The Nrrdling (Aryn)

I am easily distracted by books and shiny things, like stars.

Sex is Always a Touchy Subject

Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes: A Novel - Jules Moulin

Of the books I grabbed at that first trip to the library (that still feels weird to say - I'm 28 and can count on one hand how many times I've been to the library as an adult, and they're all in the past week), this was the book that I knew nothing about when I grabbed it from New Releases.  It's got a pretty grabbing title after all.


Ally is a 31 year old professor with a 10 year old daughter, who has a whirlwind weekend of mind blowing sex with an ex-student while her mother and daughter were away.


10 years later she meets her daughter's famous boyfriend who brings that wonderful weekend back to her in an unexpected way.


At 41, Ally finally falls in love.  At 41, Ally finally allows herself to fall in love.  She finally learns to let go of not just her inhibitions but the control she's been forced to exert over her world since she became pregnant at 21.  Ally has always been playing a balancing act between her mother who tells her she's only allowed one mistake and that her daughter is it.  And her daughter who grows up sexually liberated.  Finding that ground where Ally herself is comfortable being herself and not just a daughter or a mother is not easy for her.


Sex is scary, whether you're 21, 31, 41, and beyond.  Sex is scary, but all of the risk and the fear can be totally worth it.   There's even a question of whether or not Ally has really had sex other than at 21, 31, and 41.  And each time she overcomes that fear, bad things may happen, but they're always worth it.  A daughter.  An unforgettable weekend.  A love of her life.


The moral isn't "fuck everything that moves.". Don't get me wrong - there's a big part of Ally that believes and knows that sex is sacred.  But the moral is more along the lines of, "don't get sacred confused for forbidden."


It really only loses half a star because it's tied up too neat.  There's a little too much happily ever after for me.

The Walls Around Us - Nova Ren Suma

So I read that last couple of chapters four or five times, because what the fucking what!?



Two stories:
A ballerina who is on a meteoric rise towards whatever it is that she dreams.  A princess whose best friend was sent to prison and died three years ago.


An innocent (?) girl in prison for the murder of her stepfather.  A bookworm delinquent whose family doesn't even visit her for all the years she's been incarcerated.


How are these two girls connected?  How is justice truly delivered and what does justice actually mean?  And who is responsible for a tragedy that took the life of 41 teenagers?


Holy fucking shit, you guys.  Read this book.  I absolutely adored it.  Putting it down was not an option.  I was walking around the airport, ignoring my inlaws with my nose still firmly planted in this mess of human emotion, error, and twisted beautiful gory justice.


There was just so much done right in this book.  I can't even give a coherent review without giving you massive spoilers.  So I'll leave this.  Read it.  Just do it.

UnTwisty Twist

Vanishing Girls - Lauren Oliver

If you read a lot of contemporary "issue" young adult, you're going to have this twist figured out 150 pages into the novel.  Though the author makes some horrible choices in an attempt to throw you off the scent - things that don't really make sense in the real word.  That's really where this book lost a star (lack of originality and choices that don't make sense just for shock factor). 


Yet for some reason I found this book entertaining. It was definitely a good plane trip read because I could be immersed in it, but I could also put it down without any sadness or regret.


Overall, I rated it 4 stars because I found it entertaining, but it wasn't really something great, but it sure as hell wasn't something bad, either.  It was just a middle of the ground sort of sister issue story.

Out of my Mind

Out of My Mind - Sharon M. Draper

Melody has cerebral palsy.  Melody cannot walk or talk.  She has been relegated to the special needs classrooms with a endlessly revolving door of nightmarishly boorish teachers.  A doctor told her mother that she was severely retarded.  Seriously.  What doctor uses that sort of language?  But her mother refuses to see her like that, and almost more importantly, her neighbor refuses to see her as helpless.   Melody's neighbor has been her only babysitter her entire life.  She pushes Melody to become her best self and to learn to communicate on her communication board, by teaching vocabulary words all the time. 


Despite all her challenges, Melody is not stupid.  And she never gives up.  But everything changes when her school starts to integrate classes.  This is when a classmate gets a computer and Melody realizes that if she has one of her own that her entire life could be changed.  If she had a computer specialized to her needs, she could communicate.


This is a story of a teenage girl coming into her own and learning to engage with her classmates and joining a team, and dealing with the insecurity that comes with her unique challenges and what that means when it comes to friends' open and closed mindedness.


Anyway, I can see why people love this book.  It's an important one for, I think, children to read.  It could teach some minds to open if introduced early enough (and it's certainly an easy read).  But for me, I just felt like the writing style was missing some ... passion.  It seemed a little too cut and dry for my tastes.

Maybe Tomorrow ...

Another Day - David Levithan

It's been quite a long while since I read Everyday, so I needed a quick refresher - hell, I didn't even remember that Rhiannon was A's main love interest when I read the synopsis on the back of the novel.


Anyway, Everyday was better, by far.  This book seemed a little forced.  It's just the other side of A's story.  Where in Everyday, A jumped from body to body, in Another Day, it's Rhiannon dealing with the ideal of falling in love with a person who does not have a fixed body.  In theory it sounds great: could you fall in love with and have a relationship with someone who wakes up in a new body, in a new location, every single day?  But for some reason, the actual execution of the book was just not exciting.  I feel like I spent the entire book thinking that things were going to happen one way, and they happened the other - not in a "wow, what a twist," sort of way, but in a "why the ... how the ... where did that come from?" sort of way.


I'm actually thinking that the third book in the series, which this book obviously set up, is going to far exceed this book.  Maybe this book fell into middle child syndrome, which I feel that books like The Two Towers fell victim to.  Maybe this really was a book that was only used for set up.  I enjoyed the first one so much, that this one fell rather flat.


Here's hoping book 3 is better - because I know there's no way there won't be a third book.  Seriously, could that have been more obvious?

Anyone Read This?

The Long Utopia - Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett

My "OOOOh, Terry Pratchett!" instinct to grab books, led me to grab this one from the library without realizing that it's the fourth in a series, that I haven't read.  Whoops.  Anyone know if the first three are super necessary?  Or if I can read this one without too much destruction?

Vanishing Girls - Lauren Oliver The Walls Around Us - Nova Ren Suma Another Day - David Levithan Out of My Mind - Sharon M. Draper

I've been on a mother fucking roll this month.  These books have all been read since Thursday!  I'm actually getting back into a reading groove, which for the past couple years I've found incredibly difficult.  So, fuck yeah.


I need to do some reviewing tomorrow before my next library trip.  

Comme Ci Comme Ca

Invincible - Amy Reed

I'm torn.  I really liked parts of this book.  But parts of it didn't sit right with me.  The handling of the one trans character swung the spectrum from, "yes, this is how you talk to him," to "no, no, no, no, no don't call him not-quite-a-boy."  Don't refer to him as confusing, don't say you like it confusing; it's not confusing.  He's a boy.  Buuut at the same time, his girlfriend's great 99.9% of the time, never even mentioning that there's a question ... because there's not.  Overall, not great handling of a trans character.


I really really liked the idea of what happens after cancer being the important part of the story.  I really liked the way addiction was handled.  I really liked the way her family was handled.  As these notes of addiction and illness strike pretty close to home, I've found the way that family is handled as more and more important.  What the addict/ill one goes through is not easy on them, but it's also not easy on the family, no matter how much they want to distance themselves from it.


I really, really liked her descent from Perfect Cancer Girl to Crazy Addict Girl.  The descent was frantic and gradual and felt real.  It felt necessary.  


There's a good chance that I'll pick up the next book in the series next year.  I'm curious to see how the character evolves.  I'm also curious to see if the author dares go back to the trans character at all and try erasing some of her mistakes.

I'm Officially Whelmed

Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1) (Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey

I take it back, when earlier today I said that I was underwhelmed.  The book just starts slow.  Hugh Howey spends a lot of time world building in a way that sort of leaves you scratching your head, wondering why that might have been relevant because it sure as hell doesn't feel that way.  Maybe as a serial I can see the slow start making a lot more sense.  Stories within stories per part to keep the reader interested every time a new one came out, but also leaving the reader satisfied at the end.  I'm sure that kind of writing, especially today in the internet world is incredibly difficult.  We're so much about instant gratification.

/end tangent


So I wasn't underwhelmed, but I wasn't overwhelmed either.  I was whelmed.


My favorite part of the novel actually happened right around the middle when she was

alone in the new silo, and even with Solo.

(show spoiler)

Which I think a lot of people would find boring, but I'm a sucker for loner survival stories.  The ending was a bit of a let down: a little anti-climatic after all we had just been through with Jules and the Silo.  I felt like that should have been more.  It was too wrapped up pretty.  Suddenly it was over.  It just felt too sudden for me.


I've read 145 pages.

Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1) (Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey

I've been sort of struggling through this since before I started my Harry Potter reread.  I know a lot of people who LOVED this story, and it's just not grabbing me.  It's not that it's hard to read or boring or even a bad story.  I'm just feeling underwhelmed.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

So, this is officially the 50th book of the year that I've kept up with updating here. I've read many more, but it's sort of ... appropriate that I would hit 50 books for the BookLikes year with my reread of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows!

Ginny and I went to the library today. Yes my new car is named Ginny, as in Weasley.
Ginny and I went to the library today. Yes my new car is named Ginny, as in Weasley.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

If you haven't noticed, I'm re-reading my Harry Potter series - and it's definitely an experience reading them as an adult especially watching the children grow up.


I'm also much more enjoying them this time around because I resisted the first few when they came out for years because I was tired of people telling me they'd never read anything like it, and all I wanted to do was throw So You Want to Be a Wizard at them.  I'm very protective of my favorite books, always have been. 

Stop being so annoying

Everything Leads to You - Nina LaCour

Oh dear Gods almighty, that main character was obnoxious.


Poor me!  Poor me!  I'm 18, I'm a genius set designer, but no one sees my genius!  Except for everyone on the sets of the major movies I'm working on!  Poor me!  My girlfriend has broken up with me 6 times and I think I might still want her back!  Poor me!  I was able to have someone drop $20,000 on set pieces for a movie and a gift for my brother!  Poor me!  My brother gave me his Venice apartment for the summer and wants me to do something epic, but I can't think of what to do!




Jesus fucking Christ, I hated Emi for the entire Goddamn novel.   She just totally rubbed me the wrong way.


I loved her best friend Charlotte.  Charlotte had a lot handed to her too, but she didn't act as though her entire world was always falling apart in her richer than God lifestyle.  She has a dose of reality in the way she presents herself and at least attempts to call out Emi on her fucking stupidity.


The "mystery" sort of reads like a slightly older Nancy Drew story.  It's fantastical in it's ridiculousness.  Sure this could maybe sort of possibly happen in an alternate dimension.  Not that the solution is impossible, but that they were able to solve the mystery of the letter in as little time as it took.


It was an entertaining read, but it really wasn't any more than that.  So far, from the YA Book Riot Box, I've read 2, and enjoyed one thoroughly, while only finding this one entertainment value.

Baffled, I am.

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52) - Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart

I am ... confused.  I am ... torn.


To say this is a change from the last trades is an understatement.  Which is both good and bad.  While I enjoyed the other artists's run with Batgirl it was beginning to feel too much like she just wanted to be Batman and was perpetually chained to him - the storylines wouldn't really exist without him.


In Batgirl of Burnside, she is most definitely her own girl.  The problem I see is that she seems to have gone back in time for where her maturity level should be.  I'm hoping she grows hard in this new series, because she doesn't act like 21 year old Barbara Gordon, she acts like 21 year old club rat.  On one hand I actually like this, because poor Babs never really got to be a kid - so having her act like a kid is sort of novel and nostalgic.


The artwork is fucking brilliant.  It's totally amped up and so different than any other Gotham story I have ever read in my life.  It felt a good deal like ... Marvel.  Marvel has a slightly younger, more colorful look to its art.  The artwork had me turning the page to see how pretty it could get.


The storyline, unfortunately was fairly mediocre.  I didn't care even a little bit about the "big reveal" that happened halfway through the book.  It was a "Jenkies!" moment that I didn't give a shit about.  Though I did like the big tech baddie - I'm a sucker for the computers are taking over the world trope, it's something that seriously scares me a bit.


So, I'm conflicted.  Babs is a more real girl, but a less real Batgirl.  The artwork is beautiful, but the story was humdrum.  Read for yourself I suppose.

I've Read 0 Pages

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52) - Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart



I've been waiting for this costume redesign and change of story direction since October!!!!


See you guys in a few hours.

Currently reading

The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May
Mark Z. Danielewski
Progress: 115/880 pages