell took your typical chick-lit style novel and added a magical realism flair is really what’s going to set this novel apart from the rest and it’s worth reading just for that factor. The simple addition of a magic phone put a much-needed spin and uniqueness to a frequently told tale.

I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of this book from St. Martins Press and now want to share this book with one of my readers! All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below!

Since I’m covering shipping costs, this is open to U.S. residents only. Sorry international followers!

Giveaway ends July 24th, 2014!

 

Congratulations to Dani D.! Hope you enjoy Landline.

Thank you so much to everyone that entered!

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Book Review – Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

September 14, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 16 Comments

Book Review – Attachments by Rainbow RowellAttachments by Rainbow Rowell
Published by Dutton Adult on April 14th 2011
Length: 336
Genres: Chick-Lit, Contemporary Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Landline, Eleanor & Park

five-stars

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

This is not a genre that I typically jump for but I was in dire need of some serious fluff since I had finished The Book Thief and Rose Under Fire in the same day. Plus, I haven’t heard anything other than amazing things about Rainbow Rowell.

Attachments was an absolute treat and I really loved it. The chapters alternate between Jennifer and Beth’s conversations over e-mail which are written in the form of almost instant messages and then normally written chapters from the point of view of Lincoln. Lincoln was a charming character but Jennifer and Beth were the absolute frosting on the cake. Extremely witty and entertaining, Jennifer and Beth were two girls that I would love to be friends with. Jennifer is married and currently having issues dealing with a husband that wants to start having children while she’s still not sure. Beth is in a long-term relationship with a guitarist in an up and coming band and wants to settle down but she doesn’t think he’ll ever want to. Their conversations were constantly cracking me up. Here’s an example of how Jennifer and Beth’s chapters appear and a little snippet of the humor.

Jennifer to Beth
Now that I think about, we’ve known each other six years, and I’ve never seen you in a bathing suit. Or a tank top.
Beth to Jennifer
Not a coincidence, my friend. Iv’e got the arms of a Sicilian grandmother. Arms for picking olives and stirring hearty tomato sauces. Shoulders for carrying buckets of water from the stream to the farmhouse.
Jennifer to Beth
Has Chris seen your shoulders?
Beth to Jennifer
He’s seen them. But he hasn’t seen them.
Jennifer to Beth
I get it, but I don’t get it.
Beth to Jennifer
No sleeveless negligees. No direct sunlight. Sometimes when I’m getting out of the shower, I shout, “Hey, look, a bobcat!”
Jennifer to Beth
I bet he falls for that every time.
Beth to Jennifer
It’s Chris. So recreational drugs are a factor.

And my favorite, because I’m a total Jennifer.

Jennifer to Beth
Even construction workers don’t whistle at me.
Beth to Jennifer
That’s because you ooze preemptive leave-me-alone death rays.

Lincoln was an interesting main character since I can’t recall the last Chick-Lit type novel I read that featured a male character. It was a success though. Lincoln is in his late 20’s and has just graduated (again) from college and has moved back home to live with his mom. He plays Dungeons & Dragons on the weekend, doesn’t like to go out to bars and is terrible at connecting with females. He stumbles upon Jennifer and Beth’s emails in the course of his daily job duties and while they were clearly violating the personal email rule he never reported them. Instead, he continued reading about their lives that interested him in a way he couldn’t understand. While I was anxious to find out what happens when the two finally do meet, the ending was a bit overly mushy and leaned a bit too much towards ‘perfect’.

Attachments is a charming and adorable tale of finding love in the least expected ways and a touching story of female friendship.

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