Sunday, December 16, 2012

Review: Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read it in one day that should say enough in itself. It took me a few chapters to warm up to this book, but then I couldn't put it down! I had to finish it. Screwed up mother daughter relationships are just so delicious sometimes. Women and girls can be so cruel and awful to one another. There is nothing scarier than a pissed off middle school girl- omg they could kill you just by looking at you.

The basic story a girl returns to her hometown after years of staying away. She has a strained relationship with her mother and no real relationship with her half-sister. Till she goes home to investigate/report on the disappearance and murder of two girls. While the murder story has some interesting twists and turns, the rest story is the relationship these three women have with each other. The daughter in her 30s, half-sister only 13 and the mother.

I like Gillian Flynn cause she doesn't try to make amazingly strong women into saints, or superheros, she portrays them as the crazy bitches they are. Strong and crazy and almost always severely screwed up. Like in Gone Girl, the mother and daughters are pretty awful people and yet you find yourself sympathizing and understanding so much of what they do and say. It's disturbing that think that so many women probably feel the same way all the time, but no one talks about it.

The men characters aren't so good, Richard, John and Alan are just kinda boring whispy guys, they're there cause men have to be somewhere in the story but they aren't fully developed and don't add too terribly much to the picture. The one guy that has the most effort put into him is the 18 year old John, suspect and sister to one of the deceased girls.

Overall I really liked this book, I'll be thinking about it for a few days to come for sure. I will be thinking about all the crazy women I know about how crazy middle school age girls are and if I was one of them.

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Sunday morning

I'm surrounded by my kitties.  Sookie on the couch next to me begging for attention.  Sookie above me on the back on the couch resting from her surgery.  Neither cat is leaving me alone this morning.  They both want to be in whatever room I'm in and they're being extra needy- for cats.  For my cats, my cats are usually independent unless they want food, water or petting.

It rained for a good part of last night, this morning around 6AM there was a good thunderstorm.  I wished it had been later in the day, I enjoy reading during a thunderstorm, it reminds me of camp.  THunderstorms in winter are kinda weird.  Granted this isn't real winter it's 70 some odd degrees out side but it's December- so I'll rephrase and say Thunderstorms in December are weird.  I opened the blinds to the balcony to led the dull light in and the cats and I have been enjoying the view ever since.

I watched a couple of episodes of Downton Abbey (love) and have been readying a Gillian Flynn book since I liked the first one I read of her's so much.  It isn't as captivating as Gone Girl, but it'll do.  The apartment is the perfect temperature, I can lounge in pajamas without being too hot or cold.  From this angle I can see over the apartment complex and both my cats safely inside it.  It's comforting.  One of the first times since I've been here that I feel at home, relaxed.  The cats are happy, I'm at least comfortable and things are going to be alright.

It's my last Sunday in Bryan before I head home for Christmas.  I wont be back till the new year.  I'm hoping several things will be different then.  Least of all that I'll come back divorced.  I like starting things new and fresh.  I like making big changes in my life that are irreversible,  I think they kinda force you to move forward.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Do you ever feel like music is stalking you?

Music has been a apart of my life for as long as I remember.  I can't read without music in the background, I can't be in my car without my iPod, I have lots of exercise playlists and there is music I love to listen to while I sleep.  I like to theme my life and music is one of those ways I help carry out that theme.  There are certain bands I only listen to in the summer, there are certain songs I can't stand to listen to if it's sunny out.  I'm weird about music, it's okay cause I know it.  But music is something, like the books I ready, that I think guides me.  Music helps me let go of things and music most definitely reminds me of other things.

Whenever I hear Hard Candy I'm transported back to the summer before my senior year.  I can't listen to Hard Candy in the winter or fall, it just seems wrong.  There are other Counting Crows albums that perfectly fit the cooler weather.  Monte Montgomery only makes sense to me in the fall.  The first time I heard him play was at Krost Symposium at TLU in 2003, so I will always associate him with the fall.  Drive By Truckers should be listened to in the Spring and Summer, they're all wrong for December.  Muse, Radiohead and No Doubt are seasonless and can be listend to year round. 

I remember where I was the first time I heard a song.  I can remember what I was wearing and who I was with.  I can remember the lyrics to songs I was exposed to as a child and maybe only listen to once a year now.  Cat Stevens Ruins will forever remind me of waiting for my dad to pick me up on Wednesday nights in Middle School and while I haven't heard the song in years I still know every word.

Some songs follow you around, they stalk you.  Like that Fun song.  Seriously I couldn't eat lunch at Chili's at UTSA without that song coming on at least once, if not twice.  I don't listen to the radio so songs have to go extra out of their way to stalk me.

Then there are certain songs when you hear them you start looking around to see if a certain person is nearby, cause you could never hear that song without them being close.  Some songs immediately transport you from your body to a completely different time and place.

Some songs just take over your life, you emotions, everything that you're going through and claim you. Songs that so completely capture what you're going through it seems impossible.  Songs. Lyrics. Music. Just one chord.  All I have to head is one chord of one of those songs and immediately my world stops.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Goodreads Update

So I hit my first goal.  50 books.  I'm glad I hit this goal before December first as well.  I hit the ground running during the first of the year but then slacked off here and there and even had two whole months where I didn't finish a single book.  So now I'm working on my second goal- some could say my real goal of 60 books.  I'm at 51.  Last December I was able to read 5 so I'm optimistic if I put my mind to it I can complete my goal by December 31st, since I've already more than doubled my annual reading goal from last year of 20 books.  What's really fun for me is looking back on the year and the months and thinking about what I read when, how much I read when and so many other things.

In January I read 12 books, 8 were Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire Chronicle Books So very light reading, I could usually finish one of those in a single day if I tried hard enough or was super super lazy.  I read the first of the James Potter books, it's Harry Potter fan fiction and I'd never read fan fiction before, but I'm not ashamed to admit I've read the first two of these cause they were GREAT! Seriously loved them.  Then I read a couple other light bubble-gummy books.

In February I read 8 books, more Charlaine Harris another of her mystery series, the Shakespeare ones, I read 4 of those, read the second 800+ page James Potter book, the second Dragon Tattoo book (I'd read the first one on the Cruise in 2010), a totally guilty chick read Beautiful Disaster and the new Orson Scott Card Ender's Shadow sequel

In March I finished the Shakespeare series and finished 1Q84, the 1200 page monster that I'd been working on since December.  Written in 3 parts after the first one my brain was already becoming mush and I decided to take a month to recover before finishing the second part, but after finishing the second part I jumped immediately into the 3rd and was so sad to finish.  This was the first book of the year that I could say was in the running for my favorite book of the year.  A beast to read, but I loved it, I didn't even feel  bad that I only read 2 books in March cause this was one of the two.

In April I had lost some of my momentum and read only 5 books.  I finished the Dragon Tattoo series and was upset, angry and sad.  I wanted more! So for some reason (cause my mom told me to) I read the Fifty Shades of Grey books. I hate myself. They were awful. Having read all the Twilight books since theses are fan fiction and very parallel you know what's going to happen! Bondage aside the stories were so predictable.  Bondage not aside, I frequently found myself embarrassed to be reading these books and had to quickly turn the nook pages to make myself stop blushing. I ended the month starting the Alphabet Mysteries,  I'm in for the long haul! She's only written up to V so I've got some time to catch up.  These are great bubble gum reads too and I can usually knock them out pretty quick, whenever I can't decide what to read next I just download one of the Alphabet books and fill the gaps.

In May I read 4 books, the newest Southern Vampire Chronicle Book, Deadlocked which was over way too quickly! One more year till the final book.  In the Woods the first of the Dublin Murder Squad books that I will not be continuing with.  I can't remember the last time a book pissed me off so much.  The Rook I am in love with this book.  This is the 2nd book in the running for my favorite book of the year.  Surprise Science Fiction! Seriously had no idea this book was gonna be all crazy x-files-y mystery-y.  It was great! Then I started another Charlaine Harris series the Grave Sight books that I also have no desire to continue.

In June I read 5 new books.  All good books but nothing to write home about.  Graveminder, You Know Your Way Home (a free goodreads giveaway), Amped (second book by Robopocalypse guy), Eat Pray Love, and The Girl on the Dock.  Amped should have been better than it was since Robopocalypse was so good, but it was too short and rushed, cool ideas just not enough of them.

July Was an amazing month for my reading.  I read 8 books and loved 5 of them! The Magicians and the Magician King. Next two in line for fave books of the year.  Another Goodreads giveaway win and I'm so glad I did cause they were fabulous.  An Object of Beauty which I'd been meaning to read for years was amazing.  Great story, great art world history and great characters- love.  Gone Girl a book I read at the right or wrong time depending on how you look at it, a scary crazy book about people in a marriage who destroy each other- uh so good.  Then I read the second alphabet book, Music for Torching and then Rebecca.  Is there anything better than a great Gothic Mystery? Loved Rebecca and while you know the whole time who the bad person is, seeing it come to fruition is intense.  Then my sister talked me into reading the Anne Rice Sleeping Beauty book-uhg.  I didn't think it could get worse than Fifty Shades...I was wrong.

In August I read 4, well 1 and listened to 3.  I found this great site online with audiobooks of The Chronicles of Narnia and listened to Prince Caspian, Dawn Treader and Silver Chair.  I'd never read them and they were really great.  The actual book I read was Looking for Alaska.  I really enjoyed this book, enjoy is the wrong word though because it's kinda dark, but I enjoyed it none the less.  I finished the book the day before I left for College Station and it was the last book I finished before November.

In November I finished 3 books.  The 3rd Alphabet book and two books I am so disappointed in! A Super Sad True Love Story UHG! Such a disappointment.  I'd heard such great things about it and then it ended up being crap.  No plot for 200 pages then annoyance the last 150.  So sorry I wasted my time reading this book and I rarely say that.  Then Divergent I'd heard so many positive reviews and I just don't get it.  The book wasn't bad by any means but it certainly wasn't better than the Hunger Games or have an upsetting ending like I'd heard.  I don't get it, I didn't connect with the characters, the story was predictable, so meh.

So now it's December and I'm in a race to finish 9 more books before New Years.  All my Goodreads reviews are at the links above. I wrote about Goodreads and stuff earlier this year too.  So the books that are my fave of the year so far are-
1- 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
2- The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
3- The Magicians by Lev Grossman
4- The Magician King by Lev Grossman
5- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Runners up
6- An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
7- The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest
8- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Monday, December 3, 2012

Review: Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eh. I didn't hate this book but I most certainly didn't love as much as other people and I in NO WAY want Four to be my new book-boyfriend. I just didn't find anything intriguing about him at all. But about the book...

So dystopian America (yes again, I'm in a rut, or writers are in a rut, or both) in the future people are divided into "factions" based on their traits and talents. At 16 students are tested and get to chose which factions they'll spend the rest of their life with- if they can make it through initiation. Most students chose to stay with the faction they were born into but sometimes there are "transfers" those who chose to go against their family's and transfer to a new faction. There they go through initiation which tests and challenges them physically and mentally to see if they really do belong in their new chosen faction. This is where our protagonist is Tris (formerly Beatrice), she has decided to change factions and is going through initiation.

So the majority of this book like 85% is about her going through the 3 stages of initiation. She has switched from a faction known for being selfless, calm and polite to one known for being dare-devils, risk takers and not polite- the Dauntless. So her first stage is all about being physically like the Dauntless, then mentally- after she makes it through to the final stage of initiation she realizes that something isn't right in her faction filled world and with the help of the supposedly ruggedly handsome and dangerous instructor 4 they set off to save the world (over simplified for sure).

Its interesting enough and moves really quickly, I just never found myself wanting more. Lots of reviews say they hate the ending, but I found nothing wrong with it, I think people just don't like waiting when a book blatantly set up for the sequel. And this one is blatantly set up kinda like in the movie version of Golden Compass where Lyra says, I'm gonna find my dad and help him, while they're in the sky flight thingy. Ugh.

And Tris' inner monologue was annoying. Not as annoying as say Bella in Twilight, but it wasn't revealing or important at all. So I was probably a little generous in giving this book a 3 star review, but it wasn't horrible, but it just wasn't my cup of tea and I don't really need to read the sequel, I'm not invested enough to where I have to know what happens like with The Hunger Games books. I've heard people say this book is better than Hunger Games to which I say no- not at all.

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