Library Liasons is a type of post that I do when I have books that I have purchased or borrowed and do not wish to review fully - either because I want the precedence to go to review books or because the books themselves do not require a full review from me. It also allows me to provide more information on more books at one time for interested readers. All of the titles are linked to the corresponding Goodreads page for more information and reviews for the book.
Identical by Ellen Hopkins (Library)
This book is creepy. Oh, so very creepy. Ellen Hopkins writes excellent issue books, and I can never shake the fact that she does them with a bigger sense of reality than most writers. She always injects messages and such into them, but everything feels organic because of her writing voice. I've read many of her books, though not her most recent work (I blame being behind on series/author reading in general), and Identical is by far a departure for her in some ways. The dual point of view is utilized very well - I'd say better than in any other previous multiple POV works she's done - and the theme, plot twists, and character arcs are all developed in unexpected ways. Her prose is also excellent. Hopkins writes poetry in a way that is accessible yet still powerful. She has many great ones in Identical, and I'd say that, overall, I found it to be one of her strongest books from an artistic standpoint. Anyone who remotely enjoys her books should pick this one up.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (Bought - Freebie)
I read this immediately after seeing the Broadway musical. One of my goals with reading classics is to read classics that interest me, and The Phantom of the Opera interested me due to the subject matter (being the source material for an amazing Broadway musical, a tortured romance coming from an opera phantom) and the setting (historical Paris, the opera). While some of the novel tends to drag, which I would assume comes from its nature of being a serial, the overall story is one that is striking and disturbing. This is not the musical. I knew that going in, but was surprised at just how disturbed Erik, aka the Phantom, really was. Leroux still manages to make his past complex and his insanity worthy of vague sympathies, and the setting and atmosphere worked really well. It's also a read that holds up well from a writing standpoint - the prose is accessible to modern readers and doesn't strike me as being too "literary", which I like. I'm a firm believer that prose needs to be accessible in its beauty, and The Phantom of the Opera has that kind of prose.
How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend by Janette Rallison (Bought)
This book just made me mad. Extremely mad. It's a book that's meant to be light, fluffy, and aimed more towards the younger set of YA (at least, that's how it read). I ended up feeling like it's the bad kind of fluff - the type of fluff that sends too many messages to its readers because they are teenagers. The type of fluff that features a female protagonist that makes a ton of mistakes, acts extremely stupid, and gets pitied because she just doesn't understand boys. I really find that these types of YA chick-lit novels bother me. Girls don't have to act rash and stupid. Guys shouldn't be excused for doing stupid crap as characters because they are guys. That kind of thing is frustrating, and I found it to be way too present in this book to enjoy it. I bought it, too, so I was hoping more for a diamond-in-the-rough experience than a wall-banger.
One Day at a Time by Danielle Steel (Bought)
Danielle Steel is just an author that is comforting. Her prose gets so, so repetitive. You notice it within any novel of hers that you read. Even the short ones. It's just her style. Her style is also focused on telling, and facts get repeated like there is no tomorrow. She's an author that, based on what I know of her style, I should hate. Her books are comfort reads to me. There's nothing around that. One Day at a Time is a romance-ish story that focuses on a simple girl falling for a movie star, her lesbian sister and her sister's partner's struggling relationship, and her mother's new relationship with a much younger man. It's all very quiet and doesn't progress much, but Steel fans may find it to be a bit surprising. Having only read her much older novel Zoya (which is epic and probably one of my favorite books despite all of the negative aspects of her writing style), I was surprised at how she tackled some modern issues with a surprisingly liberal attitude (although the pc-ness of the tone got to be a bit much). Still, she handled things fairly well and it was an enjoyable read that took a few hours of my time.
Coexist by Julia Crane (Bought - Freebie)
Kindle freebies are way too tempting, guys. I downloaded this one because I liked the cover and the description sounded appealing. Not to mention that I've made a point to be more supportive of indie and self-published authors. Coexist started off well but quickly became a story filled with bad tropes and bad writing. Lots of telling vs. showing. A bland heroine that didn't capture my interest after a while. Insta-love that was never given much nuance and had almost no page time for development. A lot of paranormal/world-building elements that felt cheap and uninspired. I should have enjoyed this story, even if it wasn't original, but it ultimately felt like the author just missed development. It could have been twice as long (and at 2,000 Kindle locations, it's half the length of the average YA novel) and probably used that length to develop everything, but it instead just toyed around and made things bland. There are too many good books for me to bother continuing the series, even if the novellas are short.