Read Me, Seymour

Read Me, Seymour

Nothing serious here, mostly just bookish ramblings.

Review
4 Stars
Reread Review
Diary - Chuck Palahniuk

I last read Diary when I was around 16 years old and thought Chuck Palahniuk was God's greatest gift to the literary world. I devoured every book he wrote and thought he was so clever, so disgusting, and so bizarre, all in the best way possible. Needless to say my reading tastes have changed a lot in the past seven years, so over the past few years I've been rereading most of Palahniuk's novels and seeing how I like them now.

 

I'll admit there are some Palahniuk books I'm not so fond of anymore, but I'm happy to report I still really like Diary. It's pretty different from his standard fare -- it's told from a woman's point of view, and it doesn't rely heavily on a huge plot twist -- but it's still without a doubt a Palahniuk book. This story is told through a series of diary entries written by Misty Wilmot, chronicling her life for her comatose husband after his failed suicide attempt. Detailing the plot more than that is complicated. The book certainly tells a fascinating story, but this book is more than a story. At its core, this book is a journey through the mind of an artist, and I feel like I got a glimpse into Palahniuk's creative process through reading this.

 

Since I don't want to talk too much about the book itself, I'll post some of my favorite quotations, because if this book is anything it's quoteable.

 

"What you don't understand you can make mean anything."

 

"You have endless ways you can commit suicide without dying dying."

 

"It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace."

 

"Just for the record, the weather today is calm and sunny, but the air is full of bullshit."

 

"We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."

 

"You're always haunted by the idea that you're wasting your life.

Review
1.5 Stars
The Kill Snore-der
The Kill Order - James Dashner

This book, to me, is a perfect example of an author trying to cash in on a series that they obviously are done with or have no real new ideas for. The Kill Order is the prequel to The Maze Runner series, but it was the last book to be released. Also, reading this book before reading the original trilogy will majorly spoil a lot of the trilogy, so it's actually best to read it last.

 

After not being happy with The Death Cure, the (first) final installment to the series, I was hoping this would give me the answers I was so desperately seeking. I've said it before -- this world is intriguing and I want to know how the world became so f-ed up. But once again, this book hardly gives you any new information.

 

I already knew this book followed different characters from those in the original trilogy, but I still think it's kind of weird to tack on an installment to a series that only briefly mentions the characters the entire series follows. 

 

This book was probably 90% action scenes. I like action in a book to an extent, but there comes a point where I can no longer tell who is punching/hitting/kicking/running away from who. I'll admit I skimmed A LOT of this book because I grew very bored of all the fighting, and every time I was pretty sure the main characters would make it out unharmed, anyway.

 

I will pick up future books by James Dashner, but I'm glad this series is over. I think he's a talented writer who can build a world really wonderfully, but hopefully in the future he does a little more world-explaining as well.

A Few Mini-Reviews
Landline: A Novel - Rainbow Rowell The Death Cure - James Dashner Shatter - Michael Robotham

It has been almost a week at my new job (I ended up starting on Monday because we had some paperwork issues) and I’m really liking it, but it is definitely an adjustment! The hours and my commute are much longer than I’m used to, but I’m much happier here and I’m so glad to finally be in the professional world.


I’ve been majorly slacking on posting, but I have finished three books since moving down here, so I thought I’d post some quick thoughts. 

 

Landline by Rainbow Rowell: This was my first Rainbow Rowell book, and I was pretty disappointed. I liked the idea of the book, but I thought the execution could have been much better. I was soooo booooored with this book, but I was determined to finish it to see if it got any better. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t.) I expected the book to have a lot of conversation and dialogue since the book does revolve around a magical phone, but the phone conversations (especially between the main character and her young daughters) drove me crazy. Much of the time it was like awkwardly overhearing someone’s annoying phone conversation and hoping they’ll shut up soon. I thought Georgie and Neal’s relationship seemed juvenile and ugh I’m sick of talking about this book so I’m gonna stop now.


The Death Cure by James Dashner: I finally got around to reading the conclusion to this series (although I’m reading the prequel now) and I was so disappointed with this installment. You barely get answers to the major questions raised in the first two books. So much information is just glossed over and I was craving more detail! I liked this world and I was upset that it was never fully explained. I feel like the author wanted to focus on the action in this book – deaths, explosions, car chases, the whole shebang – but I just wasn’t feeling it.


Shatter by Michael Robotham: Finally a book I liked! Actually, I kind of loved this one. It’s a psychological thriller with a really interesting premise and it’s super engaging. I don’t even want to say much about it because I feel like this could be easily spoiled. Apparently this is part of a series, but I never would have known that if I hadn’t looked up the book. It wasn’t loaded with back-story, nor did it reference things that I didn’t understand. I am interested in checking out the rest of the series now, though. In some ways this book reminded me of Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes, so if you happen to have enjoyed that one I’d recommend this. I highly recommend Human Remains too!


Bedtime for me (so weird to be going to bed at 10:00 when I'm such a night owl but I'm getting used to it). Hopefully more posting for me soon as I continue to get more settled in here!

Life Update

The past week has been CRAZY for me. 

 

I don't think I've talked much about this, but I graduated from college in December 2012 with a degree in English: Concentration in Professional Writing (think journalism, non-fiction kind of writing) and a minor in Women's Studies. Since graduation I've applied to countless jobs, mostly in the journalism, publishing, and editing field with absolutely no luck. I've been working as a server in a restaurant since graduation and really struggling to pay my student loan bills.

 

On Wednesday I had an interview for a position at a nonprofit medical company and got the position. It's basically secretarial work, but my new boss said he can tell I'm very driven and wants to give me a shot to prove myself, and if I do I can move up in the company.

 

He wanted me to start ASAP, so the past few days have been crazy getting paperwork done, drug and disease tested (since I'll be working in a hospital), and packing up and moving in with my grandmother who lives significantly closer to Washington, DC, where the hospital is.

 

I start on Thursday and I'm crazy excited but super nervous as well. It's my first office job, not to mention it's in the nation's capital! I'm pretty familiar with DC, but not so much the side my job is on.

 

Anyway, I've had no time to read. The last book I read I had to skim the last 150 pages (luckily I didn't like the book much anyway) because it was a library book and I needed to return it to my hometown library before I moved. But now that I'm settling in here I'll finally have some free time. Also, I'll be taking the Metro into the city every day, which will give me reading time. And I'm definitely planning on scoping out nearby coffee shops for reading and getting caffed-up on my lunch breaks.

 

tl;dr, I hope to be back to more regular reading and posting soon :)

 

Reading progress update: I've read 104 out of 308 pages.
Landline: A Novel - Rainbow Rowell

My first Rainbow Rowell! She's such a hyped-up author so I'm glad I'm finally getting to see what all the fuss is about.

 

I'm enjoying this so far, but I've realized something since starting this: Contemporary/romance novels take me forever to get through! I've read just over 100 pages in four or five days, which is really slow for me. I love me some chick-lit, but I very rarely find them so engrossing that I want to constantly be reading. I don't know why, but contemporary romance to me is usually just "10 minutes of cuteness before bed" and not "Oh wow I freaking love this book." Even though I'm liking the premise of this book, I don't want to read more than a few chapters a day, and that's usually the case with books similar to this. Not a bad thing, just something I've noticed. 

Review
4 Stars
Unbelievable (Pretty Little Liars Book 4) by Sara Shepard
Unbelievable - Sara Shepard

Man, these books are addictive!

After finishing this book, I can say with certainty that I will be reading this whole (incredibly long) series. I've said it a million times now, but I jut freaking love all the scandal, drama, lies, and secrets in these books. I don't keep up with celebrity gossip (usually) and thankfully my personal life is mostly drama-free, so this series has become my regular source for drama.

Unbelievable moved a little bit more slowly than some of the other books, but it was still a fun and engaging read. By the end, I was very happy because we FINALLY got some answers. I also really liked how the girls seemed to be getting a little closer in this book. They're starting to confess some of their secrets to each other, which I've been hoping they would start doing for a while now. Yes, admitting you deep dark secrets is scary, but I think it will bring the girls closer together (and I'm rooting for all of them; I honestly don't even have a favorite) and it will help regarding the whole A mystery.

Honestly, this book wrapped up many loose ends very nicely. If you would have told me the series ended here, I would have been satisfied. But knowing there are TWELVE more books in this series, obviously the drama is far from over and I kind of need my fix.

(Side note: I say "drama" wayyy to much when I talk about this series.)

I write like Edgar Allan Poe.

According to this.

 

Seriously, that is the best result I could have received. :)

 

(That answer is based on an academic paper I wrote on Washington Irving and the Panic of 1819, aka some of my best writing ever. If I would have used a blog post or a review, I'm sure I would get a much different answer. Maybe I'll try that later.) 

So I've been stuck in bed with a cold, and I've been unabashedly watching kid's horror shows like Goosebumps and The Haunting Hour. I noticed a few episodes were written by Neal Shusterman, and I couldn't figure out why that name was familiar. Then it hit me -- Oh! He wrote the Unwind books that have been sitting on my shelf forever! Maybe it's a sign I should read them soon.

 

And actually, some of his episodes were pretty good. Now I also kind of want to read his Darkness Creeping books.

Review
4.5 Stars
I can't even.
Perfect - Sara Shepard

That cliffhanger!

 

This book totally solidified my love for this series. Soooo much drama, so much mystery and danger, so many secrets! This book was drug-like to me. I seriously flew through the last 150 pages because it was so freaking intense. I was referring to this series as a guilty pleasure, but I don't even feel ashamed of my love for these books anymore. I dare you to try to read this and NOT get totally absorbed in all the scandal and drama. 

O.M.G.
172 Hours on the Moon - Tara F. Chace, Johan Harstad

"Fuuuuuck that." -- What I said aloud after reading the last word of this book.

 

Fuck this scary ass book and the nightmares it's gonna give me. Fuck the moon and outer space and whatever else is out there.

 

Seriously. This is some scary shit. Especially if you're into conspiracy theories / government cover-ups or if you're like me and you think space is the scariest thing / concept ever.

 

I can't remember the last time a book creeped me out so much. I'm literally afraid to look in a mirror or window at the moment because I don't wanna see something that shouldn't be there staring back at me. I'm afraid to go outside and look at the moon and stars. I literally keep checking over my shoulder every few minutes just to make sure nothing is there. 

 

I'm at once terrified and impressed and scarred for life, so I think it's safe to say this book is amazing.

 

Starting a not-scary book immediately and hiding this book somewhere I can't see it so I can hopefully sleep tonight.

Reading progress update: I've read 198 out of 351 pages.
172 Hours on the Moon - Tara F. Chace, Johan Harstad

This is SO SCARY.

 

Space freaks me out. Not aliens or any of that crap, but just outer space in general. Black holes, meteors and asteroids, all that nothingness...One of my worst fears is to be shuttled off into space and just left there, floating around until I run out of air and die or something kills me. I don't even like looking at the moon and stars and planets when they're visible in a telescope because it scares me.

 

So this book -- three teens who won a contest being sent to space with a team of astronauts for one week -- is like, my worst nightmare. And now things are going wrong at the base and I wanna keep reading and see what happens but it's giving me the creeps. I watched American Horror Story last night with the supposed "scariest clown in history" and wasn't scared in the slightest but this book is gonna give me nightmares.

Review
3 Stars
The Giver - Lois Lowry

I loved this book when I was a kid. I think I first read it in third grade, and I read it countless times throughout the rest of elementary school. In fourth grade, we read this as a class and had discussions and wrote papers on it. Re-reading this book as an adult, I can see why this book is often taught in schools and why some consider it a modern classic. It's perfect for young readers, because it's written very simply, but there are some "big" or more difficult words tossed in every now and then, which is a good way to learn vocabulary. I remember in class guessing what the word meant based on context clues and then having vocab tests on some of the words when we had finished the book. I typically don't like middle-grade novels, but I did enjoy reading this one. I read it in one sitting. It kept my attention and it didn't feel too dumbed-down like middle-grade sometimes can.

 

This book has an interesting premise -- a seemingly perfect world where there is no war, no murder, no famine; everyone does what they're told and doesn't question their society -- but it just left too much unanswered. Why things are they way they are is kind of explained, but I felt like I had more questions than answers at the end. Speaking of the ending, I hated it. It's completely open-ended, and you're left to imagine what happens on your own. Sometimes I don't mind endings like that, but for me it just didn't work here. This book is the first in a series, but if I remember correctly each book follows a different character, so the ending is never explained. With this book, I wouldn't have minded a happy or a sad ending -- I can see it going either way. But give me SOMETHING. 

 

I might re-read the rest of the series in the future, but I'm not dying to get to them anytime soon. I'm kind of interested in seeing the movie because I heard they changed a lot, and I'd like to see if they made the story better or worse. Plus, Alexander Skarsgard. Anyway, overall I would recommend this book to children, but if you're an adult and you haven't read this, I'd say you can skip it and not be missing a lot. For kids, it's a good, pretty simple introduction to the dystopian genre, but I think teens and adults might be left feeling unsatisfied at the end.

Review
3.5 Stars
The Scorch Trials - James Dashner

Not nearly as good as The Maze Runner, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

 

This book was CONFUSING. I swear, half the book I had no idea what was going on. It seemed like the Gladers were just mindlessly wandering the Scorch most of the time. I know they didn't have many other options, but I think their "trial" as a whole could have been done better and been made a little more interesting with a little more explanation.

 

Also, it seemed like we got no new answers in this book. Yeah, The Maze Runner was a little confusing at first, too, but you eventually got answers to your questions and learned a little about the world. I felt like in The Scorch Trials, 100 new questions were raised and maybe 5 answers were given. I was getting really frustrated reading this because I felt like the overall plot was going nowhere. And the end didn't even wrap anything up! If anything, I'm even more confused having finished the book than before. 

 

That being said, this book still had redeeming qualities. I'd still call it a fun read -- it definitely had enough exciting and scary moments to make the read worthwhile.

 

I have hope that The Death Cure will finally provide some answers and that I'll get to understand this world. I like the story, I do. I like the characters for the most part, and the world and their "trials" are really intriguing. Given how much I enjoyed The Maze Runner, I'll be disappointed if the third book doesn't give an exciting yet satisfying conclusion to the series.

Wtf GoodReads

I am pissed.

 

I primarily use GoodReads to track my reading. (Is that bad to mention on here? I know some people over here hate GoodReads with a passion...) I've been on GoodReads for a while now, and I'm just more familiar with their system and I can easily add and rate books. I logged on today and saw that my 2014 Reading Challenge said I had read 33 out of 50 books. Just yesterday, I am certain that that number was 46. So I scrolled through my Read books and noticed several books missing. When I checked for those books on my other shelves, they were not there either. Since the books weren't shelved, my ratings were gone, too. 

 

I know what some of the missing books are, but not all of them. Call me silly (actually, I think most of you will agree), but it's important to me to have an inventory of books I read and how I rated them. Losing a good chunk of the books I read this year really ticks me off. Half of the reason I'm so diligent with adding and rating books online is because I have a pretty crappy memory, so I honestly may never remember some of the books that are missing. Not to mention that now my reading goal for the year is all fucked up.

 

I emailed GoodReads and hopefully they can resolve the problem, but I'm honestly not getting my hopes up. If they can't fix this, I may consider transferring all my info and relocating here completely. If any of you have had a similar problem over there, please let me know if you were able to fix it.

 

Ugh.

Reading progress update: I've read 139 out of 360 pages.
The Scorch Trials - James Dashner

Not flying through this one like I did with The Maze Runner, but that's partly due to business/laziness/Netflix (let's be real). I'm liking it, but I'M SO CONFUSED. I'm a little under halfway through and I still have no clue what's going on. Hoping I get some answers soon, because I think once I understand what's happening I'll like this even more and breeze through the rest.

Review
5 Stars
Woah.
The Maze Runner - James Dashner

It's been a while since I read a book that I literally couldn't get enough of. I was picking this up every spare moment I got because I needed to know what was going to happen next. 

 

I won't bore you with the basics of the plot because I'm pretty sure almost everyone knows the general idea of the story by now. But wow. This book legitimacy scared me. The author does a fantastic job of building tension and giving description. The monsters that live in the maze, the Grievers, are unlike anything I've encountered in another book or movie, but I had such a clear picture of them and...I wouldn't wanna be caught near one. Plus, the world as a whole was terrifying. Trapped in the middle of a big giant maze crawling with monsters, no idea if you'll get the supplies necessary for survival each week, and then when things start changing for the worse....noooo thank you. This world scares me more than The Hunger Games world. At least if I was a tribute I'd die a pretty quick death, no doubt about it. Here, I'm stuck, no clue what's going to happen next, if I'll ever get out, wondering why I'm even there. It's constant fear and worry, which I think the author captures very well. 

 

My favorite thing about the whole book is actually what made a lot of people hate the book -- the fact that you know no more than Thomas does from the very beginning. There's no world building before you meet Thomas and enter the Glade. You're right alongside him from the start, just as confused about the maze, the whole Glade in general, the people, and the slang terms used. I've heard so many people say so many pages were wasted with Thomas asking questions and not getting answers. But I loved that! It's what made the book unputdownable. I knew he'd get answers eventually, so I kept reading until I figured out what the heck was going on. 

 

I'll admit some of the characters were a little flat and some of the plot twists were a little predictable, but that didn't take anything away from the book, in my opinion. This was such a fun and exciting read. I'm going to start reading The Scorch Trials right now. Literally, right now.