Bookish Penguins

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. ~ Marcus Aurellus

Reading progress update: I've read 136 out of 384 pages.

The Troop: A Novel - Nick Cutter

I am struggling within myself to finish this book. The book is written really well. The writer himself is talented. That said a character in this book likes to torture animals, insects, etc. He is  a psychopath. The writer goes into extensive gory detail and it doesn't add to the story. There is a character whom I've become attached to who dies a senseless death after going through horrors. I know this because I was spoiled. So is it worth finishing? I don't like to read in detail animals suffering. It legitimately does not add to this story whatsoever. 


When I was in high school I was a camp counselor for a boys summer camp. I was in charge of the jock, the brain, the joker, etc. I had one of every stereotype. By the end of camp I taught them to work together. They came in separated by their abilities, picking on each other but left an odd sort of family. They all became friends and watched out for each other. They looked up to me and I used it to teach them together they are stronger than separated. I also taught them to say please and thank you at the dinner tables. Parents your welcome. But in all seriousness I hope it made a difference and what they learned carried with them throughout their years. My experience is not this book. I am fine with a good horror story. I loved Lord of the Flies. What I don't love is torture and pain in gory detail with a 14 year old boys graphic pleasure in it. I don't love a character senseless death that doesn't add anything to the story.


It's decision time. Should I leave it and go straight to Misery or do I stick it out and read the rest of this book? ....



BInge Reading Weekend Plans

The Troop: A Novel - Nick Cutter

I got a new job which is great with the exception that my reading time has suffered.Training is over and I am finally situated. Now onto some much needed binge reading. First up is The Troop by Nick Cutter. This looks like a great horror story. It also comes with some very high praise from Stephen King. 


The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old-school horror at its best.” —Stephen King.


Speaking of Stephen King if well laid plans go well I will be reading his book Misery this weekend as well. 


Now both these books are relatively short. The Troop is 355 pages and Misery is actually in my car so I'm unsure of the page count. Misery is a pretty thin book though.In one day (not solely dedicated to reading) I have read two books over 350 pages.


Short side rant: The series was really amazing. I really could not put those books down, but pesky adult responsibilities got in the way. So I had to read the third book the next day. Yes, I am still bitter about this. 


In any case I should be able to read at least The Troop, Misery, and God willing a third book. If I can get to a third book I will pick a random book off my shelves. The goal is 3 completed books. If it happens to be an exceptional weekend maybe 4. Tomorrow I do have plans for a Barnes and Noble trip. I do need to drop off some packages at UPS and USPS so we shall see. 


Happy Weekend Reading. Update coming soon :)

Reading progress update: PS. Bring water!

Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky

I am 84 pages in and this book has been really interesting. The view from the spiders gives an intriguing perspective. When I read books or watch movies that are human vs. animals I tend to side with the animals. The only exception is Arachnophobia. So far I am not really invested in the human characters yet, but there is one lady I would like to back hand. Hopefully I will grow to care about these characters. If not I guess I will be rooting for the spiders. Well, off I go to see if there is any redemption for these characters and hopefully some relief from the squelching heat that seems to have engulfed California.



The Store by James Patterson and Richards DiLallo

The Store - James Patterson




Jacob and Megan Brandeis have gotten jobs with the mega-successful, ultra-secretive Store. Seems perfect. Seems safe. But their lives are about to become anything but perfect, anything but safe. 


Especially since Jacob and Megan have a dark secret of their own. They're writing a book that will expose the Store--a forbidden book, a dangerous book. 


And if the Store finds out, there's only one thing Jacob, Megan and their kids can do--run for their bloody lives. Which is probably impossible, because-- 



The Store is an engrossing thriller that will leave you paranoid. I love how it's written with short chapters only a few pages long. You really feel accomplished reading this. The book is very fast paced and hard to put down. I really enjoyed reading this. It seemed like a cross between The Stepford Wives and 1984. 


Intensely thought provoking, this book could be called Amazon Gone Wild. What is sad is that it is not such a giant leap to see this book turn into non-fiction. I don't see Amazon as this evil store who is trying to take away my freedom, but I do find Amazon very controlling and devious. Their Kindle for example comes with ads (unless you pay to remove it) and those ads are based off of what you buy. Everythibg you buy, everything you browse is tracked and stored. Amazon spins profiling you as they are doing you a favor. How else could you possibly find more books to read or more things you NEED? Without Alexa's guidance how can you possibly survive?!  I don't believe Amazon is profiling and storing information on its customers to use it for anything other than getting rich, but that is not to say they or anyone else can't. This book made me evaluate my life and my online shopping. Privacy is a thing of the past. We sacrified it on the alter of technology. I don't believe technology is inhertly evil. As we stare in awe with children's eyes in the candy store I can't help but hear Jeff Goldblum's warning echo in my mind. We are so preoccupied with whether or not we could we didn't stop to think if we should.


I love going to bookstores or the library. My house is littered with books. The art on my walls are book covers that double as posters on the back. I have hoodies that say "Bookmarks are for quitters" and "This is how I roll" with a cart full of books on it. I read almost every type of fiction (minus historical fiction and romance). Sometimes I reread my favorite childhood books.


Growing up we didn't have a lot of money and my mom has a disease that did not allow for a lot of driving . So the books I had were mainly school book fairs, goosebumps, the occasional library trip, and whatever books my mom had which were mainly adult mystery, thriller, and horror. I grew up reading all kinds of books not just children's books. I hate labels and maybe that is why what I'm about to tell you irks me so badly.


I went to a book store and found this really interesting book called The Pharaoh's Secret by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown. It involves a toxic black mist, plagues, and mummies. I go get in line to pay for my book. Now I'm last in line so I can see several people being checked out. When I get up to pay for my book (which happens to be discounted) the lady proceeds to take the cover off my book to check to make sure the physical book matches the cover. She did not do this to anyone else but me. I'm trying not to get irritated when she says "Are you buying this as a gift?" "No." I reply. "It's for me." She then gives me a confused look and say to me, "Wouldn't you prefer a YA book? I can get someone to show you where they are?".....


*internal screaming*


I would not put a discounted cover over a book to get it cheaper. It has never occurred to me to do so. I get there are people out there who may do that and I understand a store's policy to check. My issue is check everyone not just random people based on your prejudices. The reason I am buying an adult book is not because I couldn't find your YA section? I'm not as young as you think I am, but even if I was why wouldn't I want to read an adult book?


I wanted to yell all these thing very loudly so everyone could hear, but instead I politely declined the tour to YA, paid for my book and left. I am salty and a bit bitter about my book buying experience. I hate that because I look younger people assume that YA is all I read. I like a vast array of books. Stop judging me








The NIght Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.



Let me preface this by saying I am not a fan of the circus. I would never go to a circus of my own volition. The only exception would be this circus. Erin Morgenstern crafts a mesmerizing and intriguing circus. I would actually want to visit it. I did think that Popet and Widgets characters were very well developed, but that is where the good news ends.


The main characters are bleh. When they were younger you really got a sense of them but as the "competition" goes on they are very flat. Marco and Celia don't have much interaction and then all of a sudden they can't live without each other. The game is not very defined. The end doesn't wrap up the rules of this world very well. You are left with more questions than answers and not in a good way. I just didn't care about a lot of the characters so I didn't really care what happened in the book. I struggled to get through this book. It's such a shame because it started off really strong and I was so excited. I really wanted to like this book, but I just didn't. See some of my more major issues and why I rated this 2 stars are below. Beware they will spoil you and you might find a few choice words. 


1, There is no real competition because the players don't really compete. They insta love instead.




2. A.H and Prospero pit two people against each other TO THE DEATH because they are debating which way is better to teach magic. They have done this for years. Celia is 6 when she is bound to the game btw. 




3. Chandresh (the proprietor of the circus and drunk) randomly throws a knife trying to hurt A. H for no apparent reason other than Prospero's "minor suggestion" (and the reason behind the influence is just shits and giggles. No really it was just because Prospero was bored). Instead of hurting A. H. he kills a beloved character. This really nice old man who made the circus clock and is the head of the circus fan club is murdered. At the end Chandresh  gets his memory wiped, a clean slate where his new project all fits into place, and a kitten for his trouble. I shit you not.




4. Prospero cuts open his daughters fingers with a knife one by one as a child so she would learn to heal herself.




5. There are no consequences for bad actions whatsoever. Characters can be a vile as they want and that's okay.



(show spoiler)




I want pretty covers too!

 Triggered. Salty. I am both. Why is it that YA books seem to have all the beautiful covers, but when it comes to adult books most of the covers are poop? I don't understand. Do publishers think that readers just don't care? If you have ever perused a bookstore or library I am sure that you have seen a cover so amazing you pulled it from the shelf to see what it was about. Whether you took it home or not is irrelevant. The point is the cover grabbed your attention. 


I read a lot of adult books and I would love to go on youtube and do a bookshelf tour, but honestly other than my YA, collector editions, and maybe two adult books, the covers are pretty ugly. Don't believe me? Well now lets just take a brief look.


 Metallic and shiny BadA$$  secret spy cool

Glows in the freaking dark!



and then there is this

 Did someone sneeze or barf on this cover?

 A fingerprint... Really? No effort was put into this cover.


 A staircase had what to do with this book?


  I am shaking in my boots... *insert eye roll here*


Again NOTHING relevant to the book! 


This last one is one of my favorite books and the one that agitates me the most. This book is about a woman who finds a letter from her husband that says to read it after his death. He is still alive on a trip and she reads the letter. This book is amazing. The secret is huge and it has devastating affects on everyone. It's a great book in and of its self, but that epilogue. OMG it will change your life. It changed mine. I would recommend this book to tweens and above. If I had read this book in my teens I would have made a lot of different choices and probably have been very different. I don't think I would have struggled with things as much as I did. I really, really love this book. Don't skip to the end and read it. You have to go through the journey to get the full effect of the epilogue. Trust me. You NEED to read this. The cover is so bad and will not appeal to a lot of people. Some will probably pass on it. The cover should have been gender neutral at the very least. 


I really hope this makes it to publishers because I am sick to death of poop covers. I want texture and relevant images. I want covers that spark my imagination and pique my interest. Just because they are adult novels doesn't make the cover any less important.



I am currently listening to Amazonia by James Rollins and my heart is broken. There is one character I really, really like and he’s dead. The book is so well written. Rollins mixes beauty and death like no one else, but that death though.  It wasn’t necessary to the story. I’m hurt and angry. So what do you do when an author kills off someone you love? It is a really good book, but if two people don’t get theirs I will have no choice but to hate this book. I need justice for those characters that suffered and were lost. I’m very salty right now. I get it’s just a book, but my heart is broken.