Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Funny thing about this book, I had ordered an advanced readers copy of this book from a Shelf Awareness email, and set it aside with my other tons of "to-read" books. Forgetting about it, I saw the book sitting on a table in the break room at the bookstore and picked it up to read. I get home, and I go to write it in my notebook where I keep track of what I'm reading, and found the other copy I'd already had. I ended up taking the copy from the break room back to work and keeping it in my locker to read on my breaks. Well, after Wednesday night's break, I wished that I'd brought it home to read because it was getting to a really good point. So, I picked up the copy I'd gotten in the mail and finished the book up yesterday.

Basically our main character is Thomas. He wakes up inside an elevator one morning and can't remember anything but his first name. He is in what they call the Glade. There are a bunch of boys around his age there, and none of them remember anything before they woke up in the elevator the same way. Once a month a new boy shows up. Weekly there are supplies that show up in the elevator. All the boys there work in some way, farming, taking care of animals, cooking, etc. Some boys are Runners. You see, the Glade is surrounded by a giant maze with 8 entrances. The runners go out looking to see if there is a way to escape in the mazes. The mazes change every day, and they map them looking for any clues. The doors to the mazes close every night at dark. In the mazes are creatures called Grievers. If you run into one, they either sting you, or kill you if you're left there over night.

Unusually, the very day after Thomas shows up, a girl is in the elevator with a note about how there will be no one else showing up. First thing that's weird is that it is a girl, there are no girls in the glade. She's in a coma when she gets there. Everyone assumes Thomas must have something to do with her since they arrived so close together. Thomas does feel like he's been there before, and he wants to be a runner as soon as he learns of them, even though runners are very brave, and only boys who have been there for awhile usually get that job.

Soon Thomas learns there are secrets he must remember. Getting stung by the Griever seems to bring memories back, so he has to consider that. Anyway, it's a good story, keeps you interested all the way through. Only issue I have, it leaves off on a kind of cliffhanger, so you know there is going to be a second part. I'm just wondering, can't anyone write a novel that is a stand alone novel for kids anymore? I know some stories are just going to lead on into more than they can fit into what may be a normal size kid's novel, but look at the size of Eragon. I think 3 parts the size of the Maze Runner could all fit in that book, and maybe it could all be read in one book. I get so tired of waiting anymore for books that leave you hanging like this. Not that these books aren't good, I just kind of like to be done and move on to something else when I finish the book. I mean, look at the Stephen King novel I just finished. All done in one, yes - one VERY big book, but still done in one book.

Oh well. Good book.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Supernatural: Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido

I love the CW series Supernatural. I actually stumbled onto the books based on the show on one of my regular searches I do at the bookstore every couple of months when I have some extra time at work, like covering the customer service person's break. I like to plug in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and look for any new books about that series. Well, disappointingly, other than graphic novels, which I'm not a huge fan of, there aren't any new books. But one thing I always do is to click on the authors names and see what other books they might have out. Keith DeCandido has written one or two Buffy books, and I enjoyed them, so when I clicked on his name and found a Supernatural novel, well, I immediately went to the SciFi section to find it. And I bought it of course.

I like how this book was set between two episodes of the show, instead of just totally recapping an episode like some tv show novels do. What's also great is that they tell you what two episodes it is supposed to be between.

Anyway, as you might have guessed from the title, there is a supernatural mystery having to do with Edgar Allen Poe. First there is a murder when a person is bricked up inside a wall and left to die. Then an orangutan kills a person. While the boys are there, they catch the suspect in the act of burying body parts under the floorboards of an apartment. All these are part of a supposed ritual proposed by a "fake" psychic guy to raise the dead, in this case, trying to raise Edgar Allen Poe. At the same time, they're helping out a friend of their friend Ash, the computer geek back at Jo and Ellen's bar. He's an old hippie/rocker guy who has a ghost in his house every night after his band has a gig. So they're staying with the guy, instead of their normal cheap motel room, trying to find out who his ghost is and get rid of her.

The story was good, and did have some of the normal humor. But unfortunately, what is so good about Dean's humor on the show, is his facial expressions and the way he delivers the lines. While I can kind of see that in my head as I read, it's just not the same. After watching a new episode of Supernatural last night, and enjoying Dean so much I literally laughed out loud, I understood just where the book came out flat. I do have 2 more books based on the series, and I will enjoy reading them too anyway. Don't think they're both by this same author, but I'm sure they'll still be good.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Separation Anxiety by Karen Brichoux

For chick lit, this was very depressing. Yeah, you know the girl is always going to have issues, and the book will start that way. But this chick had a totally messed up life and we got to see all the dirty laundry. And you don't quite get why she has to separate herself from her best friend Jonz. He seems like an awesome guy. I know, I know, part of it is the girl finding out what she's lost and going back in the end, but it's just really hard to sympathize with the main character in this book. While some of her thought processes do resonate with this single girl, too depressing for me to really enjoy. I did finish as I wanted to know if there would be any happiness. And it did have a pretty good chick lit ending.

Not much else to say.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Finally finished all 1074 pages of this huge novel. Really, it's actually about the size of another Stephen King novel, It, my favorite King novel of all time. It's longer than Breaking Dawn, or any of the Harry Potter novels as well. It was good once I got into it, and it isn't that it was hard to read that took me so long, just that it was so hard to hold! As I got halfway through I got to the point where I wanted to be reading it during commercials and not just at the table when I was eating. I even brought it to school one day this past week to read during my lunch break. The story was really good, and I didn't think that the early on hints that it was aliens would actually be what it turned out to be. I kinda thought maybe the "Chef" guy who ran the huge secretly town funded meth lab would be some kind of inventor who created that. And the thing about a Stephen King book is that every time you think, finally a break for the good guys, nope, there's a bad guy/thing there ready to spoil it and close that door. You just keep going and going and the last 400 pages are like htat over and over it seems.

So, I definitely recommend this. It reminds me a bit of one of his other alien books, what is the name of it, um, The Tommyknockers. Just because of the whole alien bit. I liked all the attention to what would happen inside the dome from no fresh air, or water, and the pollution and all that. Anyway, if you like Stephen King, go ahead and jump into this huge tome. It'll be worth it.

Now, a note, at my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday morning, our leader talked about seeing Julie and Julia and how she decided to do something similar and cook all the way through a WW cookbook. I'm thinking of doing something similar. But I will only cook the things I want to eat. If I do it, I'll just go straight through the book and cook what I'd actually eat. So I'll let you know when I get started with that, and maybe blog about that too. Right now I'm at a point where even though I have tons of books that I haven't read, sitting waiting to be picked up, when I go to decided what to read next, I have trouble finding anything I think I want to read for sure. What I've picked to read have all turned out good, it was sometimes just getting started.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Miss Understanding by Stephanie Lessing

I actually began this book awhile ago. It was one that I left in my master bathroom to read during bubble baths. But as I was reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels, it sat there waiting to be finished. This book was purchased when I got the crazy idea to search for chick lit books that were bargain that I could actually order into the bookstore I think I still work at.

What can I say about this book? It was one of the strangest, most outlandish main characters I think I've EVER read in a chick lit book. First the way she dressed, the ideas she had. I can't even describe how crazy they are. Her sister, also as crazy as can be. Normally I try not to give main points away, but like me, if you were to read it, you would determine before she really does that she's pregnant. And some of the gross things she talks about that happen to her body during this time? Just yuck. Can't say much about it. I'll probaby give it to my sister to read since we share all this type of book. But mainly I just have to say it was weird. I'm glad it was only $4.98 plus my 30% discount. It won't be a book I keep, and I probably won't look for any more books by this author either.

I should hopefully finish my Stephen King book tonight or tomorrow. I intend to read it during commercials as I sit home like I normally do on Tuesday nights. Oh yeah, had a sonogram/ultrasound today due to some health issues. Now, you see things about this in movies and on tv all the time when someone is pregnant. (I'm NOT pregnant, that would be an immaculate conception at this time in my life). But what was horrible about it is that you have to drink 32 ounces of water and be done an hour before time, and then you CAN'T go to the bathroom!! I was literally dancing back and forth in the doctor's office waiting for them to do the procedure. Not fun. Why do they not ever talk about that aspect of sonograms in tv/movies? I can see a huge comedic aspect to something like that. Oh well, what do I know?

Monday, January 11, 2010

BTVS: One Thing or Your Mother by Kirsten Beyer

There was a time, probably early last year, when I still had a "reading schedule" set up. Every 10 or so books I'd read a Buffy the Vampire Slayer book (BTVS). Every 20 books I'd read a classic, every 5 books a nonfiction, etc. This was my way of broadening my book reading horizons. But then, things like reading for the Mark Twain list came along, and last spring I was really enjoying all the weight loss memoirs that I was reading and the inspiration they gave me at the time on my own weight loss journey.

Well, I decided to pick up a Buffy book to keep in my locker at the bookstore while I was reading the HUGE Stephen King novel at home. This was a fun book. While it wasn't a story from the show, it was in the season where Angel is Angelus. And the mayor is there, and Spike is getting ready to get back at Angelus. I like how all this was intertwined with things we knew from the show. And while I'd been reading the comics that were supposed to be season 8 of Buffy, I lost interest in those. I know that it's supposed to be so awesome that they can do so much more with comics that is unaffordable for a tv show, but to me it was just way too far out there. And I felt that the human sides of the stories, the things that made me laugh or cry when I watch the show were missing. So I stopped buying them and reading them.

This book was a fun one as I said. It was great to visit that world again. As I now seem to reside in either a Twilight or Sookie Stackhouse neighborhood I was reminded again why I love Buffy and considered putting the DVD's back in my bedroom tv so I could watch them and enjoy it again. And I may still do it. I'll be typing up at least one more book review tomorrow. And I'm getting close to the end of the Stephen King book as well.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Around the World in 80 Dates by Jennifer Cox

I've decided instead of numbering all of my book reviews, I'll just put the name in the title as I did with this. I don't always blog about all the books I read, partly because I reread books often, like the Twilight series, and Harry Potter whenever a new Harry Potter movie comes out.

Last year about this time I was reading all the weight loss memoirs I could get my hands on in my working on losing weight. Which I've not finished, but am still working on losing weight. I also have read dating/single life memoirs throughout the years as I've worked at Barnes and Noble and seen them in the store. This book happened to be in our clearance bins. While I promised myself I was not going to even look at those bins because I really don't need to buy anymore books, I looked, and am glad I did now. This book was really good. It made me wish I could travel around the world looking for love. It gave me an idea for the perfect job for my sister who loves to travel. And it also made me wish I had friends who would be willing to set me up with a guy in this same type of situation. Yet every guy people usually set me up with is overweight. And as I hate that trait in myself, and am working so hard to change it, I just can't see myself with someone who is overweight.

So, anyway, Jennifer Cox is the author. She lived in London and had just broken up with her latest boyfriend. She decided to try getting people to set her up around the world. And in the spirit of the book Around the World in 80 Days, she planned 80 dates throughout Europe, America, Asia, Austalia, and New Zealand. Lots of interesting dates. In fact, one she turned down was her Viking date, and he's actually one I wish I could hook up. His picture is one of a skinny, nerdy guy, but the way he talked about his archaeology of digging up Vikings was just the way I feel about things I'm passionate about and made me want to meet and date him. I wish there was some way I could contact her and get his info. She ended up meeting who would become her soulmate on date #55. But after discussing it with him, decided to go ahead and finish out her dates. In the end, she quit before the last 4 or 5, knowing she had found what she wanted, and wondering how many soul mates each person has, as one of the last ones she dated came to be really a possibility. But she wanted to give #55 a fair chance, and it seems he is the one. There were a few pages I marked, so let me include parts of those next.

After date #11 she realized that she didn't want to morph or be molded into someone else. She wanted to find someone else like herself, a soul mate she could relate to. And that is me too. I want someone like me that will like me for the way I am.

Date #20 was with the person who won the Dear Juliet letter. There is a movie coming out about a letter written to Juliet, and people actually do write these letters and leave them in Verona, and there are actually volunteers who read and sometimes answer, and even pick a winner. After helping read the letters, this is something Jennifer said:

"As terrible as it sounds, I suspected I would find dating an intensely romantic man a bit claustrophobic and annoying; all that fetching and carrying and fussing around would get on my nerves. Either that or I'd assume they'd done something really bad and were overcompensating. I know, why I'm still single is a mystery to me, too."

That last line is so something I have to say to myself a lot whenever I say something so picky like she said. It made me laugh out loud. But then later, when she's trying to decide if she's being too picky, I have to agree with her there too. If you don't like someone and can't enjoy their company, what other reason do you have for being with them? Like she says, I want a boyfriend who makes me happy, and that I can make happy in return.

Anyway, I really, really recommend this book. It's a great story about love, as well as just a fun look at how single women think. It also clued me into the Burning Man Festival, which several people commented that they can't see me going to that, but I'm open to a lot more stuff than other people think.

And so now, I'll have another book review tomorrow, too tired to write it tonight, and I'm still working on the new Stephen King book.