Still Alice Book Review

A harrowing look at a crippling disease…..

Still Alice does not shy away from being a full on look at what Alzheimer’s can do and you can’t help but watch the entire time, no matter how bad it gets. I had heard about this book because just last year (2015) there was a movie adaption to the book. I never saw the movie but I made a mental note to myself to pick the book up and give it a read. And the book absolutely pulls at the feels (I don’t mean to sound disrespectful or sarcastic when I say that). Still Alice is a book that you won’t want to put down until you have read the last few words.

The Story

The story revolves around a distinguished psychology professor at Harvard, that goes by the name of Alice Howland, who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s early on in the story. With early-onset Alzheimer’s, we follow the struggles of Alice as her mind is slowly deformed by the disease. Sound depressing? It really really is. But the book isn’t all “woe is me” the whole time like I make it sound. There are some really nice moments in this book, like rays of light shining between the words. Even though it seems like a depressing read, I would encourage everyone to read it because Still Alice is a very real book about a very real disease. In the story, we see family members fight over what to do with Alice, we see people drift from Alice because of her disease, and we also see Alice forget things. The story is very very informative about Alzheimer’s as well which is really cool. I never understood the science behind the disease, but this book lays it out for you on a table and I like that it did that. It’s obvious that the author, Lisa Genova, did her homework because you learn the causes of Alzheimer’s and the effects.

The Characters

Still Alice mainly revolves around Alice, her husband and her three children. Much of the struggles of the story are inward struggles in Alice’s mind, but we see a lot of tension in the family as well. There is one scene in the book that I absolutely love and it’s when the three children fight over how Alice should try to remember things in her day to day life. It paints the characters perfectly and also shows some tension that is likely to happen when a loved one has Alzheimer’s. We see the husband fighting with acceptance of the fact that Alice has Alzheimer’s and that leads to tension between the two as the story moves forward. All in all,  not only the story is real, but the characters are very real as well and I like that. Every character seems to build upon the story in different ways and you will grow to like the characters in the time that you’re with them.

The Verdict…….. 5 out of 5 

  • Offers a very real look at Alzheimer’s
  • Has a great cast of characters
  • Well written

I’d recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It’s a must read, even if it is a little depressing. What did you think of Still Alice? Let me know in the comments below. Thank you for giving this review a read! It really means alot to me. Stay tuned for more reviews and other sorts of blog posts! Have a great weekend!

To Open The Week (my opinion on YA novels, what I’m working on now, and the Windfest Show)

Well it’s monday for starters…….

and while I may be writing this on a Sunday night instead of studying for my history exam on Tuesday (because I’m just a rebel) I can tell you that I am probably not happy this fine Monday morning. The reason is simply because I am currently burning my way through George RR Martin’s Storm of Swords as quick as I can, which means that I will be up late tonight burning through the pages, completely absorbed into Martin’s fantastic world. The choice that I make will leave me exhausted and cranky in the morning.  I’m hoping to finish this book pretty soon so that I can write a review on it for you guys. I’m trying to find some time to write some more reviews or really just get more content on my page in general. I have been pretty bad about my New Year’s resolution so far. I have plenty of ideas like for example, I still have two MCR albums that I have to review for you guys. On top of that, I have The Black (Asking Alexandria’s new album) to review and I think I’m going to finally write a review for House of Cards season 1 which is a brilliant show.

Today, for some reason I was thinking a lot about young adult novels. I think I started thinking about them because I was watching some Vlog brother videos which is a Youtube channel that is run by John Green and his brother Hank. John Green mentioned that he was working on a new book which made me very excited. John has written some of the best novels I have ever read, period. Then I thought about some of the other big YA novels, mainly The Hunger Games and The Divergent Series which have both become phenomenons in the young adult genre. Both have movie series with big name actors in them and both are in the same sub-genre: dystopian. Now I think that this is going to be about dystopian for the most part. I’m not sure if I’m ever going to read a dystopian YA novel again. I remember when I was young and I read The Hunger Games when it was first released. I loved it. The whole concept of it was….. dark. I felt like I shouldn’t have been reading a book this violent, this dark, with such a terrible but wonderfully original concept. I read all of the novels as they came out. The original is still my favorite to this day. The second just made me think meh and the third novel did not impress me. Then I heard about a new series called Divergent. I borrowed all three books from a friend of mine and read them in a week. I know what you’re thinking, well if he tore through them then he must have liked them and that is true. The novels were well written and were addicting to read. There was a lot of action and I never got bored as I ripped through the pages. Once I had finished that series though, I sat back and thought about how Divergent felt vaguely familiar to another series I read. Strong female lead character, sappy romance, overthrow of the government, lots of death and lots of feels. You know where I’m going with this. The Maze Runner is also quite similar to Divergent and I saw a pattern between all three of them.

Now before you jump down my throat, I’m not saying that their bad books, but they’re not exactly different. And I’m not saying that all dystopian novels are like these three franchises. I’m sure some are very original and frankly, if you think you have some good ones to recommend, I would love to check them out. Leave a comment below (please!). I’m just annoyed with the fact that the three biggest YA franchises that have movies being made are all similar in more ways than one. Like I said before, I’m not hating on all YA novels. I love John Green’s books and I just bought another YA novel the other day called Mosquitoland by David Arnold. I’m excited to read that one because it’s a novel about a road trip (I’m a sucker for road trip novels), but besides that I don’t know much else about the book. Who knows though? I might have just grown up (sad face) and have become uninterested in the whole dystopian setting.

The Windfest show

If you guys don’t know this yet, I am in a band. I play guitar and sing for a band called Just Alice. We just released a Youtube video of our new song called Time Bomb and it would be super cool if you guys checked it out. I’ll also leave a link for our Twitter and Facebook page below so you guys can check out our page and follow us. In a little under two weeks, We will be playing at the annual Windfest. Windfest is a small festival that is held in Portland every year. The last time we played at Windfest, we were all super young and we still had Jarrett as our bass player. This will be our first time performing on a stage in almost 2 years (I believe that is correct but I could be wrong)! It’s been a long road and we are very excited to get the opportunity to play again. We got a sick set list that we think you guys will love! So if you live in Portland, Mark the calendar! We will be playing on Saturday April 16 from 1:30-2:15.

Anyways…..

That’s actually pretty much all I have to tell you. That’s kind of my little blog for the day. It was kind of fun writing that one. Have a great week guys! Stay awesome!

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The Girl on the Train: book review

Hey guys!

How is everyone doing today? Well I hope all is well with everyone and I hope everyone had a great start to the week. I just finished a great book called The Girl on the Train, written by Paula Hawkins and published on February 1, 2015. It’s a thriller about a girl named Rachel, who is kind of at a low point in her life. The highlight of her day is riding the train to and from her house every morning and evening. One day on her train ride, however, Rachel sees something very suspicious from her seat on the train. Shortly after she sees this, a woman, named Megan, disappears. Now what Rachel saw that morning on the train can help the police but she questions whether she really saw it or she was hallucinating. I won’t go much more into the plot than that due to the fact that it’s really just that fun reading about. The Girl on the Train is an intense and harrowing thriller that will hold your eyes until you reach the last page.

Characters

So I actually really liked the characters in this story. This was Hawkin’s first novel and she did a great job of crafting them (the characters). The main protagonist (at least she seems to be the main protagonist, but the story takes place from different viewpoints), Rachel, is a very damaged drunk who has pretty much hit rock bottom. The events in this story see her trying to get back up on her feet after her ex-husband, left her for another woman. So yeah, Rachel is not in the best condition at the beginning of this story, but that presented the opportunity for us to see her get better, which was awesome. Call me a sap, but I love to see a story about someone who hit rock bottom and has to climb back to the top through the story. Most of the characters were awesome actually. It was a very diverse cast of people. The different viewpoints really helped explained why other characters acted the way they did. You can hear their thoughts on the matter and it really helps build the characters. If there was one character that I had a problem with, it was Megan. I can’t explain why, but I never really liked her in this book. There was never a point in the story, where I really understood her. This might have been the purpose of the writer, but she (Megan) never sat well with me and I think it was because she was like this. She just wasn’t a likeable character, however, I loved the backstory that explained her past. That was probably the best part about Megan, the backstory.

The Story

Okay, so I tried to explain the plot at the beginning of this review but it goes a little deeper than that. I won’t go into it because, once again, I feel like you should read it yourself because it is a great plot. While I was reading this book a random thought popped into my head about the book, that my mom would actually really like this book because it’s like a Lifetime movie on paper. It is a good story though, it’s fast paced with some short chapters so you feel like you’re burning through it. The book does a really good job of keeping you interested. Just when you think you’ve figured the mystery out, the book throws another curveball at you. I really like that, especially in thrillers/mysteries. I have one real complaint about the story and that is the climax, when all the cards are on the table. The villain of the novel knows he’s been caught but he tries to get away with it anyway. I can’t say much without spoiling anything so I’ll speak very vaguely on this subject. Basically in the last few pages of the book, everything feels a little forced, lacking any life. The villain became a villain that you’ve seen a hundred times (in lifetime movies) and everyone acts accordingly to their part. I guess I could say that I found the ending a little anticlimactic.I wasn’t as hooked on the book once the cards were shown.

The Verdict……… 4.0 out of 5

  • fast paced story
  • short chapters
  • interesting cast of characters
  • that ending though

Thank you! 

Hey guys! Thank you for giving this blog a read! If you’re free go ahead and check out my other reviews on this website by clicking on the links below or and the links in the sidebar. If you like what you see, please share this with your friends and subscribe to me. It would mean a lot! Take care and have a great day.

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Cover photo is courtesy of Riverhead Books.

Misery Book Review

It’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed a book….

What’s up guys! I hope you are all in good health and are having glorious days. It is currently, 8 o’clock on a monday morning and I finally decided that it’s time to review a book! I know, it’s been awhile right? Well another one of my new year’s resolutions is to read more and more in my daily life, so hopefully I’ll be cranking more book reviews out. And yes, I am still reading the Game of Thrones series, but I’m going to have to start A Storm of Swords over. I had started reading it right before college, but once college started, that book fell to the bottom of my priority list. Sorry about that. I do, however, have this little nifty review about a book by Stephen King, called Misery. So if you haven’t read this book yet, and are looking for a new horrific, suspenseful read, keep on reading my friend.

The Story

I’m sure everyone has heard of the one and only Stephen King, considered to be one of the greatest novelists that ever was. His book, Misery, which was published June 8, 1987 is about a writer named Paul Sheldon. Paul Sheldon was in a serious car accident due to a huge blizzard that hit him as he was driving through Colorado. Lucky for him though, his biggest fan, Annie Wilkes, was driving by on the same road. She saw the car and then she saw him. Annie took Paul back to her home where she cared for him for the many months to come. The unlucky part for Paul, is that Annie is undeniably and terrifyingly crazy. After Annie finds out that Paul had killed her favorite character in his new book, she tortures him and forces him to bring that character back to life, making this story an interesting psychological battle. That is a basic summary of the story and frankly it is an awesome one. This story is filled with suspense and will keep you turning the pages, even at two in the morning. Every time you turn the page, you’ll wonder if on the next page, Annie will do something terrifying again. Props to Stephen King for making me scared, not for my life, but for Paul’s life. We’ll get to that later however. But yes it is in fact a great story that was well written. I have one complaint, however, and that is in response to the excerpts of Misery’s Return that were put in. Misery’s Return is the novel that Paul Sheldon was being forced to write, thanks to Annie. Frankly, every time an excerpt from the book came up on the page, I was always tempted to skip it. I didn’t care much for it. It’s like we were being dropped into a new world with new characters we don’t even know about in the middle of a book. We hear a little about the Misery novels that Paul wrote in his lifetime but it’s not like we know the story of Misery ourselves. Any time an excerpt showed up, I just wanted Paul and Annie back. And the excerpts would jump a wide frame of time too, which was annoying. What was the point of sharing the book, if you won’t even show the whole thing? That’s probably my only real complaint however. Overall, this is a very entertaining story that uses realism, and suspense to keep you hooked.

The Characters

For the most part, there is really only two characters in this whole story, Paul and Annie. Every once in awhile, someone new will show up but they don’t play a huge role, leaving room for Annie and Paul to grow. King has always had a talent for crafting great characters, a talent that most writers long for. This book is no exception. Paul Sheldon, a selfish, full-of-himself writer is stuck in a jam. Annie is a psychotic ex-nurse that  is obsessed with Paul Sheldon. Annie is constantly punishing Paul for being a bad boy. She considers to be his mother and says she is only doing what is right for him. Before you know it, you’re honestly just as scared of Annie as Paul is, which is awesome. Like I said earlier, props to him. There were also moments when I was reading, and I wasn’t scared of Annie, but instead, I felt bad for her. She earned my sympathy quite a few times, then would go back to being crazy. Then there is Paul, the self-centered writer who is rendered completely useless in the situation from the immobilization of his legs. His thinking during the situation is actually really interesting. He is either trying to think of a way out, or thinking about Annie and analyzing her craziness, or just falling into despair. You get to know both of the characters really well in just 320 pages. Overall, anyone that likes good characters that will jump off the page at them, would really enjoy this book.

The Verdict…………. 4.0 out of 5

  • great, suspenseful story
  • excerpts from Misery’s Return were boring to me
  • awesome characters

Thank you!

Hey guys! Thank you for giving this a read! WHy don’t you just give yourself a pat on the back? Yeah, right there. Thank you again! Yes I am hoping to get more book reviews up on this site, just give me some time (I’m a slow reader). Do any of you have any book suggestions for me? I’m looking for any good ones. Let me know in the comments! Have yourself a great week! Please check out my other reviews please!

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Cover picture is thanks too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misery_(novel)

A Clash of Kings Book Review

Well hi there…..

Long time no see! I know it’s been awhile since I last posted and I apologize for that. I don’t really have an excuse for it. Every time I had time to write, I didn’t want to write anything, and when I didn’t have time to write, I wanted too. Anyways I’m back with a review for A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. This is the second book in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I know I’m probably really late on this review. All the friends I know have read it already, but still. I want to write about this so I’m going to write about it! Let’s see if I can still do this.

The Story

This book picks up right where Game of Thrones left off. If you read the first book, you know exactly what is happening from the start. The kingdom of Westeros is in turmoil, with four kings claiming the iron throne……… which leads to a huge war……… which leads to a lot of deaths. The king that currently sits the iron throne is King Joffrey Baratheon (pretty much the Lannisters). Stannis Baratheon, Robert’s older brother, has also lain claim to the throne, making himself another king. Not only has Stannis lain claim, but Renly Baratheon as well (Robert’s younger brother). The wonderful cherry on top is Robb Stark of Winterfell, the new King of the North. I have to admit, right off from the start, I was very intrigued with where this story has led. I haven’t seen this kind of story that often. It’s absolutely awesome to see how these men interact with one another, all for a throne. Stannis and Renly Baratheon have nothing but cold feelings for each other, while Robb Stark just wants to be rid of the Lannisters. The Lannisters in turn, just want to cling to as much power as they can take. You could say this is more action packed than Game of Thrones. I definitely felt the intensity being stepped up while reading this one, compared to Game of Thrones. The kings fighting each other was the most exciting part of the novel, no doubt. Princess Daenerys’s story honestly bored me. She didn’t do much in this novel, which was really disappointing. Nothing really significant happens to her in this book, and she doesn’t do anything very significant either. In this story she just seems to be there. Sometimes, I even wanted to just skip her chapter and get back to Westeros, where things were actually happening! However, I hear that her story gets exciting later in the series, so I’ll have my fingers crossed for that. Now while the king fighting is cool, and Daenerys’s story was boring, Jon Snow’s story just keeps getting better for me. Jon Snow is a man of the Night’s Watch and a steward for the Lord Commander. The last book ended with the Night’s Watch riding out beyond the Wall to find answers they’ve been searching for. This entire book takes place with them beyond the Wall. Not much actually happens to the Night’s Watch in the novel, but it was the atmosphere that was so brilliant. Martin has created a beautiful, but terrifying atmosphere beyond the wall. The Wildlings all disappeared and they were nowhere to be seen. They supposedly were gone to join Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall (also a former man of the Night’s Watch). It wasn’t the wildings that bothered the Night’s Watch so much as the ever-growing sense of the Others. The Others are back after thousands of years and are ready to wreak havoc on the kingdom. The only thing standing in there way, is a force of 300 men, the Night’s Watch. It creates this feeling of helplessness and intensity in a frozen environment. The odds are against the NIght’s Watch and you know it. Overall, this story doesn’t slow down after the first one and continues to drive forward into your head.

The Characters

Ah yes, the characters (or the ones that are still alive at least). ALl of the Stark children are still alive and well. Robb Stark is now King of the North, fighting to avenge his father. You don’t see much of Robb in this novel. He disappears towards the beginning, because he’s off fighting in a war. You occasionally hear about him through letters and other people’s points of view. There isn’t much character development behind him though. Of course there is the Lady Sansa who is being held hostage at King’s Landing, still betrothed to Joffrey. Sansa still does a lot of the same thing since the end of Game of Thrones which is crying. I mean you can’t blame her though. If I was to marry someone like Joffrey, I would have just taken the easy way out, and killed myself (yes that’s how bad he is). In the end, however, you learn a great deal more about the people around her, than herself (which is still totally cool). Of course there is Jon Snow, who was faced with a series of tough moral decisions in this novel. I won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say you do learn a lot about Jon in this book. Bran and Rickon Stark, currently residing at Winterfell, are holding down the fort while everyone else is gone. Bran undergoes some interesting times in this book, which was very cool to read about. Then there is Arya Stark who is currently disguised as a boy, recruited to the Night’s Watch by Yoren. Arya’s luck will continue to get worse as this book goes on. She finds a group of friends, however, and sticks with them. You can tell she cares about them a great deal. My favorite character continues to be Tyrion Lannister though, and he did not disappoint in this story. I feel as though he had the most development. I feel like this novel was written for him and his character. You learn so much about him, why he hates his father, why he doesn’t trust his family. On top of all that he’s still that wise-cracking, sarcastic but clever, dwarf that manages to keep the Lannisters afloat.

The Verdict……………..4.5 out of 5

  • Awesome story that continues to be awesome
  • Awesome set of interesting characters to invest yourself in
  • The huge vastness and expansion of the world in the story is overwhelming and sometimes confusing

So what did you think of A Clash of Kings? What did you think of my review? Leave a comment below! Share this with your friends! Give me some tips for crying out loud! Check out my other reviews on here! Thank you so much for reading this and anything else on my website. It means a lot for someone to take an interest in my work. I really enjoy doing this, and I hope to do it for a long time.

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Paper Towns Book Review

Another Brilliant book…..

I think it’s safe to say that John Green will always have a place on our bookshelves. He has written award winning book after book. Since the Paper Towns movie will be coming to theaters this summer, I decided to pick up a copy of the book to read first (of course). I have to say that this is not my favorite John Green book (Looking for Alaska will always be my favorite), but I have officially named the book one of my favorite books period. Easily in my top ten……. along with the rest of the John Green books I’ve read……. Don’t judge…….

The Story

Paper Towns is about a kid named Quentin Jacobsen who met a girl named Margo Roth Spiegelman when they were young kids. Quentin immediately found himself enthralled with her, and pretty soon they became close friends. They spent much of their childhood doing everything together. They always hung out and it was easy for them too, since they were neighbors. One day, though, they were riding their bikes and they say w dead guy sitting against a tree in the park, close to their houses (scarring much, John?). This was the point when they started to drift down different roads. Margo became more and more adventurous every day and Quentin started to become the opposite. Flash forward to their senior year, Margo has an undying reputation for being the most spontaneous person on the face of the planet. Quentin becomes a nobody and slowly fades away from the life of Margo. They don’t even talk anymore and Quentin is forced to admire her from a distance. Then one night Margo shows up at Quentin’s window, inviting him to go with her on a night of rampage and revenge. After some hesitation, Quentin obliges to go with her (oblige is a strong word though). They have a whole night of spontaneous fun and revenge. The next day after, Margo vanishes. She seems to have run away, but before she did she left clues that would speak to Quentin and Quentin only. The story is about Quentin looking for these clues, and trying to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Margo Roth Spiegelman.And there you have it: the basic plotline of another brilliant novel. I personally really liked the plot, because I think it really painted the characters well, who were a pretty awesome cast of people.

The Characters

The characters are portrayed beautifully in very stereotypical ways. You have Quentin, the guy who just sort of fades into the crowd, but really actually cares a lot about people. You have Radar, the geeky tech nerd who is Quentin’s best friend, along with Ben, who is the wannabe popular kind of kid. Throughout the story, however, you meet these characters and fall in love with them. You grow to appreciate the friendship that Quentin has with his close posse of friends. Then there is the Margo character. This one character, that you’re not sure if you should hate. Everyone has had mixed opinions on her, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that she sure does bring adventure into Quentin’s life. If she didn’t, well we wouldn’t have this story to talk about. One of the reasons I really like this book is that it really does show that everyone is different. Sometimes, you might not even know the person you thought you know. I like how John Green paints that. He has always been good with words (like non of you knew that) and he uses those words to teach young adults. Seriously if you look at his line of books, they are all young adult books. If he continues to write stories like this, count me in.

The Verdict: 5.0 out of 5.0

I personally loved the book, but not everyone will. Voice your own opinions! COmment your thoughts! I love John Green so I might be a little biased. Check out the rest of my website! I have plenty of reviews here for everybody! Share this with your friends!

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Looking for Alaska Review

From the creator of Fault in Our Stars…..

This book was written by John Green, and was published in 2005. This book was the first book that John Green had published, and it won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2006, from the American Library Association. Let me just say first, that this book does not disappoint. It is just as good as Fault in Our Stars (if not better). You will fall in love with every character in this book, and you will care about what happens to them. Will their be laughing? Of course. Will there be crying? Of course. WIll John Green rip your heart out like he did in Fault in Our Stars? Of course……. Let’s do this.

The Story

So Looking for Alaska has a pretty cool plotline actually. It’s about a kid named Miles Halter, who has a love for last words. He loves learning the last words of all kinds of famous people. Eventually he comes across the famous last words of Francois Rabelais, who said “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” right before he died. Miles decided he wanted to find his own “Great Perhaps” elsewhere besides his public school in Florida. He decides to go to Culver Creek Boarding school all the way in Arizona to find the “Great Perhaps”. Once he gets there he meets a group of friends and he is immediately brought in as one of their own. One of those friends include the one and only Alaska Young (yes Alaska is a character). Miles is thrown into a world of mischief and shenanigans with this group of friends. Little did Miles know, that his life would never be the same after this year at Culver Creek.

The Characters

Like I said before, the characters in this story are likely to make you love them. You will grow to care for characters in the group of mischief. John Green knows how to write about high school students and he does it well. There are all the typical types of people that go  to high school. John Green writes them all perfectly, just like the story. I’m not going to tell you much else about the characters because half the fun of this book is meeting the characters, especially the eccentric Alaska. I can give you my word though, that these characters are worth investing your time in, and worth learning about.

The Verdict…………5.0 out of 5.0

  • Great story about learning to live
  • Awesome characters to bond with
  • Great writing style (As always)

If you love books you should definitely check this one out (if you haven’t already of course) So how did I do? What did you think of this review? Comment below and let me know! Check out my other reviews! Share this with your friends!

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