Saturday, November 1, 2014

Mini Reviews: "Ugly Love" and "The Ocean at the End of the Lane"

3.75 stars and 3.5 stars

Hello, friends! I've hardly done any blogging lately because of a few busy weeks in a row -- and our lovely trip to Smoky Mountain National Park -- so I decided to combine two book reviews in this post. Interestingly, the covers kind of fit together. Both blue, both water-themed. It was meant to be!


"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman
First published in 2013
178 pages
My rating: 3.75 out of 5

This was a perfect little novel to read around Halloween, since it involves monsters and unnatural happenings. I really had no idea what this book was about going in, and it's probably best that way so I won't spoil anything for you. It's told from the perspective of a middle-aged British man remembering some horrible, unbelievable events that happened when he was a boy of 7, living in a little house on a lane in the country.

This was my first Neil Gaiman book and, after getting used to it, I really liked his writing style. It's just unique enough to be special but not irritating. "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" is a really more of a novella at less than 180 pages, and it reads like a spooky fireside tale. I enjoyed the story, but I guess I somehow wanted there to be more. It was an interesting, eerie novel, but what was the point?

I would probably read another Neil Gaiman book in the future, and I'm glad to have finally had my introduction to this author. Maybe I'll try one of his kids' books, like "Fortunately, the Milk." And if you're at all compelled to pick up "The Ocean at the End of the Lane," do it! It's so quick that you won't be losing out if you don't like it.


"Ugly Love" by Colleen Hoover
First published in 2014
322 pages
My rating: 3.5 out of 5

"New adult" author Colleen Hoover has legions of fans, and they would probably vehemently disagree, but for me "Ugly Love" was pretty much "50 Shades of Grey"-lite.

Sexy boy haunted by dark past -- check.
Girl totally and completely infatuated with boy, even though she knows he'll break her heart -- check.
Lots of steamy sex -- check.
Boy closed off to love, girl is convinced she can change his mind -- check.

Miles' secret is pretty damn dark and depressing, just like Christian Grey's. Tate is far more independent than Anastasia Steele, but she would still walk to the ends of the earth and get her heart torn to shreds for Miles. They agree to have a sex-only relationship and proceed to have plenty of hook-ups, but they just have regular sex and none of that "50 Shades" soft-and-faded-jeans craziness. See -- "50 Shades of Grey"-lite!

To be fair, just because Hoover's plot mirrors that of "50 Shades" doesn't mean she's another E.L. James. Hoover is actually a decent writer, and though I found the book to be kind of cliche and predictable (except for Miles's terrible secret, once we finally got the big reveal), I would probably read more of her books.

This is my first experience with the recently invented genre of new adult and it seems to consist of twentysomethings, romance, sex and some slightly deeper plotlines than a typical YA book. Not your mother's romances, but not something you'd want your teenager to read either.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this odd little book! I listened to the audiobook while I was delivering mail, and I vividly remember yelling at the stereo, "She's wearing pink and grey!! The worm is PINK and GREY!!" or something like that.

    It's been a while, but I listened to his book of short stories called M is for Magic (I think that's what it's called) and really enjoyed it, too....especially the story (can't remember which one, I'm such a fail!) about the black cat and his 'job'.


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