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Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings

Confessions of A Reader #2: Reading is Quite the Adventure

To You It's Just Another Book But to Me It's Another Adventure Image

One of many reasons I enjoy reading so much is because I see it as quite the adventure. Every time I pick up a book I’ve never read before, I don’t know what I’ll find within the story’s pages. To me, every book I read is an adventure because you never know where the story will take you.

To me, reading is a journey for each individual reader. As readers, we each have our own preferences. Usually, there’s a specific reason for that. For example, the first book you truly read was a specific style that made you realize you actually love reading more than you initially thought you did. Or it could be you find yourself connecting more with the overall message or themes in a particular genre of writing so you read that genre more than others. Those preferences result in the reader exploring other narratives that follow that particular genre, causing them to go on their individual reading journeys.

I also see reading as an adventure because it sets your imagination on fire. Reading gives you the unique ability to dream, to see the stories you read on the page come to life before your very eyes. It allows you the possibility to imagine a variety of different outcomes for the characters and come up with ideas of where you think the story will go. Reading allows you to dream eyes open, to see where a story will take you.

Reading Is Dreaming With Open Eyes Image

Every time I pick up a book, I never know where the story will take me. This is the magic of reading because it allows you to go on your own adventure, to meet characters and see within your mind’s eye places that you never thought existed. This is one of many reasons I enjoy reading so much and can’t wait to see where my reading journey takes me next.

Book Review: The Red Hat Club

The Red Hat Club Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

Meet Georgia, SuSu, Teeny, Diane, and Linda–five women who’ve been best friends through thirty years since high school. Sit in when they don their red hats and purple outfits to join Atlanta’s Ladies Who Lunch for a delicious monthly serving of racy jokes, iced tea and chicken salad, baskets of sweet rolls, the latest Buckhead gossip, and most of all–lively support and caring through the ups and downs of their lives. When Diane discovers her banker husband has a condo (with mistress) that he bought with their retirement funds, the Red Hats swing into action and hang him with his own rope in a story that serves up laughter, friendship, revenge, high school memories, long-lost loves, a suburban dominatrix, and plenty of white wine and junk food. From the 1960s to the present, The Red Hat Club is a funny, unforgettable novel that shows the power women can find when they accept and support each other. 

This book was quite an unforgettable read. It allocated laughter and was just a fun pleasure to enjoy.

What made The Red Hat Club such an enjoyable read for me is all of the characters. Each of the five women in this story (including the one who’s point of view the whole story is told from) had a unique personality of their own. You saw their individual personalities throughout the story, from the beginning when Diane is revealing to her close friends that she’s discovered her husband is being unfaithful to the end when Teeny throws a celebration party for Diane and reveals her own hidden secret. I also enjoyed each of these women because this story made me laugh, especially when all five of them were together discussing how they were going to bring Harold down. It’s refreshing to read a story where all of the main characters are enjoyable and have unique personalities so I really appreciated it.

I also enjoyed this book because it was such a fun read. It wasn’t at all super serious, just a fun story about women and friendship. It was a story I could have fun reading and not want to do anything else but laugh. It’s a book that while usually isn’t my genre I found I enjoyed immensely giving a try because it allowed me to have fun imagining all of these different women with powerful personalities. It’s a book overflowing with fun positivity and I was very excited to see how the plot progressed.

What I also enjoyed with The Red Hat Club is how the story went back and forth between the past and present. I enjoyed seeing how these women’s friendship grew from their days in high school to the present time when this book was published. I especially enjoyed the process of initiation into the Mademoiselles and how their friendship grew from being a part of that exclusive sorority. In a lot of ways, their own group in the present day storyline is a little like that because of the rules they made when it came to their friendship and what they could talk about. I really liked that because it made sure nobody in their circle of friendship was excluded and if their conversations didn’t go well, they could start over as if the previous conversation never happened. It also made me want to continue reading this book to find out how their friendship lasted throughout the years and what was going to happen next.

If I have any criticisms for this book at all, its Georgia when it comes to her relationship with her husband John and her ex love Brad. From the beginning of The Red Hat Club, it’s pretty apparent that Georgia still hasn’t gotten over how her relationship with Brad ended, despite being married with kids. It’s still on her mind present day in the story, and all of the things she says about her husband John are nothing short of negative. She talks about their marriage being safe and boring and worries throughout the book whether she’s also going to be getting a divorce anytime soon. She admits that there are problems in her marriage, yet does nothing about it. She thinks a lot about Brad and the way he made her feel, and it seems almost like she’s going to get a second chance with him. But instead, she makes a decision for herself I definitely didn’t foresee, which left me completely confused, considering her feelings throughout the book. I’m not going to go into too much detail because I don’t want to spoil this book or anything, but I was completely surprised by her decision. I also didn’t think it was the right choice, considering throughout the story she still seems like she’s mourning that love.

Other than that, I really enjoyed reading The Red Hat Club. It was such a fun, easygoing read that made me laugh from beginning to end that I was sad when I finally had to put it down. I definitely recommend this book to other women who want to read about women and friendship and who don’t mind reading stories that shift back and forth from past to present.

Book Review: The Blackbird Papers

The Blackbird Papers Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

A rainy night . . . A stranded motorist . . . A Good Samaritan passerby … a Nobel Prize–winning professor . . . The setup for a shocking murder designed to cover up an even more sinister crime . . . 

The Blackbird Papers marks the debut of Ian Smith, a major new talent in crime fiction, and of Sterling Bledsoe, his smart and occasionally combative sleuth. 

World-renowned Dartmouth professor Wilson Bledsoe is returning from a party celebrating his latest honor when he encounters a broken-down pickup on the secluded country road to his home. The next day, the discovery of his body with a vicious racist epithet carved into his chest leads to the quick arrest of two loathsome white supremacists. The local authorities seem ready to accept the case at face value as a racial hate crime. But the murdered professor’s brother, FBI agent Sterling Bledsoe, has inserted himself into the investigation and isn’t ready to buy into this pat solution. A look around his brother’s lab and brief interviews with his students and colleagues pique Sterling’s curiosity about Wilson’s pet project: a nearly completed paper on the mysterious deaths of hundreds of local blackbirds. 

Fast-paced and cleverly constructed, The Blackbird Papers introduces a major new talent in mystery and crime fiction.

I found this book to be an immensely interesting read. It was fast paced and mostly kept me interested to find out what happened to Sterling’s brother. But near the end of The Blackbird Papers, I slowly found myself losing interest. Especially near the end when you find out who kills Sterling’s brother and why.

What made this murder mystery book so interesting to me was going through the process of uncovering the mystery. You have Sterling’s brother who is missing at first until they discover his body. Then when they find Wilson you see the whole process of them examining his body to find out how he was killed and try to find out why. From there, you see Sterling going through his brother’s research, trying to uncover more clues.

I found this part of the story especially to be interesting whenever he uncovered that his brother was trying to discover why an alarming amount of blackbirds were being killed. It made the story that much more interesting because it showed that Ian Smith did a little bit of research to add detail into this book. It also made me want to continue reading The Blackbird Papers to find out who killed Wilson.

I also found Sterling as the main character interesting. Especially since this whole case involved the murder of his brother. I thought the story would be a little different since Sterling was trying to uncover the murder of his brother. But if anything, he seemed more determined to find out who killed Wilson than anything else. I know a lot of that had to do with some emotional problems of his own when it came to his brother, and I appreciated that this book included those details within its pages. While you wish Sterling could’ve gotten some reconciliation with his older brother, you also see his character grow as a result of this case.

I also like that Smith ended the story by Sterling respecting his brother’s last wishes. I found that to be a very touching scene because he goes through a lot in order to solve his brother’s murder and he is finally able to feel peace that his brother is no longer there.

While I enjoyed these aspects of The Blackbird Papers, there was a lot missing from it for me to enjoy the story as much as I wanted to. For starters, while the pacing of the plot started off really wonderful for me, it soon was at a point where it slowed down completely and became predictable. The plot reached this point near the end of the novel when those who didn’t want Wilson’s research to get out tried to frame Sterling for his brother’s murder. Each time Sterling found himself unraveling another piece of the puzzle, he’d have to run away from law enforcement. For me, that started slowing down the storyline because I knew he was close to getting the information he needed. It also felt like Smith added those moments into the story so there’d be action and conflict for Sterling while he’s trying to get to the bottom of the case.

I also found the person responsible for the death of Wilson to be predictable. I don’t know if it’s because I already had a feeling whenever his character was introduced that he was responsible or if the plot in the story was just that predictable for me. The only thing surprising about that part of the story was that more people were in on it than I was expecting. But that overall doesn’t really change the way I feel about the suspect because I still had those feelings from the beginning that this person was responsible.

The Blackbird Papers is an interesting murder mystery novel. I enjoyed it because the overall story kept me wanting to find out what happened next, but I was also disappointed that the killer was too easy for me to predict. I also found the pacing of the novel close to the conclusion to be lacking, but also really enjoyed the ending because Sterling finally found some peace when it came to his own conflict with his brother. It was overall an enjoyable read that I would’ve liked more if the killer wasn’t so predictable to me and if the ending of the story didn’t move so slow.

Book Review: Girls Like Me

Girls Like Me Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

Fifteen-year-old Shay Summers is trying to cope with the death of her father, being overweight, and threats from a girl bully in school.  When she falls in love with Blake, a mysterious boy online, insecure Shay doesn’t want to tell him who she is.   But with the help of her two best friends, as well as an assist by Kermit and Miss Piggy, ultimately Shay and Blake’s love prevails. 
     

Girls Like Me is a fun and fresh poetic take on teen angst, social media and online anonymity, and high school romance.

This book was such a delight for me to read. It was quirky, had a diverse set of characters and the writing style was different from any of the young adult literature I’ve been reading recently. I enjoyed it a whole lot more than I thought I would and was sad when it ended. However, there were some things in the book that were a complete cliché that made the book a little less enjoyable for me to read.

For those who haven’t read this book before, Girls Like Me tells the story of Shay Summers, a teenager who struggles with her weight and trying to fit in at school. After the death of her father, Shay is stuck living with her stepmother Kara and tries to cope with her life by eating. She also makes two good friends who don’t fit in at school just like her. Then one day while online, she chats with a mysterious boy who gives her butterflies and knows how to make her laugh. What she doesn’t know is that this boy is actually the guy she’s had a crush on at school. He wants to meet her, but she’s so insecure about herself that she keeps pushing him away. Their relationship gets put to the test, but will their love prevail? Or are they not meant to be?

What drew me into reading this book was the cover and title. The cover is beautifully illustrated, making the reader want to pick up the book and read it. The title caught my eye too because it made me think this book would be relatable to me and that I’d understand the characters within its pages. While I don’t at all understand what it’s like being considered overweight, I feel like I can relate to Shay’s character anyway. I can relate to her because I love food too and I was bullied in school quite a bit myself, which made me lack a lot of self-confidence.

I also enjoyed reading Girls Like Me because of the writing style. It was written in free verse, which reminded me a lot of author Ellen Hopkins’s books, but also stood out from her work because of the use of social media in the story. It was unique storytelling to me because I haven’t seen too many other books written like this. I also enjoyed this writing style because it made this book an easy read for me.

Girls Like Me Text Image
An example of the text from the book. Can be found on page 4.

Another reason I enjoyed reading this book is because of the diverse cast of characters. There’s not only Shay, who is considered overweight, but her two best friends Dash and Boots are also unique characters too. Dash is her male best friend who struggles with being gay because of his upbringing in a Christian household. He especially has a really rocky relationship with his father because of his sexuality so he tries to change himself in order to please his dad. Boots on the other hand has cancer and is trying the best she can to live each day like it’s her last. But she’s dying and wants really badly to have sex since she knows she doesn’t have too much time left to live. She tries the best she can not to worry Shay and Dash with her sickness by trying to hide how unwell she’s doing, but they both know something is wrong.

And of course there’s Shay who struggles to cope with the loss of her father and eats because it helps her deal with the pain. She’s bullied in school relentlessly because of her weight by a girl named Kelly who enjoys nothing more than seeing Shay miserable. Her relationship with her stepmother Kara isn’t too great because Shay feels like she’s body shaming her. It isn’t until later on in the story that you find out that Kara understands exactly what Shay is going through. I like that this story has all of these characters with different problems and you get to see how they are handled. I also like that this book has a character with body issues because I haven’t read too many books that center around a character like Shay.

However, I do have some criticisms with Girls Like Me. While I overall enjoyed the writing style Lola StVil used, there were times where I found being able to understand it a little confusing. This confusing typically occurred whenever StVil had the story being told from the perspective of Dash and Boots. I was usually confused when this happened because their text didn’t at all have a different style from Shay’s. The only reason I was even able to tell the difference between the three was because of the change in font. Otherwise, I would’ve thought the text was just Shay talking about Dash and Boots’ personal lives.

Another criticism I have for this book is that while the set of characters are diverse, they are pretty cliché too. All of the characters that are really close friends are all of the social outcasts at the school, and they just happen to become good friends because of their differences.

Then, there’s the relationship between Shay and Blake, two people on opposite sides of the social pool. Blake is the typical popular kid who doesn’t notice how popular he is because he only pays attention to Shay. To the point that he doesn’t at all understand why Shay is hesitant about their relationship being out in the open. He’s so clueless, especially close to the end when Shay finds out about the website students at the school made about her and she asks him if he knew about it. He doesn’t at all understand why it’s such a big deal to her, which bothers me since they are supposed to be a couple and he doesn’t at all see why her weight is an issue to her. Their whole relationship was just a big cliché to me and I didn’t really like it because it was too much insta-love.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the ending of Girls Like Me. I thought there’d be a big reveal where we found out why Kelly doesn’t like Shay. Instead, we get no sort of reason other than she just doesn’t want her to be happy, which isn’t really much of a reason at all. If anything, it just shows that Kelly isn’t a great person and she’s just a character in the story put in to cause Shay conflict. I also thought it was a little cheesy because even though I like the Muppets, I just thought the whole thing was a little corny. But at the same time, I also liked the ending because we finally see Shay stand up for herself and call Kelly out on her bullying. We also see her act confident in herself for once, which was something we didn’t see a whole lot of throughout the book. And I feel like Blake finally gets to see the real Shay and understand why she’s the person she is in the story.

Overall, Girls Like Me is such a fun, quirky read. It has a style unlike any other book I’ve read with a set of diverse, relatable characters and was such a delight to read. I definitely recommend this book to people with body issues and people who want to read a book with free verse poetry.

Confessions of A Writer #6: Writing Helps Me Heal

Confessions of A Writer #6 Writing Helps Me Heal Image

Whenever I first started writing, it wasn’t for the purpose of writing about the real-life situations I was going through. It was because I enjoyed it and I wanted to see where my passion would take me. It wasn’t until later on when I really got into writing via my journals and my blog that I quickly realized that writing was a way for me to heal.

For me, not only do I enjoy writing, but I also use writing as a way for me to get my emotions down. Whenever I feel sad, angry, upset, etc., I use writing as a tool for me to talk about whatever’s bothering me. I’ve found that doing this allows me the opportunity to let my feelings out instead of keeping them bottled inside, which essentially helps me feel better long term.

I also find writing helps me come to terms with certain things I’ve dealt with in my life. Life isn’t always easy, and having the chance to write down my thoughts and feelings whenever they strike me leaves me feeling better than before. It leaves me feeling in a much better emotional state of being and allows me to tackle on the world.

Writing is a way for me to heal. It’s the one thing that’s constantly helped me whenever I’ve needed it, no matter what’s going on in my life. It allows me to validate my feelings when nothing else can.

Writing is a personal journey for me, especially when it comes to writing here on my blog. Whenever I’m writing these blog posts and someone comments on what I’ve written, I know I’m not alone. It’s empowering, and I feel like it allows me to let my emotions out even further because I know someone in the world relates to what I’m saying, what I’m feeling. I then want to let that person know they aren’t alone, that I’m here and I know how they’re feeling.

There’s a whole community of us writers out there and I’m happy I get to be a part of it. Even if my community within it is small, I’m glad writing has become such an important part of my life. Because I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Writing has allowed me to open up, allowed me to express so many emotions, to let go. Writing helps me heal, and I don’t know what I’d do without it in my life.

Book Review: A Ship Made of Paper

A Ship Made of Paper Book Cover

Rating: 2 stars

No novelist alive knows the human heart better than Scott Spencer does. No one tells stories about human passion with greater urgency, insight, or sympathy. In A Ship Made of Paper, this artist of desire paints his most profound and compelling canvas yet.

Daniel Emerson lives with Kate Ellis and is like a father to her daughter, Ruby. But he cannot control his desire for Iris Davenport, the African-American woman whose son is Ruby’s best friend. During a freak October blizzard, Daniel is stranded at Iris’s house and they begin a sexual liaison that eventually imperils all their relationships, Daniel’s profession, their children’s well-being, their own race- blindness, and their view of themselves as essentially good people.

A Ship Made of Paper captures all the drama, nuance, and helpless intensity of sexual and romantic yearning, and it bears witness to the age-old conflict between the order of the human community and the disorder of desire.

Overall, A Ship Made of Paper was an okay read for me. I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t necessarily enthralled by the story and characters either.

The main plot centers on Daniel Emerson, a lawyer who moves back to the small town he grew up in with his girlfriend Kate Ellis and her daughter Ruby. While back at home, he meets Iris Davenport, an African-American woman whose son is best friends with Ruby. He becomes deeply attracted to Iris Davenport and begins to explore a deeper relationship with her one snowy night in October when a blizzard traps them inside her home. But this secret relationship ends up affecting every aspect of their lives.

What I enjoyed about the story was the writing. It was very descriptive to the point where I felt like I was right in the story as these events transpired. I especially enjoyed seeing the dialogue in the story because it brought the characters to life even better for me.

What I also enjoyed when reading A Ship Made of Paper is the variety of topics that can be discussed when it comes to this book. These topics include racism, sexual desire, infidelity, interracial relationships, justice (these events take place around the time of the OJ Simpson trial), alcohol addiction, and pedophilia (one of the married characters in the story is in love with a blind girl who he’s fancied since she was a child).

I feel like each of these aspects was wonderfully woven into this story through some of the characters who in some ways represent one of these topics. For example, Daniel’s girlfriend Kate Ellis is a writer who to me seems like a good example of what racism and alcohol addiction look like. She denies being racist (of course), but is convinced that OJ Simpson is guilty and writes about the trial throughout the story. She also calls the police when two boys brake into her home during the storm and is convinced that the boys who broke into her home are the recent prisoners who escaped from jail in the story, despite not at all getting a glimpse of their appearance. She also drinks heavily throughout the book, doesn’t matter what’s going on in her life. She always finds a reason to drink even when her relationship with Daniel is starting to fail. She’s a wonderful example of what racism and alcohol addiction look like and I feel like I can see other topics of discussion through all the other characters too.

While I enjoyed reading A Ship Made of Paper because of the writing and the different topics that can be discussed, there are a whole lot of things I overall don’t like about this story that make it difficult to give it a higher rating. While I enjoy the way the story is written, I found the pace and plot of the book to move very slow. It made reading this book all the more difficult for me because I kept waiting for the plot in the story to move along, to reach a climax that made me reading this book worthwhile. But the story kept disappointing me again and again. There were only two moments in the story that really made me want to continue reading to see what happened next: the night of the blizzard and the night when Marie Thorne goes missing. But even that was short lived for me, especially the night when Marie Thorne goes missing, because excerpts of what happens during the search for her are at the beginning of each chapter. So even the most exciting parts of the book become mundane for me because I already catch a glimpse of what’s going to happen even if I don’t get to see all of it.

I also don’t like that none of these characters are at all relatable to me. I especially don’t understand Daniel and his stalker-like behavior towards Iris Davenport, the woman he desperately wants to be with despite already being in a committed relationship with Kate Ellis. His behavior throughout the book screams creepy to me when it comes to Iris, and I found the way he felt about her was more sexual desire than actual true love. The only time I ever believe their relationship to be real at all is whenever they both have serious discussions about what they’re doing. Otherwise, I’m not really convinced that their loving relationship will last. It just seems like a fantasy relationship to me throughout with nothing substantial holding them together. I know a lot of it has to do with them both being unfaithful to their partners. I guess I just don’t understand why someone who’s already in a relationship would stay with their partner if they knew they were developing feelings for another person.

The biggest criticism I have for A Ship Made of Paper is the last half of the book after Marie Thorne goes missing. It felt as if the plot after this point in the story took a complete nosedive, leaving the reader feeling confused about what’s going on. While I understood what happened that changed everything, I feel almost as if this part of the story was a whole lot worse than the first half of the book, which wasn’t that much better either. While I liked that the end of this book was ambiguous, the rest of the story just lacked any sort of plot. We know Daniel feels guilty about Hampton’s condition, but the way Scott Spencer decides to take the story with him wasn’t at all an improvement. And then I felt like the robbery at the bar didn’t really add anything to the story because everyone then screamed they were robbed by black people. So all it did was show the prejudice of these characters, that they haven’t at all changed since the beginning of the book started.

So overall, A Ship Made of Paper was an okay read for me. I liked that there are a variety of topics that can be discussed when it comes to reading this book, but the plot of the story isn’t something to boast about. The book was fascinating enough to read, but not a story that I’ll reread anytime soon.

Confessions of A Reader #1: Choosing Books to Read is Hard

Stack Of Books

Hello everyone, fellow readers and bloggers alike! Since I started doing my Confessions of A Writer posts, I’ve found I’ve enjoyed talking about writing and I know I’ll enjoy talking about my reading tastes just as much. So it is with great excitement that I bring to you what will be my first of what I hope will be many Confessions of A Reader.

With this first post, I’d like to talk about a struggle I know all readers face: choosing what book to read. Finding the next book to read is always one of the things I struggle with the most when it comes to my own reading. It’s not because there aren’t too many books to choose from, but because there are so many wonderful reading options I never know where to begin.

I mostly read young adult literature, fantasy and mystery. However, I’m not always in the mood to read these books and will definitely go outside of these genres to find something that strikes my fancy.

The way I choose what book to read next is completely random. It entirely depends on what I have going on in my life and if I have any books on my shelf at home that I haven’t read that I’d like to give a try. But even that isn’t a complete guarantee either because I never know when I’ll stumble upon a book I really want to read. For example, The Creeping is a book that was once on my Goodreads to be read list that I decided to buy on my tablet with some Barnes & Noble gift card money I was given for Christmas. Then a couple weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went to Greenville for a day. Along the way, we stopped at 2nd & Charles, which is a local second hand bookstore here in South Carolina. I bought a couple books there with a gift card my boyfriend gave to me as a birthday present, and am planning on reading those books next.

Confessions of A Reader #1 My Books I Brought Home
These are the books I bought at 2nd & Charles in Greenville.

But after I’m done reading these books, I don’t know what I’ll read next. I’ll have to see what I feel like reading on my shelf or maybe I’ll go to my local library and read some books from there.

Either way, readers have a difficult time choosing what book to read next. Because there are just too many books in the world to choose from and not enough time to read them all.

What about you? Do you struggle with choosing what book to read next? And what is your strategy to choose what book you want to read next?

 

Book Review: The Creeping

The Creeping Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Only Stella came back.

Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush – until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets.

Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t.

She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore.

This book wasn’t at all what I was expecting, which was both a good and bad thing for me. I overall enjoyed the story, but there was a whole lot of things with it too that made me enjoy it a lot less.

For starters, the book cover for The Creeping is absolutely gorgeous. It’s gorgeous in the sense that it’s creepy in all of the right ways, making it where the reader wants to dive within the pages to see what the story is going to be about. I know it was one of the things I saw on Goodreads that made me want to read the story, to find out what happened to the characters. To see if the cover matched the overall tone in the book. Whether it does or not depends on the individual reader.

I also enjoyed all of the horror elements in the story, starting from hearing the story about what happened to Stella when she was a child to her looking to uncover the truth of what happened on that day. There was just so much interesting information about the town she lived in and the other girls who went missing that I was interested to see where it’d lead. It made The Creeping a much more interesting read for me because without it, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed this book quite as much. I like that Stella decided to take the matter into her own hands because we learn so much more about the town she lives in and what she’s like as a person that we would’ve never known. It added to the overall tone of the book, which made me want to continue reading to see what happened next.

Related image
Via Giphy.

However, there is just so much with this book that I can’t look past that made me enjoy it less. For starters, I wasn’t fond of most if not all of the characters. Because of what happened in her childhood, Stella ends up becoming one of the popular girls at her school and her best friend Zoey makes her choose between staying friends with her or Sam, the first boy Stella kisses. So despite Stella choosing Zoey over him, Sam still cares about her and tries to be a part of her life. He lets Stella treat him like crap over the years in the hopes that one day she’ll realize how much he cares about her.

While she does eventually realize how much he cares and starts to feel the same way, I felt like their whole relationship was completely unrealistic. Especially since she was still friends with Zoey at the time who cares nothing more than about being popular at their school. I also just feel like Alexandra Sirowy added their romance in the story to add some unneeded drama into the book. Because while Stella and Sam grew up together and had been friends for a really long time, I just didn’t really see their relationship develop well in the story. I pretty much felt bad for Sam, despite not liking him that much either because he seemed desperate to win Stella over. I felt like he deserved a much better person in his life and just didn’t understand why he still cared so much about her when she didn’t take his feelings into account at all.

I also hate her relationship with her best friend Zoey. It feels like it’s extremely toxic because all Zoey wants is to be the most popular girl at their school. It’s to the point where I think she’d be willing to end her friendship with Stella in order to stay at the top. While I get there all in high school and haven’t reached maturity yet, their friendship just didn’t sit well with me at all. Even during the moments when Zoey backed Stella up and supported her, I still didn’t like her because there were a lot of moments when she wasn’t there for Stella too.

I also hated the ending of The Creeping. As someone who believes in the supernatural, I felt like there was so much potential to make the mystery of Jeanie’s disappearance so much more than what Sirowy decided to do. We were given all this information about the town and other lore that I was expecting something more to come out at the end of it. I was deeply invested in the book because of the horror in the story and we are given a predictable ending for the story instead. The ending was predictable because it felt like an obvious choice to make this person responsible for what happened to Jeanie. And for me, that was extremely disappointing because I saw so much potential for something extraordinary to happen instead. It made this book that much more of a disappointment to me because I felt like there was so much more that could’ve been explored.

I overall liked reading this book because the horror in the story made me invested to find out what happened next. However, I wasn’t quite keen on the YA elements in the story, like the romance between Stella and Sam and Stella’s friendship with Zoey was too toxic for me to enjoy. I also didn’t like the ending because it felt too predictable and obvious to me when I felt like there was potential for something more. But the horror in The Creeping was exactly what I needed because it kept me reading to find out more.

Book Review: Redemption (MILA 2.0 #3)

Redemption Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

Mila has been running for her life for so long. But there might be nowhere left for her to go. Especially now that she’s an incredible danger to herself and anyone who dares get close to her.

That’s why Mila has gone into hiding with friend and tech expert Lucas. She can’t take the risk of hurting people worse than the way she hurt Hunter: the boy she’ll always love, the boy who might never forgive her for what she’s done.

But then Mila discovers that General Holland—her ultimate enemy—has plans that are an even bigger threat to humanity than she is. His quest to reclaim Mila is only part of a larger mysterious endgame that will put people’s lives at stake. Mila must make a choice: either push aside her fears and fight him with everything she’s got…or turn her back on the world forever.

After getting to the end of this book, I can definitely say I enjoyed reading Redemption. While the ending itself made me want to cry, the overall direction Debra Driza takes this last book in the trilogy was really enjoyable to read. I felt like we finally got the real answers we needed as to why Sarah (the person who Mila used to be) died in the fire and found out what Holland was planning on doing next.

I found the way the story developed to be quite surprising. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but I went with it because I wanted to see where this would all end up. I also enjoyed reading about Mila’s relationship with Lucas. You could tell there was a good connection there and I really wanted to see where it’d go. While I like Hunter’s character, I found that I actually like Lucas better because he’s understood Mila since the beginning and still wants to help her find out the truth. And at this point in the story, Hunter and Mila’s relationship is pretty much dead anyway.

One of my favorite things about Redemption is the amount of detective work the characters do to find out the truth about Holland and what he’s plotting. In particular, the last half of the book where they are in the school trying to find out what’s going on with the scholarship recipient students. It’s quite an interesting plot in the story I wasn’t at all expecting because then we realize how big of a threat Holland truly is.

I also enjoyed that redemption was a big part of the story too. It came into play with Mila gaining back the trust of some of Quinn’s members of the Vita Obscura and Holland at the end of the book. Because after the events in Renegade, a lot of the characters are still weary of Mila and whether she’s really someone who can be trusted. The same is said with Holland because he is given a choice to make at the end of the story, which I feel like I can’t really get into without ruining the end of this trilogy. But it’s definitely a big choice, I can say for sure.

As the last book in this trilogy that I’ve enjoyed reading, there were still some things I didn’t quite enjoy about this one. For starters, while I enjoyed seeing a connection blossom between Mila and Lucas, I hated that the beginning of Redemption was pretty much the same as Renegade, except that Lucas is the boy with Mila instead of Hunter. But the plot pretty much starts out the same there because they both look together to try and connect Sarah’s death with Holland and to find out what he’s planning on doing next.

I also wasn’t quite fond of the way Driza decided to end this trilogy. I hated it because I felt like Mila deserved so much better after everything she’s gone through and it actually made me want to cry. But it also didn’t really tell us much either because we don’t know what happens with the other characters afterwards. Mind you, I wasn’t exactly expecting this trilogy to have a super happy ending or anything. I was expecting it to have a neat resolution though, and I feel like that didn’t really happen.

I think as a trilogy though, I think that’s one of my biggest problems with it. Because while I’ve enjoyed reading this trilogy overall, I just feel like there’s something missing in the plot. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say that it’s rushed so certain things that happen in the trilogy don’t necessarily make sense to me. The best example that comes to mind for me right now is the Vita Obscura group as a whole. From the beginning of the trilogy, the author made this group sound like it was huge with a lot of members in it. However, the only members of the group that come to help Mila out with uncovering the truth about Holland are the ones she interacts with in Renegade. Then, there’s everything that happens with Holland in general that’s full of plot holes. I know that Mila as an android is supposed to be a secretive military operation that not too many people are supposed to know about. But besides Holland, Quinn, Nicole and Daniel, there weren’t too many other key players who knew about Mila. To me though, that just seemed too convenient because I feel like more people would’ve played a part in Mila’s creation, therefore they’d be playing a big part in the story.

And that’s one of my biggest problems with this trilogy. The story being told overall is unique, amazing and everything I want to read in a science fiction, young adult story. But there’s just so much with the plot that doesn’t add up, isn’t fully explained that makes it hard to wrap your head around and accept what’s been told to you.

However, I still enjoyed reading this trilogy and was sad to see it come to an end, even if the ending isn’t at all what I wanted for Mila. It left me feeling emotionally sad to be done with these books, but also looking forward to whatever book I decide to read next.

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