“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

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“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

“See Me” by Nicholas Sparks

201608-See-Me-TR-680x1020Let me preface this by saying that I’ve read virtually every book that this man has written. Every now and then, I like to read a good romance, and sometimes there’s even some suspense thrown in.

This book. It started out interesting, but by the end, I was gritting my teeth just to get through it.

Yes, there’s a love interest story line, but there’s no drama to it really. It’s a super typically timeline, with meet, meet again, meet a third time unintentionally, dating, etc. I think the author tried to spice things up by giving the main character a past, but it doesn’t do much for anything.

Fast forward to a big surprise, someone in the book is a criminal. There is so much potential for this plot. Instead, you just get stuck in a runaround where you’re not actually sure who the bad guy is. First it’s A, then it’s definitely A, then it’s B, but no because it’s definitely A, then it’s A and B, then it’s A again, then it’s A and C, but a very predictable C.

I don’t know, something about it just started bothering me. Like the story was trying so hard to be interesting that it just started being annoying.

In addition, the dialogue in this book is so formal. It’s unnatural, and off-putting, honestly. If you’re going to write a book in which your characters talk to each other, they should speak as they actually would in real life. Don’t try to fancy it up because it just makes them seem stiff and like you can’t relate to them.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Started out all right, but by the end I wanted to throw this book across the room. Probably won’t stop me from still reading Nicholas Sparks’s other new book, “Two by Two.” Don’t even really know what that one’s about but I’ll probably still read it.

I’m also still reading “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir” by Jenny Lawson (have made literally zero progress since my last post), and I just started the audiobook of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling, because she/he is the queen of books.

Until next time,
Maegan

“The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks

17407748Sorry, I’ve been law schooling and it’s hard and scary and there’s a ton of not fun reading. But I finally finished this book that my lovely boyfriend gave me for my birthday! Which was four months ago… But hey, better four months later than not at all, amirite?

Anyway, this book is typical Nicholas Sparks-esque romance and such. I like his concepts a lot but sometimes his dialogue just makes me think, “Real people in a relationship would not say these words.” But apparently it works for these fictional characters. I just think if I never used contractions when I spoke to my boyfriend he would think something was defective and he would return me for a newer model.

I digress. I just want to see this movie now so I can complain about how much better the book is. Then I can watch the movie a second time to actually pay attention to it as a movie.

Law school takes up a TON of time but I’ve been reading for funsies to retain my sanity. Probably should be using that free time to study for impending finals, but whatevs. I’ll just keep putting it off until I can do so no longer. At that point I will put down the books. Until Christmas break.

Next on the list is the second book in the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie, called “Crossed.” It’s been a while since I finished “Matched,” but I started listening to “Crossed” as an audiobook today. I also have to continue reading the Harry Potter series. I’ve gotten through the first two, but that means five more to go.

Yay books!
Maegan

“Matched” by Ally Condie

7735333GUESSWHATGUESSWHATGUESSWHAT. I STARTED LAW SCHOOL AND IT’S SCARY.

Basically on the first day of orientation the teacher people told us that you can enjoy watching TV or reading books or going to church or spending time with friends and family but you won’t have time to do all of it. Scare tactic? I hope so. Probably not. We’re not even allowed to have a job for the first year. SCARY.

Anyway, I am trying my hardest to actually watch TV AND read and maybe even have some social interaction with someone other than my cat but we’ll see how that goes.

This book was pretty good. I listened through it all the way on audiobook. I downloaded it right before a road trip and listened to it on the way but it still took me almost three weeks to finish just because of time, man.

It’s about a girl named Cassia and her living in the “Society” and the “officials” and a love triangle with some dudes she’s known her whole life named Xander and Ky. Not going to lie, I had to Google those names. Audiobook cons.

It’s called Matched because the people who live in the Society have their whole life planned out for them by the government of this new world. When they’re a certain age (15? 17? Something like that), they are *matched* with another person who they were found to be completely compatible with, and then after a few years they get married through a “contract.” Sounds super romantic, right?

One thing that got me about this book is that the Society is supposed to be a really controlled environment, but this main girl just did mostly whatever she wanted and there were a few repercussions, but they didn’t seem life-altering. Maybe near the end, but by then they were just trying to find ways to lead into the next book because — surprise! — it’s a trilogy!

I’m going to try to read the other books in the series but I think other people are in line for them in the little public library audiobook queue so we’ll see how that goes. I’m reading my series all mixed up right now. I still haven’t started “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” I’m about halfway through “The Longest Ride,” and I just started the audiobook of “To Kill a Mockingbird” today. More on that later. Shameless plug for further blog posts.

Wish me luck in surviving law school and stuff,
Maegan

 

**UPDATE**

I’m watching Interstellar for the first time ever and one of the awesome NASA people just quoted the poem that is super relevant in this book. Basically in the book the society has chosen only 100 pieces of each type of art (poems, paintings, songs, etc.) that the people are allowed to have access to. But there’s basically a black market on contraband art and one of them is the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas. Cassia gets ahold of the poem and she basically uses it as her mantra all throughout the series.

Anyway, this guy in the movie just quoted it! And it reminded me that I never finished the “Matched” trilogy… In my defense, it was not one that kept my attention really well. It was an alright series but there was just something about it. It needed more. Soooo I probably won’t finish it ever and I’m sorry about that but I have already moved on and I would have to force myself to finish it and that is not something I want to do.

Side note: I’m typing this on my phone and this is DIFFICULT. Definitely sticking to the laptop now.

Ciao!

“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by J.K. Rowling

HP2coverWith the summer comes the return of audiobooks, yay.

I started reading this one right after I finished “Sorcerer’s Stone,” but you know how it is. Eventually I put myself on the waiting list through the public library to get the audiobook and there were four people in front of me for it (so I guess I’m not the only one rereading Harry Potter, but am I really surprised, I mean J.K. Rowling, amiright?) So I got the audiobook and with that I sporadically finished it within about nine days. I’m already on the waiting list to read “Prisoner of Azkaban,” but I’m guessing the same four people are in front of me for that one, too.

So, Harry Potter. Do I really need to give any information about this book? If you haven’t read it, then you’ve seen the movie, and if you haven’t seen the movie then what in the world are you doing with your life? Not to be judgmental or anything…

To fill in the book ending void I’m going to keep reading “The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks, which my lovely boyfriend gave me for my birthday. I’ll let you know how that goes, but so far it’s pretty good. No audiobook for that one though, because books on paper are the business and down with the e-reader and all that. I actually felt guilty for finishing this book via audiobook just because I love the series so much. But I guess you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

So you know how I said I was going to read a chapter a day? Not happening. I know, I’m ashamed. But I can barely keep up with the couch to 5K app and I signed up for the Color Run at the end of August, so…

On a completely unrelated note, I should probably go running tomorrow.

P.S. I started following some of those super bookish people on Instagram and they totally shame everyone else. I think they literally sit there and read all day everyday. Which would be an awesome job, but when do you have time to sleep? These are the questions I ask myself. Also my cat but he doesn’t seem to really care.

Anyway, I’m off to read some more of something and I’m sure it’ll be wonderful.

Ciao,
Maegan