Spoiler Warning

Book reviews and discussions may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Friday, November 12, 2010

This Months Book

You have 3 choices and 3 days to decide.

Option #1: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Luce must spend her senior year at reform school after her boyfriend dies in a mysterious fire. She suspects that the dark shadows that have tormented her all her life had something to do with it. When she meets supernaturally gorgeous Daniel, she feels a familiar longing, making her believe they have met before. Although Cam is clearly interested in her, Luce only wants Daniel, who runs both hot and cold. He tries to keep Luce at a distance, telling her that the truth would kill her as it has many times before. The first chapter is gripping and foreshadows the supernatural elements to come. The plot revolves around lovers who find one another, only to lose one another over and over again in a story that spans centuries. Instead of vampires, though, these are fallen angels. Many elements are not resolved, such as the cause of the fire and why angels are at this school. Still, fans of supernatural romance will be lining up for this book despite its flaws, and begging for a sequel.

Option #2: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

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?

You must vote before the sun sets on the third day.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not A Complete Piece of Klunk

Storyline: Good

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.


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.   

Official The Maze Runner Discussion: All Hail Google Wave!!

This is an interactive discussion. It's not too late to add your two cents, shuckface!

Who shuckin' farted? Was that you Minho?

So how does an self-respecting, Christian author get around foul, inappropriate language?  Create new, different foul language of course.  Oh shuck it folks, I didn't really mind that much.  Especially since it was the entertainment factor for me.  I think I "lol"ed  at every clunk and shuck in the book.  The insulting part was the fact that the author expected me to believe that in this new world they're in where the kitchen is still the kitchen and a rock is still a rock and a guy is still a guy, crap/poop/shit, or whatever you want to call it, is clunk.  Clunk?  What the shuck? 

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.

Klunk yeah!

I shankin' love made up words. Klunk yeah!

As far as the actual book, The Maze Runner, goes, I enjoyed it very much.

The main reason why is... klunk happened. And by that, I mean stuff happened. A lot of stuff. It never stopped, never slowed, new revelations and conflicts and action just kept coming. I liked Tommy's willingness to take action. This made me like Tommy. This made for a nice pace.

On the negative side, I felt like the writing was sub-par. Some of the characters were like cardboard versions of real people. I didn't feel Tommy's pain when Chuck died. Just didn't feel the connection between the two shankers. Don't feel much between Tom and Teressa either, but maybe that develops more in book two? Things were often overstated as well, as if the author didn't trust us to "get it." He would show a scene, and then have the main character tell us what we just saw. I dunno, that's just a personal peeve of mine.

That said, I still liked the book very much, and can't wait to read the rest of series. I heard the second book is even better, true?

Thanks for the pick, Sam! See you klunk heads at the discussion!

PS. Click HERE to get to the google wave discussion if you're lost.

--Jespy's hasty review of The Maze Runner

What the shank?

I didn't like this book.  I thought the idea and concept was AWESOME.  I thought the author's creativity and enthusiasm shine.  You can tell this author is really into his writing.... like.....in his mind.  I just wish that translated onto the pages for me.  I felt like it lacked something.  How many times can he say that Thomas is drawn to the maze and can't remember anything?  I WANTED to connect with the characters, I really did.  But I wasn't sad when any one of them died.  Not.  At.  All. 

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.

Running Through a Maze

Believe it or not, I not only started the book, but I finished it as well. For reals. I actually liked it and can't wait for the second book. Funny Markie should mention the link to Hunger Games, cuz that's what it reminded me a bit of.
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.

I didn't finish the book...

But in my defense, Wolfe flooded the upstairs AND downstairs of my house with poop water and it has been crazy ever since. I could have read the book in the beginning of the month before the flooding, but that is not my style. I did read the beginning of the book and it is a little slow moving but I see the potential. I will pop by the discussion to say hi and and such but won't stay because I don't want any spoilers. Sorry, Sammy!

Loved It!!!

I seriously can't find anything bad to say about this book, except for the sad fates of Chuck and Alby, but there is no way that there wasn't going to be at least one fatality in their situation. It was so cool how they managed to organize everything (even if it seemed unrealistic). I loved how they had different jobs set up and their own slang. The never ending mysteries of the maze made me need to keep reading to finally figure out what was going on. I was pretty shocked at the twist at the end when Chuck got stabbed to save Thomas (I even got a little teary). It was hard for me to except the fact that Chuck and Alby were gone because I really loved their characters. But, that didn't change the fact that I really love this book. With mystery, grievers, action, and twists whats not to like about it.

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).

Good That

As always, I love to get lost in a story and I thought Mazerunner was pretty cool. It felt a little - off that all of those poor boys spent that much time in the darn maze without a single anything until Thomas showed up. What the klunk were they doing that whole time? Also amazing that they were mature enough to have such a functioning society without any real adults anywhere. Teenage boys, man. Perhaps just the perception that someone was watching, delivering necessary items, more people or whatever was enough to keep them in line. Anyway......I liked the idea. Kind of Truman-esq and all. I loved that they had their own cuss words. It was fun, like rabbit speak. I found my heart pounding at certain moments, like when Thomas went all tharn in the maze, in the vines. Yikes! At others I was kind of wishing it would move along already. It seemed like Thomas kept thinking the same things over and over and over again. Ok...we got it. He can't remember. Now let's move on already.

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.

Markie's Shanktastic Maze Runner Review

First of all, I just have to say how proud I am to have another one of our book selections come from a BYU graduate, and one of my neighbors. Well, not a next-door neighbor, but he lives somewhere around here. And he is like, everywhere. He is constantly making appearances at local bookstores, libraries, campuses, etc. along with other local YA/Fantasy/Sci-Fi Authors like Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, and Brandon Sanderson. It's kinda cool. I recently attended a Brandon Mull book signing in the BYU bookstore where I purchased every single Fablehaven book in hardcover, and had him sign them... along with posters, and bookmarks for the series. I still haven't decided if I'm going to keep the collection, or sell it on e-bay (and then buy the paperbacks or Kindle editions so I can actually read them).

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

maze runner discussion

Sorry it took me so buggin long to post this. I was crazy busy with Halloween this weekend. Anyways the discussion will be on Monday Nov. 8th at 8pm pacific 9pm Mountain. I can't wait!!!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just checking in

It's almost halfway through the month and I just wanted to see how everyone is doing on The Maze Runner. I just started the second book The Scorch Trials and its soooo good! I hope to see everyone at the discussion, I think its gonna be a good one!

Monday, September 27, 2010

October's book

I am so excited to have the privilege of picking this months book. I really never used to read at all and ever since this book club came about it has ignited an addiction to reading that can't be stopped. So far this year I have read 37 books which made picking this months book super hard, but I was able to narrow it down and pick one.

The book for this month is......................................

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Amazon Description:

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 Discussion (All Hail Google Wave!)

Check out our SRBC discussion of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins via Google Wave! You should be able to add your own comments to the discussion. Give it a try! (If you're reading this on Google Reader, you have to come to the SRBC site to see what we're seeing.)

Mockingjay Discussion coming up: Get Ready to Ride the Wave

This is just a reminder that the discussion for Mockingjay will be happening over at Google Wave. Hopefully everyone who plans to participate tonight has an account, or can whip one up quick.* I have started the wave, but please don't start typing until 8pm (pst) / 9pm (mst) so no one has to play catch-up. I am missing McLaughlin for sure. What's your email or user name? If I am missing anyone else, tell me in the comments. See ya there.

Now, here are some super thought-provoking questions to get things going:


  1. Do you think the title Mockingjay is a fitting conclusion for this series? Why or why not?
  2. Was District 13 what you expected?
  3. Compare/contrast Panem with the rebels.
  4. What surprised you most about the book?
  5. Would you change anything about the book? What and why?
  6. How did you feel at the conclusion? Dead inside? Why?
  7. What was the most gut-wrenching part of the book?
  8. Rate the book 1-5.
  9. How lame are these questions?

This Book Sucked. Real or Not Real.


Reasons why:

1. Katniss hiding in the corner, rocking while in the fetal position through 90% of the book.

2. All the relationships dissolved including the new ones that were being formed. Example, Katniss and Johanna were totally becoming BCF's (Best Crazies Forever) and then Johanna got a little scared of some fake water and we never hear from her again. WTH???

3. No closure on anything except of Peeta on the last last page of the book. What happened about Gale, her mom, Haymitch. I needed more. I needed to feel like her mom kinda liked her and cared about her.

4. Why save Prim's life in the beginning of Hunger Games if your just going to kill her off in this book??? Katniss pulling out those berries indirectly killed Prim just like Gale's bomb indirectly killed Prim. What was the point????

5. Katniss didn't kill Pres. Snow. The whole mission was a suicide mission that she lied to do, which would have been fine, and I feel lees bad about Finnick's death had she succeeded. Even when she finally got the opportunity to kill him, she only had one arrow and had to use it on Pres. Coin. They should have giving her a few arrows so she could have done both.

6. Why did everyone have to go crazy???

7. I don't feel too comfortable with Annie raising that baby by herself.

8. Although it was funny that Peeta tried to kill Katniss when they first reunited, I didn't like that he hated her through most of it. It was fun at first but I wanted him to get back to normal quicker.

9. I hated that Katniss was only a commercial thing. I wanted her to be more involved. Fight for what was right. Save lives. Do something other than wonder around, shooting Propos and being drugged.

10. I hated hated HATED after she killed Pres. Coin and she just went completely crazy. Laying in a bed trying to starve to death, or being at home rocking in front of the fireplace. She was no longer a strong level headed girl that she was in the other books.

On the bright side though, I loved getting to know some other characters better such as Finnick. I loved hearing about all the creepy stuff about Snow, especially why he smelled like blood and roses. I also liked that Coin was just as bad. I loved it when Katniss visited District 8 and made all the hospital patients feel good right before they were bombed. It was great that she fought back in 8 and would have been good had she done that through the whole book. And most importantly, I loved the last paragraph of the book and the closing line between Peeta and Katniss. So sweet and romantic! Still, I will NEVER read this depressing, let down of a book again. Real or not real....

Sam's Mockingjay Review

I am so happy that I am not the only one that loved this book. I totally agree with Memzy. I love the books that I can't put down or stop thinking about when their over.

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).

Tears. For real.

I didn't know what was going to happen either. I was hoping for a couple of things. Like, that Katniss wouldn't die and stuff. I have to agree wholeheartedly with Markie AND with Memzy. It was gutwrenching and sad and depressing but I loved it anyway. I finished the book and I found myself weeping. Just a couple of tears. 'What is this?', I thought. And I'd wipe them away and continue on with my busy-ness and there they'd come again. And so I'd try to own them, let them happen and then find myself laughing - thinking, 'This is ridiculous. It's a book, fhs.' Wipe them away and it would start yet again. I'd start visualizing Katniss and Peeta and their two little kids and how the world just continued regardless of the dead, the torture, the nightmare, the trauma, the games. It killed me. It was SO sad. So very sad. I just wanted to break down and hurt for them. I can't think of more than three books that have had this sort of effect on me. Bravo, S. Collins. Bravo.

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.

Real or Not Real? -------------Very Real

I was lucky enough to have no expectations going into this book.  This is a rare thing and I treasured it.  I had absolutely NO IDEA how S. Collins was going to wrap this thing up.  How could she possible make the love triangle between Katniss and G and P all better?  She couldn’t damnit and I don’t blame her. I loved deeply all the characters in this book and cared about what happened to them. But life is not wrapped up in perfect little bows and ending like Full House with the sweet sentiments and the music as the message of that episode really comes full circle (RIP Uncle Jesse R.I.P.) 

Sure I like a feel good book just like anybody else does.  Our Potato Peel Pie and The Help phases will live on forever in my heart.  And I loved them.  I also like the sci-fi/fantasy phases we’ve gone through.  Who doesn’t love a society where you can plastically surgify your face any way you want and are called a “Pretty”?  Or what’s not enjoyable about having the hots for vampires and werewolves?.  (I’m totally looking at you Edward….er…Jacob….er…..)

I love reading for the love of reading, getting lost in a book, wanting to find out what happens next, pretending I AM Katniss Everdeen and must choose between the two men I love…  And the point I’m trying to make is this:

The books that speak to my heart and my soul, that I can’t stop thinking about for days or weeks or even years later, that I talk about to my husband or my friends, that I dream about at night are the books that don’t always wrap up into tidy little packages.  

If you took a look at my top ten books of all time well over half of them are books that speak of tragedy, sorrow, lost loves, uncontrollable circumstances and the characters that come out of them and triumph.  Sure, maybe they’re damaged because of it.  Maybe they are changed forever.  Maybe they will never be the same,.  But they are here and they are waking up every day and surviving.  And THAT is what resonates with me.  Guess what?  Life SUCKS sometimes.  In fact, a lot of the time life is hard.

And no matter if you are a young woman living in a  post-apocalyptic society and continually get beaten down by those unfair and evil forces in the world .........or if you’re a mid 30’s housewife living in 21st century America struggling with the  crappiest year of your life to date.........

You get up every day and survive.

That’s why I loved Mockingjay with a passion.  And no one can convince me of anything different. 

The Hunger Games. Damaged. Forever.

I pick up my copy of Mockingjay. Anticipation. Excitement. I read it with my wife. I sit down with my laptop and write a review. In the style of Suzanne Collins. Periods. Where there should be no periods. Short, first person sentences. It doesn’t really bother me. I’m used to her writing style.

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

Mockingjay... CHANGE

Imma keep this brief. In keeping with SRBC tradition, I'm going to make our Mockingjay discussion date/time super confusing by suggesting we move it from Sunday the 26th, to Monday the 27th. Same time (8pst, 9mst). Will Monday night work for everyone who plans to join this here discussion? Let me know asap so I can write the date in stone.

Furthermore, to further confuse everyone, for the first time ever, we are going to use Google Wave for our discussion, as per Markie's nagging, relentless gentle request. Google Wave is super fun, and I think Markie is right, that it will make for a better discussion experience.

If you don't know what Google Wave is or how to use it, don't panic, I will hold your hand and walk you through this process as if you were a new born babe. But first, I'll need to know who's going to be there (so I can include you in the discussion), and I'll need to know if you have a Google Wave account.

Trust me. This'll be the most fun. Google Wave.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I'm gonna keep this brief. Mockingjay discussion. Sunday, September 26th. 8pm (PCT) 9pm (MST). Do not miss this discussion. It's gonna be huger than Donald Trump.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August's Book Announcement

I have let a few days lapse before announcing this month's book choice, and I could not help but notice that nobody noticed. In fact, I suspect a good handful of you were relieved there was no new book to read. Shame on you. Shame. On. You. (And me.)

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.

In Response to Recent Comments...

and because I totally over-did it and Comments said I had more than 4,096 characters..........

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

Discussion of The Snowflake Book....


Unfinished review.....will write more later

In the seventh grade my friend Tracy Ewens wrote me a note saying that she was sorry that sometimes she acted like a b word.  Unfortunately I read the note and understood it to say, "Sorry but sometimes you act like a b word."  I was so devastated that she would call me a b word that I immediately, without finishing the note to the end, burned it with a match over the toilet and then flushed it down.  It took us weeks to figure out what happened and get back to being friends

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.

My Feet Ache

Review of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See by Jenny ESP

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 China. From the beginning, she hinted at the scandal, betrayal, lies, secrets that were to come. That kept me going as much as my interest in the characters/culture did. I enjoyed her writing style. I had to read all that foot binding stuff with one eye closed. Horrific. This made me thankful to be born in the US of A in 1980 something, that’s for sure.

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.

The Chinese Are Whack, Yo.

Friendship, yes.

Loyalty, of course.

Bed business, giggle.

Traditions, galore.

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. 

Moving on.

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!

China Beaches

Picture, if you will, a split screen. On one side, two little girls meet on a beach under a boardwalk. On the other, two little girls are formally introduced and set down to write a contract as Laotongs. On the first side, the girls grow up and are the best of friends; sharing an apartment, laughing, writing letters; not really 100% aware of the others true circumstances. On the second, the girls grow up together, writing letters in a secret language, and marking important events on a fan - the supposed rich girl who isn't and the supposed poor girl who is really, much better off. The first set date and meet their husbands. The second set endure arranged marriages and spend a year taking conjugal visits before being sent off to clean house for their mothers-in-law, only being beaten once in a while. Of course, that's only after their husbands have succeeded in getting them pregnant. Imagine years of a misunderstandings, in only the way women can have them; most often - silent. And they gradually grow apart. Until that day when they meet up and the sparks fly. It could be in a mall, walking through the makeup department. It could be during the bridal events of one of the girls. Insults fly, hearts are broken and years pass without word from the girls to each other. Imagine now that in one set, there is a little girl. Her mother is terminally ill and the women come back together. In the other set, there is a boy (more highly revered than a girl, tho behaves much like one) and his mother is also terminally ill.

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

Is July Over Already?

How's your reading of Snow Flower coming along? If you're all available and up for it, let's have our discussion this Sunday, August 1 at 9 pm mtn time. Hope to see you all there!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July, My Friends

Da da da dummmmm.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Lisa See

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

Starred Review. See's engrossing novel set in remote 19th-century China details the deeply affecting story of lifelong, intimate friends (laotong, or "old sames") Lily and Snow Flower, their imprisonment by rigid codes of conduct for women and their betrayal by pride and love. While granting immediacy to Lily's voice, See (Flower Net) adroitly transmits historical background in graceful prose. Her in-depth research into women's ceremonies and duties in China's rural interior brings fascinating revelations about arranged marriages, women's inferior status in both their natal and married homes, and the Confucian proverbs and myriad superstitions that informed daily life. Beginning with a detailed and heartbreaking description of Lily and her sisters' foot binding ("Only through pain will you have beauty. Only through suffering will you have peace"), the story widens to a vivid portrait of family and village life. Most impressive is See's incorporation of nu shu, a secret written phonetic code among women—here between Lily and Snow Flower—that dates back 1,000 years in the southwestern Hunan province ("My writing is soaked with the tears of my heart,/ An invisible rebellion that no man can see"). As both a suspenseful and poignant story and an absorbing historical chronicle, this novel has bestseller potential and should become a reading group favorite as well.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Lily at 80 reflects on her life, beginning with her daughter days in 19th-century rural China. Foot-binding was practiced by all but the poorest families, and the graphic descriptions of it are not for the fainthearted. Yet women had nu shu, their own secret language. At the instigation of a matchmaker, Lily and Snow Flower, a girl from a larger town and supposedly from a well-connected, wealthy family, become laotong, bound together for life. Even after Lily learns that Snow Flower is not from a better family, even when Lily marries above her and Snow Flower beneath her, they remain close, exchanging nu shu written on a fan. When war comes, Lily is separated from her husband and children. She survives the winter helped by Snow Flower's husband, a lowly butcher, until she is reunited with her family. As the years pass, the women's relationship changes; Lily grows more powerful in her community, bitter, and harder, until at last she breaks her bond with Snow Flower. They are not reunited until Lily tries to make the dying Snow Flower's last days comfortable. Their friendship, and this tale, illustrates the most profound of human emotions: love and hate, self-absorption and devotion, pride and humility, to name just a few. Even though the women's culture and upbringing may be vastly different from readers' own, the life lessons are much the same, and they will be remembered long after the details of this fascinating story are forgotten.–Molly Connally, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

\/ \/ \/

There is one thing, though. Snow Flower and Lily have a questionable moment in the chapter titled Catching Cool Breezes (pg 83). If this chapter were ignored, (imho) it absolutely would not alter the story in any way. I energetically suggest you skip it. If you decide to read it, don’t come after me. I warned you.

Monday, July 5, 2010

This one shoulda stayed a secret...

Jespy's review of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes Booth by Diane Chamberlain

Has anyone ever told you a big secret that they had been keeping for over twenty something years and you had to sit there and act interested in hearing the secret, but really you couldn't care less? If so, then you know exactly how it feels to read this book.

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?

Due to unforseen circumstances...

Blogger isn't working, you can't see anyone else comments. (I'm sure you were all leaving tons of them too) So the therefor the discush is canceled...not rescheduled, just canceled. It was a pervy book anyway. Please feel free to leave comments on the reviews for this month only.
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!

Official Discush

Let's get this partay started.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Secret Life of Bees, I mean, Cee Cee Wilkes

Diane Chamberlain's "The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes" was alright.  It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great.  I enjoyed the fact that it was fast-paced and held my attention.  I liked the letters written by CeeCee's mom and how they foreshadowed and paralleled the events in the book.  Although I guessed what was going to happen 90% of the time, there were a few things I didn't expect.  I knew that Corinne was going to make up with her mom, break up with Ken, and influence the Russells to make sure her mom served a lighter sentence.  I also knew Jack would stay with and support CeeCee.  But there were enough surprises in there to make me smile.  For example, I had no idea that Ronnie would return CeeCee's box of letters to her while she was in prison.  I also didn't consider the possibility that Corinne might be Tim's baby.  I never guessed that Tim had had an affair with Genevieve, although I'm surprised I never thought of it.  It makes a lot of sense seeing as Tim is a complete womanizer and would do anything to get what he wants.  Jerk.

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.  

Alert, Alert

Due to the lack of preparedness and a few requests, the book discush will be postponed until Monday July 5th. That gives you all another 8 days to read and report. See ya.

The Depressing Life of CeeCee Wilkes

I just got back from Wyoming not 15 minutes ago, and the Discussion is in about 10 minutes, so I don't have much time for reviewing. I'm not really sure what to say about this book anyway. I thought it was well written, and interesting, but I can't say I enjoyed reading it. It was a heartbreaking story and the little redemption there was in the end didn't seem adequate to cover the tragedy of C.W.'s life.
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.

Everything I Liked Could Fit Inside a Coffee Cup

I don't know why that one line stuck with me, but for some reason it did. "Everything I knew about him, I could fit inside a coffee cup." Er...something like that. I can't check my book cause I sent it to my sis.

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!


So, I believe the discush is tonight. Please get your reviews posted. I am just waiting for Dwight to fix the other laptop where I saved mine. I'm way too lazy and unmotivated to rewrite it. See you all in cyberspace tonight at 9pm mountain/8 pm pacific.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Something New (for kids)...

HotPants came up with this smart idear to start a new branch of the SRBC for kids, as some of our book selections can be grossly inappropriate for children. (See first sentence of our current book)

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:

(Web addy: http://smartremarksforkids.blogspot.com/)

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.

As Cord ESP said, "Happy reading strangers and people i actually know."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Drum Roll Please...

I know you all have been DYING to know what book you will be reading this month. Sorry it took me so long to get to this post. Crazy day. I had to work at the Y. Then I came home and made a quick lunch cuz I was starving. Then I had to take Howie out to spend his birthday money. (yeah that's right, you forgot his birthday) Then I had to make a run to the dump, where btw I got invited to go fishing with a weirdo, but was flattered none the less. Then I had to pick up my kids from school. Then I had to vacuum out Dwight's truck, it was super dirty. Then I had to go to Zamzows, we have aphids. Then I came home and sprayed the trees and bushes. Then I came in to sit for a second. Then I remembered you have all been waiting for me and my big announcement.
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.

I read this a couple years ago and loved it. I will say it is more PG-13 rated. There may be a little more involved that just levi-lovin. And maybe a few more four letter words, can't remember for sure. It's dramatic, it's romantic, it's interesting. (I read that on a review)
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

Official Discussion Post for The Body Finder

Post your comments here.

Levi Lovin's

Chapter One
Violet discovers she has a crush on her hot BFF.

Chapter Two
Violet babysits and Jay pops by to tickle her but it's okay cuz they are just friends.

Chapter Three
Violet goes for a jog. She is later joined by Jay. She trips and Jay puts on a band aid.

Chapter Four
They go to a party at a lake. She finds a dead body.

Chapter Five
Violet tells police what happens. Her dad and uncle show up at the lake for support.

Chapter Six
Violet was depressed until the body was buried.

Chapter Seven
Grady asked Violet to Homecoming. Jay got mad and got a ride home with Lissie.

Chapter Eight
Violet and Jay make up.

Chapter nine
Violet gets her Homecoming dress and finds out Hailee was kidnapped.

Chapter Ten
Violet and Jay go to the movies. Violet uses the bathroom during the movie.

Chapter Eleven
Violet and Jay go to the mall. Violet discovers the men's bathroom tastes like garlic.

Chapter Twelve
Violet and Jay are in a fight. Grady is bugging Violet.

Chapter Thirteen
Grady takes Violet to the cemetery.

Chapter Fourteen
Violet decides to go to a party.

Chapter Fifteen
Grady sticks his slug tongue in Violet's mouth. Jay punches him. Violet gets mad at Jay.

Chapter Sixteen
Jay kisses Violet.

Chapter Seventeen
Violet joins a search party. She finds the killer.

Chapter Eighteen
Jay dry humps Violet.

Chapter Nineteen
Violet points out dead animals on the killers property.

Chapter Twenty
Violet and Jay are an item. Jay goes home during the middle of a make out session.

Chapter Twenty One
Violet gets chased by the killer but her 16 year old boyfriend scares him away.

Chapter Twenty Two
Violet goes to a hospital for a sprained ankle. Her uncle orders 24/7 cop at her house.

Chapter Twenty Three
Violet goes to school and stuff. Jay tells her that they are going to Homecoming.

Chapter Twenty Four
Violet watches a movie while eating popcorn. Jay comes over.

Chapter Twenty Five
Violet and Jay go to the dance. Violet leaves Jay's sight so she can go to the bathroom.

Chapter Twenty Six
Violet stays behind in the bathroom so the killer can get her. He confesses everything to her.

Chapter Twenty Seven
Jay discovers Violet was left alone in the bathroom and alerts the cops.

Chapter Twenty Eight
Jay (16 yr old B.F.) stands up to the serial killer. Someone gets shot.

Chapter Twenty Nine
Jay is still alive. The End.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My perfectly perfect review of "The Body Finder" by Kimberly Derting

I don't know why but I'm having a hard time writing a review on this book.  So I'm going to make it easy on myself and just tell you what I thought.

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."

Also, I don't know if anyone else felt this way while reading the book, but sometimes I felt like the author was reliving her glory days.  I wondered if maybe some of the events and places she was describing came from her own life experiences and even her journal.  Call me crazy but I felt this way at least a few times.  The way she described her beater car and the Homecoming dance and some other things, I just can't think of them right now.  They felt like a journal entry to me.  (Anybody else think this while they were reading?) 

Not only were the descriptions overkill, the idealistic nature of Jay and Violet's developing relationship was darn near irritating.  It seemed that everything about Jay and he and Violet's relationship was "flawless" and "absolutely perfect."  Those are heavy words that you don't want to drop casually.  After a while the making out got to be a nuisance and I wanted to throw up toward the end of the book.  Ok, so he's the most perfect boyfriend in the whole world and you two couldn't be happier.  Okay, I get it.  I liked it better when you guys were sexually frustrated.  (Or maybe I'm just jealous since my husband and I are way past the fun, lusty days of teen infatuation).

That brings us to my biggest pet peeve.  JAY.  There is no such thing as the perfect guy.  No guy expect Edward maybe.  Or Peeta.  And that's just because they're both so freaking cool.  Peeta and Edward have both earned their stripes.  They are amazing and awesome because we know who they are and we respect them, not because they are flawless characters.  I liked Jay a lot, but he just didn't feel real to me.  At least not the way that he was written.  How could a guy of his age really understand and appreciate a girl like he does?  What has happened in his life to make him realize that Violet is the one for him?  Why is it that a young man at his age is so good to her?  I never got that.  

Overall I thought the pace was good.  Also, the suspense was pretty good.  I did laugh a few times when I knew the writer was trying to keep us in suspense when I knew all along that the officer she ran into in the woods was the other killer and that it was her uncle who shot the guy in the back and that Jay was alive.  

There were a few things that didn't make sense to me like why didn't Violet feel an echo from Mackenzie Sherwin when she was so close to her killer and so close to her body?  I also thought it was funny that nobody guessed that maybe the other killer had seen Violet at the house identifying dead things.  Other than those things I really liked the book and I enjoyed reading it.  Well, most of it.  I admit that I did skip over the pages written from the killer's point of view.  Too creepy for me.  Besides I read the book at night and I didn't want to give myself bad dreams.  In fact, I would have finished the book in one sitting but once I got to the part where she was being chased in the woods I put the book down so I could finish it in the morning.      Overall, great, fast read, really enjoyed it.  Thanks Markie.

So there you have it.  My absolutely perfectly perfect review of The Body Finder, by Kimberly McPerfect Derting.