“A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room” by Lemony Snicket

The_Reptile_Room_USA.pngI finished this book a couple days ago (while I was enjoying the pool at my apartment complex). It’s a short book, so it’s one of those that you could probably finish in one sitting if you had a couple hours to spare.

In this second installation of the Baudelaires’ tale, the three orphans have convinced everyone that Count Olaf is insane and they have now been passed on to their Uncle Monty, whom they have never met before. His name is actually Dr. Montgomery Montgomery (no lie) but “Dr. Monty” just flows so much better.

You know from the beginning that something is going to happen because the author actually writes that this story will not have a happy ending and *character* will face *certain demise.* It’s actually pretty dark for a children’s series.

But anyway, Count Olaf is still evil and Mr. Poe (the banker who manages the children’s fortune) is still oblivious so more crazy antics that the Baudelaire orphans have to put up with.

I haven’t started reading the third book yet, “The Wide Window,” but I am reading “I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson. Plus I’m still working on “Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded” by Hannah Hart. They’re both really good books so far, I just haven’t made time to sit down and read them like I should.

To be honest, my to-be-read list keeps growing and growing and I feel like I’m barely making a dent. It’s a struggle. But I will conquer.

Later,
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. Plus 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

“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

“The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith

18214414I finished this one a couple days ago. It’s amazing how J.K. Rowling is able to spin these intricate mysteries of murder with all of these characters interlocked and how she keeps you guessing up until she’s ready to reveal who the bad guy is. She teases you because you think you have it figured out and then she just flips the whole thing and you had no idea it was coming.

One thing about having so many characters is that sometimes it’s a little hard to keep track of the ones on the fringe. The main character has so many friends and acquaintances and some of them have some not very common names.

Plus, I’ve been listening on audiobook, so I have to file it in my mind after it’s been spoken to me by a guy with a British accent.

But anyway, this is a good book, even though it does have a few grotesque parts. Namely, the description of the murder is gross and I was listening to it while I was cooking dinner one night, which was a big mistake.

I’ve started on “Career of Evil” and there’s already plenty to keep you guessing at. I love how we get to see a little more into the personal life of the main characters a little more each book, but there’s still so much you don’t know. That’s how the stories are created.

More on that later,
Maegan

“Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

63be691d88d7134ce67fa02b36e9ac35Or is it “Th1rteen R3asons Why”?

Obviously I only read this book because I watched the Netflix series. But in my defense, I have read it before when I was in high school. I remembered the concept when I watched the show, which I was enraptured by, but I didn’t remember all the details. I think it’s for the best that I didn’t reread this book right before I watched the show or else I would have just been noticing all the differences because that’s how I live my life.

I know there’s a lot of talk going on right now about this story and I can see both sides of it. My thinking is that it’s awful what Hannah went through, but at the same time, she’s bringing down all of these other people that she knows, too. Is it necessary? I’m sure they hurt enough and already felt guilty before this box of tapes arrived on their front step.

I think it’s an interesting story, and I remember being fascinated with it when I read it years ago because suicide is like a taboo subject that people just don’t talk or write about. Even so, I don’t think this book was as good as I remembered, and the characters really just aren’t likeable. Even Clay, who is perceived as this total nice guy loses a little for how hung up on Hannah he was, because she didn’t seem that approachable to me at all.

Anyway, next on the list is “The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith because J.K. Rowling.

See ya,
Maegan

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith

51m4P63APoL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_I have been wanting to read this one for a while and I’m glad I finally did. Obviously I was only interested because Robert Galbraith is just the pen name for J.K. Rowling and I love me some J.K. Rowling books, but this book definitely stands on its own. It doesn’t seem even remotely possible that the genius who created the Harry Potter world and the genius who created this murder mystery could be the same person. I mean, they’re both fantastic, but they are quite different.

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” is definitely British. I probably didn’t understand a quarter of the terms used because they were so British. Some of them I guessed at, honestly. It was almost like parts of the book were written in another language, even though it was still in English. I think it’s interesting how the Harry Potter series is considered a children’s series, but J.K. Rowling’s idea of a child’s level is closer to an adult level from the standard of anyone else.

Anywho, my favorite thing about this book is that the title is based off of one detail that probably only took up about 3 inches of space in the entire novel. It’s fascinating to me. I also noticed that nearly every one of these characters smoke and they all curse like a sailor. Except Robin. Probably why she’s my favorite character.

The whole premise of this book is that a famous model dies after falling from her balcony. Her brother hires the main character, Cormoran Strike, a private investigator, to find out whether she was murdered or not. So the whole time, you know someone did something bad. And the whole time, you’re trying to figure out who and why but the pieces don’t come together until the very end. At the reveal my only thoughts were “OMG NO WAY” because it was kinda a surprise, but the surprise was more in the details that have been there the whole time but you just didn’t notice because you’re not Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling.

I definitely want to read the rest of the series. And see the BBC show, because that’s going to be a thing too.

Next up, though, is “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. It’s a short one, so hopefully I will get through it quick. Then I need to finish the other books I’ve been neglecting and start chipping away at my “To Read” list.

Wish me luck,
Maegan