Book Review, Pete

Maggie Cassidy. Book Review #40

Hi everyone!

This weeks post is about a book I spoke about in last weeks! (that was a long winded way to say it)

Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac follows Jack Duluoz, a teenage athletic star who one night, in a cold New England town meets the plain and beautiful Maggie. The story looks at friendship, family, the value of education and the confusion of love.

I would like to start off by simply saying how confusing this book was. In my life as a reader I have never came across a book as difficult to read as this one – not just in terms of plot but even more so in terms of language.

Kerouac was a part of the Beat Generation of writers and poets and therefore the ‘spontaneous prose’ that the book is written was always going to be more poetic and abstract. Yet at times I would read whole paragraphs and pages and not understand at all what was going on. Books don’t have to lose meaning or plot just to ascend to ‘artistic complexity’. I think that entertainment is important for all fiction and that shouldn’t be lost to language that was too abstract in its vocabulary and form.

That being said the language was beautiful and did end up teaching me something new about reading all together. After finishing this book it became clear to me that Kerouac weaves a story not to excite via plot but instead excite via language on its own. What I mean is the book forces you to read it not to understand but to simply accept: whole pages were confusing but also I read some astoundingly powerful sentences that captured entire emotions in just a few words. It wants you to appreciate words detached from a wider meaning. It’s poetry.

From what I did understand which, to be fair, was a lot of the novel, the plot was well crafted. The pacing was perfect and it really did feel reminiscent of The Perks of Being a Wallflower – one of, if not my favourite book! Make no mistake this novel screams youth.

I’ve tried to capture the ambivalence I feel towards Maggie Cassidy in this book but the best way for you to understand would be to read it.

I give this book a 3.6 out of 5 stars

Keep on reading!

And thanks again Beth.

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves #57

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought this week. Find out more and join in here!

It might look like I bought a lot this week but I was really lucky because of one thing! Towards the end of my college course, I won a £50 gift card that could be spent at one of my favourite bookshops here in the UK – Waterstones.

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I’ve decided I really want to carry on with this series soon, so as soon as I saw this on the buy-one-get-one-half-price table, I added it to the basket.

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Another book I saw on that table is this one! It has a beautiful cover and beautiful colour-edges pages, so I couldn’t resist. (total cover buy. oops)

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I’d just had this book recommended to me so I picked it up and finished it within a couple of days! You can see my review on Tuesday.

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I read this one next as I’ve wanted it for a while, and I just finished it! You’ll be able to read my review later in the week.

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I’ve had this book on my TBR for a long time, and I knew I wanted this cover so I was happy to find it really cheap!

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I told my boyfriend to pick a book too, and we both decided we wanted to read this a while ago. I’m glad we finally picked it up and can both read it!

Did you buy any books this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Book Tag

Book Tag: 20 Questions Pt. 1

Hey, yet another book tag I wasn’t tagged for! But it looked so intriguing I couldn’t help but take it for myself. I found this on Emma’s blog, which is one of my favourite blogs in the world and go check it out! Anyway, one of the things I love to do is share more about the person behind this blog – me. So today I’m going to be writing about 20 Bookish Questions You Never Asked. We have a lot to cover so I’m going to do this in two parts, and let’s start part one now!

1. How many books are too many in a series?

I honestly think this depends on the series, but as an all-rounder I’m going to say 4? And I only say that because four books feels so much more daunting that three!

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

I guess they’re good as long as they’re in a series and as long as I have the next book to read immediately.

3. Hardback or paperback?

Wow this one is always so hard and I could be indecisive about this for so long! I’d say hardbacks because they’re harder to damage and prettier (with under-dust-jacket details too!), but I do have a kind of thing against dust-jackets and sometimes prefer paperbacks.

So it depends on the design, but overall paperback for the cost/storage/ease of travel!

4. Favourite book?

Oh my, I find this question so hard because I swear my favourite book changes all the time but looking at my shelf right now I’m thinking I’ll Give You the Sun stands out the most?

5. Least favourite book?

Okay this one is so much easier. Thirteen Reasons Why. Click here for exactly thirteen reasons why I hate it and it MAKES ME WANT TO SHOUT AND RANT EW.

6. Love triangles, yes or no?

It depends on whether they’re done well, but I guess I’m not against them?

7. The most recent book you DNF’d?

I usually DNF books thinking I’ll pick them up later. The most recent book was The Hate U Give, but only because I bought a load of books while I was one chapter in and wanted to swap really badly.

8. A book you’re currently reading?

I’m currently reading Save the Date by Morgan Matson! I’m really enjoying it even through the cliche feel.

9. Last book you recommended to someone?

I recommended Leah on the Offbeat to my lovely friend Courtney the other day after I finished it! You can see why in my review, which will be up on Tuesday.

10. Oldest book you’ve read?

I think, as far as I can remember, that it’s Jane Eyre, which also happens to be one of my absolute favourite books!

I’m really excited to carry on with this post! Check out my blog next Friday to find out the answers to the final 10 questions.

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Book Review

Review: The Crown (#5) by Kiera Cass

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When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.
Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

So yay, this book is better? This series improved? I mean, looking back on my review of The Heir, not much could have been worse, but I’m very happy to say some of the better parts of The Selection series shone through once again in this book.

I’m very glad to say Eadlyn does improve, thank goodness. She loses at least some of her selfishness even though there were still many times when I rolled my eyes at her somewhat bratty statements that still pop up.

“He smiled. “You are always just Eadlyn. And you are always the queen.”

I guess I could say there was an element of surprise in this book, at least in some more ways than in The One. But saying this, I did know exactly how the book would end. Having spent 4 books getting used to how Cass writes, I kind of guessed what would happen even though the romance just wasn’t really developed. And that’s the disappointing thing, I shouldn’t have known what was going to happen. But it was so damn obvious anyway.

“You are everything to everyone. And infinitely more to me.””

But I have to say it, when Cass goes for the romance, she does it well. There was a few passages that touched my stupid romantic heart so much that I actually shed a few tears. And I couldn’t help but going back to how I felt with the first 3 books in some aspects…because this book is entertaining, easy to read and somewhat enjoyable. I wouldn’t say I liked it like the first 3, but it’s definitely better than The Heir!

★★★
3 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Top Five Wednesday

T5W: Future Classics

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Lainey. You get a new topic every Wednesday, and you list your Top 5 books related to that topic. If you’d like to take part, join the Goodreads group, and add your name to the list of bloggers & booktubers!

Hi everyone and welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday post! I did this topic in March last year, but I think my reading tastes have changed so much that this one is going to be completely different. Talking of my reading habits, I’m really happy to say I’m reading so much more now it’s the summer and I’m not at college. I just finished Leah on the Offbeat and I’ll have a review coming early next week for that one!

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Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal they are swiftly confiscated by his grisley aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
An incredible adventure is about to begin!

I know this might be cliche, but it’s so true. If not already a modern classic, these books are definitely going to become them.

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Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

You might not know this, but I want to confirm I am not The Fault in Our Stars fan. I honestly think it’s overhyped but that’s going to result in a whole rant so let’s just stop there and maybe save that for another post? But just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s going to be a classic one day.

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Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

I think some of these books can already be classed as modern classics, and this one definitely can!

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The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
 

So many new famous dystopians have the chance to end up as classics, but I definitely think The Hunger Games will.

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The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway – a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Oh my gosh, this book is written so beautifully I almost thought it was already a classic as I read it!

Thank you for reading, bookworms! I’ll be back tomorrow with my review of the final book in The Selection series.

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Book Review

Review: The Heir (#4) by Kiera Cass

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Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she’d put off marriage for as long as possible.
But a princess’s life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can’t escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.
Eadlyn doesn’t expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn’s heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she’s always thought.

Oh my god. Why oh why did this series carry on? I was so happy with the end of The One. I cried for gods sake! We really didn’t need to see 20 years on with America and Maxon’s bratty daughter. Okay, I’ve always heard people complain about narrators being annoying etc, but Eadlyn was another level. She is SUCH A BRAT. She spends most of her time complaining, getting massages, and sitting at a desk. I say sitting at a desk because although this book repeatedly says she is ‘working’, all I know her to do is sit in her room looking through forms from the Selected. All of these books have been about the Caste system and how important abolishing it was, yet all Eadlyn does is talk about how beneath her everyone else is, and how she is the best person in the whole world.

“You can be brave and still be feminine. You can lead and still love flowers.”

She’s selfish, self-centred and she even tries to get her brother to choose between her and the love of his life because she doesn’t want him to go. And SHE IS OBSESSED WITH TIARAS. She’s a princess, she can have all the tiaras in the world, and yet she throws a stupid baby hissy fit when a little girl in the palace (someone who claims is like a sister to Eadlyn), borrows one. When this book claimed Eadlyn’s obsession is like a hobby, I actually snorted with laughter. It really sounded so bratty.

“Most importantly, you can be queen and still be a bride.”

So Eadlyn was definitely the worst part about this book, on top of the fact it wasn’t needed. But at least she kind of gets better, I guess. I mean I started seeing tiny spurts of her good side towards the end of this book, and I’m just hoping the next one will be better and more hopeful.

★★
2 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Pete

Currently reading #39

Hi everyone!

Today I want to talk about and hopefully recommend some of the stuff that I am reading right now.

I want to start off by talking about the revelation that I have had regarding reading in general recently:

It is OK to read more than one book at once!!

For a really long time I was literarily repulsed by the idea of dipping into more than one world at once. It felt unnatural, I felt like by dividing my attention I would be enjoying both book’s experiences less. However recently I decided to pick up Jane Eyre (spontaneously) whilst reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (My Harry Potter post is for a whole other time) and found that it was a really enlightening experience.

I’m at a time in my life where I’m growing up and away from YA whilst reading less in general due to the load of work that starting new courses brings. Yet oddly I’ve found that reading more than one thing at once has actually motivated to pick books up more – it is challenging but it is all the more rewarding and fulfilling as a bookworm and I would really recommend trying it out to any of you who had the same reservations as me!

Back to books:

Currently I am reading Emma by Jane Austen and Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac.

  • ‘Emma’ so far has been really interesting. Unlike Pride and Prejudice, Austen does not create a victim in her heroine but instead someone who the reader is almost annoyed with throughout. Although there are still those beautiful stuffy paragraphs that Austen is famous for I do feel that this book is slightly more dynamic then P&P because it talks about women in a more subtle way then being outrightly feminist in my opinion.
  • I have read very little of ‘Maggie Cassidy’ so far but already am getting vibes similar to those I felt when reading ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky. In the simplest of expressions: it feels young.

You can be sure that book reviews will follow for both novels mentioned today!

I wish you all a happy reading week

Also I think I have finally worked out the comment section of WordPress so comment and let me know – do you guys all read more than one book at once? Have you always done? Am I the only one?

Keep on reading.

And thanks again Beth!