Book Two of The Mara Dyer Trilogy

I'm always asked how I can possibly read as much as I do and the answer is simple: Because I love to read, I make time for it. It’s not easy because I am busy, really, really, busy but I make it work. I always bring a book with me wherever I go. I know some people can't read in public or in a car or on the train but that’s not me; the minute I start reading I shut everything out and before you know it, I’ve read a couple chapters while waiting for the doctor or on my ride into school.  And, I usually always read a few chapters before I go to sleep at night. Sure, sometimes a couple of chapters turns into 20 and I’m exhausted the next day but it’s worth it for me. And, if I have a free day or a few hours I’ll spend it reading(usually with some booze in my hand), Bliss. And here’s the other thing, it’s not about skimming the books. I’m not rushing through the novels just so I can add to my ever-growing “Read” pile. What would be the point of that? I read because I want to. Don’t get me wrong though there are some books that I read more quickly than others but usually that’s because the book is just that good. And then there are other books, like the one I’m reading right now, that take me for-ev-er because they're sooooo boring. But I just keep chugging along because unless a book is god awful, and I mean really, really god awful, I have to finish it. Oh! And here’s the other thing, if you’re skeptical about how many books I read, just take a minute and let it sink in that I’m probably a better reader than you are.

So, I just finished The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin and man alive, things are just getting better and better with this trilogy. The first book, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer started off with Mara, not her real name, moving down south with her family following a horrible accident. An accident she was able to survive but killed everyone else involved. Even though strange events begin unfolding around her, like seeing her dead ex-boyfriend around school, imagining people dying and then having them really die, she stills manages to meet Noah. Ahhhh Noah, the extremely handsome, extremely rich, extremely sweet English boy who walks through life batting away all the shallow, popular girls who fawn over him. This book falls into all sorts of genres: paranormal, love, horror, mystery/suspense. Something for everyone.

Like I said, Evolution was even better. Everything about this book was so subtle but absolutely terrifying! Mara is finding out more about who she is, and what she’s capable of, I’m still in love with Noah (pretty sure he’s one of my top ten book boyfriends), and shit just keeps getting crazier and crazier. I was about three fourths of the way through reading it in bed one night, minding my own business, thinking that I would just read a chapter or two.  Psshhh, um yeah, we all know how that turns out. One chapter turns into the rest of the bloody book. It was just so good! In those last pages I went into shock, I cried, I was talking out loud, honestly, it was insane! And I hate that I don’t know anyone who's read it because all I wanted to do when I finished was talk to someone about it! My poor husband had to listen to me babble nonsensically about this poor girl and whether or not all these crazy events are really happening to her or if she’s losing her mind like everyone else assumes. The author does a great job of leaving that determination up to you.

So, if you’re looking for an intriguing and horrifying summer read that you cannot put down this is it!

And onto the next, I’m currently reading trudging through The Sexual History of London: From Roman Londinium to the Swinging City---Lust, Vice, and Desire Across the Ages by Catharine Arnold.

Don't Judge Me

So I’m waiting on some really big news, hopefully good news, and the wait is stressing me out. When I get stressed out I read because books offer a welcome escape (kind of like booze but people don't judge you for it when you're indulging in the morning or in public). Reading provides a portal into another world, allowing me, for that period time, to forget about whatever is freaking me the fuck out. I've done it since I was a kid. Anytime I did something stupid, or more often when my mom was being simply being unreasonable (obviously), and was yelled at, I would run to my room, grab a book, and poof! Problems-be-gone. Point of the story? I’ve read a lot this past week.

I finished up Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare last week and I really, really enjoyed it. Let me start this off by explaining that this is not normally my type of book. Well, maybe that’s not necessarily true anymore because I feel like in the past 5 years I’ve really started to let in the paranormal/ya/fantasy genres. I don’t know if this is because I’ve grown into these types of books or if it’s because these books have become increasingly popular. Either way it’s working for me. I should say that if I had gone to a bookstore I wouldn’t have picked out the book because the cover doesn't appeal to me nor does the description sound particularly interesting to me. Nonetheless, all the book blogs I’ve been reading were talking about it and I hate being left out, especially when it comes to books. Long story short, I read and loved it.

The basic premise: Our heroine Tessa’s aunt has just died and she is leaving New York for London where her brother is waiting for her to start their lives together. Unfortunately, when she arrives her brother is nowhere to be found and she gets sucked into a world she never knew existed, the Downworld. Set in Victorian times, the Downworld is full of all sorts of our favorite characters: vampires, werewolves, demons, and ghosts. You name it they exist and will play a part in the book, although not a main part because Clare introduces us to the Shadowhunters. The Shadowhunters are half-human and half-angel creatures meant to protect the mundanes (that’s us!) from all the evil creatures of the Downworld who wish them harm (aka sacrifices and other creepy shit). There’s also the beginning of a love triangle, which is always welcomed. I also liked the characters. Normally the female leads in YA books are super naïve and annoying but she seemed like a stronger role model (not Katniss “I volunteer” strong, but still) and Jem was sweet and reliable. Will though, Will was my favorite. Not a lot is revealed about his life before joining the ranks of the Shadowhunters and I’m really intrigued to see how is character evolves.

But like I said, this description wouldn’t normally pull me into a book but I really couldn’t put it down! And, while normally I hate reading a series all at once, because I like to make the series last, that wasn't the case with this series. I seriously ran out to get the next one as soon as I finished it and, wouldn’t you know it, the bloody store didn’t have it! The one freaking time I want to read the next book in a series . . .

And onto the next . . . I just finished reading The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. 

Fall Book Roundup

I absolutely hate when random people ask you what you’re reading and you’re reading book candy. It never happens when you’re reading War and Peace or some other classic. And it’s not like the book is garbage, on the contrary, the book is actually pretty amazing and you’re enthralled by it. Instead, it just has some crazy title like “Clockwork Angel”, is full of fantasy creatures (yes, vampires. There are always vampires.), and the cover page makes you look like the type of person who collects unicorn and fairy figurines. So just like you usually you do when someone asks what you’re reading, you show them the cover and you see their eyes get all judgey and haughty. It makes me crazy! I want to be like “I read close to a hundred books a year asshole, they can’t all be literary masterpieces so shut the hell up and keep the judgment to yourself.” And this is especially true when you know, just know, that these people don’t read themselves. Mother truckers.

Okay, back to what I have been reading lately. I know I’ve been gone awhile. It’s just that I started this new master of laws program and it’s like law school all over again, a freaking time suck. And I know I say it every time but here’s the thing people: law school is bloody hard work because it literally takes over your life and the time you spend doing other things like showering or eating is really just time that you spend feeling guilty that you’re not doing more work in school or studying harder.

Even still because I can’t stand to take too long of a hiatus from books, I have found some time to read (hooray for the metro!). While I don’t have the time to go through all of the books I’ve read recently, I mean it has been around 6 months since my last post, I am going to give you the highlights on what to read and what to skip because let’s be honest that’s all you need to know anyways.

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: Must-Read. A book told from the point of view of a mother whose son committed mass murder at his high school. This book was as thought provoking as it was heartbreaking. I was left thinking about it long after I finished reading it.

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling: Maybe Read-It. Rowling is an amazing storyteller there is no doubt about that and regardless of the reviews concerning this book I was going to read it. My only complaint was that it took me awhile to fall into the book and it took me until the very last 100 pages to get to the point where I couldn’t put the book down.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler: Skip-It. A book about women who love Jane Austen so much they start a book club revolving around her books. The only reason I read this was because a reviewer said they envied those Austen virgins who are coming to book club without having read any Austen novels. The review mirrored my feelings towards Harry Potter virgins. Unfortunately, the book wasn’t all that good luckily, as my next review highlights, I didn’t hold it against Austen.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: Read-It. A classic that was so beautifully and humorously written, I now consider myself an Austen fan and I cannot wait for my next Austen novel. Confession time: I listened to part of this book on tape and liked it more than the parts I read to myself. I think the main reason is because some of the humor was so subtle that I missed it when I read it myself, that, and the reader had an amazing British accent.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman: Read-It. A YA novel about a girl’s choice to stay in this world or leave following a horrible car accident. This book was an easy read that touched my heart and made me cry (so many books have been making me bawl lately and I’m getting real sick of my husband asking why I bother reading something that makes me so sad). Want more reasons to read it? There is a sequel! If you’re looking for a good book that you’ll blow through quickly and keep you interested, this is it.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Read-It. Throughout this entire novel I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was literally terrified for the future of each and every character in the book. Let me tell you, this is not the way to go through a novel, so stressful! That being said, this book will be a classic so even though it will stress you the fuck out you should read it. Now.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Must-Read. This is the first book in a series of seven (?) and I’m hooked! I have found my new series! A fellow bookworm recommended this to me a couple of years ago and from her description I could tell she adored the series. It’s recommendations like those that lead me to seek out a book. If it can capture one reader’s heart I want to let it capture mine. The story follows Claire, a combat nurse during WWII, who is vacationing in the Scottish Highlands with her husband following the end of the war. After discovering a mysterious rock formation, think Stonehenge, she is transported back to 1743. Don’t let the time traveling throw you off, this book is less about the scientific logistics of the time and space and continuum and more about the love story of Claire and Jamie and what a story it is!!

So I would say my book picking skills are pretty good. I mean 6 out of the 7 books I read are good enough for me to recommend to you. Jeez, I’m amazing!

And onto the next . . . I am currently reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. 

A Closer Look at the Curse of Camelot

Holy Smokes it has been a long time since I’ve blogged; to be fair though I haven’t read all that many books anyways (Damn you, law school!). Life has been crazy rushed and hectic since the last time I posted. We have finally moved and are living happily in the City of Magnificent Distances (that’s DC for all you folks who don’t get caught up in cities’ nicknames). Our neighborhood is ridiculously adorable, cozy restaurants, strung lights glittering the streets, and, best of all, a brand new library(!) all minutes from my door. And, the history in this area!  Naturally, the history lover in me is freaking out with all there is to see. I’m seriously in love with living in a capital city, you know, a place where tourists actually come. I even love my morning commute (kind of) because I pass the Washington Monument, cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge, giving me a great view of the Lincoln Memorial, and all the sites around the Nation Mall area. It’s just incredible and I really believe DC could be just as beautiful as any European City, except for the bloody skyline! DC does so well with the old historic buildings and the like but it just doesn’t have the skyline of a city like Prague with all of the church spires (Fun fact: Prague’s nickname is the City of a Hundred Spires. You’re welcome).
As wonderful as everything has been, it has been crazy busy. School takes up half my day and then work takes up the other half. It’s kind of funny because the place I am an extern at has me in this huge office with 8 cubicles. I take up one and the others are  . . . empty. Yup, that’s right completely empty. I’ll randomly see people in the hall or when I get my lunch but other than that I’m kind of separated from everyone else. Well, except for one day when the other attorneys found out I existed and then they all came in to say hi make sure it was true. While it is nice to be left alone I kind of wish the other desks in there were full of people and in a way I guess they kind of are. See over the summer I’m pretty sure they had 8 externs because each desk look like someone is still occupying it. Notepads are open, post-it notes, drawers are full and I even found a Birthday card pinned to the wall of one. “Happy Birthday Zach! From the gang! Signed by Suzie, Robin, Debbie, John, and Roxanne!” And all I could think was that this was once a happy place; laughter lived here once. Now it’s just a sad little room occupied me and these weird ghosts desks; which I leave alone, out of respect. 
Enough chatter, let’s get to the book! I just finished The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years by Edward Klein.

I originally bought the book at a book fair because I have strange fascination with the Kennedy family. I decided to read it right before finals because I thought it would be a dry, historical read. You know not terribly interesting but something educational to read on the commute. Turns out I was wrong (great for Reader Brittany, bad for Studying Brittany) and the book was amazing. It focuses on the tragedies that surround the family. One part of the book notes “one Kennedy has died every two years  since the 1800s”, that's staggering.
I enjoyed how the author arranged the book, focusing on a specific family member in each section. The main “characters” were JFK (of course, but don’t get this book expecting to read a lot about the man himself; it isn’t that kind of book, the author is really focusing on why the family is so cursed), his father, Joseph Kennedy, his sister “Kick” Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy (the first Kennedy to migrate to the States, and JFK, jr. Each section details how the curse affected(or effected? I never know) them specifically and speculates on why the family has been cursed. At first, I was a little disappointed with the obviously biased writing which didn’t portray the Kennedys in the best light. However, I then realized this was necessary in order for the author to develop his theory surrounding the curse.
Bottom Line: I give it 4 out of 5. If you’re interested in the Kennedy family read it. It’s a unique perspective on a story that has been told a hundred times and I was never bored while reading it. I hate to say it was entertaining because the subject matter revolves around death but it was, so now you know I'm a bit dark and twisty.
And I'm not sure what I will be reading next because I have finals for the next three weeks (Oh Sweet Jesus!).

Summer Reading

          I have been busy since my last post. In life news: The movers came out yesterday and my house is now in disaster mode. My floor is littered with packing tape, boxes, and random crap that has been hidden under beds for god knows how long. We have five more days until we hit the road and head down south. I can’t wait to start this new chapter in my life.

I picked classes this week and I’m stoked. No longer is law school going to mean studying for torts, property, and administrative law. Nope! I’m moving into a world where I can study the things that interest me: counterterrorism, intelligence law, and military law. Bloody awesome!
And onto my summer reading list . . . I have been plowing through books this summer and I love it. What I don’t love is being so behind on my blog posts. So look at this as a sort of Mid-Summer Reading List, what you should read and what you should skip.
Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica
I picked this book up because the concept sounded interesting: a waiter turned blogger giving an inside look at what it’s truly like to be server under all of that fake “How are you doing tonight?” crap. Unfortunately, the author didn’t stick to that perspective. Instead, the book was saturated with the author’s sense superiority over the people he served. Seriously?! Look, I get the reasons why most people wait tables. What I don’t understand is a grown man trying to convince me (throughout an entire book!) that he’s “better than” because he’s a waiter, a job that was once prestigious somewhere in Europe. If the author would have just stuck to the quirky stories of restaurant fodder he would have had a better book.
Bottom Line: Skip. I give it 2 out of 5.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Ahhh . . . my classic for the month of June, a story of revenge and heart ache! When I first decided that I wanted to read a classic each month everyone recommended that I should read The Count of Monte Cristo. After listening to everyone rave about it, I spent my dollar and downloaded the book to my Kindle. Now, I’m not going to go against the grain here and say I didn’t love it, because I did. Instead I’m going to give a bit of advice: Read this when you have the time to really read it. I read this in bits and pieces, while I was commuting, a little before bed, ect . . . and the result was that I ended up so confused and had to work at keeping all of the storylines straight.
Bottom Line: Read it. I give 4 out 5.
The Touch Series: Deadly Little Games (Book 3) and Deadly Little Voices (Book 4) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

                                                                                        I’m still loving this series, obviously. Bottom Line: Read it. I give them both 4 out of 5.
The Walking Dead, Compendium 1 (The Walking Dead #1-48) by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn
This was one was a bit out of my comfort zone. Not because of the zombies, which I both love and fear, but because the book was a graphic novel, or comic book for those of you not down with the lingo. Prior to The Walking Dead, I had never read a graphic novel and I was worried that it wouldn’t read like a book. After all, I’m a reader of books here, not a gazer of comic books. Luckily, it read like a novel and I was hooked! The story was so interesting and I liked that it rounded out the television show which focuses less on the characters and more on scaring shit out of you with the zombies. The only thing that sucked was that I had to lug around this ginormous book day after day on the train.
Bottom Line: Read it. I give it 5 out of 5.
The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French
            I have peculiar interest in our country’s history with radiation. So when I came across this book where a woman was unknowingly injected with a radioactive cocktail in the 1950’s, I was stoked. However, the book focused more on our radioactive lady’s revenge(should have known that from the title) and her present day adventures instead of the radioactive catalyst. It was still fun to read but I just expected a little bit more of the Golden Age to be included in the book.
            Bottom Line: If you want a light and humorous summer read about the growth of a group of people read it. I give it 3 out of 5.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Well, Let me just tell you how much I loved this novel. It was short, sweet, and desperately sad in a way that leaves you thinking about it long after you finish it. Our narrator is Charlie and there is something off about him, how else do you explain writing anonymous letters about your life to a complete stranger? No matter though, because his oddities make him endearing and vulnerable. Qualities that help you care for a character.
I wish I could give you more because there's so much more to this book but I always have trouble describing the these thought provoking books that touch my heart and this is one of those books. I fell for this book and it’s now one of my favorite books.
Another reason to start reading this book right now, as if you need one, the movie is coming out soon and Emma Watson will be starring in it! Love her!
Bottom Line: Read it or weep. I give this book 5 out 5.

The Girl Who Played With Fire

I recently took up reading Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series again and finished The Girl Who Played with Fire. I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo about a year ago but you all know how I am, I will drag out a series for forever to prolong its’ life.

Anyways, super busy so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I really enjoyed Larsson’s follow up to Tattoo, so much so that I went right out and got book three from the library. Never you mind that I haven’t so much as cracked the book since then. There are just so many other books to read! My co-worker lent me The Walking Dead, Compendium One and I always feel obligated to read the books that people lend me before starting any others. Not to mention The Walking Dead book is pretty bad ass!
So back to The Girl Who Played with Fire. Here’s the thing, I loved that this one didn’t have all of the Swedish financial crap that the first one had in it and I loved learning more about Lisbeth Salander’s life. However, I preferred the mystery that surrounded Tattoo so much more! The mystery in book two was just so so. Of course that didn’t stop me from devouring the bloody book every free second I had! And that’s that.
Bottom Line: If you read the first book of the series of course you should read the second. If you haven’t read the series yet, Start! Seriously, it’s worth it just for the movies and Daniel Craig.
And onto the next . . . I recently finished Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip - Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica.