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DanniMae

Danni Mae

I'm a NY-born blogger living in Southern Alabama. I love to read YA, Dytopian, and general fiction.

Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Mosquitoland - David  Arnold

Mosquitoland was an odd book for me. I knew right away that if it got into the blogosphere enough, it would be a new trend book like The Fault in Our Stars. It’s full of so much deep thought and quirky opinions that it’s like, what’s not to love? But my feelings on it were pretty so-so. It was an instance that either I was absolutely loving it, or I was just annoyed.

Mim is a pretty stand-up main character. For those that like strong female leads, she’s your girl. She has a no-nonsense attitude that young girls will love, but still has a tender and loving side for those in the book that need help. I enjoyed almost all of the other characters in the book, and I love how- without making this the main plot- it showed two different sides of mental illness: the manageable more common side, and the feared side most people think of when they find out someone’s mentally ill.

However, what I didn’t like was Mim’s interactions with anyone she decided she didn’t like. Either someone was ‘in’ or ‘out’ and if they were out, they were treated like a zombie-sheep idiot. And most of them responded in the way a normal person would to a kid trying to fast-talk them, but she just thought herself so superior, it was rather annoying. During her inner thought sessions, I was thinking “wow, what a strong girl,” but anytime she’d talk to an adult, I was thinking “someone needs to knock this little punk down a peg.”

I’m going to rate it a three because I didn’t like half of Mim’s character, the writing sessions, and a lot of what really wasn’t believable, but don’t be discouraged! I strongly believe there are people out there that would absolutely adore this book, and you may be one of them!

Review: I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

I Take You: A Novel - Eliza Kennedy

A cute cover, interesting premise, and feature in one of my favorite magazines had me really excited to read I Take You, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although Lily Wilder is incredibly irresponsible, childish, and slutty, I didn’t hate her as much as I anticipated. The entire book was set in the first person with Lily as the narrator, and when I started reading I thought “oh, well if it was third person that’d be fine, but spending an entire book in this nutjob’s head? That’s not going to work out.” But somehow, Lily’s shallow, irresponsible thoughts didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the book. Tangled in disaster as it was, I Take You had a very light and enjoyable tone, and it was exactly what I was looking for when I picked it up.

I think the worst thing about I Take You was its believability. I went into it already not expecting realism (because I like to think that all brides-to-be are loyal, faithful, responsible adults,) but there were some points in the book where I was thinking “absolutely no way would that ever happen.” Especially with the convenience of the ending; it was just too much of a coincidence! Actually, Lily’s whole relationship with her fiance was a coincidence. But, again, I wasn’t expecting to believe in this book, so all of this is forgivable.

My absolute favorite thing about the book was Freddy, Lily’s best friend. She breaks the trend of so many shallow, stupid, bookish best friends (a real pet peeve of mine) and was not only nonjudgmental to Lily’s behavior, she was always looking out for Lily and gave her amazing advice. Usually in a book, you get a smart, quirky, interesting main character that has a boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed, very basic best friend, but this book actually reversed the two roles, which made it very interesting for me.

Overall, I Take You was an enjoyable and cute read, and I’d be interested to see what others thought about it!

Review: We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

We Never Asked for Wings: A Novel - Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I received this copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I was recommended this book by a friend who knew how much I loved The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s debut novel, and received We Never Asked for Wings from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Similar to The Language of Flowers, We Never Asked for Wings is widely about family and personal growth, and it was wonderful to watch the main character, Letty, as she learned about her own children after being abandoned by their former caretaker. It was sweet and refreshing to see her slowly change from a selfish, childish, dependent individual into a caring and (mostly) responsible mother, and I think the change was done excellently. Know how in some books there’s a chapter midway through talking about all of the changes that’ve happened and a person’s new schedule? It’s hard to explain but it happens a lot. Not in this book, though: the change in Letty’s character is so gradual and realistic that by the end she is a completely different person, and all without the middle montage.

The children in the book were wonderful, too. Smart and completely realistic- not always knowing what they needed but loving Letty even though they knew it wasn’t her. I also liked the way Letty’s mother was characterized. She was controlling and caring all mixed in one, making Letty’s thoughts on her as complicated as a real daughter’s thoughts would be.

Overall, this book is just completely real. We Never Asked for Wings is a story about a realistic family and a woman’s change into a mother after years of doing her own thing. It was a sweet and refreshing read, good for someone angry at their parents or missing home.

Buddy Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection - Kiera Cass

For this review I buddied up with The Book Dame! Both of us read The Selection and chose our own questions for ourselves and each other. You can check out her review here.

Danni’s Questions:
 
1) First of all, is The Selection what you expected?
 
Danni: Not at all! I was expecting a serious competition between all of these girls, with America a little confused (due to Aspen in the synopsis) but still competing. I was looking forward to seeing the strategies and personalities of 35 girls, but instead the book was mainly about everyone- the Prince, the girls, and America herself- trying to figure out what’s going on with America.
 
Suzi: No.  I expected something more involved…deeper.  There is so much that could have been done with a plot like this.
 
2) What did you think of America’s name?
 
Danni:  …America… Singer.. It really sounds all sorts of off to me. Maybe if America was a graceful or cute name like Asia or London, but I don’t there’s any way to make America sound flattering. Those closest to her end up calling her Ames, which is just awkward, and Mer, which gets me thinking of dumb redneck impersonators yelling AMERICA! The only thing good about that name was the reason behind it, which I liked. And Singer? Is everyone named for their profession? Are there, like, a million people out there with the last name Teacher or Servant? In that case, it must be hard to marry into your own caste, finding someone with a different last name. And if that’s true, then what the hell is a Lerger? Sounds about as cushy as the owner of the name was. 
 
Suzi:   Danni and I differ on this one.  It rolls off tongue to me.  A bit cliche?  Well, yes, but I love the way that it meant something, a symbol of what the land was.  What can I say?  I’m patriotic like that.
 
3) Did it bother you not knowing why Maxon sent home the first batch of girls?
 
Danni:  Yes! This was a big pet peeve of mine. For two reasons: One, I just like to know these things, and I was thinking I was getting a book that was more about the competition, so to be missing a huge explanation on that part really bothered me, and Two, America totally seems like the type of person to stick up for her friends. Maybe she didn’t know *not going to spoil the name* too well, and maybe it’s the nature of the competition, and maybe there was nothing she could do about it by the time it was done, but you’d think it would bother her and that she’d at least want to know why one of her friends was sent home. Instead the friend was forgotten almost as quickly as she was dismissed.
 
Suzi:  I would have liked to have known, but it didn’t bother me like it did Danni.  To some extent, I think it was assumed that we would get the message that Maxon wasn’t looking for what we thought he was.
 
4) Your favorite scene in the book?
 
Danni:  The girl’s first dinner with Maxon, by far. I really loved what you got to learn about Maxon’s character in that scene, and the girls’ responses to his words. I also loved how that dinner ended up. It was the most in-control America was in the entire book.
 
Suzi:  Urm…I don’t remember the details of that scene, Danni.  So, I will go with when all of the girls were making the transition into The Selection.  Meeting each other, seeing things for the first time, and all of that.  It was the closest to real scene setting since world building was not a major part of the storytelling.
 
5) What did you think of the chosen six Elite?
 
Danni:   I was disappointed that it was narrowed down so quickly! I suppose in the end, the book really wasn’t about the other girls, but I knew so little about them that I wasn’t able to make predictions or anything, and that’s half of the fun of this sort of competition. When they were chosen, I was just like “who?” I felt like I really missed out on a part of the story. I guess I wouldn’t expect an author to personify 35 different girls, especially in a book so small, but why make the competition have 35 when you’re not even going to personify five of them to the point of recognition? 
 
Suzi:  I was disappointed that the book got to the six so quickly also.  I liked the drama of having so many girls around, all competing, all with such vast personalities.
 
Suzi’s Questions
 
6) Did you feel like this was a great premise that could have been executed to be so much greater than it was?
 
Suzi:  It’s my question, so yeah.  It was a good book, and I will read the others, but there was nothing here that blew me away.  I feel like the majority of the story was the equivalent to a season of The Bachelor.
 
Danni:  It was definitely not what I expected. I feel like there were a few ways to do it; I personally was looking for more of a book form of Survivor, and there ended up being really no contest at all. I don’t feel like the premise could have done better, I think it was just wrong altogether. Like the synopsis of The Girl with All the Gifts. 
 
7) Were you bothered by the love triangle?
 
Suzi:  I am not normally bothered by love triangles as much as others as long as the connection between the love interest is not too serious.  Unfortunately, I was really bothered by America and Aspen in this case.  They both felt more like players trying to get what they wanted than giving loving people.
 
Danni:  YES. Every time I saw Aspen I wanted him to die. That extends to the sequel, which I’ve already read.
 
8)  Where there any inconsistencies that were a problem for you?
 
Suzi:  Too many.  America doesn’t want to participate in the Selection, even though it would mean everything to her families financial future, and she was more than willing to take a cut of her profits from her family as part of a deal to participate.  That all screams a disregard for her families future, yet all of a sudden we are suppose to buy into America’s all consuming need to stay in the Selection all because her family is getting payed while she is there.
 
Danni:  Only when you mentioned them! When I looked back at it I realized how flip-floppy America’s personality is. But that doesn’t really bother me, as it can be summed up as rashness in her case, and that can be a personality trait all on its own. Even if that’s a stretch, it’s good enough for me.
 
9)  I have seen reviews that rave about the simplicity of the story and others where it drives the reader mad.  Where do you stand?
 
Suzi:  I wasn’t bothered by the simplicity.  I kind of enjoyed it, actually.  While I do wish that the world building was better, the ease of the story can be refreshing.  I am a cozy mystery fan, and The Selection is kind of like cozy dystopian.
 
Danni: Not bothered at all! It was refreshing and fun to read. I bought the second ten minutes after finishing the first. I think the fluffiness of the plot is what makes the book so appealing. 
 
10)  What were your first thoughts as the story came to an end?  Before you had any time to process.
 
Suzi:  Awe shiz!  Another series where there is no proper conclusion to the end.  I don’t know what the hell is up with all of these series authors who think they don’t have to give me a completed story.  I get it that there is more to come, but that’s not how it is supposed to be.  I should be left feeling fulfilled, yet with enough of a tease to leave me wanting more.
 
Danni: “I loved it!” As I mentioned, I went out and got the next one right away. That’s really why my rating’s going to be so high for The Selection: it was just the exact feeling I was looking for, even if it wasn’t the plot I was looking for. If I was rating how good a book it was, all of these expectations and inconsistencies would have definitely knocked down the rating, but I decided to rate it by enjoyment.
 
Danni’s Overall Star Rating: 4 
Despite its many lackings, I really just enjoyed this book. It was light and fluffy and cute and I loved the prince and enjoyed his interactions with America. My biggest peeve was that I didn’t get to learn anything about most of the other girls, but while I was reading this was easy to accept because I was enjoying the story.
 
Suzi’s Overall Star Rating: 3
The Selection is an easy quick read with an interesting premise.  I didn’t feel much, but I was entertained.  I would have liked to have felt some danger when it was clear that is what the author intended, and I would have liked to have felt a connection between Maxon and America.  Instead I found myself thinking that he should send her ass home.  Hopefully there will be more of a connection in the next book.

Anything But Typical

Anything But Typical - Nora Raleigh Baskin Also Reviewed on Dannimae.com
http://dannimae.com/2015/07/31/review-anything-but-typical-the-mc-may-have-been-but-the-book-wasnt/

Trying to type a review for Anything but Typical is proving to be difficult. There’s very little that I can say about it because, ironically, it was a completely typical book about a kid with autism. I liked a lot of the viewpoints and I believe it could really help a neurotypical (A.K.A. probably you) understand the disease or someone with it, but not any more than any other autism book. What I found most remarkable about Anything but Typical, though, was the way the author really tried to describe someone with autism using the first person. There were several times throughout the book that Jason- the narrator- internally knew that someone expected some sort of social que from him, but had no idea what. I found it was very easy to sympathize with both sides of the issues here. I understood Jason easily, which is remarkable considering how hard I find it to understand people with mental illnesses, and I really liked him as a person.

I believe Anything but Typical would be a very good read for someone who actually dislikes or is afraid of people with conditions like autism, because it explains the inner thoughts of someone with the condition without putting them in a white light. Like “everyone around autistic people is totally unfair to them and they’re completely wonderful people!” Although I wouldn’t argue that Jason was a wonderful person, he didn’t spend the majority of the book abused and mistreated but instead had regular conflicts with regular people, which is why I think it would be better for someone that doesn’t like autism. It puts the condition in an understandable light without demonizing everyone who dislikes it.

Overall, a short and mildly interesting read that may invoke a few deep thoughts.

Make Good Art

Make Good Art - Chip Kidd, Neil Gaiman Reced by
https://forwardsandbookwords.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/review-10-neil-gaimans-make-good-art-speech/

Ketchup Clouds

Ketchup Clouds - Annabel Pitcher Reced by

https://partnersinbooks.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/erikas-pov-ketchup-clouds-by-annabel-pitcher/comment-page-1/#comment-68

The Night Circus

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern Reced by

https://ahundredthousandstories.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/the-sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award/comment-page-1/#comment-143

The Winner's Curse

The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski Reviewed First on Dannimae.com

http://dannimae.com/2015/07/09/a-worthwhile-read-review-the-winners-curse-by-marie-rutkoski/

I’ve actually done quite a lot of stalling for this review. It’s not that I don’t have a lot to say, it’s that I don’t exactly know how to explain this book. It’s amazing. It has everything I love in characters, and- like I said in my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses– sometimes book hype is purely surprising.

Kestrel (love her name, by the way, and especially adore the reason behind it) and Arin are thoughtful people. They analyze every move of the people around them. To me, this was fascinating and thrilling, but to others I’d imagine it was just a long list of hullabaloo. I guess I’m pleased to find myself wrong in this case; so many people love this book! And these thought-out, calculating personalities were my favorite part of The Winner’s Curse.

For that alone, this one is totally re-readable.

But other than that, nothing much interesting happens until the end. As much as I enjoy the thought processes of the characters, there’s only so much contemplating others we can do before the whole world starts to seem a little too small. Also, a big BIG pet peeve of mine- Kestrel’s best friend was exactly the same as every book best friend. Ever. Flirty and boy-obsessed, knowing everything about fashion and nothing about boring things like arts or intellect, and completely naive and helpless when the real shiz goes down. Seriously, why is every book girl friends with someone like this? I could name literally twenty right now. In real life, there’s no way these two would be friends. Kestrel doesn’t even really enjoy spending time with her! Ugh!

But she was only a small part of the book and it would be unfair to rate books horribly because all authors should just know I’m going to hate their plot-device best friend figures.

Overall, The Winner’s Curse and an interesting and thoughtful read, and I recommend it to anyone looking for clever characters and a moral conflict.

How to Lose a Groom in 10 Days (Runaway Brides)

How to Lose a Groom in 10 Days (Runaway Brides) - Catherine Mann, Joanne Rock Reced by Lola's Reviews

A Mango-Shaped Space

A Mango-Shaped Space - Wendy Mass Recd by Audrey @bookwords and forewords

The Three: A Novel

The Three: A Novel - Sarah Lotz reced by http://elenasquareeyes.com/2015/06/25/review-the-three-by-sarah-lotz/comment-page-1/#comment-2243

The Kiss That Launched 1,000 Gifs

The Kiss That Launched 1,000 Gifs - Sheralyn Pratt Reced By:

http://www.iamareader.com/2015/06/the-kiss-that-launched-1000-gifs-by-sheralyn-pratt-loved.html#comment-119344

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness, Jim Kay Reviewed First on DanniMae.com

After finishing A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, I immediately closed to the front cover and was shocked to not see a Newbery Award metal there. I don’t generally pay attention to awards, so I’m not sure what made me think of it- just that it seemed to have everything that was worth rewarding. Don’t worry though- I googled it later and found out that it did win the Carnegie and Greenaway medals for writing and illustration, although I’ll admit I’m not sure what those really stand for, but I’m just glad it won something.

Because it was amazing. Deep and thoughtful, A Monster Calls really delves into what it means to be a grieving human. Conor was a little brat, and I loved that. I loved his reaction to the monster upon first seeing it; after you’ve read the entire book, Conor’s words to the monster really put his whole situation into perspective. This is a very short read, so I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something meaningful.

And Harry- is it horrible to say that I loved the school bully? Seriously, that kid. The book could’ve been about him and I would have enjoyed it just as well.

This book taunted emotions from me so easily: I cried at the end, I was enraged when Conor spoke with his father, I was horrified after the monster told his second story- this book spoke to me as though all of these things were happening to me. I also loved the significance of 12:07- which I didn’t understand until the end and it drew so many more things into question.

Overall, the greatest thing to be said about A Monster Calls was the writing style. Anyone can make a plot, a story, characters, but there’s just something about the way Patrick Ness goes about it. His writing style is simple and fluid and leaves nothing to be desired. It keeps me hooked on the page and thinking about being hooked on the page when I’m away. I’m almost infuriated that someone I’ve never met has such access to my emotions, as though I were just a puppet to react as the book demands and the book is made of marionette strings. It’s horrible. I love it.

The Consequence of Loving Colton

The Consequence of Loving Colton - Rachel Van Dyken Review also on DanniMae.com

Where do I even begin? This book was like being at a children’s party- the kind with clowns and candy and a bouncy-house. There are a million screaming children and everyone is babbling at you and all of the adults are getting drunk (not that this usually happens at a children’s party, but it happens at this one) and it is just too much.

Everyone in this book is crazy! There were four different viewpoints in The Consequence of Loving Colton: Milo, Colton, Max, and Jason. Jason was exactly like Colton, Max was exactly like his brother Reid, and when they were narrating they ALL sounded like Milo. This wasn’t like a story, this was a single person’s hallucinatory drug trip. The characters act with no foresight or reason, and I swear half of the dialogue was ridiculous nonsense because it’s supposedly funny. It wasn’t. Even in serious situations- like Jason who’s allergic to ants getting swarmed by ants and swelling so much he can’t even see, or Reid being molested repeatedly by a cougarly old lady- everyone was making fun of everything and laughing it off like it was no big deal.

Plus nudity! Nudity everywhere! Milo naked in front of her brother, a guy watching two people getting it on in a pool, a girl playing strip poker with a group of men- what is this, a wedding weekend or a college frat party? Why isn’t this labeled as erotica? (To be fair, I’m a prude, but still, there were like a million penis jokes, and the main character varied between MAKING them and having no idea what they meant because she’s just so innocent. Can someone this sexually frustrated really be a virgin? No consistency with the character.)

And the romance… I expect my romances to be.. romantic. But everything about Milo and Colton was awkward. I really don’t see any chemistry in them at all- it was played, in parts, as if their love was deep and meaningful, brought on by a lifetime of friendship, but honestly I’m not even sure if these characters are capable of any deep thought. The greatest salute I saw to their love was how horny they both were for each other.

And that was awful, too. Like, Milo couldn’t have a conversation with Colton without inner thoughts about wanting to feel him on her. Even the most basic words spark her libido, AND his- considering they’re the same person when they narrated. He did the same thing. And both of them have serious sexual issues. So I guess it’s good in a way they found each other. They can share their horrible nymphomaniac tendencies with each other for the rest of their lives.

But despite being obsessed with losing her virginity, Milo was also so self conscious at points that it literally made me angry. So (SPOILERS!) she just got married to Colton, (yes, married) who just a few book lines ago told her that he loved everything about her, wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, and makes a ton of sexual jokes. Then, after the wedding he takes her by the hand to go to his house. Her first reaction: “Oh no! Is he going to reject me again? Did he want to take me here to reject me?” NO YOU DUMBASS, HE WANTS TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU. Because after I get married and my man takes me to a private spot, I’m going to be worried that he wanted to get me alone to tell me that it wasn’t working out between us. Like, “sorry I married you! Should have thought that one through!” Then again, these characters think nothing through.

To be fair, it wasn’t all bad. There were some parts that made me smile, twice I laughed out loud. I adored Max until he got a narrated part towards the end, and then I was just fed up with the book in general. Had I only finished half of The Consequence of Colton, it would have gotten a higher review, but by the end, it really was just too much for me. Too much sexual frustration, too much hyperactivity, and too much dumbass-ness.

The Divorce Papers

The Divorce Papers - Susan Rieger Review also on DanniMae.com (which is why it's so personal).

The Divorce Papers was a book that immediately interested me and I was so excited to find out it was on Camellia! It was the first book I started on the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon… annnnd… yeah. Here I am, reviewing it two weeks later. Needless to say, it wasn’t as good as I was hoping.

Mostly, Cole and I just had fun with the title.

Me: *Going to renew our car tags* Cole, I’m going to the Court House once this downloads to my kindle.

Cole: What is it?

Me: The Divorce Papers.

Cole: You’re going where with what?!

The fun continues at work!

Cole: Danni, Missy won’t believe you’re reading The Divorce Papers!

Me: It’s true, Missy. I’m currently in the middle of The Divorce Papers.

Missy: I don’t believe it! You two are so good together!

Rebecca: Aren’t you two not even married yet?

Me: I like to be prepared like that.

And finally..

Cole: Weren’t you going grocery shopping?

Me: I’ll leave and be out of your hair the second I finish The Divorce Papers.

Cole: I’ll go with you!

Me: Uhh.. that’s not really how divorce works.

Cole: Divorce? I thought we were talking about a book all this time.

Needless to say, we had fun with this one. Which is maybe why it took me so long to read. But that could also be due to the fact that it was so…. legal…y..

As both the title and synopsis state, The Divorce Papers is written with… you guessed it.. Divorce Papers. That means a lot of legal court verbatim and TONS of numbers. This, I suppose, was meant to make it more realistic, but to me it was just a lot of skimming hoobery joobery. The only real writing you get in The Divorce Papers was the emails sent to and from Sophie, the main character. I liked her fine enough, and the people she knew, but there was just one thing that bugged me about her: everyone loved her.

I’m never going to tell someone who they can and can’t love, but having a damsel-in-distress but also somehow “shark” of a lawyer with a million lovers just doesn’t cut it for me. Throughout the course of the book, there were only two people that didn’t like Sophie (and you’d know if there were more; she seems to be the type of person that needs to be loved and would whine about it in an email if someone showed distaste for her): Kahn, the opposing lawyer who’s considered a scumbag by everyone and then gets suspended because how can someone who doesn’t love Sophie not be a bad businessman? And Fiona, who- reasonably- disagrees with Sophie, a criminal lawyer, working on a divorce case and then has everyone jump down her throat to save poor Sophie from criticism. Shark lawyers are fragile things, don’t-cha-know.

So no.. That didn’t float my boat.

But other than that, I did like all of the characters in The Divorce Papers, particularly the client’s daughter, Jane. (Who seems too smart for an eleven year old but now I’m just nitpicking.) Overall, it wasn’t a completely entertaining read but it did have some very thoughtful points and I would recommend it to anyone going through a divorce as a semi-interesting way to learn about the shiz they’re about to get into.