Book Review: Mosquitoland

MosquitolandTitle: Mosquitoland

Author: David Arnold

Series: none

Edition: paperback

Blurb: After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

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I have so many other reviews that I should probably get written first, but I had to jump ahead to this one, especially since so many people were curious about this one.

First things first – I LOVED this book. I probably could have read it in one sitting if I had the time. I loved everything about Mim – her quirkiness, her dark sense of humor. But before I get into my review, I wanted to address a few things that I saw on GoodReads where people were giving this one star reviews.

Is this book for everyone? Of course not! There are very few books that are. I saw several people say that David Arnold was trying to copy John Green’s formula of making teenagers way too deep and philosophical for their age. Okay, first of all, John Green has sold a lot of books using this formula, if you want to call it that, and he has garnered a lot of teenage fans who could identify with his characters. If that was David Arnold’s inspiration, it’s not a bad one to use. Besides that, every time I see someone make that complaint about Green or Arnold or any number of YA authors, I feel like they are denigrating teenagers as a whole. Sure, many of us were chuckleheads at that age, but I knew and know a lot of very mature, thoughtful, philosophical teens who would fit very easily into any of these narratives.

The other complaint about Arnold’s writing that I saw was that the experiences Mim has were too convenient and too unrealistic. Um, hello? This is FICTION! It’s not a true story! If a character or a scenario exists as only a plot point, well then, that was the author’s choice. Whether or not it was a good choice can be debatable, but don’t get down on authors for making their fiction too fictitious. That’s kind of their job, unless they are writing a biography or something, and even then, there’s some wiggle room.

I thought this book was beautifully written. I love when characters do something that I know I would never have the courage to do, in this case, take off across the country to find out answers. During the trip, Mim meets all kinds of people, including the sweet old lady, Arlene; the creepy “Pancho Guy;” Walt, a lovable kid with Downs Syndrome; and many more (including one major one that I am leaving out because I don’t want to spoil some things).

At several times in the book, Mim is writing letters to “Isabel,” someone we don’t fully understand until the very end of the book.This is one that I am looking forward to re-reading some day so that I can go back and see how the letters make me feel now that I know who Isabel is. I’m sure that will change some things. She also shares many memories about her mother, who she doesn’t live with. We don’t find out why until the end, and although it wasn’t a huge surprise, it still packs a pretty hard punch. We also see her trying to come to grips with her father and new stepmother, which includes a whole lot of resentment and anger.

I thought this book was great. I gave it five stars on GoodReads.

WWW Wednesday for August 24th

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Go!

What are you currently reading?

GenesisJust started reading Genesis by Christie Rich, the third book in the Elemental Enmity series. I’m still on the fence about this series, to be honest, but I might still carry on through it. Only one book left after this. I like the beginning of this one so far, much better than the second book. So we’ll see.

What did you recently finish reading?

MosquitolandI finished reading Mosquitoland by David Arnold and it was sooooo good! I really, really, really enjoyed it. I’m working on my review for it, but I’m so backlogged in reviews I need to post, it may take a while for me to get it on here. But do check it out – this book was great!

What do you think you’ll read next?

HorizonI will definitely read Horizon by Christie Rich, which is the last Elemental Enmity book. I want to see where she takes this, which will let me know whether or not I would recommend the whole series. So far the first book was okay, the second book was confusing, but the third book is starting out not too bad.

There are my answers for the week! Please leave yours in comments!

 

Added to GoodReads – August 22nd

 

goodreads

Getting back to blogging means finding out a bunch of new books that I want to read! I started doing this to feature not only the books that I find through various meme days (Top Ten Tuesday, WWW Wednesday – those two are especially dangerous!), but also to feature the bloggers who have recommended these books and have drawn me to them. I love the book blogging community so much!

Here are three books that are getting added to my GoodReads:

  • Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn – This sounds like a fun bit of magical realism, which I enjoy. A bunch of wishes made during a toast of moonshine somehow come true – and not in a good way. This book was recommended by Chrissi at ChrissiReads as part of her WWW Wednesday/This Week in Books post.
  • The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel – A heat wave followed by a 13 year old claiming to be the devil? Now that sounds interesting! I found out about this one from Claire at Art and Soul from, you guessed it, her WWW post. She also wrote a great review where she explained that, while she didn’t love this book, it was perfect for someone like me, looking for darker, weighty reads.
  • Extracted by Tyler H. Jolley & Sherry D. Ficklin – Found this through Laura at FUOnlyKnew. Her blog is awesome! She always has giveaways, and that was the case with this one. There are still two days left to enter! She featured an excerpt from the book, which sounded really good. I like time travel books, but find that they are very hard to do right. This one sounds like things could go awry in a really good way.

Anything good added to your TBR this week? Let me know in comments!

Double Review: Cress and Winter by Marissa Meyer

Titles: Cress and Winter

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3 & 4

Edition: e-book

CressBlurb (Cress): In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

WinterBlurb (Winter): Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

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Finally trying to catch up on my book reviews! Yay!

What can I say about this series that hasn’t already been said? Whenever a series starts getting a lot of hype, it is rare that the follow ups live up to expectations. These two last books blew my expectations out of the water.

Cress is probably my favorite character out of the entire series. She is so adorable! Her discovery of Earth after spending her entire life in a satellite above it is so full of childlike wonder. It’s beautiful to read, and such an interesting take on the Rapunzel fairy tale.

I think that’s what I like best about this series. It takes familiar stories and spins them in a completely new and interesting sci-fi, dystopian direction. And Meyer does it brilliantly, bringing the story to a gripping conclusion that I could not put down. Each book adds new depth and life into this world and each one gets better and better.

Five stars. Both books. Actually, all four books. They are awesome.

Booking Through Thursday – August 18th

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday features a new question prompt each week. This week’s question:

What’s the most mind-blowing, world-changing book you’ve ever read? (Or article, poem, whatever.)

This was surprisingly hard for me to answer. I couldn’t think of a book I’ve read that was world-changing, so to speak, so I am picking a book that changed my world, particularly my reading world. That would be Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings.

This would probably not seem very mind-blowing or world-changing to most people, but it changed things pretty significantly for me. It was the first fantasy novel I had ever read and it is definitely what pulled me into the genre. I had wanted to read fantasy before, but looking at books in the bookstore was overwhelming. Everything was set in series, and even the series had multiple “series” within the series. I had no idea where to start. So this was what I picked and was immediately hooked.

It was also what originally got me involved with books online. After reading this series, I really wanted someone to talk to about it, but no one around me had read it, or was likely to (although I finally convinced my mom to many years later). It led me to find the Mallorean Tavern website, which has had many incarnations since then, and was the first online forum I ever joined and where I made my first online friends, people I had never (and mostly will never) meet in person, but who I felt an immediate, strong connection with. So in that sense, this book definitely did change my world.

If I was going to go with books that blew my mind, I have a few runners up: Feed by Mira Grant, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare, and pretty much everything written by John Green.

Please let me know what books would fit this category for you. I’d love to read it!

WWW Wednesday for August 17th

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Go!

What are you currently reading?

Dark MatterAs I mentioned yesterday, I am currently reading Dark Matter by Christie Rich, the second book in the Elemental Enmity series. Also as I mentioned yesterday, I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. It feels a bit disconnected from the first book of the series and I’m not sure whether it’s the writing or if it’s just me and my brain not thinking right.

MosquitolandI am also reading Mosquitoland by David Arnold. I only just started this one, but it’s a road trip book and I always like those. I know very little about this book or this author – I just saw it at the bookstore and it looked interesting, so I grabbed it. We’ll see how it is.

 

What did you recently finish reading?

FiveThe last thing I finished was Five by Christie Rich, the first Elemental Enmity book. I liked that one pretty well, so I don’t know what my problem is with the second book, which is why I’m still reading it. Which leads me to . . .

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

GenesisI will probably read Genesis by Christie Rich next, unless this second book completely turns me off. That isn’t likely – I’m usually pretty forgiving when it comes to writing, just because I have tried to do it and I know how incredibly difficult it is. Maybe the third book will turn it back around for me. I’ll probably start something else as well when I finish Mosquitoland since I want to try and read at least two books at a time. GoodReads says I am 16 books behind my goal pace, and while it is doubtful I’ll catch up after taking so much time off reading, I’m still going to give it a go!

So that’s my reading for the week! Please leave your WWW in comments!

Teasers and Top Tens – August 16th

Teaser-Tuesdays-PurpleTeaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Miz B at Books And A Beat. Here are the rules if you would like to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I sat upright and gasped. The little dog was gone and a giant had claimed his place. He panted happily then licked the side of my face again. I tried not to cringe. I didn’t want to upset the beast. Was this supposed to be a joke? “Very funny, Gibbit. What did you do with the other one?”

~ Dark Matter by Christie Rich

I got the first book of this series, Five, off of BookBub. It was pretty good, but I’m feeling disconnected to this second book for some reason.

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toptentuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week they are giving us some options – the original topic was “Top Ten Books Set in ________.” Any setting you want. I am choosing:

Top Ten Books Set in a Dystopian World

  1. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins – I would be remiss if I didn’t include this one, since it was what first introduced me to dystopian books in the first place. I know a lot of people think it’s overhyped, but I love these books.
  2. 1984 by George Orwell – I got to read this one in my one attempt at grad school. Even wrote a paper on it’s use of language and rhetoric. I feel that any list of dystopian literature has to have this one on it – it’s the granddaddy of them all!
  3. The Newsflesh series by Mira Grant – Gotta have some zombies on your dystopian list! I absolutely loved the world building in this series, how it was a zombie apocalypse story, but the zombies were not center stage – it was all about how humans had to evolve in order to deal with them.
  4. The Program by Suzanne Young – I read this book in almost one sitting, it was that good. I didn’t realize there was a second book in this series, so I will need to try and find that one soon.
  5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Love, love, love this book. It is one of my go-to books on my phone if I’m out somewhere and need something to read really quick. I’m both excited and scared of the movie they are planning to make.
  6. Pawn by Aimee Carter – Add this to the list of books that I need to finish a series on. I got this book as an ARC through NetGalley and was hooked from the very beginning.
  7. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – I first read this book in college and it nearly killed me. I was devastated by it but loved it so much as well. It starts off seemingly very charming and unassuming, but it packs a punch.
  8. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau – I picked this up for my kids at first, but had heard a lot about it and ended up really liking it for myself. It’s a perfect introduction into dystopian fiction for younger readers.
  9. Skinned by Robin Wasserman – Bought this at the used bookstore because I had heard about this author and yet hadn’t read any of her books. Ended up loving it and tracked down the other books in the series as well.
  10. Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I hadn’t originally thought of this one as a dystopian setting, but GoodReads says it is, so it must be true. I devoured this series earlier this year. It was amazing.

Speaking of GoodReads, in scrolling through lists to assemble my own list, I found a whole bunch of books I could easily add. If you have any dystopian books that you loved and that I did not put on my list, please let me know! I love getting book recommendations (even if my TBR is so huge, it’s going to take over my life).

Please leave your teasers and top tens in comments!