“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

“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 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

“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

“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

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins

mockingjayYay, I finished a series! And it was straight up auditory. As in I only listened to audiobooks to finish the trilogy.

Like I said before, I was only reading this series to pass the time, and it worked pretty well. I mostly just listened on the drive to work but because there’s no school, the drive is considerably shorter these days. Alas, this morning was the morning that it came to completion.

There wasn’t much in this book that I didn’t remember from before, except a certain character death, which I probably just repressed because it was so traumatizing, tbh. And no, it’s probably not the character death that you’re thinking about. Other than that one thought that crossed my mind in this particular book of the three was that this book is really dark for a “teen” book. Like lots of death and dying and destruction and all that mess. But it is more realistic than a lot of other books who try to have the whole war scene going on where no one even sheds any blood.

Anywho, other than this series, I’m also *about* to finish “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (hopefully tonight) and I just started the screenplay of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” yesterday. I think that one will be a pretty easy read, as long as I don’t forget about it before my public library comes back to claim it.

Hopefully I will be able to make another post tomorrow because I will have finished the Harry Potter book, but I am also in the midst of cleaning my whole apartment and it’s glorious.

Ta-ta for now,
Maegan