“A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning” by Lemony Snicket

BadBeginningObviously I’ve read this series before, but it’s probably been 10 years since I read it through. I remember when the books were still coming out and being so excited that “The End” was about to be released, and that was in 2006.

I decided to read the series again after I watched the new Netflix original version of “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” I think the actors look and act similarly to the movie that was released a while back with Jim Carrey as Count Olaf, but Neil Patrick Harris is the supreme Count Olaf.

In case you’ve never read the series or seen the show or movie, this series is about a trio of orphans, the Baudelaire orphans, who lose everything they’ve ever known in a terrible fire. In “The Bad Beginning,” they are forced to live with their despicable relative Count Olaf, whom they have never met nor heard of before. He’s pretty evil.

Sometimes it’s frustrating to read the books because you just know what a terrible situation these kids are in and how no one listens when they speak, no matter how rational the thought. I know it’s a fictitious work, but it’s still hard to imagine that there might be children who have to go through something like that.

The book is pretty short, so I finished it in I think two sittings. Next up is the second book, “The Reptile Room.” Also still reading “Buffering” by Hannah Hart but I’m making progress on that one.

Until next time,
Maegan

“Two by Two” by Nicholas Sparks

201610-two-by-two-burst-680x1019Let me say right off the bat, this was not Nicholas Sparks’s best work. I’ve read a lot of his books and I’ve only recently noticed how awkwardly they are written, but that’s not even the first thing I noticed about this one.

The book is about Russell Greene, an everyday man with a wife and child. The book literally starts with the birth of his daughter, London. Then all of a sudden, she’s a six-year-old. Lots of things happen in this dude’s life, but it takes a while to get there.

The pacing of the book seemed very off to me. It took literally half the book to get to the point and then even then it felt like we dwelled on things that should have just passed by and we glossed over major moments in the story. At the end there was a huge plot twist (ok, maybe not *huge* but still pretty big) and it felt like we only read about that one thing, until it wasn’t a thing anymore. And the book basically ended in the middle of things. To end it, all the loose ends were just tossed into the epilogue and you’re left thinking, “Why in the world would you do that?” It’s like all these big decisions were made and then just added in as an afterthought. I did not like.

In addition, the characters weren’t that likable. The best one was London, and she was 6. At the beginning I thought that Russell (a.k.a. Russ) was going to be a relatable character, but then I realized that he’s basically a doormat. And he reminds me of someone in my family who I just really don’t like and that’s all I could think about the entire time.┬áPlus his wife is a mean woman and I can’t stand her. His parents aren’t that great either, they seem very hands-off. The best adult characters are Russell’s sister, Marge, and her partner, Liz. They seem like they would be chill individuals.

One more thing. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, the writing and dialogue are way too formal and try-hard. People don’t talk like that, Nicholas! I know it’s proper grammar, but no one speaks those words in the real world. And if you do, people probably think you’re pretentious. At some points in the book the conversation was so robotic that I actually imagined robots speaking in my mind while I was reading. That shouldn’t be your goal here, bro.

Overall, I might read this book again, but it will be a while before I do. I’m definitely keeping it because my grandma gave it to me for my birthday and she wrote a nice inscription in it and I love my grandma a whole lot.

Next up is finishing “Buffering” by Hannah Hart. Plus I started rereading “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket, so I’m about 30 pages in on “The Bad Beginning.” I probably haven’t read those books since high school and I forgot how short they are. And also how clever they are.

I think I’ll go sleep now,
Maegan

“Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon

9780552576482As far as teen fiction goes, I was pretty impressed with this book. I became interested in it after seeing a trailer for the movie that recently came out based on the book, so I put myself on the waiting list to get the audiobook from my public library.

The book is about Madeline, who basically lives in a bubble house because she has a rare disease where literally anything could kill her if she has a reaction to it, and Olly, the boy who moves in next door.

It’s a great story about young love (in a non-annoying way, because usually it’s annoying) and learning that the people closest to you might not actually be trustworthy. That’s probably not the main point of the book, but that’s what I took away from it.

While I was listening to the book, I thought that the story had a very obvious ending that I didn’t want to happen, and I wasn’t disappointed because there was a big, giant plot twist at the end. There wasn’t really a big reveal though, just a kind of gradual shifting of the plot. There was still a happy ending, but it also left plenty of questions unanswered. Maybe room for a second book? I do like the idea that the story lives on in your imagination though.

As I said, I listened to this one on audiobook, and it was pretty short so I got through it within a couple days.

I think sometimes I’m influenced by the person who reads the audiobook. It’s something about their voice or inflection or something, I just think to myself, “A normal person wouldn’t act like that or say those things.” I really like audiobooks where the author is the one reading because they know exactly how that character is supposed to feel in that moment. It’s even better when it’s a memoir read by the author because really, why even try to get someone else to read about your own experiences?

In this book, it sounds like the supposedly 18-year-old Maddy is a 40-year-old woman, so it was good but there was room for improvement.

Now I’m reading “Buffering” by Hannah Hart (still) and I just started “Two by Two” by Nicholas Sparks. I have a pretty substantial to-be-read list and it just keeps growing and growing so thank goodness for digital copies of books. Never thought I would say that.

For now,
Maegan

“Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir” by Jenny Lawson

letpretendthisneverhappened11At least it didn’t take me THAT long to finish this book after I finished “Furiously Happy.”

There have been plenty of moments where things were mentioned in one or both of the books and I couldn’t remember where it first came up. And there was a trippy moment at the end of this book where Jenny Lawson wrote, “That’ll be in book two!” and I had to stop and think about whether that actually was in book two. I kinda don’t think it was.

But anyway, this book is the memoir of Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess. I’ve heard of her before and I’ve seen these books in the stores, but I had never picked them up. I got this one as a Christmas present this past December, and it’s got a cool inscription from the author. I really have a thing about signed books.

There’s plenty of stuff going on in this book that you just think can’t be real life, but it’s a memoir so it’s definitely real life. There’s also a lot of taxidermy going on, but that’s explained in the book.

It’s interesting to see how someone else describes their life and to imagine that this is what the life of someone else is like. It’s impressive to me when someone has the guts to share their own story to begin with. And there were plenty of opportunities for a laugh in this book.

Next up, I’ve already got three more books in the works. I’m reading “Buffering” by Hannah Hart, “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon, and “Two by Two” by Nicholas Sparks.

Bye for now,
Maegan

“Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson

81bAquOCgWLI promise, I tried really hard not to finish this book before finishing Jenny Lawson’s first book, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir,” but it was just really difficult and I failed.

I blame audiobook library lending limits. I think I only have five more days left, which is arguably long enough to finish the 60 or so pages of “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” and then finish this book, but listening to audiobooks is so much easier than sitting down to read the physical book. Darn you, technology.

Anyway, I started reading this book because I was halfway through her first book and I liked it pretty well and “Furiously Happy” was available at the time in both audiobook and e-book. So I mostly listened to it on audiobook and then occasionally flipped through the e-book to see the pictures. There were a couple parts where something completely off the wall was mentioned, followed by “I wrote all about that in my first book” and it was just another reminder of how I failed to read two unrelated books by the same author in the correct order.

The book starts with a blog post that Lawson wrote when she was going through a bad phase of depression where she decided that instead of being hidden away from the world, she just decided that she was going to be furiously happy instead. There are plenty of stories where Lawson writes about conversations she has with her therapist and crazy arguments she has with her husband (they’re the cutest) and how bad she is at dinner parties and it’s just great because it’s so real. She writes a lot about struggling with mental illness and I think it was good to see it from a different perspective. I have never really been able to understand what people who have mental illness are going through and she explained it in a really well done way.

She’s also incredibly hilarious. She curses plenty in the book, but she has some pretty funny stories to tell. I’m sure she would be a really good friend in real life.

Until next time,
Maegan

“The Last Star” by Rick Yancey

51CC+o3cfQL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_This book was not nearly as intense as the first one in the series, “The 5th Wave.” I think what I liked about that book was that it kept surprising you over and over again and by now there’s really not much else that you don’t already know. Even the things that seem like they’re supposed to be surprises are just kind of confusing because Character A says this new thing, but Character B still thinks this thing like it originally was, but Character C says the same thing as Character A and you’re just like, “Who is the crazy one here, because someone is wrong.”

It was still pretty good though. Lots of loose ends were wrapped up, but not all of them. That character that kept defying death defied death again and this time he/she really should not have survived. It’s especially not fair considering the billions of others who died along the way in the destruction of humanity by aliens that you really don’t even get, you know?

The aliens are quite a source of mystery in this series. You never really are told outright what they want and then when you start figuring it out you find out that that wasn’t actually the truth to begin with and it just starts getting kind of confusing. It is quite surprising though that this whole series follows a group of literal children through the end of the world and at least some of them come out on the other side. Those are some tough kids.

Next on the list is finishing “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir” and “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson (I’m pretty much in the middle of both of them at the same time), and then I’ll start on “Buffering” by Hannah Hart.

I have plenty of other books on my to-read list, but I’m also having this big problem where instead of reading books that I want to read and have never read before, I keep starting books that I want to read and have read approximately 17 times before. But we will make it through eventually. Probably not, but positive thoughts.

Later,
Maegan

“The Infinite Sea” by Rick Yancey

16131484This sequel definitely wasn’t as good as “The 5th Wave,” but it was still decent. I think it was more about building the characters up and explaining the in-between with some extra action thrown in there compared to the first book.

Rick Yancey definitely overdid the whole “the infinite sea” thing. It was probably mentioned seven times in the book and something like that where it’s a weird phrase that people don’t use AND it’s the name of the book sticks in your mind.

One thing that really bothers me in this book. There’s no holding back when it comes to killing people off, but this one character has stared death in the face like three times and he/she is still not dead. I can understand why he/she is not dead because he/she is integral in the big thing that’s happening in the book, but really? If he/she is going to survive death, just do it once and be done with it.

I’ve already started the final book in the trilogy, “The Last Star,” and it’s good so far but not as exciting as I had hoped. But more on that later.

I’m also still reading “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir” and “Furiously Happy,” both by Jenny Lawson, but one of my co-workers just gave me the book “Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded” by Hannah Hart and I have a feeling that I will start it before these others are done. Maybe I can resist, but no promises.

For now,
Maegan

“The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey

512And8xM0LThis book is pretty decent as far as young adult dystopian novels go. I first read it a couple years ago before the movie version was released and I remember being in shock and awe over all the twists and turns in the plot. It definitely keeps you guessing right up until the end. Then it leaves you hanging. So clearly I have already started reading the second novel in the series, “The Infinite Sea,” which I have also read before. I’m really excited about getting to the third book, “The Last Star,” because that one had not been released when I was reading this series the first time, so it’s all new territory.

I actually think I did a library foul because I borrowed all three books at once in e-book and audiobook format. But you can’t blame me too much because I’m getting through them pretty quickly. Plus I couldn’t chance it if someone checked out the next book after the one I was currently reading, because then I would just have to sit and wait until they were done and that is no bueno.

I like the writing in this book a lot because it is in human speak and the dialogue actually sounds like kids speaking, instead of what some adult thinks kids would sound like if they had gone to a secret etiquette-based boarding school in their formative years. And there’s just enough annoying teen drama to make it realistic but not so much that you sigh and consider chucking the book out your bedroom window.

So basically the plot is this: Everything is fine and dandy in Ohio/the world until *dun dun duhhh* the Arrival. The Mothership shows up in the sky and then the “Others” start making insanely terribly things happen to eradicate all human life. These things come in waves, i.e. “The 5th Wave” is eminent at the start of this book. Not surprisingly at all, a bunch of teenagers/kids figure out what is going on and try to handle that mess. But of course, the book ends pretty much immediately after some big action so you really don’t have much information about the impact of their actions.

One thing that gets me in this book: There’s this analogy that keeps popping up about humans being the cockroaches of the world compared to the Others, which is fine. Cockroaches are gross, but still. But there’s this other analogy that keeps coming up where the main character is referred to as a mayfly by her male companion. Like ew. If you’re trying to be sweet or romantic, how about a butterfly or something less ew? Really, you’re comparing this girl to a gross bug that hovers around water or something. Way to get some brownie points. But for some reason that is completely mysterious to me, this chick completely digs it and is all about being referred to as a gross bug. Her prerogative, I guess.

Anywho, now I’m on to “The Infinite Sea” while also simultaneously reading Jenny Lawson’s first two books, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir” and “Furiously Happy.”

Just call me a book reading fiend,
Maegan

“The Future of Us” by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

10959277This book. It came back into my mind after re-reading and watching “Thirteen Reasons Why” because of Jay Asher. I read it several years ago and I remembered the plot but not much of the specifics.

But now I definitely know my tastes are changing because the main teenage girl in this book was ANNOYING. She didn’t care about how her actions affected anyone else and she was just so petty and selfish.

And I did not like the ending. Josh deserves better than everything he got in this book.

Basically, the premise of this book is that it’s the 90s and people just got into having personal computers and accessing the internet. Emma’s dad buys her a guilt computer because he lives in Florida now with his new wife and baby, then Emma’s friend Josh who she rejected 6 months ago brings her an AOL CD-ROM. They log on then bam! Facebook exists! Somehow these kids understand how it works and they are not at all confused by the name “Facebook.”

So they find their profiles, but it’s the profiles of their future selves 15 years down the road. Somehow they are only mildly freaked out about this. I don’t understand.

Anyway, Emma is not happy with the way her life turns out, so she keeps trying to change the future. Maybe it’s because Emma is a selfish teenager who can’t stop whining about her life and being rude to all the people who care about her. A couple times she succeeds, but whatevs. But there’s all this chatter about how the things you do now are creating time ripples that affect the future, even if you don’t even know what decisions you’re actually making right now.

Children. You should probably just focus on the present because none of your degrees and your good jobs are going to happen if you don’t finish your education first. Chillax.

So in conclusion, in the past I was all over this book but now all I can think is, “Wow, was I this obnoxious as a teenager too?” Sure hope not but we were probably all obnoxious then.

Now I have to go figure out my next read,
Maegan

“Career of Evil” by Robert Galbraith

Career_of_Evil_Oct_2015Ok, in this one J.K. Rowling might have been a little too good for herself. The scenes were described so well that I imagined I was standing right beside the character the whole time. The only problem was this character was a serial killer and he is super insane.

I am actually very proud of myself because I figured out who the killer was (ok, more of a guess based on the process of elimination) a few chapters before it was revealed. But I also know that it’s written in a way to mislead the reader. You think that it’s obvious, it must be XYZ character who did the bad thing. And then you find out there’s no way it could have been them and it was actually ABC character.

One thing that I really like about this book is the relationships. When you find out that it’s a book about a woman who’s engaged to the same guy she’s been dating for 9 years and a man who recently ended his on-again-off-again relationship with the crazy woman he picked up in college becoming partners, you worry that it will turn into one of those books where the two main characters end up together just because they’re the two main characters.

There were certainly questions if that would happen, but I’m glad that it wasn’t stereotypical like that.

I went through these books faster than I thought I would and now I’m stuck with a somewhat cliffhanger because Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling is a genius like that.

Last thing, Robin Ellacott is my role model.

Later,
Maegan