An Echo in the Bone. CBR Review #4.

Cannonball Read Book #4! It’s taken me almost a week to write this because honestly, what is there to say? Here’s my honest review: 

“It’s Outlander. If you’ve read the first six? Keep going. If you haven’t? Don’t start here.” 

Hard to stretch that out over 250 words though, so here’s some random… 

My review reminds me of Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. (Stay with me…) My husband and I used to listen religiously to Doug Loves Movies. (We still listen sometimes on road trips, but it became less of a “must listen” once the Leonard Maltin app was no longer being updated. Because he stopped playing the Leonard Maltin Game™). My husband and I see a movie a week, if not more. We love movies (both together and individually – we’re not one person and I don’t mean to indicate that we only collectively love movies) and so DLM and the Leonard Maltin Game are right up our alley. Regardless, back to Leonard Maltin and the game. See here and here for the rules of the Leonard Maltin Game, which are slightly complicated to just explain without seeing it in action and I don’t have time for that. (Sidenote: Doug Loves Movies has its own wiki? Who knew? Second sidenote: The wiki is pretty underwhelming and apparently you can start a wiki for anything?) The only important point to know is that part of the game involves reading part of the short review of a movie on the app to give clues to help the players guess. The review for Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleased presented a problem when it came up, however. Why? Because the entire review is “It is what it is.” Not super helpful in the way of getting someone to figure out the movie, huh? But now Scooby-Doo 2 has become shorthand in our house.  

So yes, Echo in the Bone – it is what it is. 

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Fate & Fury: Inside the Trump White House. CBR Review #3.

And Cannonball Read book #3 is done. With all the hoopla over Fire and Fury last week, I immediately added it to my reading list and powered through to finish it. For anyone somehow unaware, this is an insider look at the first (almost) year of Trump’s presidency, with some insights into the end of the campaign and the election.

Based on the above-referenced hoopla, I was expecting much more in the way of explosive revelations. Instead, it ended up being a gossipy confirmation of the in-fighting and backstabbing within the West Wing and our president’s less-than-presidential personality and behavior. And honestly, as fun as it might be for a liberal to have their assumptions regarding our president and the people around him confirmed, it’s difficult to relish that at all because when it all comes down to it, this man and those people are ostensibly the face of our country to the world and the ones that, to a certain degree, have the potential to have a serious impact on each of our lives and the future of our country and the world. It’s a sobering thought and the book mostly just left me feeling defeated and even more concerned about where we, as a nation, are going.

That being said, that fake “gorilla channel” excerpt making the rounds on Twitter since last week? Totally plausible based on everything else included in this book. (Which is, again, a sobering thought.)

And because this needs to be shared (re: Trump’s inaugural address): “George W. Bush, on the dais, supplied what seemed likely to become the historic footnote to the Trump address: ‘That’s some weird shit.'”

Bottom line: rather than actually reading the book, I’d recommend finding a highlight reel or article compiling all of the most interesting revelations. Then you can read something else that you’ll actually enjoy.

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My Sweet Audrina. CBR Review #2.

Cannonball Read book #2 down for the count! A friend and I decided to do the Murderino Reading Challenge 2018 that My Favorite Murder shared on their Instagram recently and settled on My Sweet Audrina since that was what Karen and Georgia decided to read together recently.

Here’s a quick summary care of Amazon: “The idea of her sister hovered above them all. Audrina fiercely desired to be as good as her sister. She knew her father could not love her as he loved that other girl, for her sister was so special, so perfect—and dead. Upstairs in a locked room awaited her sister’s clothes and dolls, her animals and games—and her sacred rocking chair. Now Audrina will rock and rock and rock to reclaim all of her gone sister’s special gifts. And then finally she’ll learn the secrets everyone else knows but her.”

That description really gives no real indication of what this book is actually about and I just do not know what to think or what to say here. This book was a chore to get through, for sure. The story was engaging (batshit crazy?) enough that I wanted to finish it to figure out what the hell was going on. But it was such a slog. I read pretty quickly generally and I felt like I was sprinting through this one to finish it so I could know the resolution and be done with this forever.

I never got into V.C. Andrews as a kid/teenager like a lot of people I know and reading this book reminded me why… Honestly, there are a lot of people who love the works of V.C. Andrews generally and this book specifically – if you’re one of those people, definitely go for it. If you are an adult picking up any V.C. Andrews for the first time? I would probably tell you to steer clear unless you have a strong affinity for gothic melodramas dealing with hypnosis, suicide, rape, insider trading and embezzlement, comas, and murder (maybe?), incorporating messed up gender roles and sexuality.

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 #mfmbookclub #readingchallenge2018 #murderino #ssdgm 

#mfmbookclub #readingchallenge2018 #murderino #ssdgm 

Mortal Engines. CBR Review #1.

Well, here we are... My first review for my first Cannonball Read. I've read (and loved) Pajiba for years, but never thought to actually do a CBR. But the time has come. Fingers crossed that I can actually read 52 books this year... And write and post reviews for all of them. Being an adult is hard...

My first book this year is Mortal Engines, the first book in The Hungry Cities series by Philip Reeve. Mortal Engines is a dystopian, steampunk YA novel set in a post-apocalyptic world where most cities have become movable and travel the earth "eating" each other to gain resources to support their populations and keep moving in a system referred to as Municipal Darwinism where the movable cities are referred to as Traction Cities. In this book, London is the principal Traction City we see, however, there are a number of other locations that are well-described and do a great job when it comes to world-building.

I decided to read this book after seeing the teaser trailer for Peter Jackson's upcoming adaptation. The trailer piqued my interest and I'm glad that it brought this book to my attention... 

"It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea."

I mean, with an opening sentence like that, it's hard to not be immediately engaged. What follows is an interesting story with memorable characters and enough twists and turns that it doesn't feel completely cliched and "typical YA." 

Basically, if you like dystopian YA novels, this is a good one to try. Plus, the movie looks like it's going to be pretty great. Hopefully... I'm looking forward to continuing the book series as well. 

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kristy's mystery admirer.

The Baby-Sitters Club book that launched one of my favorite conversations with my college roommate, Kelly, on Halloween in a cab home from the party we'd attended. And because I feel the need to write about random topics and what I'm thinking about like I used to in college, this book and that conversation led to the creation of this very website. Regardless, on with the discussion...

As a child, I was a voracious reader. The kind of child who would bring books on the school bus every day and ignore the taunts of the other children for the endless reading from bus stop to school and school to bus stop. The kind of child that would strain her eyes beyond belief to try to keep reading as dusk comes and night falls because she's so engrossed and doesn't want to move even to turn on a light. The kind of child who preferred adventures in her favorite books to whatever real-life adventures awaited just outside her door. Yes, I was that kid. And I was awesome. Obviously.

Regardless of my actual or simply perceived awesomeness, this is all to make it clear how much I read. A lot. I didn't always read books that were above my reading level. Sometimes a reader of any age prefers something dumb, but fun. (Kind of like The Douche on Parks &  Recreation. But less bro-y.) This led to me reading basically every Baby-Sitters Club book (including Super Specials and Mysteries) that came out before or during the time I was in elementary school. Some (most, who am I kidding) many times over. 

One such BSC book that I have essentially committed to memory is Kristy's Mystery Admirer. Good old BSC #38. Ann M. Martin came to my local public library when I was a child and I could not have been more excited to meet her. And to have her sign my favorite BSC book - the very one I'm discussing today. I understand how much lead up there has been, but I feel like I needed to properly set the scene and, to a certain extent, explain how and why I am able to have so many and such intense feelings on this book.

Shall we begin?

Indeed, we shall.

To sum the plot of this book up in as few words as possible (assuming a basic working knowledge of the Baby-Sitters Club, generally, and who our characters are): Kristy gets secret (or mystery, if you will) admirer letters. She thinks they're from Bart (who she likes), so she asks him to the Halloween Hop and he accepts. Stuff about softball. The letters continue and get super creepy. Kristy is afraid she likes a psycho who's going to kill/kidnap her and/or who may or may not just be trying to psych her out so her team loses softball. Surprise - Bart sent the nice letters, but Cokie sent the creepy and gross ones. Kristy and Bart go to the dance and everyone hates Cokie. The End.

I mean, it's obviously not the workings of the next great American novel, but it's entertaining and fun. Here are some general thoughts:

1. I've never really liked Kristy that much. Yeah, she had a "Great Idea" and all, but she's kind of the worst. (At least of the original/non-junior members. We can all agree that overall, Mallory is the worst. Obviously.) But this book managed to overcome my general dislike of Kristy because it was fun and engaging. I always seemed to enjoy the pre-Mystery mystery-focused books (The Ghost at Dawn's House is another favorite.) Now, keep in mind, I haven't read this book in YEARS, so for all I know it's actually pretty terrible and not nearly as fun and engaging as I remember it being.

2. Looking back, I completely adore the fact that Kristy and Bart dress up as lobsters. I read this pre-Friends, obviously, but it's just so adorable in retrospect. "She's your lobster!"

3. We can all agree that Cokie Mason is going to grow up to be a serial killer based on her actions in this book, right? I mean, what 13 year-old girl trims her fingernails and puts the clippings in a threatening and creepy letter. Even in one that is meant solely as a prank. 

3.1. And let's not even get into the ridiculousness of her thinking that this was at all something reasonable to do. Notwithstanding that she terrorized Mary Anne in a vaguely similar way the previous Halloween.

3.1.1. Wait - this is only book #38. And Mary Anne's Bad-Luck Mystery is #17. But they're in 8th grade in both, right? These book series from my childhood are so bad about time passing and continuity. Sigh.

So to sum up, this book is amazing and Cokie Mason will kill the entire BSC at some point. Likely slowly and methodically while psychologically toying with them.