Clariel by Garth Nix *SPOILERS*

Clariel

Le sigh.

I’m not sure if I’ve just been suffering from a severe book hangover or what but other than Jurassic Park I have not read a book and loved it since Voyager by Diana Gabaldon.

Don’t get me wrong, Clariel wasn’t horrible. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. It was much darker than the other installments of the Abhorsen series. If that’s possible… I guess it was the first novel of Nix’s where he was writing about a character slowly turning into a villain versus a protagnostic under-dog finding themselves the unlikely hero.

I think I’m not one of those people who like watching the character turn bad. Or at least without reason. I felt the same way when I read The Young Elites by Marie Lu. I love the Legend series she wrote but The Young Elites is basically about a villain too and I wasn’t too impressed with it. Call me old fashioned but I like a good ole happy ending with a hero at the end of my books. However, I did love Fairest by Marissa Meyer. Hearing Levana’s side of the story versus Cinder, Cress, and Scarlet’s was awesome. But I felt like Meyer did a spectacular job at explaining why Levana is the way she is. She did a great job at making you sometimes feel bad for Levana. I never felt bad for Clariel. I just felt like she was close minded and stubborn. She should have listened to Bel and appreciated him more. He is one of her cousins in the book who is very interested in their Abhorsen lineage. But no, Clariel was “too good” for him.

Clariel seemed like she had some deep-seeded issues going on the entire book and like she actually had some weird detachment problem with all the people around her. It’s like she had a one track, cyclical way of thinking. MUST.GET.TO.FOREST. It got old after the first million times she said/thought it. She was rude and awkward to everyone around her. Even the people who cared about her and who wanted to help her. I think that’s what I really didn’t like about her. She was unwaveringly selfish.

Which I get that maybe Nix was trying to pull off the whole Sabriel concept of her growing into herself as a person and as a woman but it was too much. Or maybe just Clariel was too much for me. Maybe I just didn’t like her! because I love Garth Nix and I love all the other books. And I do have to say that the ending finally picked up but the beginning and middle were way to slow for me. It was a lot of To leave or to not leave to the Great Forest, that is the question?!

I wanted to know more about the relationships around her! Why was she so weird and had no feelings toward any other humans??? I really liked how in the end you realize she’s Chlorr of the Mask. That made it all worth reading. Not to mention that Mogget made his appearance in this one as well. He sucked in this book but he’s still my favorite character of all the books! And I really do hate thinking/saying that because I love Garth Nix! Not only as a writer but also as a person. I met him in Austin at the Teen Book Festival and he was the coolest, most down to Earth guy. Hands down, the nicest author I have ever met. I’m looking forward to getting the next book that goes back to Nick and Lirael. I liked their characters in Lirael a lot.

I’m kind of wandering if Nix will go back and write a book on Tathiel later. She is the kings missing granddaughter in the book who comes in and saves the day at the end with the Clayr. It says that she wasn’t too thrilled about having to rule. Sounds like Nix is leaving that open for maybe another book for another time, eh?

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park

“God creates dinosaurs, God kills dinosaurs, God creates man, man kills God, man brings back dinosaurs.”
Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park

A friend bought me this book so that we could read it together before Jurassic World came out. I read it in about 4 days. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I’m a 90’s kid so I grew up watching the movies. The first one Jurassic Park came out when I was 2 or 3 years old. I have the first film somewhere recorded on a VHS tape. I like the 2nd and 3rd movies but the first was always my favorite. I loved Dr. Grant and Malcolm!

In all honesty I was a little reluctant to read this book at first. After seeing the movie a bazillion times since 1993 I wasn’t sure if it would be interesting. What if it was EXACTLY the same? Which would be okay but in my case, the movie came before the book. I didn’t even know they were books until several months ago actually. I was moseying around Barnes & Noble when I came across one of those tables with their collector editions classic book. That’s where I saw the first book Jurassic Park and the second book The Lost World for the first time. My friend actually just bought that edition by the way and it’s beautiful! If you are interested in reading them you should check it out! It’s white with silver pages and has a little red book mar attached to it.

Anyway, the movie and the book are quite different. I’ll try my best not to leak any spoilers if you haven’t read the book. It’s essentially the same as the book but there’s so much more information! I really enjoyed seeing more of John Hammond in the book and the way his mind worked. He’s the creator of Jurassic Park in the novel, you know the older man who brings his grandchildren to Isla Nublar? I guess my vision of him was somewhat skewed growing up too because I always saw him as the nice Santa from Miracle on 34th Street. But in the novel he’s kind of stubborn, and selfish and just wants everything to go his way. I enjoyed getting to know him more but I don’t like him as much now. Needless to say, he gets what’s coming to him in the end. People who are that

Even after reading the novel I still love Dr. Grant! Even in the book he has this unquenchable thirst for knowledge about dinosaurs! I mean, come on, who doesn’t love dinosaurs!? He’s so inquisitive that it almost makes him childlike but he’s still a big manly man for sticking around and saving the kids. Love him!

As for Ian Malcolm, my best friend and I disagreed on his character in the book. He’s portrayed by Jeff Goldblum in the movies. But he’s this big macho mathematician from Texas in the novel who specializes in “Chaos Theory” studies. He’s the blunt voice of reason throughout the whole novel, and I guess the movie too. I guess he’s a little too big for his britches but I will always love his character. He’s so witty! Although, he wasn’t as bad-ass in the book as he was in the movie. He gets hurt early on in the book and he’s basically bedridden the whole time. The ending is very confusing too, as for his outcome. Especially since the second book is mostly from his point of view.

I wish they would have added the beginning of the novel to the movie. The whole beginning of the book is about when the girl gets attached by the Compys at the beach when she’s with her parents. (The little girl who is portrayed by Camilla Bell in the film.) I wanted to scream at every character in the beginning of the novel! There was clearly a strange animal attack and mounds of proof it wasn’t just a lizard but all these different scholars and scientists keep brushing off what is really happening! Yes!!!! It’s a dinosaur! It may be crazy to believe but why weren’t this scientists more excited about this strange phenomenon that was happening in Costa Rica!? I couldn’t tell if they were lazy or in denial. Which I guess kind of makes sense because dinosaurs have been extinct for e very, very long time. But dang! None of them were even talking about it. It’s like they wanted to lock away all this information they were finding and to pretend it never happened! Babies and elderly people were getting hurt and they just ignored it!

Crichton must have been brilliant. I suck at anything science and he broke all the genetic testing and all the different biological things about the dinosaurs down in a language I could understand! I googled him while I was reading the book and did you know he went to Harvard medical school? He was a physician and an author! He went on later to do the screenplay of the TV show ER. I’m not sure if it’s still on but I remember that being a pretty popular show when I was growing up. All of his books seem scientifically based. And I don’t know about his other books but this one got pretty graphic. More graphic than the movie.

On a lighter note we went and saw Jurassic World on Saturday and it was awesome. I thought all the raptor training was interesting. And I like how they made them cuter! They were so much less intimidating in this movie. And then they brought out the T-Rex at the very end. Epic! It was like he was the all American, kick-ass protector of the realm who came and saved the day from the genetically modified snake-tree frog-raptor-chameleon hybrid thingy. Just wait though. he’s going to back in the next movie and mess some s*** up. That’s how it always works. The ending was so great! It was just like BAM! Good guy wins! Chris Pratt was a nice edition to the movie as well. He was looking pretty good in that safari, Indiana Jones garb. I think I could watch just about anything with him in it.

Summer is Here!

Yesterday was my last day of school. I am so excited about summer vacation but it was sad to leave my classroom behind and to know I probably won’t see my kiddos again. I will miss them all. I am so glad the PTA made us little photo albums. And the staff at my school was so sweet. They got copies of Oh, the Places You Will Go! by Dr. Seuss for me and the other long term subs and they all signed it and wrote something nice in it.

The first night of my summer vacation was spent with my friends in Dallas. My friend Camille is in law school and so we stay with her when we’re in Dallas. Me and my friends Tabatha and Melissa spent the night over there and watched the Backstreet Boys documentary that came out recently. We’re so exciting, I know. (We were all big fans in the 90’s and early 2000’s.) Sadly though, the documentary was not very good. It was all about how the Backstreet Boys were Has-Beens and how they have moved on from that part of their life and still love music. It was cool seeing them all again but we all agreed it would have been better as a concert tour documentary or something. Recently they had been touring on a cruise ship. I would have much rather seen what that was all about. This documentary was just kind of sad and slow. We watched about half of it and then started playing Cards Against Humanity and watching True Life on MTV.

This morning we went to breakfast at a hole in the wall near downtown Dallas called Mama’s Daughters Diner. I was impressed! I love trying new places! Especially hole in the wall ones that you can tell are going full of character. Our waitress was such a personable lady. Straight up Texas, born and raised. She called us all “Sugar”. (And made us fresh pot of coffee 😉

From there we went to North Park! We weren’t done with our girls get together. We spent about 3 hours up there! It’s dangerous going to the mall with your best friends the day after you all get paid! Needless to say, we splurged a little. My favorite part of North Park is LUSH! They’re an all natural , organic beauty product company. Right when we walked in we were offered facials! Tab and I took them up on that! Camille grabbed a bath bomb and went business clothes hunting. My facial was with a chocolate cupcake mask and hers was a vanilla ocean salt sea scrub. They smelled amaaaazing! And they had this awesome Tea Tree Toner that we both bought. It works much better than Sea Breeze. It doesn’t leave your face all sticky after you use it.

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Tab                                                                                    Me

image4         This was a really good smelling lotion bar. You just rub it between your hands and rub into your arms or legs, like any other lotion and it feels exactly the same as a creme one! So cool.

image5       This was the damage done after the mall. And Camille bought me Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton so that we can read it together in honor of the new movie coming out next week! She’s read more than I have and said it’s more sci-fi than the movies. I can’t wait to get into it! I love all the movies.

image7   Camille spent a good arm and a leg today. She had to find some professional, lawyer type clothes for her internship. She practically bought out H&M and Express. Half of the fun today was watching her splurge! Every girls dream right?

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This was our drink stop halfway through before we hit up Forever 21. After the mall we spent the afternoon watching more bad MTV shows and then we got to try out Serious Pizza in Deep Ellum. Best pizza ever! This is just the medium we got. It’s 18 inches. Their large pizza is 24 inches.

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I love being off for summer because my friends and I actually get to see each other! We don’t see each other as much during the year because of work schedules and we all live far apart. Next week we’re planning on getting together to see Jurassic World and to talk about the first book. And Orange is the New Black comes out on the 12th! So we’ll definitely be Netflix marathoning that. Best.Summer.Ever.

End of Days by Susan Ee

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The ending of this book… I cannot stop shaking my head. I feel more than a little disappointed with Susan. She’s always so witty and has a knack for throwing the reader for a loop. Like in the first novel of the trilogy, Angelfall, you think it’s just this really cool post-apocalyptic, fantasy twist on angels… and then… BAM! Nope, it’s all about that sci-fi, angel biological testing and morphing angels into scorpion hybrid things. I wa impresses.

And I was mostly impressed with End of Days, until about page 315, 15 pages away from the ending! Susan! How could you do this??? It’s like you didn’t know what to do with the end! You ALWAYS know how to make an epic ending, what were you doing!? You wrapped it up in a perfect little bow and left it there! So not your style.

I loved how Penryn and Raffe went to the Pit. And I LOVED all of the background information on Beliel. I think there should be a book just about the angels way-back-when. It would be great! I love hearing about all of the angst between them all. Maybe it would wrap up some things about Gabriel as well.

And what was all of that biological warfare with the sixer animal? They just pop up and instantly the angels just keel over??? After 3 novels of badass-ery? I feel like a completely different person wrote this book. I think we need a redo! Penryn deserves more than a rushed, not thought out ending.

I kind of just feel like this left a bad taste in my mouth.