Monday, March 3, 2014

Stack of Books

I've been on a reading kick lately, mostly due to the fact that I'm lazy and I got a library card, so it's free.  Winning.

I can't (well fine, don't want to would be more accurate) do a separate post of all of these books, so I'm jamming them all into one. Awesome, no?

As always, if you've read anything fantastic, please let me know, now that I have free access to books again, I'm game for just about anything.  I was so scared, after HP7, that all the good books were gone and I would never have anything good to read ever ever again.

Silly Past Jenn. She's so lame.


Also as always, SPOILERS ABOUND.


Anyway. Let's start with Burn because it was the best.


OHHHHH, SOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD.

You can't read this unless you've read Pure and Fuse. Well I guess you COULD, but that would be stupid because you won't know what's going on and you'd be really missing out because while Fuse is sort of meh, Pure is REALLY good.  You can breeze thru my Pure review here.

From the back of Burn: "Inside the Dome, Partridge has taken his father's place as leader of the Pures. His struggle has led him here, intent upon bringing down the Dome from the inside, with the help of a secret resistance force. But things are not as simple from his new position of power and he finds himself tempted by his father's words: perhaps if the world is to survive it needs the Dome - and Partridge - to rule it...

As Partridge's resolve weakens, Pressia and Bradwell continue piecing together the clues left to them from the time before the Detonations. It is their hope that they will be able to heal the Wretches, and free them from their monstrous fusings and the Dome's oppression once and for all. But everything depends, too, on Partridge. Separated by distance and history, can they still trust their friend and ally? Or is the world doomed to an eternity of war and hardship?"
See? If you haven't read the other two, this is useless.

For people all up in arms about how Gone Girl didn't really end, Burn isn't the book for you. It doesn't have a proper Lazy Reader's Ending. You have to actually use your brain and decide for yourself, Baggott isn't spoon feeding anyone anything in this story.

SPOILER ALERT. SPOILERS AHEAD.





I thought it was a nearly perfect ending to this trilogy. Yes, I wish she'd write more. What does Lyda do with her baby? How many of the Mothers are around to help her? How does Pressia deal with what happened to Bradwell? What about the people in Ireland and their creepy clones? You know how I love clones. Does Alan figure out the cure? Will the Wretches all consent to being cured if he does? And that creepy scientist with the creepy Partridge's Family Clone Babies, what the fuck? Is he gonna grow the mom? Does he have to grow her for twenty years and then grown the babies, or does it happen super fast?

I also sort of hope Partridge and his wife (her name won't pop into my head!!!) die a nice and easy death somehow, they don't deserve to be tortured. I can see a lot of readers hating Partridge, and yeah, he ended up being sort of lame, but really, I feel like he was sort of in a lose-lose situation. I mean, what exactly was he supposed to be able to do in there?

Anyway. I thought it was a great ending. Four stars, easily, but not five. It wasn't THAT good. Maybe all three books together would be five stars? But probably four and a half.

All right, next let's do Book of Secrets, because that was really REALY good too.



I'm not sure how non-readers would feel about this one. I mean, obviously, if you're reading it, you're sort of a reader, but this book, under the semi-lame and predictable plot, is a book about that magical feeling when you first get lost in books. How it completely and totally changes your life, the first time you pick up one of the Narnia books, how you're speechless when you read the last page of Wrinkle in Time, how absolutely and completely terrified you are the first (and only) time you read Silence of the Lambs.  (Side note: she doesn't read Silence of the Lambs in this book, but MAN that book scared me to death.)

Here's the back of the book: "After more than twenty years of marriage, Chloe Sinclair comes home one night to find that her husband, Nate, is gone. All he has left behind is a cryptic note explaining that he’s returned to their childhood town of Redbridge, California—a place Chloe never wants to see again. 
 
Tending to their small bookstore while trying to reach Nate, Chloe stumbles upon a notebook tucked inside his antique copy of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Written in a code that Nate and his sisters created as kids, the pages contain long-buried secrets from her and Nate’s past, and clues to why he went back to Redbridge after all these years. As Chloe struggles to decipher the notebook’s hidden messages, she revisits the seminal moments of their youth: the day she met the enigmatic Sinclair children, their increasingly dangerous games a magical escape from their troubled childhoods; the first time Nate kissed her, camped out on the beach like Robinson Crusoe; the elaborate plan she and Nate devised, inspired by Romeo and Juliet,
 to break away from from his oppressive father, and how the thwarted attempt upended their lives forever. As the reason for Nate’s absence comes to light, the truth will shatter everything Chloe knows—about her husband, his family, and herself."


I found the actual story, at times, to be distracting and mildly boring, but the specific flashbacks about her reading...those were exquisite.  Just perfect. I obviously related SO MUCH to Chloe. An awkward girl with no friends, lonely and above all else, bored, and when I discovered how to lose myself in a good book...forget it.  FORGET IT.

As always, I need to thank my mother for the millionth time for instilling this love of reading in my.  I know how hard it was for her when I started reading things she didn't like (Silence of the Lambs? Every Stephen King book ever written? She would much rather I stuck with the Mandi books) but she NEVER ONCE told me I couldn't, or even shouldn't, and she never MADE me read anything either, which I'm starting to see is almost as important.  Thanks mom!!

Anyway. The author notes at the end are worth reading too, they're fab.  She talks about how when she was little and she first got into reading, first there's that paralyzing fear that there's just not enough books in the library, you'll finish every book ever written in five years tops, and then what? Then there's that equally horrifying realization that even if you read every waking minute of every single day for the rest of your entire life, you wouldn't even make a dent in the amount of good books out there.

Either way, it's sort of a sucky-but-also-amazing situation.

Anyway. Spoiler alert, but I was expecting the abuse to have been a lot worse. I mean, I know how awful that makes me sound, but what can I say. I thought the dad was raping the girls, or just beating them a lot more. I dunno. And I also felt like she hinted at something going on between Grace and Nate. Am I just a sicko? I probably watch too much SVU.  Oh well.

Onward!!


I can't quit Jack Reacher.

It's embarrassing. I know. They're so cheesy, and over the top, and absolutely RIDICULOUS. But I love them!!! LOVE THEM. I tear thru them, they're like four hundred pages a pop and I read most of these in a weekend each!! They're all basically the same, Jack Reacher stumbles around like a hobo and gets involved in saving a woman. So far, I like the first one the best (Killing Floor) but only because it was written in first person, and that's my fave. But they're all the same, so they're all good. I also really like Tripwire. But I liked them all. So far I've read Killing Floor, Die Trying (so good, it's about a militia cult type thingie), Tripwire, Running Blind (least favorite because you can figure it out at the VERY beginning, but still good <Side note: In the UK it's listed as The Visitor.  Weird!!) and I just finished Echo Burning. I know Without Fail is in that picture, but the library only has ONE copy of that and it's loaned out right now.











Speaker for the Dead is the sequel to Ender's Game, which I really liked, but Speaker is better. I thought Ender's was sort of confusing, and all these months later I'm not exactly sure what the moral of the story is, but Speaker is just a cut and dry story. And it's a good one.

From the back of the book: "n the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War.

Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening...again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery...and the truth."
 
It sounds way nerdy and too much scifi, but it's not bad, trust me. It's GOOD.





I first put What Alice Forgot on my Goodreads when Hollywood Housewife mentioned how much she liked it. Interestingly enough, she mentions it while talking about how she DIDN'T like The Husband's Secret. I read Husband just because it was laying right at the front the day I got my library card, and I sort of hated it, but I remembered her post and got on the list for Alice before I'd even finished Husband.

Here's the back of the book: "Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, , she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…"

Like HH, I feel like ever since I finished Alice, I've been applying her lessons to my everyday life. It's a pretty light read, but not dumb at all, if that makes any sense. Anyway, for me, the main take home was to not take my husband (or anyone really, she does it to her sister and some of her friends too) for granted, and to not get bogged down in the 'busyness' of motherhood. Ten years later Alice is one of those women who treat motherhood as a competitive sport, and while I'm one hundred percent sure that IS NOT ME....so was twenty nine year old Alice. You just never know, and so you should take a few precautions, just in case.

Anyway, this was one of my favorite books I've read lately, and it only takes like six minutes to get through it.





Remember how everyone hated the ending of Gone Girl? Well, I loved it. I loved the entire book, I thought it was FABULOUS. I only say that to give you a frame of reference when I say that I loved Dark Places EVEN MORE than Gone Girl.

Here's the skinny: "Libby Day was just seven years old when her older brother massacred her family while she hid in a cupboard. Her evidence helped put him away. Ever since then she has been drifting, surviving for over 20 years on the proceeds of the 'Libby Day fund'. But now the money is running out and Libby is desperate. When she is offered $500 to do a guest appearance, she feels she has to accept. But this is no ordinary gathering. The Kill Club is a group of true-crime obsessives who share information on notorious murders, and they think her brother Ben is innocent.

Ben was a social misfit, ground down by the small-town farming community in which he lived. But he did have a girlfriend - a brooding heavy metal fan called Diondra. Through her, Ben became involved with drugs and the dark arts. When the town suddenly turned against him, his thoughts turned black. But was he capable of murder? Libby must delve into her family's past to uncover the truth - no matter how painful...
"
Remember how in Gone Girl, you sort of hated everyone except for maybe Go? (Was that the sister's name?) I know a lot of people on Goodreads hated Libby, but I think those bitches are cray, Libby is great. Can you even IMAGINE how much damage that would do to you? To have your family butchered like that? OF COURSE she's fucked up. I loved her. And I loved Lyle, and I mega-love that Nicholas Hoult (from About a Boy!!!) is playing him in the movie. (I will say, it's sort of a spoiler to follow that link to the movie site, because if you're like me, you can piece together who's important by the casting, and that gives away quite a bit. Or at least that's what I thought.)

Anyway. People warned that this was "so dark, over the top violent, gory, blah blah blah." Please. It's not THAT violent. At all. And it's BARELY gory. So take that with a grain of salt. I do love Stephen King, but I'll say that if my thirteen year old wanted to read this, I wouldn't have THAT much of a problem with it. Seriously, it's NOT THAT BAD.

And it has an actual conclusion, so that's a plus for the Gone Girl haters.






I grabbed Some Kind of Fairy Tale because they had it on the shelf, and because I loved Silent Land so much.  Here's the back of the book: "It is Christmas afternoon and Peter Martin gets an unexpected phonecall from his parents, asking him to come round. It pulls him away from his wife and children and into a bewildering mystery.

He arrives at his parents house and discovers that they have a visitor. His sister Tara. Not so unusual you might think, this is Christmas after all, a time when families get together. But twenty years ago Tara took a walk into the woods and never came back and as the years have gone by with no word from her the family have, unspoken, assumed that she was dead. Now she's back, tired, dirty, dishevelled, but happy and full of stories about twenty years spent travelling the world, an epic odyssey taken on a whim.

But her stories don't quite hang together and once she has cleaned herself up and got some sleep it becomes apparent that the intervening years have been very kind to Tara. She really does look no different from the yound women who walked out the door twenty years ago. Peter's parents are just delighted to have their little girl back, but Peter and his best friend Richie, Tara's one time boyfriend, are not so sure. Tara seems happy enough but there is something about her. A haunted, otherworldly quality. Some would say it's as if she's off with the fairies. And as the months go by Peter begins to suspect that the woods around their homes are not finished with Tara and his family..."

I don't think I 'got' this book. It was VERY well written, it was interesting, I loved Peter and I really loved Richie and Peter's wife and son, but nothing ever happened. To anyone. It was boring. The end.

I'd recommend grabbing Silent Land instead because THAT sucker is knock-your-socks-off-amazeballs. And I am more than willing to give Joyce another shot, because he's such a good writer. Probably gonna grab The Tooth Fairy.

And lastly, I read Innocence, by Dean Koontz. If you liked the past ten Koontz books, you'll probably like this one. I did. His stories are basically all the same, and I know they're not for everyone, but what can I say, I'm a sucker for all that Good Triumphs Evil in Extreme Ways shit.

My latest library haul was a good one, I've got quite the stack.  The Long Earth is up first, then In the Woods, The Goldfinch (not sure I'll actually read this, you know how I feel about trendy books...and it's so LONG, but it was just sitting there all alone when I ran in to grab something else, so I snatched it, PLUS if you remember SK recommended it), Eleanor & Park (VERY excited, I've been waiting FOREVER for this one), and Shovel Ready, which I am the MOST excited about.

Phew. That's a lot of words.

Anything else I should be reading? C'mon, hit me with it. I've got another vacation coming up, and we're driving this time.

12 comments:

  1. I am so jealous about all that your library has just laying there. Our library SERIOUSLY only carries Louis Lamour and Nora Roberts--I have to inter-library request everything else. I *so* miss the days of just browsing the library and picking up a book!!!

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  2. Oh! Also...have you read The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman? I'm not a super big fantasy fan, but I actually ended up reading this one in an evening. The plot felt a *little* slow/off to me, but the storytelling was absolutely amazing all at the same time, if that makes sense. It wasn't the best book I've read recently, but it was definitely one I got lost in!

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  3. Ok. Last thing. Are you a member of Net Galley? If not, sign up NOW because they have the advanced reading copy of the new novel by the author of the Wool series that is being released June 5th. And UK reviewers are preferred.

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    1. I'd never heard of Net Gallery, but I think I got all signed up. I'm not too good with the technology. Ocean at the End of the Lane is on my list, I haven't been rushing to track down a copy. Maybe I will now? And if it makes you feel a little better, I have to drive to all these different libraries, the one right by my house doesn't have anything except cookbooks and it costs money here to either place a hold on a book, or to have it transferred from one branch to the next!!! Can you believe that? It's only like sixty pence, but I refuse to do it out of principle. I count driving to a different branch and going in to get books as one of my 'obligated social interactions' for the week, so whatever.

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  4. I'm especially intrigued by The Book of Secrets! Another book that is especially fabulous for lovers of books is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Gothic mystery about a woman who works at a used book store and a writer on her deathbed with a secret story she needs to tell.

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  5. Oh, and I second Meredith's suggestion of NetGalley. I get a lot of books from there! It's exclusively for people that are somehow part of the book industry, even if that just means as a reviewer. So if you have a fair amount of reviews posted publicly, you may qualify for an account. Everything on NetGalley is free, and it's nothing but advanced reviewer copies before the general public can buy them, with the intent that you read them, love them, and that talk them up so that other readers go buy them once they're published. :)

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  6. Have you read Angelfall by Susan Ee? I think you'd really like it. And maybe the Hourglass series by Myra McEntire. If you want something light and funny, Wallbanger by Alice Clayton is a hoot. At the moment I'm devouring the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. It's super paranormal, which is Totally not my thing, but I was convinced by a friend to give it a try. It's so addicting! I'm sucked in big time.

    All of those recommendations are NOT books I've edited or authors I know. I'd recommend all the books I've worked on too, but don't want to come off as salesy! :)

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    1. I'll be adding to my goodreads list I guess ;)

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  7. I just friended you on Goodreads, I just started using it at the beginning of the year and I LOVE it.
    I feel like I am never going to have the time to read all the books I want... I am just happy with my library and their overdrive account, ebooks whenever I want them! I never have to leave my house again!

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    1. I don't understand why I've NEVER lived in a place that has ebooks!!! Hawaii certainly didn't when I was there. Or else maybe I just didn't know? But they looked at me like I was from another planet when I asked here...

      I'm with you on the feeling like I'll never be able to read all the books I want. It doesn't help that I also want to watch every tv show that was ever created. Eats up my time...

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  8. These are really fun reviews! I laughed out loud in several spots.

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  9. ps. Ooh, are you going to review 'Eleanor and Park?'

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