Friday, November 12, 2010
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Option #3: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.
In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.
Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.
The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?
Monday, November 8, 2010
Repetitive Writing: Bad
I don't have particularly high standards when it comes to the writing of the books I read, but The Maze Runner seemed to be a 100 page story that the editors made Mr. Dashner turn into a 400 page book. To do so he added a paragraph stating his inability to recall his former life every page. Then he added a paragraph discussing Thomas' "unexplainable desire to be a runner" in every other page or so. Then numerous paragraphs dispersed throughout explaining how things seemed familiar but he couldn't tell anyone...again & again & again.
WE GET IT, DASHNER!! Fhs.
That being said, I liked the book & will be reading the second one. I'm interested to see where this goes and, with annoying Chuck out of the way and stud Minho still around, I'm thinking it can only get better.
Word replacements are fun and I've used many of them in my lifetime since I don't typically curse. But gosh dang, I may drop an s-bomb if the situation calls for it. Why an author would make up their own words for curse words, I don't know. Could be trying to pull a JK Rowling, that genius of writer, (who actually pulled it off), I don't know. But like I said, I did find it entertaining. Almost as entertaining as the laugh I got at the last chapter when "Minho farted three times in the last minute." I think this was a first for me. I've never read about a character farting before. I understand Dashner is writing about teenagers for teenagers, but I always believed that fictional characters, despite their age, are elevated people. Consequently we don't want to read about their stinky farts.
At the end of book James Dashner credits Krista Marino for "an editing job that defies description." Ha! If you ask me Krista Marino missed a thousand possible edits. They were all over the place from pacing to description to language to plot development, etc, etc. I couldn't really enjoy this book because of the terrible writing. Creative Writing 101, show, don't tell. It's quite possibly the most important thing about writing a good story. Don't shuckin' tell me about your characters, Dashner, show me. Suzanne Collins, another genius, has this down to a science.
Dashner could also take a lesson from Collins in pacing. This was my second biggest complaint. It seemed the story didn't even begin until the middle to end of the book. And often information was repeated which slowed the pace. Sometimes I wanted to pull my hair out and yell, "I know, Dashner, you've already explained that a million times, now get on with it." Since I listened to this book on audio CD the pacing and choppiness were even more distinct. Not to mention wordiness. Hello, you could have stated that long paragraph with one simple sentence (another wonderful Collins technique). The story didn't flow and there were point of view changes that bothered me, especially in the beginning of the book. It felt as if Dashner wrote the book over a long period of time picking up where he left off but having to familiarize himself with the story again. Thus, the pacing was slowed and the characters and plot never went anywhere.
Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed listening to the book. I will most likely read the series. I still have to figure out what scientist Teresa is named after. That's been puzzling me. Great pick Sam! It's time for the discussion so I better go.
That being said, the idea is genius. It's worthy of a series and after I finish the other book I've got I'll be trying out round 2 (which is why I skipped that spoiler above). And now that Markie tells us it's success was due to HG?!!!!! Say no more.
There were times when the writing bugged me, but I'd just skip a few paragraphs and then it'd be all good. I enjoyed the characters, but wasn't completely attached to them. When Chuck died and Thomas cried like he lost his brother, I just thought, "They'd only known each other a week right?" I was sad, but no actual tear was shed.
I am hoping that since Gally turned out to be alive that maybe Chuck or Alby will show up along the way too. I loved the ending with the letter from WICKED.
I'll elaborate more during the dicush, but for now, I gotta go watch House with Dwight.
Book 2 Spoiler Alert!!!!
Book 2 was amazing for me too. I think I liked it more than the first book. The shanks hiding out in the desert were really creepy. Again plenty of Action and new questions to leave you wondering. I still can't figure out what is going on; how Thomas managed to get through the scorch alive, what the shank is going on with Teresa, and what WICKED is really after, but I have full faith that James Dashner will answer all my questions in the last book and leave me with a good ending (he better).
The second book - uh, have you people read the second book? Should I say anything about it or just give you a spoiler warning? Spoiler warning given.
I enjoyed the second book too. Some parts seemed to kind of drag on and on and on. That lightening was nasty business and I hated that it seemingly took for ev er. But darn it all if it isn't another book ending with another non-ending and now we have to wait how long for the third to come out? I'll read it.
Bottom line, I enjoyed it. Not the top of my list but an entertaining few days and then another entertaining few days when I read the second. Good that.
A little story about James Dashner...
One of my student employees was taking a writing class here at BYU taught by Brandon Sanderson (who is HUGE right now because of his being chosen by the widow of the late Robert Jordan to finish the epic "Wheel of Time" series; and having just released the second to the last book in that ginormous series, and is now making millions of dollars, but still teaching at BYU, 'cause that's just the way he rolls) and one of the guest speakers in his class was non other than James Dashner.
He told me that JD told the class that he had pitched his Maze Runner series for years with little to no interest - being turned down by one publisher after another. He had just about given up on hope when a little book called The Hunger Games became a huge sensation and suddenly publishers, who wouldn't give him the time of day before, were calling him up and flying him all over, wining & dining him, and making him all kinds of incredible offers. I thought you might be interested to hear that the Maze Runner owes its success to The Hunger Games.
Now, how did I like the book? I liked it. Can't say I loved it, but it was interesting and well developed. I think how I ultimately feel about it will entirely depend on the outcome of the final book - whether the author answers all the questions or will it be another "Lost" kinda series (all questions, no answers); and will there be any redemption in the end for all the suffering and loss - or will Thomas and Teresa be another permanently damaged pity couple. At my current spot (about 2/3 of the way through the second book) I am highly engrossed. I think it's getting better and better - more intense, more interesting... but it's also getting harder and harder to imagine how this can all possible end well.
I like the whole zombie angle the story has taken, but that also brings to mind another Zombie book we read that started out very interesting and promising and ended up ticking the heck out of me. But for now, I will keep hope alive, and pray those WICKED shuck faces get the klunk beat out of them; and that T&T can build a flare-free life together when it's all over. For now I think this was a great pick, and I can't wait to read the rest. Thanks Sammy!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
The book for this month is......................................
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
I loved this book so much and am really excited for you guys to read it! It is a trilogy and the sequel comes out on October 17th so if you're up for a challenge you can try to read the second book too when it comes out. Here is a cheesy book trailer for the Maze Runner, see you guys at the end of the month for the discussion. Enjoy!!!!
Mockingjay wasn't full of joy and happiness but I didn't expect it to be. It was inevitable that a lot of people were going to die because their mission to destroy the capital was near impossible. Of course I was sad when Finnick and Prim died horrible deaths but it kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to find out who made it through.
Though Katniss went through so much she almost fell off her rocker I think she accomplished what she set out to do. I think it was Peeta she was meant and in the end I felt she was happy with what she had. They were still both a little broken from the events that had taken place but at least they had eachother to get through it.
It doesn't surprise me that Haymitch continued down his path as an alcoholic. It didn't really seem like there was much left to keep him going.
The only thing that bothered me a lot was Gale. I think he turned out to be the biggest jerk. Designing the bomb that blew up Katniss' sister then selfishly leaving Katniss in the end to work for the government. I don't think he really ever supported her throughout the book either, he just kind of had his own agenda. Which is another reason why I'm glad she ended up with Peeta.
Despite this, I loved Mockingjay. I read it in less than 2 days and couldn't stop thinking about it afterwards. The characters I loved the most lived and ended up together which is more than I really expected. It's so exciting that their making a movie out of it (I love books into movies, no matter how cheesy they may turn out to be).
I also read solely for entertainment. I love to get lost in the story, pretend I'm part of it, visualize it all in my mind. I hated District 13. I didn't like District 12 either, but at least their time was their own. Coin was a dictator from the get-go and I love that Katniss knew it already. Coin needed to die and Katniss needed to be the one to do it. But Snow needed an arrow too. Kind of a anticlimactic whatever that he died coughing. Booorrrrring.
One of my neighbors thought this was an anti-war book. I stick my tongue out and spit at that. Give me a break. Anti war...... Bull crap. It was about a war. It wasn't a happy ending. But I refuse to believe that S. Collins wrote it just to make a point about war. It was a brilliant fictional creation and I will always love how much I got lost in it.
I love the first two books so much. I know this one will be great. Mistaken. Frustration. Sadness. Disbelief. Anger. Why Suzanne? Why?
Poor Katniss and Peeta. By the end of book one the characters that I have come to love, have been through a horrible ordeal. But they survived it. Their trials have changed them in ways that only made them stronger, wiser, more endearing to me.
By the end of book two, they have been through more horrible ordeals. Peeta - captured. Katniss - really ticked off. But I feel that once again, they have survived it, and come out stronger. I can’t wait until they get their revenge on the Capitol and President Snow.
By the end of book three, they have survived the toughest trials yet. Gale has died in a very heroic act saving Katniss and/or Peeta from sure destruction. Katniss has killed President Snow, and Peeta is the new President of Panem. Katniss and Peeta move their families to the Capitol, are married, have kids, and visit Gale’s grave semi-annually. Joy. Renewal. Triumph. Justice. Reflection.
That is how this story should have gone.
Instead, there is no joy for me at the end of Mockingjay. Instead there is only sadness. Loss. Longing. For what might have been. This time the trials have been too much for the heroes. The violence. The loss. The torture. The grief. The pain. Have left Katniss and Peeta broken beyond repair. They are no longer the people I love. Now they are the people I feel sorry for. The people I pity.
It’s "The Book Thief" all over again. No matter that the main character survived. All she loved is gone. Nightmares of her brother dead on the train. Nightmares of her mother’s abandonment. Nightmares of picking through the blown up body parts of her friends and family. Scarred. Forever. No matter that the Jewish guy survived. His life of captivity, torture, seeing the worst in humankind, has left him damaged. Forever.
Peeta: Drugged. Torutured. Brainwashed. Images of body parts being hacked off. Nightmares. Real or not Real? Deal or no Deal? NO DEAL. Burned. Scarred. Damaged. Forever.
Katniss: Burned. The girl on fire – Literally. Gale gone. Mother gone. Prim Dead. Cinna Dead. Finnick Dead. Married to Peeta. Not because she finally realized he was the man of her dreams. Not living happily ever after. No. They keep each other from committing suicide. They make awaiting the sweet release of death somewhat bearable.
Nightmares. Scarred. Damaged. Forever.
Prim: DEAD! The sister that Katniss sacrificed all for. The sister who’s happy future would have made all the suffering worthwhile. Innocence lost. Burned. Dead.
Gale: Created the bomb that killed Prim. NOT dead. But living apart from the girl he loves. The girl who is now with Peeta; but not happy. Instead, damaged. Gale: Living forever with the guilt that he is partially responsible for Prim’s death. Scarred inside. Damaged. Forever.
Haymich: Still drunk. Still scarred. Damaged. Forever.
President Snow: Coughed to death. Evil eradicated? No. Evil is everywhere.
Mockingjay Cake: Flour and water. No sugar. Frosting the color of black Texas crude.
Markie: Sad. But not damaged forever.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I have also noticed that our book reviews/discussions this summer have been sparser than the leaves on the dying peach tree in my backyard. Do you gize not have much time for reading this summer? Is my drip system broken? Did you all plan your vacations on the last week of every month? Did I pay my water bill? I don't know the answers to any of these questions, and I guess it really doesn't matter anyway. The tree is dead. Face it.
So, here's what's what.
For the first time in the history of the SRBC, there will be no book choice this month. Instead, I strongly demand that you all use this time to reread a few important books from SRBC past. That's right. I'm talking about The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
This will get you ready for September's book club pick, which will be Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, duh. It's comes out on August 24th, and I'm sure everyone will read it super quick, so we might have our discussion earlier than usual. We shall see. Stay tuned for that info.
Also, I strongly demand that you use your free reading month to bake and decorate a cake. A Hunger Games cake. Check my blog for more info on that later. That is all.
Oooh! Look at all of these belated discussion comments!! So awesome. This book is a slow-cooker, I think.
So....it's been just long enough since I finished the book that I can't get into too much detail. I can't remember enough to defend myself. But, I will say; regarding the betrayal from Snow Flower to Lily, it wasn't even Snow Flower's betrayal to begin with. It was the matchmaker. And her parents. All of the grownups who KNEW what the deal was. Sure, after their friendship was developed and the girls were older, SF could have told her the real truth, but don't you imagine she was terrified that she'd lose her best friend? I'd be bold enough to suggest that we all have things that we hold secret from even our dearest and bestest friends, simply because we are either ashamed or because we just don't know how to share such painful details. Her family's situation, in that culture, was a massive blow to their social standing. Worse even than being married to a butcher. I just hate that Lily held SF so responsible for the deception. Being one who was so true to the traditions and 'rules' she might have been a little more compassionate. Wouldn't she have done the same? Did SF really have a choice? Lying is definitely contrary to the ten commandments, but I don't think in SF's position, it was despicable. How much control do any of us have over where we come from, the families we are attached to? I have to also say that I think it's an interesting perspective that all women during that time had the same personality type. Really? I mean....really? That can't be true in any culture, in any time period, in any situation. Books and movies and stories are quite often based on people in such difficult situations who break free of the stereotype and prove that despite their cultural responsibilities, they are still individual and unique. I also wanted to throw in my two cents about Lily's advice to SF. Was it unwanted? SF ate it all up. And wasn't Lily just saying what she knew to be the 'right' thing to say? She was shrewd enough to know that she had landed an honorable position as Lady Lu and she had a namesake to uphold, a responsibility.
I certainly agree that bed business in front of everyone by the fire was GROSS. But the man beat her fhs! If you were married to a man who beat you...and he wanted to get it on by the fire - would you choose the risk of public awareness of your bed business or take a beating? I'm just sayin.' We really didn't get much of SF's perspective and maybe there was more going on there than Lily was aware of.
Having been someone who was ridiculed, teased, ostracized and punished for family dynamics I couldn't control, for personality traits I had simply been born with and for behavior that resulted from abuse I not only couldn't have avoided nor did I entirely understand (sorry...tmi. Plus, I don't think this makes me special btw. I think everyone deals with this stuff)- and having been in the position of being dumped from a friendship because I needed to honor my cultural and deep-seated beliefs, as well as having to end a friendship for the same reasons - I felt pretty affected by this story. I think friendships that can withstand all of those things are quite remarkable. And not just an event or something, but a lifetime of growth, changes, discovery, mistakes. Perhaps that's why I think it's a miracle that my husband loves me. Despite me.
Most of all, I'm glad to see some passion coming out of you guys after this book. It was a strong topic. I apologize if it was too much for the middle of the summer. I also think it's very commendable that we can all say what we want to say in this nu shu - ish forum. It would be quite easy to misinterpret tone and meaning without hearing the tone or seeing the body language associated with it. Of course, I'm really just stating the obvious. Now if y'all don't mind, I'm going to finish plugging through Eat Pray Love and move on to rereading Hunger Games. I've got a cake to plan. Bring it on people. Bring. It. On.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I only have five minutes before we start the discussion. I'll go back and finish this review another night when I have more time because there are so many things I want to say.
Note: do not use google images to look up pictures of what foot binding looks like/did to a woman’s feet. I must reiterate. Do NOT use google images to look up pictures of what foot binding looked like/did to feet.
If I were to describe SFATSF offhand, I would say it is a book rich in character and slight in plot, and for the reader’s interest to be captured, they would have to either a) be interested in these characters on a personal level, or b) be fascinated with ancient Chinese culture as it pertains to women. I think this is true for the most part, but after giving it more thought, I realized that the author didn’t simply rely on the reader’s interest in the characters, or interest in the strange, cruel culture of 19th century
I did read the “Catching Cool Breezes” chapter, of course. Being told it was inappropriate only made me more apt to read it, but that’s not my point. My point is, I didn’t interpret that encounter as a “physical relationship” between Lily and Snow Flower. It was too innocent to feel sexual. Kind of a let down. <-- I kid!!!
Thanks for the pick, Stands. I much enjoyed.
Loyalty, of course.
Bed business, giggle.
The thing that stuck with me most and made me have an extremely uncomfortable airplane ride to Los Angeles was the freakin' foot-binding. Whaaaaat in the aaaayyyche??? I mean, right? HOW does that make one more marriageable? WHY is that attractive? WHY did I need to read about the process in such great detail??
Forget wanting only sons as the way to prove my ultimate worth as a woman. I wouldn't want to have any daughters so I wouldn't have to bind their adorable widdle feet!
I did some research. You can thank me later.
Hmmm...this doesn't look tooooooo too bad.....
Aw, look at this adorable little Chinese woman on her golden lilies!
These are apparently those embroidered shoes they would spend hours making up in the women's chamber.
Ok, Lady Lu, I'd rather you keep your shoe on but, still, doesn't look too bad to me....
Wait, is that....are those? Nooooooooooooooooooo! ::gouging out eyes with my Sonic straw::
Ho. Ly. Crap.
I think I may have just died of grossness.
Ok. So. There's that.
I really did enjoy the book (foot-binding details aside). I find that time and culture fascinating. The arranged marriages and social hierarchies along with the rituals and superstitions are almost beyond comprehension to someone like me, born in Boise, ID in 1975. It almost came off as a sci-fi novel sometimes as I could not believe this stuff actually happened.
I thought the story and writing was enjoyable and it moved along well. I love the causal narrative style the author used. It's my favorite. Like you are sitting at an 80 year old Lady Lu's feet as she tells you the story and her laotong. My only complaint is that I wasn't in love with Snow Flower. I don't think she was endearing enough to make me care when she died.
Anyway, good read. Enjoyable. Definitely a departure from our norm. Educational. Thanks Stands!
Ok...you certainly get the picture now, right? I almost think I need to watch Beaches again. Don't get me wrong. I really liked this book. It reminded me of how blessed I am to have grown up in small town America, where I could play and run around and become exactly who I wanted to be. I married the man I wanted to marry. And, my husband not only never beats me, he does laundry and cooks meals and he loves his little girl as much as he loves his boys.
It also left me considering our relationships. How we allow our friends or sisters to influence our decisions. I had a sister tell me once, how much she loved it when my hair was shorter. Come my next hair appointment, my hair was short again. Simply because I knew she liked it that way. ("Why did you cut your hair?" "Because you told me to!" / "Why did you have sex before you were supposed to after having a baby?" "Because you told me to try for more sons!") I can't help but admit that I did admire the idea of a Laotong. Someone who shares so many similarities. Not so much as children, but a Laotong as a grown up could be an incredible blessing. A lifeline, even.
I don't know if any of you read the Catching Cool Breezes chapter. The one I warned you about? It strongly implies that the two girls had a physical relationship as well. While I 100% agree with the Man/Woman only thing, I have to admit that I completely understand how and why that could happen. Probably happens a lot. Those poor women never get love from anyone. Their mothers are mean. Their fathers ignore them. Their husbands and mothers-in-law beat them. The human spirit just needs a soft place to fall somewhere and if the only person in the world who understands and loves you is your laotong?
I don't often truly shed a tear when I'm reading. But when Third Sister didn't survive her foot binding, I couldn't help it. Golden lilies or not....un.believable. Curse the idiot who came up with that idea. And curse the men in China for being turned on by it. I can't really compare it to boob jobs or something here in America. We don't torture our daughters when they're teeny (well those of us who are sane, right?) I was at the pool a couple of days after I'd finished this book. There was a family there with obviously adopted little girls from China. I don't really know if the same foot stuff and attitudes about women continues there, but I'm betting in some of the more remote villages, it does. And darn it if I wouldn't fly over there and rescue a baby girl from such a life.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
This book had me crying by page 32, and I did a lot of reading in utter amazement. It was SO thought provoking and has really stayed with me. It has over 700 reviews and is rated at 4.5 stars. A decent 480 reviews were 5 stars. Here is the description from Amazon.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Monday, July 5, 2010
I had a hard time getting through it, as it is chalk full of unsympathetic characters with nonsensical political views. It had a depressing vibe to it. Not because the story was particularly sad and not because they all blew up in the end, but because the characters led depressing lives and had no redeemable qualities. The bad choices CeeCee made (one after the other) were annoying. I didn't care what happened to her (or anyone else in the book, for that matter), so I was not compelled to pick it up and read on my own. The only thing motivating me to read was not wanting to miss out on the awesome rip-fest dicush. (Which didn't even happen--thanks a lot blogger.)
On a positive note, the opening line in this book was probably the best opening I've ever seen in a book. Better than, "The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."<--name that book.
Thanks for taking care of June's pick, Hotpants! Sorry the dicush didn't work out. "Too little, too late," eh?
In case you were wondering how I felt about the book, I'll let you know now.
I read this book about 2 years ago while I was up at my friend Alison's cabin. I was very sick and in bed hopped up on cold medicine. She recommended it to me and I remember liking it. That is pretty much all I remember. I also remember Memzy coming over for a visit a couple weeks later and I was still sick on pain medicine and was a total B to our waiter. And I also remember going to Anna's and going to lunch with my cousin Rachel and meeting her fiance who was raised in a polygamist colony. That is all I remember about that whole summer. I was planning on rereading the book, but then as I was hearing people not liking it so much it made me not in the mood to reread it. After reading the reviews it seems I made the right decision. Even though I "need my soft porn". Thanks aunt Shell for outing my as an addict. I was planning on coming out on my own soon anyway.
For reals though, I did not feel sympathy for CeeCee as a teenager. I thought she had other options than to steal the kid and run away.
Alright now, let's move on with something new!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
There were a few holes in the plot that bothered me enough to make me pause while reading. For example, why wouldn't there be more suspicion of foul play with Genevieve's kidnapping? Why wouldn't there be more of an intense search find the governor's wife of all people? Why didn't Marian ever suspect that Cory wasn't Eve's baby and that it might be the governor's child? Also, when the remains were found it was announced who they belonged to at the same time (pg 312). I always thought that identifying remains by dental records took time. I didn't know you could tell who a person was just by looking at their bones in the dirt. Also, when the media are showing 28 year old photos of Tim and Marty, wouldn't they really be showing age-advanced photos (pg 324)? What good does it do to show a picture of how someone looked 28 years ago?
Not only were there a few holes in the plot, there were a few things that bothered me in characterization and the story in general. First of all, when Corinne mentioned abortion on pg 12, I was not pleased and I was actually turned off by her personality. I also didn't understand why CeeCee she was so impressed that Tim was "protecting" her (pg 360). I didn't like the fact that she didn't want him to take the fall for something she thought he wasn't responsible for when, in fact, it was because of his actions Genevieve died. Isn't that manslaughter? The last thing is kind of nit-picky but how often does one really pull their knees up to their chest and hug themselves and squeeze their eyes shut (pg 317)?
Even though it wasn't my type of book (that's okay, there's not many that are) I enjoyed reading it. I even pretended to be sick on Saturday so I could stay in bed reading all day.
If only she'd turned over the bratty kid and paid her dues early on, and not had to live a life of guilt, stress and deceit, or if only she had not given in to Mr. manipulator in the first place and avoided the whole mess, or if only I had read a book that wasn't as dark and depressing as this one. So many if only's.
One of the things I liked about this book was the slew of emotions I felt while I was reading it. My internal reaction to the story just kept morphing as it went on. At first, I was curious and stuff. Then, I got irritated that (spoilers...) she would even consider helping them out with that dumb stuff. I knew the minute they got in that stupid white van and started arguing with each other trying to find the cabin that the entire thing was going to fall apart. Then I found myself pulled into sympathy for CeeCee. Ok, so it was a stupid decision. But now we're here...so we may as well deal with the situation. What kind of a couple of idiots kidnap a woman who's 8 months pregnant and can't tell? Stupid 20-something year old idiots. That's who. I felt so so so so sorry for that poor woman when she realized she was going into labor and I can't imagine what she was thinking the entire time she was having that baby. Then I was mad because CeeCee went to that Naomi lady who basically shoved the baby at her and said 'You're keepin' it!' Ayeayeaye.
I didn't like how slowly the story moved through all of the little tiny motions of Cory growing up. I'm not surprised she was angry, but I kept hoping that after she'd met her real family that they would tell her that her paranoia and fear of everything was a hereditary thing she'd gotten from Russell's side of the family.
I kinda wish there had been a few less moments of, sex stuff. It always felt like I was being smacked in the head when all of a sudden I read some sentence.
It was a fascinating story. Could you imagine? Poor thing couldn't even run home and google Tim's sister to find out what had really happened with her, and the way it paralleled with her mom's life kind of explains another reason why CeeCee fell for his crap. And too darn bad that they couldn't have looked up the cabin on their gps. Too bad she didn't have a stinkin' cell phone. She could've called 911.
Sorry my review is so discombobulated and stuff. I re-read it and I sound like one of those people who talks really fast and changes the subject 500 times. And just so you know, I'm FREAKING out about what kind of a book to pick for July. The pressure is killing me!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I think that is an excruciatingly smart solution, don't you? Thanks, [Smarty]Pants!
Of course, our junior followers are always welcome to read our book selections too (with parent approval, of course) and post a review on here, but this way they'll have a guaranteed age-appropriate book to read every month, and their very own blog on which to review and discuss! Ah, the joy of reading!
So, without further ado, I am thrilled to introduce:
The SRBC: Junior Edition will focus only on middle-grade to young-adult level books. Anyone at that reading level is welcome to join. The club will be run by its members (not us adults), although they might need our help to get the club up and running. I asked Cord ESP to write the welcome message and choose the first book.
Our junior division will differ from our parent book club, in that there will be no official fast-and-furious one-hour discussion at the end of the month. I think it would be near impossible to get kids to converge on the Internet like that--we adults can barely manage it. So instead, they will have a one-week period to post their book review, and will be encouraged to read and leave feedback on all the other reviews. Contests and games will be up to whoever is leading the club that month, just like we do it on here. (I have a feeling that the kids will be better at this than we are.)
So, if you're a kid and want to join the new SRBC: Junior Edition, or if you have a kid who might want to join, leave your email addy and I'll send you an invitation to be a contributor to the new blog. That invite will allow you to post things. The blog is otherwise open for public viewing, if you'd rather be a silent follower.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Are you ready?
We will be reading "The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes" . Click on the link to buy it from amazon, or head over to Target. Or get it from the library, sickos.
Here's the premise...An unsolved murder. A missing child. A lifetime of deception. In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child. CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth, and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die in order to protect a lifetime of lies...
Oh Yeah, you're all hooked!
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I thought it was okay/pretty good. For what it was written for (a young adult novel about a girl with raging hormones and keen intuition) it wasn't that bad. I only marked a few places where the writing offended me. This sentence drove me crazy, "After scrutinizing herself in the mirror and noting the dark circles beneath her eyes, she once again thought about how badly she wanted to crawl back beneath the mound of already cooling blankets that covered her bed like an inviting nest" (pg 6). Um, okay. Also the dialogue from Greg Ambrose to Violet on page 67 didn't sound like dialogue at all--just information worked into dialogue. "When you were little, we were worried when you first started finding dead animals....blah, blah, blah." Changing point of view on page 302 was a little disjointing, "Claire wanted so badly to join in on the catty conversation, but she was terrible at finding other people's flaws...still she gave it her best shot." Then there were those sentences that just didn't make sense. These sentences usually occurred when Jay and Violet were making out. It was so confusing I couldn't even picture what the heck those two love birds were doing exactly--which was totally okay with me, btw. The adverbs also got to be a little much. On pages 306-307 I read nine adverbs: momentarily, instinctively, casually, perfectly, immediately, thoughtfully, really, tightly, and violently." I just wanted to say, "Ok, ok, I get it, I get it."