Delicate Utility: Birthday!

So my birthday was on Easter this year! I had a wonderful day and I was so excited because my parents got me a Delicate Utility notebook for my birthday!! It is beautiful and I am such a nerd and it makes me feel like a legit writer toting that thing around.

 

I got to pick the color of the leather. I chose the two buttons and got to pic the color on those as well. It comes in a few different sizes, but didn’t have the one that I wanted so I asked her and she was able to make it for me! There are also three little notebooks on the inside and I can get refills once I fill those pages!

 

AND I was able to get my name stamped into it so even if you want to steal mine you can’t unless your name is Hannah Courtney. lol.

 

Susan was so nice and even though it usually takes a little longer than 2 weeks to make she was able to make mine and get it here in time for my birthday which was just a little over a week from the time it was ordered.

You can find her here on Twitter

 


Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor


Title: Searching for Sky
Author: Jillian Cantor
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source: Netgalley

From Goodreads:

Sky and River have always lived on Island, the only world they’ve ever known. Until the day River spots a boat. Across Ocean, in a place called California, Sky is separated from River and forced to live with a grandmother she’s just met. Here the rules for survival are different. People rely on strange things like cars and cell phones. They keep secrets from one another. And without River, nothing makes sense. Sky yearns for her old life where she was strong and capable, not lost and confused. She must find River so they can return to Island, but the truth behind how they ended up there in the first place will come as the biggest shock of all.

 

This type of book is a tricky one to write. Every one of us sees the world as it is. If you are part of my generation and younger ones then you’ve never lived without a cell phone in your hand or a computer to use. I’ve never lived a life without cars or electricity or modern amenities. I’ve never lived a life where I didn’t go to school. I’ve never had to life off of the land or life on my own. So it’s really hard for me to imagine how someone who has never known any of this can see the world and obviously it was also hard for Jillian Cantor. This was a tricky book and while it had heart it didn’t quite get the end result that she (probably) wanted.

The protagonist, Sky/Megan, seems very ignorant and not just because she didn’t grow up in this world. I blame this on the fact that her entire life she has been taught to only know the things that she needs to know and never more. She has been taught to never question, to live life on strict routine. Never stray from the routine or break any of the strict rules that Helmut has put forth before them. Basically don’t use your mind. River on the other hand is referenced as a dreamer throughout the book. He questions everything, thinks of things bigger than himself, and is not afraid to be defiant.

Because of his ability to process things and question and understand the world better than Sky, it was River who should have adapted better to this new world of California, but instead it was Sky who thrived. I understand that this was because she had a “team of professionals” to help her, but even at the end of the book there was hardly any growth from River and that was disappointing.

One of the things that made this book so tricky was trying to figure out how people who have never been in modern society. I found it hard to believe that Petal and Helmut (the parents on Island) never called the rocks leading down or up, “steps”. Or that they never said any words, like “awesome” or “sucks” or whatever the equivalent would have been before they left California. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me that Sky would only know a few words. It’s strange that she would call a light the “sun”. She should have been smart enough to know that the sun emits light. She would have known the word light; therefore she should have known that a “light” on the ceiling was not the sun, but rather something that emitted light. Even if she didn’t know what electricity was she would have known the word light.

I have read other book very similar to this one and yet those other books surpassed this was by far. Like I’ve said, this is a tricky subject to write. A tricky point of view to write from and unfortunately for Cantor it just didn’t come out like she was hoping it would.

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares Review


Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Source: Netgallery

From Goodreads

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

When I first started to read The Here and Now I thought it was such an amazing story! I was sucked right in and I was under the impression that this was going to be a fantastic book that I would recommend to all of my friends. There is this feeling that readers get though, when books are really good, this excitement in the pit of your belly and this feeling of longing whenever you don’t have the book in your hands. I didn’t get it. This confused me because on the surface I thought I liked the book. Then I finished it…and I could not figure out how I felt.
There was no “wow that was good!” or “I’ve got to tell my friend about this!” there was just, “okay….so now I’m done.” The more I thought about the book the more I realized it wasn’t the amazing book that I thought it was. While there were a few things that I enjoyed (I’ll get to that later) a lot of it rubbed me the wrong way.


First the “future” that Prenna and the others come from is less than 100 years in the future and yet, somehow, the entire world dissolves. Somehow they’ve developed the technology to send a whole lot of people back in time, but they can’t develop technology to fix what’s gone wrong. I definitely felt like Brashares was trying to say that all technology was bad. She certainly went as far as saying that big companies and corporate America were evil and would be the downfall of the world. She went as far as to say even those who were environmentalists and cared about the environment and who tried to do something to change the future and preserve the world for future generations aren’t doing enough. Basically humans aren’t doing enough.
This is a book with a heavy agenda. What bothered me was that it was such an important topic in the book and yet it was not mentioned in the description. I had no idea what I was getting myself into before reading. Another thing that really bothered me was that for the first chunk of the book anytime the future was mentioned and the destruction that had fallen upon it, global warming wasn’t actually said. Those words weren’t used. I felt like it was trying to be disguised and that really rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like I was being deceived. If you are going to write a book about a topic, especially a politically charged topic, I think it’s important to be upfront about it. Let me know that this is what you are going to talk about otherwise I feel like something shady is going on. This book was basically just a young adult version of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.
The character of Ethan wasn’t developed at all. I understand that I was reading the book through Prenna’s eyes and so I would only get to know what she knows…but surely if she’s been best friends with this kid she would know a little more about him. There are several ways for Brashares to add in information about his past without info dumping. She could have woven something in there.
This leads me to Prenna and her society. Uh…what? There are mentions of characters that are villain like to her. There wasn’t enough on these characters to make them ominous or scary. There wasn’t enough about them to make me feel nervous. Prenna is punished and taken to a secret location…one that Ethan very easily finds, and nothing happens there. She’s dropped there and then rescued and the plot moves on effortlessly as if the whole thing never happened.
There was no urgency in the book. There was a specific date when an event that would change the course of the world forever and what do the characters do? They take a swim, go to dinner, and play some card games. It was painful. The Madonna song, 4 Minutes, kept playing through my head during this. They’ve got about 4 (give or take a day) days to save the entire planet and what do they do? They chillax.
Then their plan to save the woman that they need too is just ridiculous. She obviously knows Ethan, so why not just send Ethan in there? Why not just have Ethan call her and take her out for her birthday? There are endless situations that could have worked better and made more sense than the plan that was ultimately played out.
The only thing that I like about the book now that I am finished with it is the fact that one person can make a difference. Prenna and Ethan have to save one woman from being murdered because if she is then the entire world is going to crash and burn. I liked that. Every person matters.
Overall this book is not one that I would recommend to anyone.


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