Live By Night: Book Review

Live By Night stamp wait for the movie

Live By Night book cover Book: Live by Night by Dennis Lehane

Publisher: William Morrow and Company

Year: 2012

Genre: Crime/Drama

Pages: 402

Rating: ☆☆☆ – Above average

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Ben Affleck (Matt Damon’s bff, every movie in Boston ever made)
Zoe Saldana (Sci-fi goddess: beautiful blue babe in Avatar, beautiful green babe in Guardians of the Galaxy, beautiful human babe in Star Trek)
Scott Eastwood (Clint Eastwood’s fine son, The Longest Ridethe cop in Suicide Squad)
Elle Fanning (Dakota’s little sister, Princess Aurora in Maleficent)

When can I watch?
January 13.

What’s it about?
Mobsters in the 1920s. The story starts during Prohibition in Boston. Joe Coughlin, the son a Boston Police Captain, makes a career of breaking the laws his father enforces and is becoming deeply entrenched in organized crime. One day Joe and his two buddies rob a Albert White’s (a rival mob boss’s) gambling room where Joe meets the beautiful Emma Gould. Emma is involved with Albert but begins an affair with Joe, obviously.

One thing leads to another and Joe finds himself in Tampa, Florida. He becomes involved in the crime ring there and builds his own (very) successful business. In Tampa, he meets the beautiful Graciella Corrales. Joe finds trouble in old mob bosses, the government, local spiritual leaders and his own love life.

What did you think?
I liked but not as much as I hoped to. Boston and old school gangsters are two of my favorite so I thought this would the perfect book for me when I first heard about it. But part of my disappoint lies in how little of the book actually takes place in Boston. While Boston is Joe’s home, the plot quickly moves into Florida and remains there for most of the story. Nothing against Tampa, I just like everything better when it’s happening in Boston.

Overall I liked but wasn’t blown away. The plot was a little slow in some parts for taste, not something I would call a “page-turner.” I was easily able to put it down and sometimes forgot about it for a while, but when I did pick it up I was interested and was never completely bored by the story– just never completely hooked either. This is one of the few books that I think will have a better movie counterpart. Since movies always have to cut out parts of the book anyway, I think I’ll like watching only the best and most exciting parts of the story on screen rather than reading the whole thing. I’m basically hoping the the movie is a “Best of Live By Night.” Also the movie will have Ben Affleck and Zoe Saldana so it’s a win.

Should I read it?
I don’t think it’s for everyone. If you’re really in crime/the mob then I would definitely recommend. If not, I hate to say it but i might just wait for the movie. 😳

Here’s the Live By Night trailer.

The Girl on the Train: Book Review

the_girl_on_the_train_us_cover_2015 Book: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Penguin Group

Year: 2015

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 336

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ – Very good

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Emily Blunt (Anne Hathaway’s fashion-obsessed co-worker in The Devil Wears Prada, John Krasinski’s wife)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho, Rachel Green’s Jennifer Aniston’s husband)
Haley Bennet (Cora from Music & Lyrics, the vengeful wife in The Magnificent Seven)
Allison Janney (Anna Farris’ MomJuno‘s mom)
Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay)

When can I watch?
Right now!

What’s it about?
The story is told from three women’s perspectives. The chapters alternate from Rachel’s narrative (~the girl on the train~), Anna’s narrative and Megan’s narrative.

Rachel is a bit of a big ol’ mess. Her ex-husband left her for another woman, she became an alcoholic, her alcoholism lost her her job, and when she blacks out (which is frequently) she calls/harasses her ex, Tom. Even after Rachel loses her job, she takes the same train to London every day to hide her unemployment from her roommate. She is obsessed by this one house on her route and makes up imaginary lives for the couple living there. Then one day Rachel sees something upsetting as she passes the house and chaos ensues.

Anna is Tom’s old mistress and new wife. She is young and beautiful (as mistresses/second wives tend to be) and a stay-at-home mother to Evie, her and Tom’s baby. Anna hates Rachel. She used to enjoy flaunting her relationship with Tom in front of Rachel, but is now annoyed and frightened by all of the harassing phone calls and visits from her.

Megan is missing. Hers is the only perspective told from the past. Rachel’s and Anna’s narratives start from just before Megan goes missing, while Megan’s narrative is leading up to her disappearance. Megan and her husband Scott are neighbors to Anna and Tom and she helps Anna care for Evie.

What did you think?
This is one of the many books I’ve read because it was marketed as “the next Gone Girl” and it was definitely the closest to reaching that standard. They both had alternating perspectives, a missing woman, page-turning suspense, “Girl” in the title, and a lackluster ending.

Overall I really liked The Girl on the Train. Even though I found Rachel to be extremely frustrating as an alcoholic who is frequently making poor choices, but books wouldn’t be very interesting if they were filled with characters who were great at making decisions all the time. But I liked Rachel for all of her issues. Well, I liked reading about Rachel– not sure I’d be her BFF, but her chapters were the most interesting to read. There’s also something to be said about the “at least I’m not that much of a mess” factor. Reading about Rachel makes you feel good about you. Or as the Germans say, schadenfreude.

The biggest pitfall to having altering narratives throughout the book is that if there’s one character/storyline you are not interested in then there’s a lot of boring chapters for you. While I didn’t feel that negatively about Anna’s chapters, seeing her name at the start of the chapter was slightly deflating. Granted, I still enjoyed reading them to figure more of the story and moving the plot along. But Anna was the most boring of the three women for me. I didn’t dislike her narrative, but I think just by having three different narrators my instinct is to rank them (1. Rachel, 2. Megan, 3. Anna).

Being mostly a really good read, my actual biggest problem was with the end. Without talking about what actually happens (no spoilers here) I’ll just say that it was disappointing. Not as disappointing as the Gone Girl ending, but it was no Fight Club.

Should I read it?
Yes! Especially if you like thrillers– and not to sound like everyone who’s trying to advertise any thriller right now…but if you liked Gone Girl, you’ll definitely like this. You can buy The Girl on the Train used on ThriftBooks.

Here’s the The Girl on the Train trailer (it shows a lot IMHO, watch at your own discretion):

Paper Towns: Book Review

Paper Towns stamped Looking For Alaska 2?

paper towns book coverBook: Paper Towns by John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books

Year: 2008

Genre: YA, Mystery

Pages: 305

Rating: ☆☆☆ – Above average

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Nat Wolff (the blind kid in The Fault In Our Stars)
Cara Delevingne (model for Burberry, Mulberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Jason Wu, and Mother Chucker in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”)

When can I watch?
July 24

What’s it about?
Quentin “Q” Jacobsen has been in love with his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, since their childhood. Margo is more beautiful, more carefree, more funny, more popular and just more than anyone else Q has ever met. But despite being next door neighbors, Q and Margo haven’t been friends since they were kids.

That is until one night Margo sneaks out and asks for Q’s help for a night of pranks, mayhem and revenge. Margo pushes Q way outside his comfort zone (and into a moat…). After their adventurous all-nighter Q goes to school wondering how that night might change his relationship with Margo. But much to his disappointment, Margo has run away (again). At first no one is concerned – it’s not the first time Margo has left town for a few days without telling anyone. But as the days go by Q’s concern grows and he begins to find clues Margo left for him.

With the help of his best friends, Ben and Radar, Q is on a mission to solve this riddle and starts looking for Alaska Margo.

What did you think?
Didn’t I already read Looking For Alaska? Q and Margo are pretty much the same as Miles AKA Pudge and Alaska. Margo/Alaska is the girl you want to be (although I personally don’t care to be either) and Q/Pudge is the boy you want to give a big bear hug to and feed cookies. Q/Pudge is the sweet, shy, thoughtful, lovable, wide-eyed boy that is hopelessly in love with beautiful, wild, charismatic, brilliant and unattainable Margo/Alaska. So since I’ve already read Looking for Alaska, a lot of it felt kind of repetitive. They’re good and interesting characters, but nothing felt new about Q or Margo. But I kind of hate Margo…this might be an unpopular opinion but I think she’s a b!tch.

I get that some people run away or harm themselves or do a multitude of self destructing things as a cry for help, but that does not seem to be Margo’s MO. She just seems flaky, foolish and selfish. She doesn’t even make it clear as to whether Q will find her alive or dead at the end of her little game. Instead of leaving cryptic messages and clues for Q, she could have just left him a note explaining herself. But no, the world had to revolve around the mystery of Margo and she couldn’t make it easy for anyone. But if she did leave a note for Q that would make a very short and very boring book. So literarily, I know Margo has to leave clues for him. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I might have shot myself in the foot by reading The Fault In Our Stars before reading any other John Green books. So far I’ve red three of his books and TFIOS is by far the best one. I keep holding his other books to that standard and keep being disappointed. Not that I didn’t like Paper Towns, I actually really enjoyed it. It’s like wanting a home cooked meal but getting Chicken McNuggets; both are great and delicious, but Chicken McNuggets just weren’t what you were looking for.

Now that I’ve talked about what I didn’t like about Paper Towns I can start praising the good stuff. Yay! I can’t talk about a John Green book without applauding his writing. His writing is equally beautiful and witty. Even during parts when I wasn’t loving the story or characters I still loved reading Paper Towns simply because of the way John Green writes. I want to live in a world where people think and talk like John Green characters – that is, if there were more Qs, Radars, Bens, Pudges, Colonels, Hazels, Gus’s and Isaacs than there were Margos.

Another thing that I love about Paper Towns is the theme of perceptions and expectations vs. reality. There’s a reoccurring idea that people may not actually be how you see them to be, and about not holding who someone is against themselves. My favorite passage from Paper Towns is about that theme, my man Radar summed it up well:

“You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpunctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how it’s going with my girlfriend – but I don’t give a shit, man, because you’re you… I’m too obsessed with a reference website to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. That’s okay, too. That’s me. You like me anyway. And I like you. You’re funny, and you’re smart, and you may show up late, but you always show up eventually.”

Should I read it?
If you like John Green books then you’ll probably like this. If you haven’t read John Green then this isn’t a bad place to start. You can buy Paper Towns at Barnes & Noble for pretty cheap.

Here’s the Paper Towns trailer:

The Scorch Trials: Book Review

The Scorch Trials book cover

The Scorch Trials book coverBook: The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner, #2) by James Dashner

Publisher/Year: Delacorte Press/2010

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopia

Pages: 360

Rating: ☆☆☆ ½ – Good

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Dylan Bæ’Brien (the funny friend in Teen Wolf and the moody, sarcastic one in The Internship)
Ki Hong Lee (Dong from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (the adorable love-struck child in Love Actually)
Aidan Gillen (Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish from Game of Thrones)
Nathalie Emmanuel (Dany’s interpreter and Grey Worm’s boo in Game of Thrones)

When can I watch?
September 18.

Make sure you read The Maze Runner book first!

What’s it about?
Thomas’ shitty life. There is so much more going on with WICKED than anyone thought; The Maze was only Phase I and the Gladers were only Group A, there’s a whole new Phase and a Group B they have yet to encounter. Thomas and the Gladers thought their troubles were finally over when they escaped The Maze, but that was only the beginning. In The Scorch Trials, the Gladers find themselves trapped in their dormitory with no food or water, until a WICKED representative (Gillen, maybe?) tells the boys about Phase II: The Scorch Trials.

When the Gladers hear about what is in store for them, they wonder if they were better off in the (relative) safety of The Maze.

What did you think?
I’ve read it twice and liked it better the first time around. There was a lot more time spent before the actual Scorch Trials began than I remembered, so it felt like it was dragging a little until it got to the “good” part. In my Maze Runner book review I mentioned how I couldn’t put the book down even though I read it twice…that was not the case with The Scorch Trials. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book, just not as much as I thought I did (or as much as The Maze Runner).

I still love Thomas, Minho and Newt just as much, although there’s less Minho and Newt than I like. But the introduction of Brenda helps lessen the blow of missing two of my favorite guys. When I first met Brenda I did not like her, but as the story progressed she really started to grow on me and she ended up being one of my favorites. But I think I liked her more the first time I read it…or maybe I didn’t start to really like her until the next book.

Another factor that affected my second reading of The Scorch Trials is that the first movie altered my opinion of some characters and the new characters had already been cast. After The Maze Runner movie I liked Teresea a lot more than I did in the book and that carried over into reading The Scorch Trials. Additionally, I really liked Brenda and imagined her to look like Shay Mitchell and not at all how they cast/styled her in the movie. So I was frustrated while reading scenes with Brenda because I knew she was going to be different in the movie.

Should I read it?
Yes, it’s worth a read. I don’t how you can read The Maze Runner and not want to find out what happens next/what happened before to get them to that point.

The trailer was released yesterday and it looks really good. From the trailer it looks like the movie is going to diverge even more from the book but I don’t hate it…if they can pull it off I might actually like it more than the book. *gasp*
For more thoughts check out The Scorch Trials Trailer Breakdown!

The Ultimate Book Tag

First, I’d like to thank Summer at xingsings for tagging me in The Ultimate Book Tag. While I don’t truly see this as the actual ultimate book tag…I decided to play along anyway. Without further ado, let’s get to the tag.

The Ultimate Book Tag

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?
I’m not sure…I used to all the time when I was younger, but I haven’t tried in a long time in fear of getting sick.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?
First one that came to mind was Tahereh Mafi (author of Shatter Me) because she crosses out so much of the narrative and then says something different. At least in the beginning, her main character would say/think a whole paragraph that would be crossed out and replaced by a single sentence. It happens less frequently as the story goes on and as she gains more power/confidence, but I thought it was really unique.

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.
Harry Potter. Obviously.

  • The story is better
  • The writing is better
  • Everything is better

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books)?
I hate holding things so I don’t usually have a bag, I try to put anything I need in my pockets. But if I do need a bag for whatever reason I usually have either the book I’m currently reading or The Outsiders, pens, a crossword puzzle book, chapstick, a small notebook, lotion, nail clippers and there’s usually receipts/ticket stubs/etc.

5. Do you smell your books?
When I get new book or one comes in the mail I usually give a good sniff in excitement.

6. Books with or without little illustrations.
I just like little illustrations at the beginning of chapters, like in Harry Potter.

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?
Twilight and Shatter Me.

I read Twilight when I was in high school before anyone knew what it was and I loved it. I was totally obsessed with the series, I had a t-shirt and everything. Then after I saw the first movie I realized that it’s actually terrible.

The first time I read Shatter Me I absolutely loved it, I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t wait for the next book to come out. I made my best friend read it and when he finished he said he knew why I liked it so much, Juliette (the main character) is so dramatic and he felt like he was reading what goes on in my head. So I read it again keeping what he said in mind and found it to be absolutely true. Juliette’s stream of thoughts are so over-the-top in a way that is hilarious and annoying (which I often find true about myself). She spits out the most dramatic things about the most casual situations, such as: “My heart is a water balloon about to explode. My lungs are swinging from my ribcage. I feel as though every fist in the world decided to punch me in the stomach.” I have also been known to say dramatic things, so it didn’t surprise me that I didn’t notice how dramatic Juliette was in my first reading. Even though the writing is really cheesy, I still love this series.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
I don’t think so? I used to get in trouble for staying up too late reading but I think that’s true for a lot of bookworms out there.

9. What is the tinniest book on your shelf?
Probably The Outsiders.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?
I’m not at home and I’d have to check that one.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?
I only write for my blogs. The only book I could see myself writing is an autobiography (not that I honestly believe I’ll ever be known well enough that it will ever be a book I need to write). I do love writing, but I don’t think I’m an author.

12. When did you get into reading?
I’ve loved reading since I was a little kid, throughout middle school and high school I always I had a book with me. Freshman year of college I took a break from being a bookworm, I don’t know how or why. But sophomore year when I read The Hunger Games I remembered how much I love reading and haven’t stopped reading since.

13. What is your favourite classic book?
I haven’t read that many, but my favorite is To Kill A Mockingbird.

14. In school what was your best subject Language Arts/English?
Mr & Mrs Smith

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?
I’d accept it and be grateful, then probably sell it online or regift it.

16. (Apparently Question 16 was supposed to be here, but now it’s disappeared?)

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while blogging?
Not posting regularly.

18. What is your favorite word?
Serendipity. I love how it looks, sounds and what it means.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?
I’m not sure if my associations with these words align with everyone else’s, but I consider myself more of a dork. A little bit of nerd. Not at all a dweeb.

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?
Uhm…vampires? I haven’t read any fairy books.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
Shapesifters because of Animorphs. (I haven’t read any angels books either)

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?
I don’t really care for either?

23. Zombies or Vampires? Why?
Vampires, I don’t love either but I’m really not into zombies at all.

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?
Neither? But if I had to pick I would probably pick forbidden love because I’ve read way too many love triangles.

25. And finally: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?
Definitely action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in.


Here’s who I tagged:

Katie @ Bookish Tendencies
Jenn @ A Daily Rhythm
James @ Book Guy Reviews
CK @ CK’s Reading Corner
Poulami @ Daydreaming Books
Casey @ Inspired By The Page
Todd @ ToddMedicii
Becca @ Becca and Books

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The 2 Websites Every Book Lover Must Know

I’ve talked about about both of these websites in my posts, but it’s time you know more about them and why they are amazing.

1. Goodreads
Goodreads logo

I joined Goodreads about a year ago and, as an emphatic bookworm, it’s one of the best things to happen to me. It’s a social network but for books instead of people. *Heaven open, angels sing* HALLELUJAH! The book gods have spoken, and they are pleased. Goodreads is the best way to keep track of books you want to read, organize the books you’ve read, see what books your friends have read and it will even suggest books you might like based on your book ratings.

You can create different “shelves” and organize your books however your heart desires. I love organizing my books because: 1. I’m a little OCD; and 2. It makes it very easy to find books to suggest to friends. I read so many books that I cannot keep track of them all, but I can just look at my Goodreads shelves, see what I rated different books and make recommendations accordingly.

Another great thing is that you can be as social or antisocial as you want and still get a lot from the website. You can connect with your Facebook friends and see what books they’ve read and how they rated them, you can join an online book club and join in conversations to make new friends, or you can never friend anyone ever and just find great books to read. All legitimate options and equally great choices.

2. Thriftbooks
Thriftbooks logo

Thriftbooks is probably the greatest thing to happen. Ever. Its tagline is “Spend less. Read more.” Are you kidding? What is more perfect than that? Besides a brunch date with Harry Styles, nothing. Up until my discovery of Thriftbooks, the biggest struggle of my life was deciding whether to buy or borrow books. My dream is have a library of my own, a room just filled with books upon books that are all mine. But, as a constantly broke college student, it’s hard to justify buying books when you can take them from the public library for free. On the other hand, it’s impossible to grow a library if you always have to return the books you read.

Enter Thriftbooks — the answer to all my prayers. This magical website is a place where you can buy books for cheap. So. Cheap. I’m talking $2.89 cheap. Not all the books are that cheap, but you can get most books for a single digit price. There’s also some great 3 for $7.99 deals. They’re used but you can choose whether you want “Good,” “Acceptable,” etc. But all the books I’ve gotten have been in great condition. I’m not fancy, I don’t need brand new books. As long as it’s readable and there aren’t any actors on the cover, it’s good enough for me.

But wait! There’s more! The shipping is FREE! *fireworks explode and chocolate rains from the sky* You can order any book and it will ship anywhere in America absolutely free! You can even get a 50¢ discount if you order more than one book from the same location. They also offer gift cards which makes the perfect gift for any bookworm. *hint hint*

The Maze Runner: Book Review

The Maze Runner book cover artBook: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Publisher/Year: Delacorte/2009

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopia

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Outstanding

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Dylan O’Brien (the best friend in Teen Wolf)
Will Poulter (the “son” in We’re the MillersThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (the adorable love-struck child in Love Actually, the warg guy who gets seizures and hangs out with Bran in Game of Thrones, Ferb of Phineas and Ferb)

When can I watch it?
NOT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 19. UGH.

What’s it about?
Thomas (O’Brien) wakes up in what appears to be a large freight elevator and doesn’t remember anything about himself besides his name; he has no idea where he is, where he’s been, who is mother is or even how old he is. Eventually the elevator stops and the doors open from above him and he sees a group of teenage boys staring down at him. Once he’s out he finds out he’s in a place called the Glade — a huge piece of land with a few shacks were the boys live, a farm for food and a small area of trees. But the most intriguing part about the the Glade is that it is in the center of a giant unsolvable maze.

The boys (Gladers) have been there for two years with a new boy (a Greenie) coming up from the Box once a month. No one knows how or why they are there. Like Thomas, the only thing anyone can remember is his name. Then things get shaken up because the next day the Box opens again and there’s a girl inside. Game. Changer. No one knows what this means or what to think of the girl or the ominous note that came with her. All the Gladers know is that they have to keep trying to solve the Maze no matter how hopeless it may seem.

What did you think?
I LOVE THIS BOOK. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Yes, it’s another young adult post-apocalyptic trilogy…but it’s one of the best of it’s kind (second only to The Hunger Games). I’ve read it twice and I still couldn’t put it down the second time around even though I knew what was going to happen. It’s. So. Good.

Along with Thomas, I just had to find out who all these boys (and girl) were, who put them there and why. I couldn’t put the book down because I had to learn everything I could about the Glade and about the Maze from Alby, the apparent leader, and Newt (Brodie-Sangster), one of the older boys and seemingly second-in-command. Dashner achieved the perfect balance of information and suspense; he tells you enough so you feel like you’re starting to figure things out, but not enough that you can put it all together. He teases you with pieces of the puzzle to keep you hooked but doesn’t let you see the big picture until the end.

I also happen to be in love with all the characters. Okay, not all the characters, but enough of them so that it works. I love Thomas, I love Newt, I love Minho and I love this book. Minho is a Runner (someone who runs throughout the Maze looking for a way out) and he is my favorite. His sarcasm and sharp tongue are some of the highlights of The Maze Runner and makes me want to be his friend. Newt is just perfect. He’s a great leader, kind and wonderful. Although I did imagine him to be more strong country boy (think: Southern Zac Efron) and less like the adorable Thomas Brodie-Sangster, but we’ll see how it goes. And, of course, our lead Thomas is a dandy fellow too. He’s got a good heart and thick skull, so he may not be the most original hero but it doesn’t make him unlikable. I can’t wait to see him played by Dylan O’Brien, it seems like a perfect match.

Should I read it?
Definitely! You can buy it on Amazon or Thriftbooks.

Here’s the trailer and it’s perfect.