“The Princess Diaries, Volume V: Princess in Pink” by Meg Cabot

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like the overarching storyline this time was nearly as endearing as it could have been. The whole books shows Mia either obsessing about the prom, which she won’t even tell her boyfriend she wants to attend, or nonchalantly allowing her grandmother to take absolutely no responsibility for the massive restaurant/hotel/porters union strike she caused.

It might have just been the audiobook, but Mia seemed extra whiney this time. I’m hoping it was just the audiobook, because I haven’t noticed that much before. Anne Hathaway only recorded the first two books, so now we’re listening to someone else, who just makes things sound a lot different.

Tangent: Mia’s best friend is the worst kind of person. She breaks up with her boyfriend by making out with someone else in front of him, then cries when he decides to go out with someone else. The absolute worst.

But maybe things will start looking up now that Mia is officially 15. Her birthday just happened in this book, plus her baby brother was born. I’ve peeked at the next book, “Princess in Training,” and it looks like it starts at the beginning of Mia’s sophomore year, which means we missed her summer in Genovia and sending Michael off to college.

I thought I could contain myself, but I have to let it out. There’s no way Michael would hang around Mia for long with the way she’s been acting in this book. It seems like he is cool, calm dude who knows pretty well what he wants, but he lets this freshman girl hang on him even though she pouts because he doesn’t know things that she hasn’t told him. Then she whines about it to her friends, including his sister. No guy who is about to go off to college is going to put up with that. I kinda wish Meg Cabot would have written him as a junior to begin with, because now Michael is off to the real world but he has this somewhat young relationship back in his high school. At least if he started as a junior they would have had more time to connect and build a strong relationship before he left. Plus the maturity levels would have been more well matched. Plus we wouldn’t have a 17-year-old dating a 14-year-old.

Anyway,
Maegan

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“You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody)” by Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen

Wow, that’s a really long title. The book itself is not so much.

The whole thing plays off of Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump impression, as seen on Saturday Night Live. Even reading it you can’t help but imagine it in the Baldwin *Trump* voice.

Honestly I started reading it because I find the Trump impersonation entertaining and I was a little surprised that it was even available, but I guess it’s not as in demand as I thought it would be. I’m sure Donald Trump would be livid if he read this book. There are jokes about how hot he thinks Ivanka is and how often he plays golf and about his feelings on minorities (obviously he loves the minorities because he has one Hispanic steward and a black Secret Service agent). Plus the whole thing is seemingly written by Trump using the speak-to-text feature on his smart phone, which he named Mitzi.

I think Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen did a good job of continuing the SNL sketch. Some of the quips might have pushed the envelope, but there were some funny moments.

Now I’m trying to finish the fourth book in The Inheritance Cycle, “Inheritance,” before my borrowed materials are sent back to the library in a few days. Fingers crossed. Plus now I have access to “Many Waters” and “An Acceptable Time” by Madeleine L’Engle, which will round out the Time Quintet. By the way, I saw the “A Wrinkle in Time” movie. More thoughts on that later. Because trust me, I have many thoughts on that movie.

Until then,
Maegan

“A Swiftly Tilting Planet” by Madeleine L’Engle

Related imageWe have come to the third book in Madeleine L’Engle’s series. This book follows the same characters as “A Wrinkle in Time,” but several years have now passed. Meg Murry is grown, married, and pregnant, and Charles Wallace is 15.

The whole book actually focuses on Charles Wallace, in a way. Meg is always there watching out for him (literally only mentally because she is in his mind), but it’s Charles Wallace who does the dirty work and saves the planet from atomic destruction.

This book introduces another magical beast and it’s a unicorn named Gaudior. Apparently unicorns can move back and forth through time, so he takes Charles Wallace back and forth to see how different things interact the present. It’s interesting but at the same time we visited so many different generations of the same family and they were all named some variation of the same word that eventually it got a little confusing and I couldn’t tell who belonged to what family.

Calvin O’Keefe was mentioned, but he wasn’t actually there, which was a little disappointing. Instead his mother was there, but she is not likable. Even after her backstory was explained and you could see why she was so jaded and cold toward everyone, it doesn’t make her any better. She had a hard life when she was young, but that is no excuse to show no love to your own children.

Anyway, this was a pretty quick read and now I’m on to a few other books already. One of them is “Inheritance,” which is the third book in The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. The others are too embarrassing to admit, but they’ll come up later.

Until then,
Maegan

“Brisingr: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 3” by Christopher Paolini

Image result for brisingr book coverI have finally finished this book, after many weeks of having it in my possession. It was kind of a struggle making it though. I honestly think that I’m getting a little tired of the series, but I’m too stubborn not to finish it.

I think it’s just that it is more of the same. By this point, with books this long, the series could have reached its objective, which is to kill the bad king. But we have barely seen hide nor hair of this king the whole series. It also seems like there hasn’t been much time pass since the whole series even started. Instead, the story just fixates on random things that random characters did, or the fact that another battle happened. These people are going to do battle, they are in a war. It is interesting to read about, and I’m sure the amount of scuffles is accurate in a war, but it just got a little old. Plus the killings and injuries seem to be getting more and more graphic and it’s a little hard to take when this is supposed to be a kids’ series.

We do learn some interesting tidbits about dragons, and it would be nice if the dragons were a more significant part of the story, but it seems like they just serve the same purpose as any other character. They’re just held a little higher than most others.

The book also shows more of what is going on with Roran and his lady, Katrina. Even so, it doesn’t seem like most of the stuff written about them was totally necessary, unless it was a set-up for the next book.

I might have to take a break before I start the next book, “Inheritance.” But mark my words, I will finish.

Later,
Maegan

“Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome” by Ty Tashiro, Ph.D.

Image result for ty tashiro awkwardI started reading this book while I was waiting on the audiobook for “Brisingr” to come to me (because yes, it is taking me this long to make it through that series). Obviously, I was drawn to it because I consider myself an awkward individual and I like to learn about personalities and why we are the way we are.

Ty Tashiro is a psychology professor and he cites plenty of studies into the minds of awkward humans, as well as some personal stories from his own experiences. Really it’s just nice to understand a little better why we feel awkward and know that there are plenty of people in the world who feel the same.

Parts of this book did feel a little tedious because it is clearly written by an educator in a research-driven format, but it was still an interesting topic so it kept my attention pretty well.

Now that I’ve finished this book, I need to finish “Brisingr,” then I’ll start on “Inheritance,” which is the last book in the “Eragon” series. At this point I’ll probably just start over when I get to “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling.

So much to read, so little time,
Maegan

“A Wind in the Door” by Madeleine L’Engle

Related imageThis is the second book in the “A Wrinkle in Time” series (as far as I can tell because apparently the books are kinda written out of order…?) and it was not as intense as the first book, but still fit into the world of things that we were initially introduced to.

In the first book, we followed Meg, Calvin, and Meg’s super lovable little brother Charles Wallace. This time, Charles Wallace is sick and of course the only ones who can save him are Meg and Calvin. Plus some special friends. It seemed like this second book went by much quicker, but there wasn’t as much action. For example, we don’t even hear about Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit. They were enjoyable characters. Still, it is pretty insane the imagination that Madeleine L’Engle has in creating these worlds and these characters. Plus she delivered my favorite line in a book probably ever: “I am having feelings. They hurt.” This should be the human motto or something.

Anyway, we get to see mean old Mr. Jenkins, Meg’s former school principal, again, but we also get to meet some new interesting characters. Hopefully we’ll hear from them again, but for some reason I feel like they’re gone forever now.

I guess we’ll see. I have the rest of the books in this series on hold at my library, but so does everyone else so I am trying to have patience. I’m also working on “Brisingr” by Christopher Paolini and I have made literally zero progress on “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling.

In due time,
Maegan

“Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2” by Christopher Paolini

“Eldest” is the sequel to “Eragon” and it’s a little better than the first book, but some of it is more of the same. The story is a little more exciting this time because all the backstories have been established and we get to see Eragon train to become a better Rider. Plus, the story is told from at least three different points of view at times, so we get to see what’s going on outside of Eragon’s small world.

The kid really does have the “out of sight, out of mind” thing down. He actually forgets about his cousin who he abandoned for weeks at a time. Plus he claims to have mourned a lost friend, yet there is barely any thought of them once the character is gone.

One thing I can say about this book: There was a big plot point that was revealed at the very end that I absolutely saw coming. I’m talking 100,000% predictable. And then, just when you think the big reveal has been made, BOOM. Another huge plot twist! I did not see that coming at all and I absolutely loved the surprise. I wish more books had that kind of big reveal.

Anyway, I’m not going to lie, I actually started reading a different book in the middle of this because it just got so heavy that I wanted something light to break it up. So I started reading the junior novelization of “Thor.” That will probably be my next completed read. Then while I was in the middle of this book and “Thor,” my hold became available on “A Wrinkle in Time,” so obviously I had to start reading that one too. I have made absolutely no progress on “The Casual Vacancy,” though.

I think once I finish these books/series, I’m going to try to slow down and take a little bit of a break. Then again, I say that virtually every time.

We’ll see,
Maegan

“Eragon: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1” by Christopher Paolini

Image result for eragon bookThis series has been on my list for a little while now. I started reading this book several years ago when the “Eragon” movie came out, but I don’t think I ever finished it. I remember thinking when I watched the movie that there were several things that seemed like they would be explained more/better in the books, but I just couldn’t make it through. I also have the second book in the series, “Eldest,” but I don’t think I’ve ever cracked it open before now.

Going into reading the book this time, I vaguely remembered that the main character is named Eragon and that there is a dragon involved, but that was basically the extent of it.

The story does follow Eragon as he discovers a dragon egg, the egg hatches, and he winds up as a Rider with a dragon named Saphira. Their minds are linked so that they can mentally speak to and draw strength from each other, which is one of the coolest parts of the plot, in my opinion. However, it’s a little weakened when we discover that somewhat random characters can also speak to Saphira, so the bond isn’t as unique as I would have hoped. I guess it’s useful in some ways for others to communicate with Saphira at times, but I think it could have been done better.

The land where the story takes place is called Alagaesia, and lots of people, places, and things have similarly unique names. I like that these names lend a special feeling to the book, like that there is nothing else anywhere like them, but there was a time when we were introduced to many new names so quickly that I started getting different things confused. Even at the end I don’t think that I could match up all the places and things with the names used.

Overall, with a story like this with a land where dwarves and elves live and magic is used regularly, I feel like there was a lot of untapped potential. Even when things got interesting and there were battles and sieges, there wasn’t actually very much fighting. Maybe because it is aimed at kids there is less fighting and dying, but it makes the whole situation less realistic. I mean, even less realistic than a magical land where a teenage boy raises a dragon and learns to use magic.

Plus, Eragon is just not a very likeable character. For his youth, he seems pretty wise, but his emotional growth was stunted at some point. He feels despair over the death of a man he knew only a few weeks, and for lives lost in battle, but he seems barely phased by the death of the man who raised him for almost 16 years. He is in anguish when the wound is fresh, and then it is barely mentioned again. Same thing with his cousin, who he claimed was closer than a brother. They had such a strong bond, yet once Eragon leaves home, he barely thinks of his cousin at all. He actually seems much more affected by the town storyteller, who trained him for a few months, than the loss of his actual family members.

One final pet peeve: Saphira is described to be a gentle dragon who is very protective of Eragon. She shows affection to him and most of his mental dialogue is aimed at her. Yet in the audiobook of this story, she literally sounds like the Cookie Monster. I can’t stand it.

Anyway, I have already started “Eldest,” so I will let you know how that goes once I’m finished.

Until then,
Maegan

“Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina” by Misty Copeland

Image result for life in motion book coverI know of Misty Copeland because she made history by becoming the first black principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre, and she has also been a guest judge on various dance competition shows that I obsess over.

I love dance and I used to take ballet when I was younger, so I was interested to get some of Misty’s perspective. Turns out, she didn’t have it easy growing up.

Misty writes about how when she was younger, her mother would pack up and move with her children, oftentimes leaving boyfriends or husbands in her wake. There were six children together, who were very close and protective of each other. Eventually, money issues led to Misty, her sibling, their mother, and her mother’s boyfriend living in a motel.

All the while, Misty took her first ballet class at the age of 13 at the Boys and Girls Club. She grew to love it and was invited to take classes at the ballet teacher’s school. Not long after Misty started dancing, her mother wanted her to give up dance because she *wasn’t spending enough time with her friends,* even though dance was Misty’s life. She ended up moving in with her ballet teacher and lived with her for two years. The one thing I couldn’t help but think is that I bet her mom feels pretty bad now that she almost destroyed Misty’s career.

The book also details what Misty faced in the dance world with her race and body type. Through it all, it seems like she had many things fall into place to get her where she needed to be. She was a ballet prodigy who turned down the opportunity to study with professional ballet companies, she joined American Ballet Theatre when she was 15 or 16 but had to sit out her first year due to an injury, and yet, she still had directors in the company who wanted her to succeed and gave her opportunities to get to where she wanted to be. It’s pretty amazing to think about.

Misty also got to do some pretty cool things, like become friends with Prince and perform at some of his concerts on tour and find mentors who were stars in their day.

This book wasn’t written like most memoirs I’ve read. Instead of short chapters in essay form or conversations, the chapters were longer and written like a journal almost. The story jumped back and forth between big events in her life, but it seemed like everything come together eventually. This was also the first audiobook memoir that I listened to that wasn’t read by the author. Then again, I’m sure Misty Copeland is quite busy.

She is so inspiring and I love watching her dance, so I’m glad I took the time to pick up this book.

Until later,
Maegan

“Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)” by Lauren Graham

Related imageI’ve been a fan of Gilmore Girls since grade-school, when I used to come home and watch it every day at 4 when it aired on what was then ABC Family. When I found out that Netflix was doing a revival series, I was EXCITED, but I had to make sure to rewatch the entire series first to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. I had definitely forgotten things. But I finally got around to watching the original series in its entirety and then I watched “A Year in the Life.”

Not long after “A Year in the Life” was released, I stumbled upon this book through my library. But I knew I couldn’t read it just yet because I hadn’t finished the entire series. So I added it to my to-be-read list and carried on. Not long ago, I rediscovered it and decided to take it for a spin since I knew what happened in the show and there would no longer be any spoilers.

It’s weird for me to think that Lauren Graham is actually named Lauren. When I think of this actress in real life, I either think of Lorelei or I think “LaurenGraham” as all one word. So it took me aback a little to hear LaurenGraham referring to herself as Lauren in this book.

But anyway, in the book, Lauren (it’s still weird) details her road to fame, which included some theater stops and seems to have been propelled by “Gilmore Girls.” Which is fine by all of us. I love seeing Lauren Graham in movies and on TV shows. One of the next shows I want to watch is “Parenthood,” where she plays Mom/Sister in the big ole Braverman family.

I think the best part about this book was hearing all the insider secrets from “Gilmore Girls,” which is probably the biggest reason I picked it up. I also found that Graham had already published a book prior to this memoir, called “Someday, Someday, Maybe.” It has already been added to my list. And apparently she is publishing a new book sometime next year. Lots to look forward to.

Next up is Misty Copeland’s memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina,” and working on “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling. I also checked out “The Royal We” by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, because LaurenGraham mentioned in her book that she was working on adapting it into a screenplay and I am quite susceptible to books mentioned in other books.

That’s all for now,
Maegan