Reading is my ESCAPE from Reality!

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” 

 

-- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

"Whether it was Uncle Monty's library of reptile books, or Aunt Josephine's library of grammar books, or Justice Strauss's library of law books, or, best of all, their parents' library of all kinds of books -- all burned up now, alas -- libraries always made them feel a little bit better."
The Miserable Mill - Lemony Snicket

Chapter 4

 

Libraries make me feel better too. :)

"Just because something is typed -- whether it is typed on a business card or typed in a newspaper or book -- this does not mean that it is true."
The Wide Window - Lemony Snicket

Chapter 4

 

The Baudelaire children are well aware of this simple fact, which makes them smarter than some adults.

"Mr. Poe was kindhearted, but it is not enough in this world to be kindhearted, particularly if you are responsible for keeping children out of danger."
The Wide Window - Lemony Snicket

Chapter 1

"I am sorry to tell you that this story begins with the Baudelaire orphans traveling along this most displeasing road, and that from this moment on, the story only gets worse."
The Reptile Room - Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket

"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other books. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle."
The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket

Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty - Liane Moriarty

 

This book was written by the same author as Big Little Lies, and it follows the same format. There is a big event that changes everything. The narrative jumps back and forth between the time before the event, the time after the event, and the night of the BBQ (the main event). Moriarty draws out the big reveal, just like she did in Big Little Lies. I will say I was anxious at first to find out what happened, and it made me spend more time reading just so I could find out. At one point I had an idea what happened, but I wasn't completely right. My friend said this means I was wrong, but in truth, I was partially correct. But still wrong I guess. ;)

 

Bottom line, if you liked Big Little Lies, you will probably enjoy this one. It took a while to get to the point, but it was worth the wait.

Unwind - audiobook

Unwind - -Brilliance Audio on CD Unabridged-, Neal Shusterman, Luke Daniels

 

In a not-so-distant future, the pro-choice and pro-life forces went to war. The compromise that ended the war was The Bill of Life. Under this bill, human life is protected from the moment of conception until the age of 13. Between the ages of 13 & 17, parents can choose to have their children "unwound". Unwinding is a process that harvests ninety-something percent of the body and then transplants the parts into other people's bodies. Supposedly, this means the child doesn't die but lives on divided into the bodies of other people.

 

Three children selected for unwinding for various reasons come together in this story, Connor, Risa & Lev. The reasons they became unwinds vary as much as their outlooks on life, but they are thrown together by circumstances and must find a way to survive together.

 

WOW. I loved this book. The plot is complex and exciting, the characters are flawed (in other words, human), and the circumstances are believable. The idea of unwinding is just terrible, but somehow it is common practice in this world. There are a lot of details I won't mention because I wouldn't want to spoil this book. But, the most intense and disturbing are the moments the reader witnesses an unwinding - chilling. And all the more so in the audio version. The voices and the technique the narrator uses fit the situation perfectly.

 

I love the story, the narration, everything about this book. I purchased the next 3 books in the series and have already started listening to book 2 - UnWholly.

Reading progress update: I've read 250 out of 430 pages.

Truly Madly Guilty - Liane Moriarty

 

I was reading this book last night before bed. When I tried to sleep, I couldn't - probably due to that late afternoon espresso (not a good choice). But, as I was lying there trying to sleep, my mind wandered to the book. And suddenly I had an idea what happened at the barbecue. The clues are all there, but I'm not sure if I'm right yet.

 

This book is similar to Pretty Little Lies in that an event occurred and we hear about the characters lives before and after the event with little pieces of what actually happened that night sprinkled in between. 

 

It's a bit annoying because I really want to know what happened...

"No one warned you that having children reduced you right down to some smaller, rudimentary, primitive version of yourself, where your talents and your education and your achievements meant nothing."
Truly Madly Guilty - Liane Moriarty

 

 

How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer

How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer - Taryn Souders

 

 

Someone once told me that money can't buy happiness. They obviously never had to ride a baby bike to the first day of middle school.

-opening lines

 

Chloe is determined to earn money this summer (maybe by babysitting). What she didn't plan for is her parents deciding to send her to career camp. There she will have the opportunity to see what it's like to be a cake decorator, athlete, scientist, or veterinarian. Well, Chloe knows for sure she doesn't get along with animals, by maybe she could work with the cake decorating thing. But, life has other plans... Between spiders, a goat named King Arthur, a rude girl named Victoria, and Director Mudwimple, Chloe's summer is looking ruined. But luckily Chloe meets a friend, a bouncy girl named Paulie (who Chloe nicknames Pogo), and finds out two of her friends from home are also there, Nathan (her secret crush) and Sebastian.

 

The story is told through Chloe's experiences and nightly journal entries. Chloe is relatable and the drama seems pretty accurate for a bunch of middle school aged girls living in a cabin together. Chloe's friendship with Pogo and the difficulties with the bully Victoria seem to be accurate portrayals of middle school relationships. Chloe doesn't always make the right choice, but in the end, she does the right thing. I read this quickly in one sitting and I think 4th through 8th graders will enjoy it.

Mark of the Dragonfly

The Mark of the Dragonfly - Jaleigh Johnson

Piper, a young girl with a talent for fixing mechanical things, finds Anna (a young girl with amnesia who needs her help) and together they take the 401 train trying to escape the man pursuing them. There they meet Gee, a boy who can transform into a dragon and who might be able to help them.

 

Piper is smart, brave and mechanically inclined, who could ask for a better heroine. She is alone and barely scraping by until she finds Anna in the meteor field (each meteor shower brings items from other worlds that the scrappers find and fix or sell). Anna doesn't know who she is but she has the mark of the dragonfly which means she is someone important to the king. Piper sees her chance to help Anna and maybe get a reward that could change her life at the same time.

 

This story is filled with magic, adventure, steampunk, humor, and a smidge of romance. I highly recommend it to readers in grades 4 through 8 (and adults who enjoy strong female characters and a bit of western/sci-fi; sort of like Firefly for the younger set). A promising series which I plan to continue.

 

The Time Machine

The Time Machine - H.G. Wells, Marina Warner, Steven McLean, Patrick Parrinder

 

This is a classic that I never read and I always meant to, and it's short so it didn't take long at all. It was just okay for me. My favorite parts of the book were the beginning and the end, not so much the parts when the time traveler is actually in the future. But, it is amazing to think that Wells came up with the idea of a time machine and how so many movies, books, etc. went on to use and further expand on the idea. Wells was truly a visionary.

"Fire wants to burn,
water wants to flow,
air wants to rise,
earth wants to bind,
chaos wants to devour."
The Iron Trial - Cassandra Clare, Holly Black

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Silver Mask

The Silver Mask (Magisterium, Book 4) (The Magisterium) - Holly Black, Cassandra Clare

 

This is book 4 in the series that began with The Iron Trial (review here). The series started off closely paralleling the Harry Potter series, but as it continues, it becomes something more and in its own way, better.

 

The series is full of magic, adventure, danger, heroes & villains, and even friendship & typical teen issues. The story begins with Call in magical prison because of who people think he is. He is rescued and then asked to do the one thing magic hasn't been able to do -- raise the dead.

 

I am still enjoying this fantastic series and I can't wait to see what comes next.

Maus 1: My Father Bleeds History

Maus I : A Survivor's Tale : My Father Bleeds History - Art Spiegelman

 

So, I started reading this book in June, ended up getting caught up in other things, including other readings, and I finally just finished it. I actually had to start again from the beginning, but it was worth it.

 

This graphic novel is written by Art Spiegelman and based on his father's experiences before and during World War II. The book skips back and forth in time between the adult author speaking to his father and the years around World War II. In the illustrations, the Jewish people are represented by mice, the Germans cats, and the Polish people by pigs. This graphic novel is at times touching, at times horrifying, and at times just sad. A definite must-read for anyone interested in this time period.

The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

 

An adventurous tale of a hot-headed young man who finds true friends, faces violent enemies, falls for a few women, and escapes from danger many times, all while trying to realize his dream of becoming a musketeer like his father.

 

I found this to be an enjoyable read though a bit slow at times and while I was anxious to see how the action turned out, it was somewhat bogged down by the old language and lengthy descriptions. 

Currently reading

The Iron Giant
Ted Hughes
The Man in the Iron Mask
Alexandre Dumas

Read 2017

The Bronze Key
Hate List
The Fireman
Island of Legends
Island of Shipwrecks
Island of Graves


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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
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