The Broken Bookshelf

Book reviews, discussions, recommendations, and lists.

Review: Landline — December 16, 2016

Review: Landline

*This review contains spoilers, read at your own risk, or jump down to the *** near the end for the briefest review you’ll need without spoiling it for yourself**
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Start Date: December 12th, 2016
Finish Date: December 15th, 2016
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This book combines a lot of my favorite things all into one: “time travel”, marriage, children, and a “not-too-sappy” love story. I enjoy YA novels, but much more enjoy then when they are geared towards older, married/have children, audience.

Georgie (main character) and her husband Neal, who have 2 young daughters, have been together since college and married for ~15 years. She and Neal are polar opposites in their work fields, he studied oceanography (now a stay-at-home dad) and she became a sitcom writer. She loves California, grew up there, and is required to stay there for her job. Neal would love to move back home to Nebraska, but sacrifices this for Georgie and her career. The present Christmas, Georgie and Neal are supposed to go home to Neal’s family like they do every year. However, because Georgie and her best friend/writing partner, Seth, have landed the biggest deal yet on making their own TV show, but the deadline makes her need to be home during the time they are supposed to go to Nebraska.

Naturally, Georgie stays for her career and best friend, but instead of Neal staying with her and being with her for Christmas, he up and leaves with the girls in tow to Nebraska. This is where I, personally speaking as a mom and wife, would just say it can wait until after Christmas and just go and be with my family. But no, she still stays. As many times as she tries to contact him, though, he never answers. So, she thinks that this may be the last straw to a never-ending argument that has been going on for years, where Georgie always puts herself first and never considers Neal’s feelings whatsoever. I mean, go be with your family, the show and Seth will still be here until you get back. Jeez, at the very least take your laptop with you and do your writing and send it to Seth while you’re up there.

While she can’t get Neal to answer her, she doesn’t want to go home to an empty house. She instead goes to stay at her mother’s house with her, her step-dad, and sister (who is still in high school, so her and Georgie have a significant amount of years between them). She stays in her old room, which hasn’t been changed much since she left for college many years ago, and she sees and old (yet still new) rotary landline phone. Here’s where things get interesting. Since she doesn’t want to go home, where her chargers are, her cell is dead 99% of the time, so to try to get a hold of Neal, she uses the landline. When she calls, Neal’s mother answers, then she gets Neal, but he sounds different. Younger. And then she hears Neal’s dad. Who’s been deceased for years. Odd.

Upon several conversations over the next few days, she realizes that she is talking to the young Neal. From when they were in college, before they got engaged, married, and had kids. She’s also worried that her talking to him might alter their current future where they are married with children. So, she has to be careful on what she says, otherwise she might end up talking Neal out of marrying her and therefore end her current life as she knows it.

***This is a story of love, family, and not taking for granted what and who you have. This is by far one of the better love stories I’ve read, especially in the YA genre. I highly recommend reading this around Christmas time because of the feels. Also, if you have any doubts on this book because you read Fangirl, please put that judgement aside, because this is definitely a book you want to read. I don’t enjoy sappy love stories and this is not one of those. This hit the nail on the head as far as what “real” relationships and marriages are like. Don’t miss out.***

Review: Ready Player One — November 29, 2016

Review: Ready Player One

Date Started: November 9th, 2016

Date Finished: November 19th, 2016

Overall rating: 4.9/5 Stars

The actual start date to this book should be somewhere in 2015. I can’t tell you how many times I had picked this up and put it down, simply for the fact that it starts out a tad slow. Now having read it, I could kick myself for letting it go unread all this time. As soon as I got past the first few chapters it was smooth sailing, and honestly the only reason it took me 10 days to read it is because of work and my video game hobby. I am in love with 80’s pop culture. I wasn’t born until the mid-90’s, but most of my favorite songs, movies, bands, and the like come from the 80’s time period.

Wade Watts, a high school senior in both the real and virtual world, lives with his aunt and her nasty boyfriend, where he is treated horridly and completely unhappy. Therefore, his uses the virtual reality that is the OASIS as his everyday escape, and he goes to his hiding place every day which is miles from his aunt’s trailer. Trailers, at this time, are very common. They are so common, that they are actually stacked on top of one another to save on space because of the state of the Earth’s decline. Every one (well, almost) is un-wealthy, and these ‘sky-trailers’ are about as affordable as housing gets. Wade actually got his hands on his Virtual Reality (VR) set through school when public students began to be allowed to attend school online. So, a little after he first got his VR set through school, 5 years prior to current time of the story in 2044, James Halliday (OASIS creator) passed away. Upon his passing, he left a video-will for the entire population stating that he had created a game within the game. 3 Easter eggs have been hidden throughout the very vast virtual world, which are found by opening 3 gates, which are opened by obtaining 3 keys. The prize? Whoever finds all 3 eggs first, inherits Halliday’s entire multi-billion dollar fortune and OASIS itself. He left the first riddle for everyone in his video-will, but for there to be any more clues revealed, one must locate the first key.

What you seek lies hidden in the trash on the deepest level of Daggorath.”

Pretty straight forward, right? That is, if you’ve ever played Dungeons & Dragons. This first riddle put the world in a frenzy over finding the keys to get the eggs. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a multi-billionaire? However, it took a whole 5 years before anyone found where the riddle was leading to.

This tale is one of friendship, love, hate, pride, and fun all throughout its entirety. Wade gets to meet his girl gunter (egg hunter) crush, eventually gets to meet face to face with her AND his best friend that he’s never met in person. They get to take down a huge evil corporation, who only wanted to win the prize so that their ownership of the VR game would allow them to make subscription fees present in an otherwise free-to-play realm. Greedy, greedy, greedy. Instead of making the world a little bit better and making world hunger less of an issue, let’s charge every one a monthly fee and further plummet the economy. Great idea. But what can you expect from those with already plenty of enough money that they don’t have to worry about themselves or their family going hungry. They’re only concerned with making their own bank accounts bigger. It’s always grand to see ‘government’ evil corporations get kicked in the teeth.

As soon as you pass those first 5 chapters, you’re golden. I sped through this book because I was so in love with it. And when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about reading it. I couldn’t hardly put it down. Please, if you love nerdy things, classic 80s games & movies, or anything 80’s really, pick up this book. My husband, who NEVER reads, loved this book. Mainly for all the 80’s and pop culture references and that it was about video games, but still. It’s amazing and the only reason I gave it a 4.9 and not a 5 was because it starts out slow. Don’t miss out on this one. Also: This is being made into a movie with the release year of 2018. AND THERE WILL BE A BOOK SEQUEL. Ernest Cline has posted several times, hinting that the title may be called Ready Player Two.