Thursday, 28 August 2014

A Whole New Crowd by Tijan

A Whole New Crowd
by Tijan

Summary: Taryn grew up in a different world. Her boyfriend was a criminal. His older brother was part of a gang. They weren’t great people, but they were her family. Then everything changes when she’s adopted by a family in the neighboring town. New family. New friends. A new world. She’s elated. This is her chance for a new beginning, but secrets start being revealed and Taryn learns her new life has ties to her old one, ties that she’s not happy about. Her new family might not have been the lucky break she thought she had. Now she's not only fighting to live that new future, but she's fighting to survive as well.
I've been putting off reviewing this book for a few days because it's difficult to explain my thoughts on it. Like, I loved it, I've yet to read a Tijan book I didn't love...but it's complicated.

So I'm going to sum up what I love about the story then I'll explain where it gets complicated, for anyone that's interested, but the summary/rating is kind of all you need to know about my thoughts on the book.

The story is one of those ones that hooked me right from the start. It's full of drama, but in a good way and has one of those sort of unrealistic but thoroughly entertaining plots that are perfect if you want to lose yourself in a world that is real but not at all like your own (if you like stories with a crime/drug lord/gang kind of thing going on, this one might do it for you).

And the characters...like most of Tijan's books, it has a strong protagonist who is fierce and stands up for herself and the people she cares about. That's one of my favourite things about her books--the way she writes her female leads, because she makes them strong women without going over the top (like, they're independent and can stand on their own but they're not too proud to say when they don't want to).

Plus, there's a bunch of other characters that I loved without necessarily liking them. They were interesting, and interesting is kind of better than likeable (a lot of her characters were shades of gray, instead of being all bad or all good, they were mostly varying degrees of both and I like that). I really liked the relationship between Tray and Taryn too and the relationship she had with her sister.

I'd rate the book 4 stars out of 5 (well, this version of it... I'll explain that below) and I'd really recommend any of Tijan's books if you're looking for something fast paced and addictive.

The complicated part:

I've mentioned a bunch of times on the blog that I'm a big fan of Tijan's books and I read a lot of them while they were still posted on Fictionpress or Livejournal. I read A Whole New Crowd years ago online and adored it--I think it's definitely one of her best stories.

It's hard to separate the two versions in my head and it's hard not to make comparisons between the two (kind of like watching a movie adaptation of a favourite book). That's why it was so difficult to review the final published version.

This version was good and it still had most of the elements that I loved about the original story... except for one of the main things that made me love it in the first place (most of the other changes didn't register with me beyond the feeling that something was different).

In the original, Taryn's relationship with Jace was more complex...but in a good way. I loved Jace's character and their relationship in the original, it was one of the most interesting parts of the story. Their relationship--and by extention, Jace's character--was changed in the published version (and it made the Tray/Taryn thing feel different too).

Because I'd already read that different version of their relationship, it made reading this one feel weird. I think for that reason, I preffered the original version and that kind of clouded my judgement of this.

The overall story in this version was probably better, but it just didn't have the same spark for me without the Jace stuff. But that's a completely subjective thing, and most people probably didn't read the old version first so they'll go into the published one with fresh eyes and can judge it without the comparisons.

So yeah, that's why it was hard to review this. I loved one version of the story and loving that version stopped me from really loving this one to the same extent. I think if it weren't for that, this would've been a 4.5 or 5 star book, because I did still thoroughly enjoy reading it.

Later.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

I'm going to try and make the list mostly books that are already released, but yeah, these are the top ten books I really want but for whatever reason haven't gotten them yet.


1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski - This is one of those books I've wanted to read for years and any time I've been tempted to buy it, I can only find copies for like £20 and I talk myself out of it because I could get that one book or I could get a whole bunch of books for the money I'd spend on that one book and thinking of it that way always puts me off, because what if I hate it? But still, I want it.

2. Landline by Rainbow Rowell - I've yet to read a Rainbow Rowell book I didn't adore, so I'll pretty much reach anything she writes at this point. I think the reason I've put off getting this one is because it's only the Rainbow Rowell thing that appeals me, the plot doesn't sound like my kind of thing. But I still want it.

3. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson - I've wanted this book since...since before I even knew what it was called or what it was about, I wanted Jandy Nelson's next book as soon as I finished The Sky is Everywhere. It's out really soon, thankfully (I'll try to make that the only unreleased book on the list).

4. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - Not sure why. I have this thing about WW2/war books and this one sounds interesting (and I think it has a blind main character, which is awesome because diversity).

5. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll - I don't even know why I want it so much, but I do.

6. Sekret by Lindsay Smith - So I sort of wanted to read this one, because I find stories set in Russia weirdly fascinating. But then Julie rated it five starts and sort of want turned into really want.

7. Torrent by Gemma James - Silly thing is, I don't even remember why. I think it was probably because one of my Goodreads friends gave it a good review and I was in the mood for that sort of book at the time. And now, even if I've seen negative reviews too and I'm no longer in the mood for that sort of story, I've still got it in my head that I have to read it.

8. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins - It just sounds really fun and I've seen so many good reviews for it.

9. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent - Okay, technically I do own this one but it's the Kindle edition and I think the reason I keep putting off reading it is because it's the Kindle one, so I want a paperback copy.

10. Spring Snow by Yukio Mushima - Again, like most of the others, I don't know why. I'm guessing someone recommended it or something, but I really want it and the reviews of it I've seen have all been really positive too.

Have you read any of these? :)

Later.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (7)

On the Blog

Monday: Lanna's finally made it through AMY & ROGER'S EPIC DETOUR
Tuesday: Lanna talked about the Top Ten Books people have told her to read





Julie

Book Haul



Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous by Tierney Fowler (egalley via publisher)
Faces of the Dead by Suzanne Weyn (egalley via publisher)


Books Read


Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz
Recklessly Royal by Nicole Chase
Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto (DNF)
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Tease by Sophie Jordan

So, definitely a good reading week and a hell of a way to end the summer!
 
Upcoming Reads


????

I honestly haven't thought about it at all. Between vacation and packing up to move back to NYC as of today and starting my semester and all the other craziness happening next week, it hasn't crossed my mind. I'm going to continue working on Outlander, and hopefully finish since my loan ends this upcoming week, but we'll see!

Odds and Ends 

Now that I'm all relaxed from a week of hiking, zip lining, swimming, and reading, it's time for classes again. This semester I have classes from 8 am to 5 pm Mondays and Wednesdays with one gap from 9:30-11:00, so I'm going to have to be creative with getting in food and energy. And I have the 8 am class again on Thursday. Fortunately, this semester looks (mostly) awesome and I'm kind of excited. And bonus! Campus is usually still pretty quiet during my break, so I can snack/study/read in relative peace and quiet. 

And that's it for me this week. I'm hoping I'll be able to get some blogging done at some point this week and start getting ahead while school and other things are slow, but no guarantees. We'll just have to see how things go!

--Julie

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