Tag Archives: Rainbow Rowell

Book Review: Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell (4/5)

26 May

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day! I took the day off to pretend holidays are meaningful during the quarantine. I’m hoping that having finished this book will get the Kansas song out of my head. I’ve been listening to it daily and my husband is getting really sick of me.

Cover image via Goodreads

Wayward Son (Simon Snow #2) by Rainbow Rowell

Other books by Rowell reviewed on this blog:

Attachments (and Book Club Reflection)
Carry On (Simon Snow #1)
Eleanor & Park
Fangirl
Landline

Summary from Goodreads:

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

This was pure fun. I’m a little wary of this series just because we dove into the final installment but this book took a great turn with it that I’m 100% on board for. The ‘final battle’ is done and all the things we don’t know about Simon’s history don’t matter as much anymore. Now we’ve got characters we like in a fun adventure. Even better, they’re in the Midwest to start so it’s like your favorite fantasy characters visiting your hometown (ish).

The variety of personality types amongst Penny, Baz, and Simon was fun. Penny’s very take-charge and pushy, Simon flies by the seat of his pants, and Baz won’t speak up unless he has to. They make a great team. I think Penny is a bit unbelievable, though. Which is funny to say since she’s the only non-vampire non-winged character. Her personality is so pushy that I’ve never met someone anywhere near her level and I took honors classes in college. If you’re going to meet a pushy personality, it’s there. And no one was anywhere close to her. So I think it’s ironic that the human character is the one I don’t believe in.

Baz was my favorite character. He is most like me so I could understand him better than the other characters with narrations. He and I approach life in similar ways and my husband is as impulsive as Simon sometimes so I related to having to reign someone in a bit. I thought he handled his vampirism well and it was always fun to read about how he fought the urges to bite Penny or Simon and things that affected him differently because of it.

I probably related best with Baz and Simon in regards to their relationship. I’m not a ‘touchy’ person (it’s my least strong love language) but my husband loves to snuggle and hold hands and put his arm around me. The way Simon always hesitated to touch Baz and Baz was afraid Simon didn’t like him because he pushed off any physical intimacy resonated with me. I’m like Simon: I can like someone a lot and not even think of holding hands or walking arm in arm. I can see how it was frustrating to Baz, it’s a conversation I’ve been a part of.

Rainbow Rowell
Image via Goodreads

The time in Las Vegas was so fun. I adored the idea that the city is run by vampires. It makes so much sense! Learning about the vampire culture was really fun and I enjoyed Lamb a lot. I hope he appears in future novels though it seems we’re leaving him behind in LV and heading back to England.

Tying Micah into the story seemed unnecessary except to make Penny single. But with Simon and Baz being together, I don’t understand why that was important. Is Shephard going to be a new love interest? As much as Penny is broken up about it initially, he isn’t mentioned after two days so it’s a bit of a flash in the pan. It only served to put them on an epic road trip to California. I do laugh about how non-Americans can’t fathom how big our country is.

The audiobook was narrated by Euan Morton. I think his overdramatization of Penny was part of why I didn’t like her very much. Simon seemed a bit giddy, too. I liked how he did Baz and his American accent for Shepard wasn’t bad. Agatha sounded a bit like a Valley Girl which was finally appropriate because of where she was living but was still irritating.

I didn’t get a lot of strong themes from this book. The growing tenderness between Simon and Baz was touching, but I don’t think it qualifies as a theme. I’m wondering if it’s something like, “It takes all types”? That might be the best fit I can think of. Shepard ended up being very helpful even after he was written off initially. And without his magic, Simon is still useful in fights. Baz being a vampire ended up being an asset instead of a detriment like he seems to think it normally is.

Writer’s Takeaway: Not every book needs to take itself seriously or have a strong message. This book was fun. It dealt with friendships and relationships and long, fun journeys in multiple stolen vehicles. Simon and Baz’s relationship was strengthened but nothing decisive happened to the characters. It was fun, it was an adventure, and it has me anxious to come back for more. Nothing wrong with that.

I enjoyed the book overall. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Carry On + Wayward Son, there’ll be angst when you are done | inkandplasma
Book Review: Carry On & Wayward Son By: Rainbow Rowell | Bookcave
Review: Rainbow Rowell- Wayward Son | Anniek’s Library

WWW Wednesday, 20-May-2020

20 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I made some decent progress with The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel this week. I’m still a ways from finishing it, but I’m happy with still moving forward with it.
I started Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich and I suspect this one will be a bit slow for me. It’s nonfiction and right before bed, that can put me to sleep pretty fast. I’m hoping to feel motivated to do some of the exercises and get to writing again. It would be great to feel like I accomplished that during this lockdown.
I began the audiobook for The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. I picked this one up as a physical book when I was visiting Atlanta but it seems I’ll get to the audiobook first. A lot of my books have fallen this way and I’m okay with that.

Recently finished: I was able to finish up White Oleander by Janet Fitch on Thursday. Finally! I liked the ending to this one, though it was pretty sad. It was a very different mother/daughter relationship than is usually portrayed in fiction and I liked that it was different, but it was still sad. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.
I flew through Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell and finished it on Saturday. It was a really fun ride and I enjoyed hearing about Simon and Baz and I’m looking forward to book three soon! I gave it Four out of Five Stars.

I posted my review of Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani on Thursday. It was a light, fun ride and I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
After getting through The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee in one day, I posted a review on Monday and gave this one Four out of Five Stars. What a fun ride!

Reading Next: I’m going to pick up my book club selection next: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. This one has some length to it so even with tri training, I probably will take at least a week to get through it.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 13-May-2020

13 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m getting really close to finishing White Oleander by Janet Fitch! This book is taking me much longer than I would like so I’m really excited to finish it off. It’s a very sad story but very intriguing at the same time so I’m engrossed.
I made an effort to make more progress with The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel. I like this one, but the mystery is still a bit too shrouded for me to be completely engaged. I’m hoping to get more into it soon, though.
I’m loving some fun YA right now so I decided to keep it going and picked up Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell on audio. It’s been a while since I read the first in this series (Carry On) so it might take me a minute to pick up on the plot and characters again. However, the parallels to Harry Potter make it a bit easier to pick up on.

Recently finished: I sped through The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. It wasn’t what I expected and it came across as a disappointment because of that. I wanted more about books and bookselling but that wasn’t the focus. It felt like a bait and switch so I ended up frustrated. I posted my review yesterday if you want to check that out. I gave it Three out of Five Stars, though I contemplated Two.
I got through Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani much faster than I expected to. It was a fun YA read and I enjoyed it well enough. It didn’t have much for me that was really a standout, though. I gave it Three out of Five Stars and I’ll have a review up tomorrow.
I had way too much fun listening to the short novella The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee. This is installment 1.5 in the Montegue Siblings series and I wanted to read it before I picked up the second which I’m sure I’ll do this summer.

I posted my review of The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David LagercrantzThanks for those who have commented about their opinion of Lagercrantz taking over the series. I’m still unsure if I think it was the best move but I’m glad I’m not the only one who has marked the difference.  I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I posted my review of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern on Monday and my final meeting with my reading buddy is tonight! I’m excited to see what she thought of the ending of the book. I finished it over a week ago so I hope my memory is sharp enough and my notes detailed enough to have a good discussion.

Reading Next: I’ll pick up Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich as a physical book very soon. I hope this can give me a little inspiration to read.
I’ll need another audiobook soon and I requested Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray but I’m not sure how quickly it will come in. Fingers crossed.
If that fails, I’ll likely start my next book club selection, Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. I don’t know anything about this one but I see that it’s pretty long so it will be a nice one to settle in with during my long training hours.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell (3/5)

5 Jun

I waited a long time to read this one because I didn’t know if I would like it. I found a copy at the library book sale. It had been taken out of circulation after the book started being checked out less. I hadn’t found time to read it so I’m just now getting around the audio version of the book. I was wasn’t completely right about my feelings of it, but it is probably my least favorite Rowell book.

Cover image via Goodreads

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Other books by Rainbow Rowell reviewed on this blog:

Attachments 5/5
Fangirl 3/5
Carry On 5/5
Eleanor & Park 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

I’ve read Rowell’s fantasy and I’ve read her realistic fiction and liked both. I wasn’t ready for a hybrid, though. The whole magical phone thing really got me. In Carry On, I was ready for magic and how it would affect the story. In this story, it wasn’t explained and there wasn’t a culture that normalized it. It was too much for me to buy into. I liked Georgie and Neal and Seth and Heather and all the other characters, but the phone really ruined it for me. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief in a phone that talks to the past.

Rowell does an amazing job of building realistic characters and that’s why she kills contemporary fiction. I thought all of the characters were very realistic and I really enjoyed Seth. I feel like I was supposed to hate him, but he reminded me of friends from college and it was hard to dislike him. The little girls were great and Heather was super fun. As much as Georgie’s mom seemed like a caricature, I’ve met women like her. It was all great.

Seth was my favorite character. I liked his confidence and sense of humor but also his dedication to Georgie and their show. I would have been one of the girls swooning over him from a distance in college. Spoiler warning for the rest of this paragraph! Skip to the next to avoid it. I didn’t like how he admitted having feelings for Georgie at the end. That really bothered me. It was implied but I don’t think it ever needed to be spoken and I think it would really have ruined the relationship between him and Georgie which put their future success at risk. I wish he hadn’t said anything and it seemed a bit out of character for him to do it.

I could understand where Georgie’s problems came from. Even having only been married four years, I can see how the magic of dating is not a daily occurrence in my marriage. I’m sure this is not uncommon. I hope I’m never as blindly committed to my job as Georgie, but I can see how it would happen. This is a very relatable problem and I hope it doesn’t take a magic phone to solve it if I ever do run into a similar situation. I don’t think I can count on one.

Rainbow Rowell
Image via the author’s website

I liked Heather’s story (spoilers, again!). I think it would be really hard to tell my mom if I thought I was gay and the way she handled it seemed real to me. It didn’t surprise me that her mom already knew, either. The pugs being born bringing the girls together was cute. I liked that touch.

If the phone had been removed, I would have liked the story a lot more. I think it could have been. I think there could have been some home videos or letters or pictures that stirred up memories and gave Georgie the same sense of urgency and reflections that the phone did. It took the book into magical realism and that’s a genre I don’t much care for.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Rebecca Lowman. I thought she did well with the girls’ voices and the guys without being distracting. Sometimes a man’s voice is too over-the-top in an audiobook and with how much Neal talked in this one, it’s good that it wasn’t. She gave the women in the story just enough difference to make them distinguishable, too.

Georgie didn’t mean to put her job before her family, but that’s what happened. I don’t think our priorities get that out of whack on purpose. I know there are times I’ve put school ahead of my husband and it was never an intentional decision. The trick is to recognize when you’ve done this and make things right. It might not be as extreme as what Georgie went through, but saying you’re sorry is always important.

Writer’s Takeaway: Rowell’s contemporary characters knock it out of the park again! I think adding a fantastical element was a bit of a risk for her and it didn’t work for me. She’s had great success with contemporary fiction and I don’t know what made her deviate from that. Personally, I hope she doesn’t again. It’s risky for a writer to move to another genre. Rowell has crossed over adult and YA but maybe magical realism is a bit too far for her.

I liked the book but the premise wasn’t for me. Three out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Landline – Rainbow Rowell | the book goddess
Review #3: Landline by Rainbow Rowell | forwards and bookwords
Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell | Jen’s Pen Den

WWW Wednesday, 31-May-2017

31 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’m so sorry to say that I’ve put A Son of the Circus by John Irving aside for a while. I have some book club selections I need to get through first. I have all of the intentions in the world of finishing this one up and it makes me really sad to put it on hold.
I made some moderate progress with Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi but I’m wondering where this book is going because I’m 1/3 of the way through and they’re not in the elephant tent anymore! Is there another elephant tent coming?
My drive to work is better with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. I’m about half way through it now and it’s been a good distraction from traffic.
I started reading Tigerman by Nick Harkaway, one of my book club selections. It’s OK but making me miss the Irving. I was at my parent’s cottage this weekend and found some good time to read.
My husband and I started a car-trip audiobook. I hope this one doesn’t take as long as some of our earlier ones! This time it’s Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. So far, we’re really enjoying it. As much as I have my suspicions about who it could be, I know Poirot will keep me guessing until the end!
I’ve just started Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay on audio. I love the cover of this one and saw it as a popular book club pick for a while so I’m interested to see where it goes!

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up Landline by Rainbow Rowell over the holiday weekend! I’m so glad to have finished a book. With all the ones I have in process, I’m not sure how quickly I’ll finish another one, haha. I think I’m only missing Rowell’s novella now before I’ve read all of her work. I plan to have a review for this one up early next week.
No reviews this week but as I said, Landline will be coming next week so there’s one to look forward to!

Reading Next: With so much going on, I don’t really want to think ahead, haha. I do know my next book club selection will be Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Rober Pirsig. I could only find a print version of this book so I’ll be reading it in that format after Tigerman.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 24-May-2017

24 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I made a push to work on A Son of the Circus by John Irving over the weekend and got maybe 40 pages in. I’m over page 400 now but I’m thinking this might have to go on hold for a bit so I can get through some book club selections in time for the meetings. I hate doing that, but sometimes social pressure get the best of my reading schedule!
I had some technical difficulties with Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi over the weekend but they’ve now been solved and I’m back at this one. I’ve had a bit of lunch reading time but not too much. Hope to make some steady progress going forward.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell has been fun. I’m not as engaged as I have been with other Rowell books, but it’s still enjoyable. It’s great for runs and cooking time!
I’m making slow progress with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris only because I don’t drive a lot. Having this one limited to my car is a bit slow but I’m still liking the humor. I’ll keep enjoying it. The short essays help with my short drives!

Recently finished: Nothing new finished but two book reviews posted! The first is for Terra Incognita by Ruth Downie. This is the second in the series and I really enjoyed both so far. I hope to keep going with these as they’re all on mobile audio. Yay! I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars.
My second review is for Ellen DeGeneres’s Seriously… I’m Kidding. I listened to this on audio and my review may have been different if I’d read the book but I gave the audio 4 out of 5 stars.

Reading Next: Unfortunately, it’s going to have to be Tigerman by Nick Harkaway. I really wanted to get to The Circle but school has been more crazy than expected. I don’t think I’ll make it to the theaters to see the movie anyway. Sad day!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 17-May-2017

17 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I wish I had more time to read A Son of the Circus by John Irving now that I’m enjoying it. School is very fast-paced for this 6-week course and I’m spending a lot of my free time reading for that class. I hate to push books off, but school does, unfortunately, come first.
I’m finding more time to read at work during lunch than I’m getting at home. As such, I’m making decent progress with Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi. It’s a little slow, but I’m still enjoying the story of Kathleen’s time in the circus and her time with the elephants.
I started two new audiobooks. The first is Landline by Rainbow Rowell. It was the next eaudio I could download. I picked up a physical copy of this book at a library sale and I’m been wanting to read it for a while. I’ll get to it much sooner as an audiobook than if I’d waited to read the physical book.
I picked up an audiobook for my car, too. I want to get to some of those that have long hold times. I decided to go with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. I tried reading a Sedaris book in college and couldn’t stand it but when I listened to it, I was in love. I’m hoping this is the same.

Recently finishedSeriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres was a quick, fun read. I’m glad I listened to this one because, like Sedaris, having the author read it added a lot of fun and humor that reading the words on the page couldn’t add. My review will be up next week so look forward to that.
No reviews this week! I’ll have another one up tomorrow, though, so don’t fret!

Reading Next: I know I’ve had The Circle on here for a few weeks but I got another book club book I have to read first! Unfortunately, I’m going to replace my next up with Tigerman by Nick Harkaway. I’m hoping this is a quick read so I can get to Eggers soon! I’m putting off seeing the movie until I can read this book.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (5/5)

8 Feb

I read Fangirl. It made me so angry at the end that I almost threw it across my bedroom, but I read it. I imagine I’m not alone when I thought that Simon Snow sounded suspiciously similar to Harry Potter. As in it could have been the same with changed names in a lot of the snippets we read of it. So when Rowell announced she was writing a Simon Snow book, how could I resist? I got the ebook copy (out of luck, I swear) and flew through it, ignoring book reviews for a weekend which put me behind. Sad face.

Book cover via Goodreads

Book cover via Goodreads

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Other books by Rainbow Rowell reviewed on my blog:
Eleanor & Park
Attachments (and a Book Club Reflection)
Fangirl

Summary from Goodreads:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

So yes, it started off sounding way too much like Harry Potter. An average-Joe chosen one who’s orphaned at a young age is being mentored by his school’s headmaster to fight the greatest evil of the age. I may or may not have read seven books about this already. His best friend is a fiendishly smart girl and the person who takes care of animals around campus is an unlikely friend of his. Sounding more and more like a set of eight movies I own. But there’s the internet. And a girlfriend. And a vampire roommate. Okay, somethings are different. The more I got into the plot, the more different it was. I do believe Rowell was inspired by HP fics, but she did a great job of twisting the world into something completely her own. (Side note, there are as of writing this 99 Fan Fics on fanfiction.net about Carry On. Just think about that.) Baz was a great character, but this is coming from a Malfoy fangirl. I liked Agatha because she didn’t have a direct parallel in the cannon (and yes, I’m thinking of it that way). Is this getting too Fangirl now? I’ll move on.

I thought the characters were alright. One of the things that make writing Fan Fiction a gateway to writing original fiction is that you can play with plot and not worry about developing characters to start. It’s hard for me to think of Rowell’s characters in this novel as truly original because of that. I like Agatha, as I said, but the others had a parallel strong enough to recognize and it’s hard to say she developed them well or not. I stand neutral on this topic.

Baz was my favorite character by far. He had to put up with a lot of crap from everyone around him and his wall of sarcastic superiority made sense. His family life was heart-wrenching and every time his mother was brought up, I was sad for him. I thought it was very telling of his upbringing when he said his father was more comfortable with his vampirism than his homosexuality. (Side note, vampirism being a real word makes me love English.) I knew this was going to be a slash story so I wasn’t surprised by his inner monologue or the direction of the story, but if kissing between two men is something you don’t want to read, then I would skip this story as it’s prominent.

As I’ve felt before, it’s hard to relate to the characters in fantastical novels such as Carry On. I can relate to Baz having a crush on someone very close to him and not being able to say something. I can relate to Simon and Agatha being in a relationship because they felt like they had to (one from high school, not currently). There were other small things, but fighting a gigantic power that’s threatening to end the subculture that I live in is not something I’ve encountered.

Rainbow Rowell Image via the author's website

Rainbow Rowell
Image via the author’s website

I enjoyed the relationship between Baz and Simon more than I thought I would. They were much more mature than the eighteen-year-olds they were written to be and I could relate to that ‘finally’ feeling of being with someone you’ve thought about for years (on Baz’s end) and the rush of not knowing what you’re getting into from Simon’s end. They balanced each other well in a way I could relate to. My husband and I are much the same way.

I disliked the Mage with a passion. From the beginning, when I was supposed to see him as a leader and ally, I disliked him. His story upset me the most when it would come up. I’ll try to avoid spoiling it here, but I’m upset Simon never knew the full story. I wish there had been a way for him to know about the Mage’s past in the end because I think it would have given him peace.

 

There are two obvious themes from this book, the first of which is sacrifice. Simon is forced to give up something dear to him that defines who he is for the greater good. Losing it makes him feel damaged and lacking and it becomes hard for him to be happy about what he did because of his personal loss.Even with his sacrifice, there are gains in his life that he overlooks. Sacrificing something doesn’t mean losing everything and Simon still has that journey to go. (I hope I didn’t ruin anything there, I tried not to.) The second is being true to yourself. Baz and Simon struggled with this the most, but Agatha and Nick had to fight it as well. Agatha disliked everything about her magickal life. She loved the summers with her Normal friends and horses and knew returning to that would make her happy. Nick had gone against logic to become what he wanted to be (again, being vague) and had to live with consequences he didn’t foresee. If he’d been happy with who he was in the first place, the drama he had to put up with and the pain and isolation he surely felt would have been nonexistent.

 

Writer’s Takeaway: What a fun book. Honestly, I read it so fast because it was fun. This is Rowell’s strength more than anything else. She writes books that I enjoy reading because the journey is worth it. This isn’t serious literature by any means and that’s okay. There’s an audience for a book like this and I’m glad she published it because I think it could pave a path for other ‘slash’ stories to become popular. Rowell put her neck out there with this book, breaking from her usual genres and I’m glad she was brave enough to do that.

I gobbled up this fun book in eight days. I loved it. Five out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

 

PS- This song was stuck in my head the whole time I was reading the book.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
“Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell | Miriam Joy Reads
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell Bookmark | 24hryabookblog
7 Reasons Carry On is Going to Be Awesome | Twist in the Taile

Challenge Update, January 2016

1 Feb

January went a lot better than expected. Being off of school afforded me a lot of time to read and I took it! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in January:

Yes Please // Amy Poehler
I Am Malala // Malala Yousafzai
One Hundred Years of Solitude // Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Darker Shade of Magic // V.E. Schwab
Carry On // Rainbow Rowell
Dead Wake // Erik Larson

I’ve written all the remaining reviews and you’ll see them come up over the next two weeks.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

4/12
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. I’m off to a good start but I’m not getting cocky about it. My first few books of the year tend to fill in a couple different categories. I know I’ve got a 1920-1939 book and a 1980-1999 book coming up, but I’m not sure about the rest of them. It’s way too early to plan but I’m feeling really confident about this challenge this year.

Goodreads Challenge

6/45
Maybe going down was a bad idea. I’m still doing awesome with these and am currently three books ahead of schedule. It’s true I have less commuting time to listen to audio and it’s very likely this will change when school starts up again. We’ll see how this goes.

Book of the Month

Carry OnI have to pick Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. By all logic, I shouldn’t have finished this book as quickly as I did but it was so fun! I love Rowell’s books and I should stop hesitating from reading the copy of Landline on my shelf.

Added to my TBR

I’m down to 141 books! This is great progress for me (1 book fewer) and I’m going to bask in this accomplishment for a while. Woo! But of course, I added some things.

  • Norwegian by Night // Derek Miller (a book club selection coming up in a few months. I think in the summer)
  • The Art of Asking // Amanda Palmer (another book club selection, also for the summer)
  • The Golden Rules // Bob Bowman (Bob Bowman is a legendary swim coach best known for coaching Michael Phelps. I’m a big swimming fan and so, obviously, I want to read this book.)

I’m glad I’m finally getting better at keeping this under control! Maybe I’ll get below 100 some day. (Yes, that was a joke.)

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re doing better than me! If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 27-January-2016

27 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


BellwetherCurrently reading:  A lot of changes this week! I’m super close to the ending of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I’m on the last disk and I’m tempted to sit in my car for a while just to finish it!
I grabbed a new audiobook this week, Bellwether by Connie Willis. I read Willis’s novel The Doomsday Book a while back and another blogger (and I, unfortunately, do not remember who) recommended this novella. It’s a short one, only five hours on audio, and I’m looking forward to it.
I’m finally picking up Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling. This will be my Spanish language book for the year and I’ll come and go with it for a while so I’m expecting this book to be on here long-term.
I picked up a new ebook as well. I decided on Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s another classic book I’ve never read and I’m in the mood for a few more before I get over this kick.

A Darker Shade final for IreneRecently finished: Such a good week for finishing books! I finished A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab while cooking and working out early this week. I liked it a lot and I’m not on the bandwagon of those excited about the sequel. Turns out Schwab was in Michigan over the weekend for a con and my friend Rachel met her. Lucky girl.
It was a big push and I feel asleep once or twice in the process, but I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez! My book club met on it on Monday so I cut it close. Phew.
I bunkered down on Sunday and finished Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I might have avoided some blog writing and chores, but it was totally worth it! I was never a slash fangirl, but I still enjoyed the story and know it must have made a lot of other Fangirls really excited.

ShanghaiReading Next: Hm, not anything major lined up now. I’ll probably be starting Shanghai Girls by Lisa See not too long from now. My book club is reading this for March so I’ll pick it up in the middle of April. See is coming to Detroit and I’m excited to meet her!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!