Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Review: History Is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course. 
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart. 
If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Review: Well, that was depressing. I guess you can say that about all of Adam Silvera’s books. Just look at the titles. They’ll tell you exactly what you’re getting into.

In History Is All You Left Me, Griffin’s ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident. At the funeral, Griffin meets Jackson, who had been dating Theo at the time of his death. The boys develop an unhealthy obsession with all things Theo. They want to walk where he walked, see what he saw, feel what he felt. But, if they want a future, they’ll have to learn how to leave the past behind.

I loved Silvera’s first book, More Happy Than Not. It’s beautifully written, unique, relatable. I had massive expectations for History Is All You Left Me. Did it live up to my expectations? Not really. It’s a good book, but I expected more.

The characters are realistic. They’re awkward, nerdy, and very messed up. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but they invent some terrible ways of coping with Theo’s death. Still, you can’t help but love them. They’re sweet and (somewhat) honest. (In messed-up ways.) I was rooting for them, but I also wanted to punch them in their faces. Hard. It’s an odd situation.

For me, the most interesting part of the story is what it says about relationships. We never completely leave old relationships behind. They always change us in some way. We bring those changes with us into our new relationships. That seems super obvious, but I had never really thought about it before. It’s hard to fully “get over” somebody because that person changed us. We can’t undo our history, but if we want a future, we can’t live in the past. Take the best parts of your history with you and keep moving forward.

“History is nothing. It can be recycled or thrown away completely. It isn’t this sacred treasure chest I mistook it to be. We were something, but history isn’t enough to keep something alive forever.” – History Is All You Left Me 

“Time doesn’t heal all wounds. We both know that’s bullshit; it comes from people who have nothing comforting or original to say.” – History Is All You Left Me

As much as I love the characters, I got bored with the plot. I’ve said before that I’m not a romance fan. I couldn’t get interested in the never-ending Theo obsession. I understand that Griffin has an obsessive personality. I also understand that when people die, you obsess about them for a while. Still, the Theo drama grated on my nerves.

Theo is a nice kid (mostly). There’s nothing wrong with him (mostly). He’s (mostly) a good boyfriend to Griffon and Jackson. As a reader, I like Theo, but I don’t love him. Since I didn’t share the characters’ Theo obsession, I got bored reading about it. I badly wanted this book to have a subplot so I could get some time away from Theo.

I also think the writing got a little heavy-handed at times. For the most part, the writing is fabulous, but sometimes I felt like the author was trying really, really hard to make me sad. I don’t have emotions, so it didn’t work. That might just be my dysfunction. I know that other people found the book sad.

Griffin isn’t a reliable narrator, which is something I always appreciate in novels. The ending caught me off-guard (in a good way). I didn’t see that coming. All of my boredom vanished when Griffin started confessing his secrets. They’re very scandalous secrets.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It didn’t live up to the high expectations I had from More Happy Than Not. However, I liked it enough that I’m excited to read They Both Die At The End.

“One night we argued for a solid hour over who would win in a duel between Lord Voldemort and Darth Vader. I'm surprised we're still friends.” – History Is All You Left Me

Monday, August 28, 2017

Discussion: I Watched Game Of Thrones Season 7, And I Have Thoughts

Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts At Midnight host the 2017 Discussion Challenge.

The season is over, guys! I’m completely freaking out. What am I supposed to do with my life? Now I have to think about politics, or cleaning the house, or other equally horrible things.

I’ve read quite a few of these Game of Thrones wrap-ups this season. Bloggers are always so organized about them. I’m not going to be organized. I’m just going to blather at you stream-of-consciousness style. Also, I’m stealing Arya’s idea and making lists. I’m sorry about any spelling mistakes. I Googled most of the names, but in Westeros, excessive vowels seem to be in fashion. 

I'm spoiling EVERYTHING ahead. Beware. 

I Watched Game Of Thrones Season 7, And I Have Thoughts

List of people/things I’d like to see stabbed: 

  • Cersei Lannister 
  • Bran Stark 
  • Sansa Stark
  • Euron Greyjoy 
  • All zombies 
  • Daenerys Targaryen (occasionally)

Singing boy appears on dragon show. Twitter loses mind: What did you think of Ed Sheeran’s appearance on the show? It’s mildly annoying that the scene was written just for him, but it’s not annoying enough to harass Ed on Twitter. Be nice on Twitter, people! It’s enough of a cesspool without us hating each other over a TV show. 

Lady Olenna wins at death: “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.” I had a feeling that Lady Olenna was going to die this season. She was one of my favorites, so I was sad when she got poisoned, but her deathbed (death chair?) murder confession was so good. I’m glad she got the last word.

List of people/things I’d be devastated to see stabbed: 

  • Tyrion Lannister 
  • Jon Snow 
  • Ser Davos 
  • Bronn (does he have a last name? Or is he so awesome he doesn’t need one? Like Cher?)
  • Arya Stark 
  • Sam Tarly and Gilly
  • Yara Greyjoy 
  • More animals. Leave the critters alone!

Much water. Such drama. What was up with that magic river in The Spoils of War episode? The river is shallow when the horses are galloping through it. When Jaimie and Bronn fall in the water, it’s suddenly ocean-deep. Stop drowning so dramatically, guys. It’s a puddle. 

List of people who need wicked-awesome redemption arcs in which they become the most badass heroes ever. (Stabbing them is optional): 

  • Jaimie Lannister 
  • Theon Greyjoy 
  • Jorah Mormont
  • (Occasionally) Daenerys Targaryen

A stupidly brilliant idea that literally no one except me wants to see happen: Can Ramsay Bolton please become a snow zombie? I know that he was eaten by hungry dogs, and his corpse is frozen dog poop, and zombified dog poop is (probably?) useless, but he’d be the most psychotic zombie ever! Zombie Ramsay Bolton would be my favorite character. Theon Greyjoy should kill Zombie Ramsay. Someone email this idea to the show producers. I’ll wait.

Bran’s useless superpower. Am I the only one who finds Bran Stark annoying? I’ve just never cared about his three-eyed storyline. Also, he was like, “I have to tell Jon his real name!” Shouldn’t he also tell Jon that Cersei doesn’t plan to keep her promises? Wouldn’t that be helpful information? Shouldn’t he be using his power to spy on Cersei instead of on the sex lives of dead people? (Insert joke about perverted teen boys here.)

List of moments that gave me minor heart attacks and probably shortened my lifespan by at least ten days: 

  • Finding out that the season would only have seven episodes 
  • Theon jumping overboard instead of saving his sister 
  • Drogon getting shot with the Lannister’s anti-dragon gun 
  • Jaimie and Bronn almost getting barbecued by Drogon 
  • Viserion getting killed (and then un-killed) 
  • Whenever the camera zooms out and shows a million zombies 
  • Tyrion telling Cersei to kill him
  • When Sam took credit for Gilly discovering the marriage annulment. Dude, I love you, but not cool
  • When the wall got blasted down. Tormund better have survived that because he needs to make monster babies with Brienne. I was promised monster babies!

The first three episodes were kinda boring. I know that they were building up to the epicness that was episodes 4-7, but they were still kinda boring. Cersei didn’t even seem upset that all her kids were dead. Except for the small Yara-and-Theon-related heart attack I had at the end of episode 2, everything was very meh.

Daenerys trolls Jon. One of my favorite scenes is when Jon shows Daenerys proof of the zombies in the cave. Then she ruins it with the “bend the knee” stuff. Daenerys has a one-track mind. Become queen, no matter how many awkward moments it creates. 

List of moments that made me happy: 

  • All the family reunions 
  • Those annoying Sand Snake girls finally dying 
  • Any scene with Sam in it 
  • Jon petting Drogon 
  • When the Hound threw a rock at a zombie. (I don’t know why he did it. For lolz, I guess? That island looked pretty boring. He had to liven things up.)
  • Theon talking to Jon and deciding not to be a coward (finally!)
  • Sansa and Arya teaming up to kill Littlefinger
  • Jaimie and Cersei not agreeing about the zombie threat. (Please stab her, Jaimie!)

Jon Snow shows off his self-control (and makes me feel like a horrible person). When Jon reunites with Theon on the beach, he doesn’t punch Theon in the face. I was impressed. I would’ve knocked Theon’s teeth out for all the crap he put the Starks through.

#TeamArya vs #TeamSansa: Who would make a better Lady of Winterfell? I’m on Team Arya because I don’t always trust Sansa’s decisions, but I was so happy when they teamed up to kill Littlefinger. He’s finally gone! Yes! Yes! Yes!

List of game-changing moments: 

  • Sam curing Jorah and then going North 
  • Daenerys barbecuing everyone 
  • Gilly being semi-ignored by Sam while she says important stuff 
  • The Night King zombifing Viserion 
  • Jon Snow “bending the knee”
  • The wall falling

Epic line: “I read the book and followed the directions.” – Sam on how he cured Jorah. Proof that bookworms will save the world.

Losing the plot: The thing that irritates me about this season is how plotlines would start and then vanish for several episodes. Like, what’s happening with Ellaria Sand and Tyene in Cersei’s dungeon? What is Greyworm doing with his stranded, starving army? Does anyone care that Sam stole books from that fancy library? (I hope he has money to pay the library fines.) And, more importantly, WHERE ARE THEON AND YARA?! Sorry for the shouty-caps, but I can’t handle any of my favorite characters disappearing for so long when THE CHANCES OF DEATH ARE SO HIGH! Theon was with Daenerys, and Yara got captured by Euron, and then I had to wait weeks to see what they were doing! Not cool, TV show.

List of reasons I’d never be invited on a zombie-hunting mission: 

  • I moan when I’m forced to get off the couch 
  • Snowsuits make me look chubby(er) 
  • No Wi-Fi in the North 
  • I shrivel up and die without a constant supply of Mexican food 
  • Jon Snow probably wouldn’t let me fill their supply sled with books 
  • I ask uncomfortable questions 
  • Zombie polar bears? Aw, hell no! Not dealing with that!

Dragons and zombies make everything better. Whoever creates all those computerized critters is amazing at their job. The dragons and zombies looked epic this season.

List of characters who need more scenes together: 

  • Jon Snow and Ser Davos 
  • Jaimie Lannister and Bronn No-Last-Name-Needed 
  • Tyrion Lannister and Lord Varys 
  • Tyrion Lannister and Jaimie Lannister
  • Can we just have more Tyrion, please? 
  • Daenerys Targaryen and Jorah Mormont
  • Cersei Lannister and whoever kills her. (I'm hoping Jaimie kills her.)

Death by stupidity: Whenever Jon almost gets killed by zombies, someone shows up to save him. Daenerys barbecues the zombies and airlifts Jon’s friends out of the battle. Jon’s uncle saves him when he’s too stupid to get on the freakin’ dragon. I want to see him spend less time brooding dramatically and more time saving himself. C’mon, dude! I know you’re adorable when you brood, but you make some terrible life choices.

Get in the truck, Jon!

List of infuriating questions that must be answered about the Battle Beyond the Wall: 

  • Where did the zombies get those giant chains they used to dredge up the dragon corpse? 
  • If zombies can't swim, how did they get the chains on the dragon? 
  • Why didn’t Jon have dragonglass when he was fighting the zombies? Didn't he spend pretty much the whole season mining dragonglass so he could kill zombies? Where is the dragonglass, Jon? 
  • Why didn’t Jon just get on the freakin’ dragon and get airlifted out with everybody else?

I’m scared of the books: I have book 1 of the series sitting on my TBR shelf right now. I’m terrified to read it because what happens if I love it? I have very little faith that the author will finish the series. Reading an incomplete series is frustrating. I guess there's always a chance that I'll hate it. Then I won't continue with the series, and none of this will matter. What should I do, guys?

The award for “Most Awkward Sexy Times” goes to . . . Was anyone else cringing really hard at the Jon/Daenerys sex scene? They’re gettin’ it on, and Bran’s narrating how they are related, and Tyrion’s creeping weirdly in the hallway. I know that being family has never put a damper on the characters’ hormones before, but . . . dude . . . that’s nasty. I wonder how they’ll react when they find out that they’re related. Drama is coming!

List of important life lessons I learned from Season 7: 

  • Don’t throw rocks at the undead
  • Compare family trees before sexy times
  • Walls won't stop illegal zombie immigration

Let’s discuss: What did you think of season 7?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Sunday Post #111

The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, and share news. It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Date. I get to tell you what I’ve read recently.

Public Service Announcement

I’m hosting a giveaway! Enter here to win a book of your choice from Book Depository.

On The Blog Last Week

On The Blog This Week

  • On Monday we talk about Game of Thrones Season 7.
  • On Wednesday I review History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera.

In My Reading Life

Last week, I finished reading Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman. Right now, I’m reading The Bombs that Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan.

In The Rest Of My Life

Five things that made me happy last week:

  1. Game of Thrones. Are you sick of hearing me mention this show yet? Don’t worry, it’s almost over.
  2. It was cloudy during the solar eclipse, but it was still pretty cool.
  3. I took so many pictures last week. Now I have to sort the blurry from the non-blurry.
  4. I saw Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. It was . . . fantastic!
  5. Lots of people are entering my giveaway. Make sure you enter, too.

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other! See you around the blogosphere!