I’m Happy For You (Sort of… Not Really)

I don’t think I can come up with a title more interesting than that.  This book was probably one of the most interesting and truthful reads I’ve ever read.  What do I mean?  Well, this book talks about how in this day and age, social media and wanting to compare ourselves to others runs our lives.  For example, Kay uses her daily life with her family as well as her own thoughts to explain what she means.  She tells us about how she wants to be as good as some of her friends or how she wants things or to be in places that her friends are at.  Yet, at the same time, she is somehow able to look back at it and wonder why she does this or why she feels the need to want to be like everyone else who is “better”

I got this book because the title really spoke to me.  I’ve thought to myself on countless occasions, “hey, so-and-so didn’t invite me to that.  They look like they are having fun… Without me… They must not like me or something… TFTI… I won’t invite you to something in the future” and it’s not something that is fun to think and it makes me feel like crap.  I never really looked at WHY I always did that, but now when I look at my friends pictures I honestly hope that they are having fun and if I’m not invited or I’m unable to go, I don’t feel bad about it anymore. To say that this book has changed the way I think and look at things is an understatement.  I now consistently try to do something for myself that is truly for myself and not a comparison.  I try to remind myself what makes me happy and what I can do for myself to make sure that I don’t get caught up in all the things that today’s society creates.

I think the only thing about this book that might be a little off-putting is the references to God.  Personally it didn’t bother me, but for some people who just pick up books without reading what it’s about or whatever, this might possibly be a problem.  I think that, for some people, it can be overlooked or even put into a different perspective and I still recommend this book to anyone.  I think that if anyone looks at the title and can relate to it this is a book for you to pick up.  In the words of Kay Wyma in her dedication, “To anyone who has ever endured junior-high insecurities, even as an adult.  To everyone else: Really?”

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review

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Ready Player One: A Book for Gamers

I remember growing up with Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig dug, and a few others and I always had fun playing other games on my GameBoy.  I think the thin I remember most about my childhood was traveling and games.  I don’t consider myself a gamer or anything like that, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t play games at all or didn’t enjoy the games that I was able to play when I could.  I remember one time when I was getting my hair cut, my mom challenged me to a game of Ms. Pac-Man.  I beat her in a few rounds which was fun because it used to be one of my favorite games.  That being said, this book was all about the 80s and video games.

This book takes place in a futuristic world where living in a video game simulation is way better than trying to live your actual life.  Basically there was this guy who created these computers and had no heirs so he set up a competition where the winner would win his fortune.  He had an obsession with the 80s and so his competition was pretty much how well you knew him and how well you knew the 80s things that he liked.  That being said, here come the spoilers.

I had a few issues with this book, as I do with most books, and of course I read some other reviews so my opinions are slightly similar to them.  I noticed that half the references that were made in the book didn’t actually always have to do with 80s stuff.  Some of the movies, games, references ranged from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and even some 90s.  So basically in order to know the game and how to solve everything you had to be an expert at everything ranging from movies, trailers, commercials, ads, games, owner manuals, computers, pretty much anything that happened in the past you had to be an expert at it or you would fail.  What?  That’s so much information and random crap that you have to know that it would be literally impossible for anyone to know that much information which brings me to characters.

So the main character, Wade is this 17 year old kid who knows pretty much everything there is to know about the guy who died (Halliday).  He’s poor and live in the slums and his life is pretty much crap.  He lives most of the time inside the OASIS which is the computer generated world that runs the world.  He doesn’t really know anything except wanting to find the hidden keys to winning Halliday’s fortune.  This kid is basically a hollow shell of a character that is just your typical obsessive gamer.  Anything you need to know about the 80s, he knows it and he can answer in such detail it’s like he rattling off the information off the label.  This kid is obsessed in such an unhealthy way that it actually made me cringe occasionally.  Whenever he heard a song or whatever he would rattle off the facts about it from the year to the company that made it.  Wow.  And if you think that he was a riot you just have to meet Art3mis.  Pronounced Artemis, this chick (yes she’s a chick) knows even more than Wade.  She is usually always about five steps ahead but not quite as good of a gamer (really you decided to go with stereotype?) she’s incredibly smart, witty, sarcastic, and a gamers perfect idea of a woman.  Good at video games, great with book smarts, but of course guys are always better right?  Meh.  But there was a saving grace to this and that would be Aech.  Pronounce H, this guy was awesome from beginning to end, and the best part?  He is a she and she is black.  Why is this such a big deal?  It’s not really, but to have a chick that is actually on par with most of the guys in this book to the point where you think that she is a he (didn’t reveal her identity until the end) I think that is pretty cool.  I had a slight issue with her being gay as well but I guess we can’t have a straight girl being as good as guys at video games now can we?  Aech decided to look like a white male in the OASIS because of the discrimination that still exists.  It’s one of the most interesting things I’ve ever read only because it said that as a white male, she had more respect and opportunities than she would ever have as a black woman.  Her mother lied about her race and sex and her daughter did the same and unfortunately that is something that is still an issue today.  I don’t think you can ever get rid of racism, but you can learn to accept it in your own terms.  (I really don’t want to get into this topic, so if you have an issue with what I just said you can block me for all I care.)  Finally there is Shoto.  The asian duo that we never really learned anything about and the ones that I was curious about, but again there was no characterization there either.

Other than the characters that weren’t really there and the inconsistent plot, I really enjoyed this book.  I think being able to connect to it at some point made it easier to like this book than some others.  I’ve read some reviews that didn’t like it for its inconsistencies and there’s nothing wrong with that.  At least you gave it a try to form your own opinion.

I recommend this book for anyone down for a gamer read with a storyline that focuses more on the games than it does on anything else

A Clockwork Orange all about that Ultra Violence

Oh man… I’m glad that I was warned about the slang of this book.  I started reading this book having no idea what it was about or having watched the movie.  I had no idea what the movie was about, but I do like the history behind this book. Having finally read the book, I can appreciate the history.

For those who have read the book, there was an original version from England which was published with 21 chapters.  When Burgess was trying to get his book publish his book in the United States, the publisher decided that the last chapter wasn’t needed and so the last chapter was cut from the American version of the books.  Because of this, the movie that was based off of the book was made without the last chapter as well.  Burgess wasn’t thrilled with the success of the book without the last chapter, but hey there was nothing that he could do about it. I was able to read the last chapter and I have no idea why they didn’t want or thought that it wasn’t needed to make a good book/movie. I actually loved the last chapter and I loved the development of Alex (although I can’t say that I even remotely liked Alex or anything about him).  That being said, this was a hard read for me even though it was only about 200 pages.

When I first started reading this novella, I was sick with a cold and I had to read the first two sentences over and over and over because I didn’t understand what he was trying to say.  And it didn’t get any easier as the book went on either.  Just when I thought that I could really understand what Alex was trying to say, he would add some other slang word and it would throw me off yet again.  For those of you that have read the book, I just couldn’t really stay connected to the book for long periods of time.

Another issue that I had with this novella was the violence.  When I say violence, I mean rape, murder, beating, swearing and there was no remorse or anything from Alex.  For example, I think what happened was Alex brought home two ten year old girls back to his parents house and he got them drunk and raped them.  Did he care?  Did he show any remorse or guilt for what he did?  Nope.  He just kinda let them walk out of his room and go home while he smoked a cigarette and listened to music.  If anything, he felt annoyed that they were upset, in pain, and were whining at him to go home.  Alex truly disgusted me and I can’t say that I felt bad for him in any way when things didn’t go his way.

Alex was also not the brightest person in the world.  While he seemed to be okay with getting certain things done to him and blaming it on malnutrition, I could see what was going on even before he was in the “health” facility.  Alex always seemed to think that he was the smartest one round and that anything that was happening to him that was “bad” was unfair.  He took advantage of a lot of people and he was just overall an ass.  Which actually made the last chapter even more appealing to me than the rest of the book.

People always talk about change and how many people are incapable of change.  I think that anyone is capable of change, they just have to want to change.  Alex shows that even though he didn’t necessarily want to change, that he was capable of doing it on his own.  He grew up and wanted something different for himself without being forced to change for other people.  I really like the idea that he was able to change even when everyone said that he couldn’t.  Which of course makes me look at my own life and the people in it.

I really enjoyed this novella despite how graphic and hard to read it is.  It had an overall good moral and I honestly think that there is always some good in someone even if it can be hard to see at first.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and the Loss of my Sanity

I actually had really high hopes for this one.  I was about to buy it when I went to Barnes and Noble because I had heard such good things about it, but something held me back.  I read the synopsis and I had a feeling that I should hold back for some reason and I am glad that I ended up just checking it out from the library.

So this story is about this girl who wakes up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.  She discovers that her boyfriend, best friend, and one other friend were with her and they were all killed in an accident where she was left alive.  Her family then moves to Florida to start their lives over where she meets another boy and “falls in love”

I guess that should have been my first warning that I wasn’t going to love this book.  I was a bit disappointed by all of the characters in this book.

Mara: She was probably the most fleshed out character that didn’t annoy the hell out of me.  I found her PTSD totally believable and I felt bad for her.  I have no idea what I wold be like if I lost my best friend and I don’t even want to imagine it.  Mara is pretty much your typical teen (other than one thing) she lives in the shadow of an older sibling who is “perfect” and she is anti-social and sarcastic.  For the most part she didn’t annoy until it came to her love interest.  And then she annoyed me like everyone else in this book.

Noah: This was your typical love interest.  A bad boy who is super rich and seems like an asshole at first and then he turns out to be one of the nicest guys in the world and will do ” absolutely anything for you” and ugh.  Stupid.  Seriously?  Another one of these perfect prissy annoying unrealistic boys who doesn’t actually act like most boys in real life.  I get it.  But really?  Another one?

Well they basically are the only “important” characters in this book because the book mainly just focuses on their love story.  This book was 200 pages of lovey dovey crap that I really couldn’t care less about.  I was really interested in the storyline that was barely there and I’ll probably end up reading the next one because I want to learn more about Mara and Noah (Not the love story the other thing) and hopefully I will be able to read through the 200 pages of love story just to get to the interesting parts.

I was able to read some reviews on GoodReads and I totally recommend looking some up before you go out and buy this book.  If an interesting love story is what you’re after then go ahead and buy this.  If what I talked about kinda makes you hesitant to buy it I would look at some reviews before picking it up.

Red Queen… Red Princess?

I recently joined the Red Queen fandom.  Well not really.  But I did finally read the book that’s been sitting on my shelf for a few months now.  I have to say that there were quite a few things that I didn’t like about this book.

1.  I literally just finished a book with the same basic storyline.  Girl in the lower class who lives in the slums suddenly discovers that she has powers that she shouldn’t have.  Her life is turned upside down when she learns that she has to be able to control her powers and join the disgusting upper class that she was born to hate.  Sound familiar?  This is the plot for The Magician’s Guild.  What you thought I was doing a blurb for Red Queen?  Nope.  See how similar the plots are?  The Magician’s Guild was published in 2001 and Red Queen was published earlier this year.  Hm…

2. Love Square…? I’m not about that love triangle life.  But a love square?  Now that’s just dumb.  This novel focused less and less on the actual interesting plot and focused more on how much Mare obsessed with both the princes and a little of her friend that she “saved” as well.  I’m all for a strong female character who’s into protecting her friends or whatever but at this point it seemed like she was trying to fill the “mommy” roll for her friend and “not knowing what she wants” for the princes.  In all honesty, if she had just focused on herself and keeping herself alive she probably wouldn’t have gotten into the mess that she did in the end.

3. Hype, hype, hype, hype, hype.  I can see why so many people like the book.  But this book had soooooooo much hype that I thought it would be the most amazing book in the entire world and I absolutely HAD to read it otherwise I would be missing out on something AMAZING.  Well that’s nice and all. But was it REALLY REALLY worth it to me…. Eh…. Not really.

4. Predictable storyline with predictable story arc with predictable ending.  Okay okay… so not a totally and completely predictable storyline, but I was able to figure out most of the book without reading it.  I didn’t exactly predict the “twist” ending word for word, but I did predict the stuff with Maven and Cal and Shade.  Sorry I guess I’m just trying to say that I have read similar things and this wasn’t new to me

5. SLOOOOOOOOOOW. This book was soooo slooooow in some parts that I had to put it down while I was reading it and switch to something else so that I wouldn’t lose all interest in reading it.  There were some parts that I was flying through and then the rest just seemed like filler.  I think the book could have been cut down by at least 100 pages and it still would have been an okay story.

6. Characters? Where are they?  For some reason, I just could not connect with any of the character.  Now whether that is because they all seemed like hollow shells of people or because they were just not the type of person that I am willing to meet I don’t know for sure.  I feel like there just wasn’t enough characterization for me to connect with anyone.

Now I did say that I like this book, and I wasn’t lying.  I am a sucker for a good fantasy novel and this was definitely a fantasy novel

1. I loved the writing style.  The style of writing was perfect.  I was able to understand what the author was trying to convey (I hope) and I wasn’t really confused about what she was trying to say.  I could picture everything perfectly.

2. I like dystopian novels and the world was well thought out.  I think that I was able to picture the land even though this book did not have a map.  That and I was able to see what the world was like and it was not a pretty one.  Then again, neither is our world

3. The cover.  The cover is gorgeous.  It’s simplistic, but beautiful… Truly something worth buying (My friend got this for me as a gift)

Unfortunately, that’s all I really liked about this book.  It was a quick read for me and something that has been on my list for a while now.  Was I thrilled… Eh.  Was I wowed… Eh.  This is just another book that is no longer on my list and something that I will probably forget about within a year.

Red Queen, Red Princess, Never Queen, Not Memorable

Trying Not to Try Review

Trying Not to Try to fall asleep…

From the title and even from the description, I thought this book would be more like an explanation on how you try not to try.  What I read was more of an explanation on four different Chinese philosophies and which one you should or shouldn’t follow all depends on you.

I will admit that I was incredibly bored while reading this book. I felt as if I was sitting in a classroom being taught Chinese philosophy and they all contradict themselves.  I enjoyed the ideas and the thought and research that went into this book, but I can’t say that I enjoyed reading it as much as I could have.  I really liked that Slingerland was able to use examples to describe what he was trying to convey.  I was able to connect those examples to my life and how I do things.  The ending chapter was by far my favorite.

I enjoyed the philosophy of Wu Wei (basically it means to not try or not do) and I enjoyed learning the history behind it.  This book was perfect in length and wasn’t too preachy or one sided like some books can be. If you want to learn how to try not to try, I would recommend this book to you because it gives you several different ways that you can try to follow to achieve your ultimate goal of being at peace.

I received this copy from Blogging for Books for review