“Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book” by Jennifer Donnelly

33412061I discovered this little number when I found the novelization of “Beauty and the Beast” and I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that it was an original story based off the same characters we all know and love.

This book occurs sometime after Belle is locked away in the Beast’s castle and before she realizes she has *feelings* for him. It happens right around the time the Beast presents his majestic library to Belle and she is smitten with it. One thing though, I don’t remember the “Here’s my library, Belle” scene happening in the same way in the novelization or either of the movies I’ve seen. So just a little discrepancy there.

Anyway, it starts with a prologue where sisters Death and Love are playing chess (with moving pieces, mind you; very Harry Potter-esque). The sisters make a bet, basically that Belle will fall in love with the Beast, when Death decides to tilt the odds in her own favor. She sends a book called “Nevermore” into the library, where obviously Belle is now spending all her time. Naturally, Belle stumbles upon the book and discovers that it’s enchanted and she can actually walk into the story (lost in the book, lol), which has been created just for her. Or so they tell her. But what the characters don’t tell her is that the countess she spends so much time with is Death and Death is really just trying to trap Belle in the story so she can never leave.

Kudos to Death because she knows exactly how to get Belle. She presents her with exotic acquaintances, travel opportunities, tasty treats, and even her father, who she hasn’t seen since she was locked away in the Beast’s castle. But eventually Belle realizes what is going on and tries to escape. At this point, the story gets a little horror feel to it, with all these animatronic puppets and marionettes chasing Belle and preventing her from leaving. There’s talk of their beady, glass eyes, and one just knocks his own head clean off after running into a wall (or other similar formidable opponent, tbh all I remember is the puppet decapitation). I’m telling you, it’s the stuff of nightmares.

But of course everything ends happily ever after. The biggest thing that bothered me about this book (and the other book and all the movies) is how disrespected the Beast is. I mean the man has a name. I’m pretty sure it’s Adam but I honestly don’t know because it is LITERALLY NEVER MENTIONED EVER. How hard is it to just say, “Hey bro, I know I’m a prisoner in your castle but it seems like we’re becoming friends, so what’s your name?”? Instead of just calling him *The Beast* all the time. I mean, I’m sure he doesn’t really appreciate it. He’s just trying to be liked by everyone, ‘kay?

Rant over. Now I’m into “A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy” by Lemony Snicket and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” by Ann Brashares. But hey, at least now I’m only reading two series at once so that’s progress, right? …Right?

Until next time,
Maegan

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“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

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling

dh-us-jacket-artI wrapped this book up a few days ago and have been meaning to post about it. It took a little shy of two years, but I reread the series! It definitely sped up near the end when I started utilizing my access to audiobooks though. Plus there was a pretty sizeable gap near “Prisoner of Azkaban” where I just didn’t touch these books.

I forgot how in this book most of the action happens in the second half. Then again, it’s more than 750 pages, so half the book is like a regular book elsewhere. But when I was reading I kept thinking of all the things that I knew were going to happen but hadn’t happened yet and it made me realize, this book is LONG.

Just so you know, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is not a good airplane read. I tried it and my hands started aching from trying to hold it up. So stick to your paperbacks and make sure they’re less than 750+ pages.

As always, I’m amazed at J.K. Rowling and her ability to create this world and all the things and people in it. It just comes off as effortless. I’ve ready way too many books where the author tries to force characters into relationships or gives them dialogue that just seems super forced and rushed for where that character is in the story. There’s none of that here. This book could be a biography for the way it flows and the depth of character it brings. I just love Harry Potter and I just love J.K. Rowling.

Side note. I went on a cruise to the Bahamas a couple weeks ago and I very nearly won Harry Potter trivia. I got 19/20 questions correct and had to go head-to-head against four other Harry Potter nerds. Unfortunately I was bested because someone else was able to answer what James Potter’s wand was made of, but it was truly a highlight of the trip.

Anyway, I just started “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” by Jenny Lawson. I got this book for Christmas and I have been looking forward to reading it. I’m only about three chapters in, but it is hilarious. I am excited about this book.

I also started the audiobook of “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” by W. Bruce Cameron because I saw the movie and it was adorable, but I just don’t know if I can get into this book. I’m on chapter three or four and it just feels like it’s dragging. Maybe it’s the person reading the audiobook, or maybe it’s the book. Either way, I’m just not sure I’ll make it through this book. Even though I want to because the dog in the movie was beautiful and I want to keep him forever.

Until next time,
Maegan

“The Crown” by Kiera Cass

The_Crown_CoverI finished this one a couple days ago while I was on vacation. Mind you, it’s not a very great beach read. But it did the trick.

I was super excited to read this book and the one before, “The Heir,” because I had never read them and they rounded out the Selection series. Lo and behold, I started losing interest.

You know the whole book is about the princess/future queen and her search for a husband that she initially didn’t even want to have. In the end she picks someone she’s had probably one and a half conversations with. So clearly it is true love.

And there’s just something about this character. Her people think she’s a horrible person but her many suitors disagree. Still, there’s nothing really that proves that she’s not a horrible person. It just seems like every time she tries to be nice and the author tries to show that she’s genuine, she comes off as fake and it just really doesn’t seem sincere.

But at least I finished it. So now I am trying to finish “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which is a giant book when you’re trying to read on a plane. But I am also back to listening to the audiobook, which is much more mobile. Next I am planning on reading “A Dog’s Purpose,” by W. Bruce Cameron. I saw the movie a few weeks ago and I thought it was the sweetest thing so of course now I have to read it.

More later,
Maegan

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling

hbp-us-jacket-artI thought it was going to take me much longer to finish this book, but I got through it surprisingly quick, considering that I pretty much only listen to it when I’m driving to and from work.

I’m just really excited now that I get to read “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” because that is clearly the most superior book in the series.

At this point, Harry Potter is 16 years old and has had more near death experiences that probably my entire family will face in all our lifetimes. And yet, he perseveres in the quest to end Lord Voldemort’s life. It feels like this is about the spot where J.K. Rowling decided that 16 year olds were old enough to experience some really messed up moral stuff and that is how Horcruxes came to be. I really wonder if the Horcruxes were something she had been thinking about all along or if they just came to here in this book. So many questions for J.K. and I’m sure exactly zero will be answered.

Not only do we get to read about good vs. evil and the links one man/monster will go to for immortality, but we also get to see some awkward teen romance, which just does everything for the characters. The one thing that kinda bothers me there is that Harry has just decided he likes Ginny, even though she’s been pining for him for years. She is too good for him, imo.

I want to start “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” but I am also juggling three different series right now and I’m trying to wrap at least one of them up first. Probably “The 100” series. I can’t wait for that blog post, because I sure do have some thoughts on those books now. I’m also still working on “The Heir,” which is part of “The Selection” series. Eventually I also want to get to “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” In due time, I believe.

That’s all for now,
Maegan

“Day 21” by Kass Morgan

20454076Day 21, meaning we’re only 21 days into this series and a crapton of things have happened already. Namely lots of tension, some name-calling, casual partner swapping, the usual.

This book is the second in the “The 100” series and it picks back right where “The 100” left off. There are a couple things that are mentioned as explanation in “Day 21,” but other than that it is pretty seamless, which I like.

So yeah, by this book these juvenile delinquents have only been on Earth for a few weeks (21 days because that’s when people start showing signs of radiation poisoning and the whole reason [supposedly] that these kids were sent to Earth was to find out if it was livable or if they would all die from radiation) and they are getting pretty good at setting up shop and figuring things out. Which is amazing because literally no one alive during their lives ever set foot on Earth and the only things they know are a few tidbits that a couple of the kids picked up in the old Earth books on the spaceship. Like this one kid, Bellamy, starts successfully hunting animals with a bow and arrow just because he read about it some. I don’t think it works like that.

Anyway, it’s more of the same (kind of) where all these kids are just navigating their new Earth lives and speculating about when the space people will be coming down to join then because by now shouldn’t they know it’s safe, I mean aren’t they looking at the data from these bracelet transmitter things that have never been adequately explained? Meanwhile in space, one character did a dumb thing and now everyone is in jeopardy and that’s a struggle for them all.

Eventually a lot of the colonists, a.k.a. the space people, end up on Earth and they are all basically useless and have to have all these kids who have been on the planet for a month to care for them and provide food.

The biggest thing about this book that gets me is that one character discovers that THERE IS A TRAITOR IN THE CAMP WHO IS DOING EVIL THINGS AND IS LITERALLY UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE FACT. IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME TO BE CONCERNED, IT WOULD BE THEN.

I feel better getting that out. Now I am satisfied. I already started reading/listening to “Homecoming,” which is the third book in the series. I am simultaneously listening to “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and reading “The Heir,” which is the next book in “The Selection” series. And I’m about to go on vacation so I will probably find another read for the trip.

It’s a busy book world and we’re all just living in it,
Maegan

“The Queen” and “The Favorite” by Kiera Cass

the-queen-kiera-cass Favorite_EpicReads1.jpgThese two stories were the last two novellas related to The Selection series. I think of all four of the stories, “The Queen” was probably the most enlightening. It was told from Prince Maxon’s mother’s eyes, but it was when she was younger and she was actually part of the Selection. It gives a looooot of insight into why the king acted the way he did to America and to Maxon. Honestly, after reading it, it’s surprising that Maxon was so kind to those around him. Then again, his mom probably had a lot to do with that.

“The Favorite” told Marlee’s story. Marlee was the first of the girls that America met when she began the Selection, and they became best friends pretty quickly. Marlee’s life was turned all topsy turvy, but thanks to Mason, she was always happy with what she had.

I think it is amazing how deep Kiera Cass’s understanding of all her characters goes. Between the Selection series and the “Happily Ever After” companion book, she wrote scenes from 7 different characters’ points of view. It’s 8, at least, if you could “The Heir” and “The Crown.” Which I haven’t started yet, but they are next on the list.

I’m still intrigued by this series and I’m excited to read these last two books because I’ve never read them before. Aside from these, I’m in the hold line to get “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” on audiobook for my commute. While I was waiting I was getting super bored while driving to work, so I also started listening to “The 100” series by Kass Morgan. I’m nearly halfway through the first book right now and I’m intrigued. There’s a lot of suspense and a lot of questions that haven’t been answered yet. I also have a new book I got for Christmas and I want to reread the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books, thanks to Neil Patrick Harris and the new Netflix series. So that’s what my short-list entails. But I’m sure it will grow.

I’m off for more Sunday funday,
Maegan

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling

ootp-us-jacket-artI feel like I’ve been working on this one for a while but IDK… Eh, kinda. I just checked and it’s been about three weeks. Of course I have all these books in both paperback and hardback, but I mostly listened to this one as an audiobook during my commute. It’s the weirdest thing but I have discovered that listening to audiobooks on the drive actually makes me feel calm. No irritation at traffic or that it’s taking me an hour to drive 14 miles. It’s incredible.

Anyway, Harry’s story continues and he is forever connected to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and just writing that once makes me wonder at how J.K. could stand it. But I’m sure she just typed it as “Voldy” or something like that and then did a massive find and replace. That is definitely something I would ask if I ever had the chance to meet her. So Harry is now 15 years old and in addition to being sought out by the Dark Lord he is also tortured by the most horrible person ever, Dolores Umbridge. Like this woman literally made him write lines in detention with a quill that uses his blood instead of ink. She dark as the Dark Lord.

Book Dumbledore (because there’s a difference between book Dumbledore and movie Dumbledore) ignores Harry a lot and then it turns out he’s kept an awful lot of information from him, but don’t you worry because it all comes out in the end. Lots of twisty turny stuff going on, but I love it.

Now I’m waiting on the audiobook for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” which is on hold at my public library website. But at least there are two copies, so hopefully I will get it sooner rather than later because my commute this morning was much more dull without the antics of pre-teens getting themselves into trouble with grown men and women who are trying to kill them.

Bye bye for now,
Maegan

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by J.K. Rowling

91igIGBj0vL.jpgWe all knew this one was coming. Being the Harry Potter nerd that I am, I saw this movie within a few days after it came out and I went on the waiting list to check out the screenplay in ebook format as soon as I could at my public library.

I finally got the ebook, but it took a few tries to get it fully read because I was reading a few other things too. So I’ve been working on this one for a few weeks and I finally finished it this morning.

Clearly J.K. Rowling is the queen of the wizarding world and she continues to reign forever and ever. It’s amazing all of the things she has created and shared with us over the years. I particularly like reading her screenplays because there are little details that you might miss in the movie but are pointed out in writing and it adds to the story. What’s even better is this movie is independent of any other books, so I didn’t torture myself by comparing what should or should not be happening during the movie. It was a great movie. I already have the movie poster hanging on my living room wall.

But anywho, I highly recommend the movie and the screenplay for all Potterheads, and I’m sure I will end up reading it again one day.

I’m only a few chapters shy of finishing “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and I’m also reading “The One” now, which is part of the Selection series.

More on that later,
Maegan

“The Selection” by Kiera Cass

the-selection-kiera-cass-largeTold you I was going through a Kiera Cass thing. I started this one in the middle of listening to “The Siren,” but I actually read the physical book this time. It was a great feeling.

This book is so easy to read. I think I read half of it in the past day and I read the first 100 pages on an hour and a half plane ride last week. But I also know that I like this book because I’ve read the first three books in the series already. There are now five books and I’m pretty excited to get through the next two so I can get to the new material.

This story is about America Singer and her basically being drafted into this thing called The Selection, which is basically like a royal version of The Bachelor for the crown prince of Illea, formerly known as the United States of America before the fourth world war.

Just like “The Siren,” this book is incredibly creative and I would love to be able to come up with a concept like this, but only time will tell if that is doable.

Anywho, America enters the Selection after just having broken up with her secret boyfriend of two years, and she originally doesn’t want to have anything to do with any of it. Welp, she meets the prince and he turns out to be a decent guy. They decide to be friends, but then she starts getting jealous when he dates the other girls (hello Bachelor drama). Surprise, now they have feelings for each other. The book ends when the girls have been whittled down from 35 to 6, and those 6 are referred to as the Elite. Hence the second book in the series being titled “The Elite.”

But there are also little novellas between each novel in the series, so I will have to read those as well. But the story is interesting so it’s not like it’s a chore, but I’m excited to get through to the books I haven’t read yet.

All the while, I am still about halfway through “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” There is just not enough time in the day to go to work and read all the books I want to read and watch all the Gilmore Girls I want to watch and color all the adult coloring books I want to color. I don’t know how people do it.

Here’s to double posting,
Maegan