“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

“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

“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

“The Last Star” by Rick Yancey

51CC+o3cfQL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_This book was not nearly as intense as the first one in the series, “The 5th Wave.” I think what I liked about that book was that it kept surprising you over and over again and by now there’s really not much else that you don’t already know. Even the things that seem like they’re supposed to be surprises are just kind of confusing because Character A says this new thing, but Character B still thinks this thing like it originally was, but Character C says the same thing as Character A and you’re just like, “Who is the crazy one here, because someone is wrong.”

It was still pretty good though. Lots of loose ends were wrapped up, but not all of them. That character that kept defying death defied death again and this time he/she really should not have survived. It’s especially not fair considering the billions of others who died along the way in the destruction of humanity by aliens that you really don’t even get, you know?

The aliens are quite a source of mystery in this series. You never really are told outright what they want and then when you start figuring it out you find out that that wasn’t actually the truth to begin with and it just starts getting kind of confusing. It is quite surprising though that this whole series follows a group of literal children through the end of the world and at least some of them come out on the other side. Those are some tough kids.

Next on the list is finishing “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir” and “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson (I’m pretty much in the middle of both of them at the same time), and then I’ll start on “Buffering” by Hannah Hart.

I have plenty of other books on my to-read list, but I’m also having this big problem where instead of reading books that I want to read and have never read before, I keep starting books that I want to read and have read approximately 17 times before. But we will make it through eventually. Probably not, but positive thoughts.

Later,
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

“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

“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