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Archive for May, 2012

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Posted by Caitie F on May 30, 2012

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Hardcover: 372 pages
Pub Date: August 2011
Publisher: Crown
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune–and remarkable power–to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved–that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt–among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life–and love–in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.


I don’t think I have ever read a book that was just this much fun! I was born in the late eighties, but still grew up with the decade thanks to awesome parents and friends. This was one big look back at the fun of the time period: movies, music, television, and of course, video games.

The OASIS is like a character in itself. It sounds like the most fun thing ever. It is the virtual reality that we have been promised for decades but have never gotten. It is WoW mixed with Facebook mixed with ever video game made – because most seem to be in it somewhere.

The hunt for the Egg is awesome with twists and turns along the way. The Sixers (the corporation trying to win the contest so they can made it a for-profit entity that the poor can’t use) are the ultimate enemy. Get in their way and you may end up dead…and not just in the game.

Wade is such a cool character. He is smart beyond belief, which makes watching what he does and why all the most interesting. He may be socially inept in the real world, but he is able to make friends and me an awesome guy in OASIS, and watching him change in his real life is great character development.

The only complaint is that sometimes it gets a little rambling at times, but the ramblings are so descriptive and fun, that I didn’t really mind it like I usually would.

It is such a fun book that I highly recommend. Just be ready to want to play Pacman, watch The Breakfast Club, and listen to awesome 80s music when you are done!

I hear the audiobook is amazing also -it is narrated by Will Wheaton (who is mentioned in the book).

DId you read or listen to this? What did you think?

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

BEA is Coming! Advice Edition

Posted by Caitie F on May 28, 2012

Not as dramatic as Winter is Coming, but guess what? BEA is only a week away! I am going to do two posts, one on my advice to attendees and what on what I am doing.

I went last year and read a lot of advice beforehand and it really helped me out and made for a better experience. Don’t look for hotel and packing advice from me though, I live locally, so i just ride the bus daily.


1. Have a Smart Phone

It will make you life so much easier. last year, i did not have one, but my husband did and I borrowed it for the week. I was so glad I had it! Hopstop is a necessity – it will be able to get you wherever you need to go! Following publishers and BEA on twitter can alert you as to what is going on at the moment, and keep you in touch with awesome bloggers. And hopefully their app will work better this year, because it will help you with number two

2. Plan!

There is so much going on and it is already on their website and on the app. Plan out the author signings you want to go to ahead of time and figure out what will be ticketed (for some of them you have to get tickets earlier in the day). You can add your own events to that also, so if you have any meetings with publicists or other bloggers, you can add it into your schedule. It will also let you make the hard decisions early when two things conflict.

3. Appropriate Attire

Comfortable shoes are a must. The Javits Center is massive and there is so much walking and standing that you do not want to be wearing nw shoes. I have a khaki colored pair of Chucks that match one outfit and comfortable flats that match another. I walk in them all the time and I will still have blisters.

Wear something at least business casual. My company is a very casual company and we wear more dressy for BEA. I am planning on a dress one day and a skirt and blouse the other. It will be hot, so suits are not usually the best idea, but at least dress pants will most likely get you more respect.


No, really, please do this. I got whacked with bags and toes stomped on because I got a book and someone else didn’t. Hrow up. This is a professional event so be nice, professional and friendly to everyone. If they run out of ARCs of a book you were really interested in, don’t get mad! Ask the publicist if they plan on bringing more later that day or later in the conference – usually the answer is yes and they will hold one for you. Or, if you are really interested, they will even ship you one. But only if you are nice and respectful to them.

5. Don’t be shy

The people at BEA share something huge in common with you, they are passionate about books. They want to talk about them, find out what you like, find out what you think about books, and generally want to work with you. Have a small pitch ready when you talk to publicists that you don’t know about your blog and your goals and be ready to talk to them. Making great relationships helps your blog and you. Most of the people working the booths are really nice, as are most of the other attendees. This is the ultimate place for book lovers, so even if it is out of your comfort zone, try to approach others.

6. Don’t eat there

If you are on a budget, it is expensive and just okay. I did it only one day. There are inexpensive food carts outside with more than just hot dogs. If you are willing to walk a few avenues, there is a ton of cheap food that is really good. It does take a little more time, but if money is a concern, I don’t recommend eating at Javits. Also, get your coffee before you get there is you are a coffee drinker. They have a Starbucks, but I noticed it is a more expensive Starbucks. There is really a Starbuck on every corner (I can see three from outside of my building on 8th Ave). But if you need your coffee while there, have a gift card or the app, it will make the long line faster!

7. Wander a little

With so much going on and so many publishers you want to meet, I know it seems like this advice might be difficult, but it is worth it. For every ticketed signing and hour long line, there are debut authors without a line. I was wandering near Penguin and saw this awesome cover for a book called Legend by Marie Lu and she was standing there. I asked her about the book, got a signed copy and this year she has a ticketed signing. Legend was my favorite book that i got at BEA last year and is one I recommend to people all the time! So don’t get tunnel vision.

There is so much more advice I could give, btu I will stop now.

Remember, have fun, meet people, and ask questions. It is a great group there! If you are going, let me know and we will meet up! I will post more about my schedule later this week!

Posted in BEA | 2 Comments »

Malled by Caitlin Kelly

Posted by Caitie F on May 23, 2012

Title: Malled
Author: Caitlin Kelly
Hardcover:  240 pages
Pub Date: April 14, 2011
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (Penguin)
Rating: ++

Summary from goodreads:

After losing her job as a journalist and the security of a good salary, Caitlin Kelly was hard up for cash. When she saw that The North Face-an upscale outdoor clothing company-was hiring at her local mall, she went for an interview almost on a whim.

Suddenly she found herself, middle-aged and mid-career, thrown headfirst into the bizarre alternate reality of the American mall: a world of low-wage workers selling overpriced goods to well-to-do customers. At first, Kelly found her part-time job fun and reaffirming, a way to maintain her sanity and sense of self-worth. But she describes how the unexpected physical pressures, the unreasonable dictates of a remote corporate bureaucracy, and the dead-end career path eventually took their toll. As she struggled through more than two years at the mall, despite surgeries, customer abuse, and corporate inanity, Kelly gained a deeper understanding of the plight of the retail worker.


I really enjoy memoirs,e especially when they are about relatively normal things because I think it helps give insight ot how millions of people live everyday. When I saw this, I thought it would be great. I never worked retail (the closest I got was a concession stand at a pool), even though I tried to get jobs there for years.

The book was…okay. Some of what she had to say was interesting. I was fascinated by all the behind-the-scenes information, mostly about how companies don’t care about their employees at all. They put them at risk and made their jobs much harder than they have to be. It was just simple things that would cost $5 to fix, like better lights, but they just couldn’t be bother. Or the bigger things like paying  next to nothing to employees, while making millions upon millions in profits. It was depressing, but something we all have to think about more often.

Yet I found the author very irritating. She was SO judgmental of others, especially people she was working with.  She had opinions on everyone and the were not all nice. The negative attitude really bothered me. She was also such a braggart. I don’t know how many times she said her store was always one of the top five stores nationwide and how she was the best salesperson. If it was true, fine, but there is a line between confident and cocky and she crossed it several times.

I also didn’t like her attitude about the recession making people take jobs that are “beneath them.” I get that things are really tough and it is hard to go from a great job to a minimum wage job, but a job is a job and by saying a job is beneath you disrespects the people who do that job. It was very inappropriate.

There were parts I really liked, but her overall attitude made me not be able to recommend this book.

Posted in Review | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

TSS: Reading Series

Posted by Caitie F on May 20, 2012

How is your weekend going? mine has been awesome Went to a Chili Festival yesterday, which was just okay but I still had a good time because of the gorgeous weather. We also went out to dinner with friends and walked around a cool town on a beautiful night. And I finally got an iPhone, so if you have any app recommendations, let me know in the comments! Today, we are running errands and finally seeing The Avengers! I am so excited! Onto bookish things!


So I have been reading A Song of Fire and Ice this year and I really enjoy it (just finished A Storm of Swords, the best book so far), but it has made me think more about series. I love a great series. It allows you to really get to know and connect with characters and it makes me feel more invested in the books when I know there is more to come.

I hate being reading this series how I am though. I am also reading The Mortal Instruments series and am in the middle of what is published with that one too. And I just hate it! I like either reading a series as each book comes out or reading it when it is complete.

If you read a series as each book comes out, you are reading with the other fans. i have two friends at work that also love ASOFAI , one is caught up, one is one book ahead of me. When we talk about it, we all have to be very careful, because none of us want to hear spoilers. It makes it very difficult! Thanks to the internet, I always have to watch myself to make sure I don’t read anything about from a book i am not up to. As someone who loves talking about what I read, this is a challenge and I don’t like it  I also love the community discussion reading as a series comes out brings. I am just so far removed from the discussions that I feel like I am missing out.

I also don’t mind reading a series when it is completely over. Then you can just read the entire thing and not have any waiting. Once I catch up with the series still being published, it is a little irritating. You could read the entire thing at your own pace then suddenly…nope! It isn’t a big deal, but it feels like the story should continue. If it is done, it is also easy to jump right into discussions and talk about the series as a whole.

It really does make me leery of reading any series that aren’t complete yet if there is more than one or two books that I can quickly catch up on.

How do you read series? How do you prefer to read series? Let me know in the comments (and don’t forget to tell me about awesome iPhone apps!)

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

A Storm of Swords by George R R Martin

Posted by Caitie F on May 19, 2012

Title: A Storm of Swords
Author: George R R Martin
Trade Paperback: 1008 pages
Pub Date: October 2000
Publisher: Bantam
Rating: +++++


The epic saga continues. A lot of stuff happens. Really you don’t want to know!


WARNING: THIS REVIEW INCLUDES SPOILERS FROM THE FIRST TWO BOOKS. No book three spoilers, just reactions. Any characters mentioned are in the book as of the beginning.

This is the best one so far! It is the first of his books that I gave a five rating! While I know it is just temporary, this didn’t ramble or go off on annoying tangents or drag and drag like the first two tended to do. There were some long descriptions of food, but they were actaully kind of cool.

The book was incredibly exciting! So much happened! I gasped, cheered, or wanted to throw the book more times that I could count. It was one of those books that I kept saying “just one more chapter” before I could stop. I can’t wait ot see so much of it happen on the TV show!

Here is my favorites list for this book

Favorite Character That I loved Before

This is so hard! I am at a toss up between the three I have from the beginning. Arya, Tyrion, and Jon. They are all very very awesome still for different reasons.

Arya is tough and strong, but still shows some vulnerability, even if she hates it when she does.She is bright, quick on her feet, and ready to stand up for what is right.

Tyrion is getting more and more complex with each book. He is the most intelligent character in the book, but getting treated badly has hardened him, so he still uses his brains and sharp wit to hurt, which I really love because he feels like such a real characters.

And Jon is just amazing. He is strong and is the most like Ned. He focuses on what is right and does everything he can to actually help others. Since i love him so much, I know he will be dead eventually.

Favorite Character that I Didn’t Expect

Brienne. She is all kinds of awesome. I don’t have any complex reasons to love her, she is just a great character. George R R Martin really knows how to write awesome women.

Character I Went From Hating to Liking a Lot

Jaime. I don’t want to let you know why, but he becomes a much more complex guy!

Character I Just Don’t Care About Anymore

Daenerys Her character is just boring now. Some cool stuff happenened, but I just don’t care about it very much 😦

Scene I Can’t Wait to See on te Show

The big thing Tyrion does! It is awesome.

I could go on and om being vague about this epic book but i won’t. It is fantastic though!


Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Posted by Caitie F on May 11, 2012

Title: City of Glass
Author: Cassandra Clare
Hardcover: 560 pages
Pub Date: March 24, 2009
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that enter-ing the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?


This is such an enjoyable series. I love the characters and the creativity of the fantasy world. It is unlike anything I have read and I will read the entire series because of that no matter what.

Clare is a fantastic writer. She can do a climax better than most writers, so even when this one got a little slow or predictable, I was still excited to keep reading because I knew it would pay off.

This was my least favorite of the first three books though. There were some events that were supposed to be big twists and a shock, but I saw them coming the second the characters were introduced or even mentioned. From what I have seen online, that was a common issue with this book…that so many readers could see it all coming which did not happen in the first books.

That said, it was still really enjoyable. The end was CRAZY! Getting to see the city was amazing! Readers heard about it again and again was such a cool experience. I felt like I was in the city and it was everything I expected it to be and more.

I really look forward to the next book – if this series interests you even a little, you should read it because she is such a great writer!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Supporting Equality is Awesome

Posted by Caitie F on May 9, 2012

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I am a big supporter of equal rights, especially for the LGBT community.

So I was upset with Amendment 1 passing yesterday – also because of all of the rights that were taken away for domestic partners as well. I had hope for North Carolina starting a new era in equality. But a shout out to the awesome people who went out and voted against it. I hope they know that they are awesome.

After that upsetting news, I was having a pretty bad day.

That is until President Obama said that he supports marriage equality. Now I am one of those that thinks he has always supported it, especially since he said so much in a survey in the 90s, but didn’t want to say anything because it could ruin him politically (which sucks so so much). But whether he really did evolve or not is not the point. The point is that it is a HUGE deal.

I hope it will start some different conversations in the place that needs it most – churches. Before anything can change, the hateful speech needs to stop. Let’s focus on the whole loving each other part of it.

Here is the best part about this all though – all of the teens and kids that are struggling right now that just had the President step up and support them. That is SO big. I have read many stories tonight about it impacting young people online today. It brings me so much joy.

It has and will continue to bring out a lot of hatred in others. Which totally sucks, but this is a big step and worth a mini celebration!


Posted in Editorial | 2 Comments »

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Posted by Caitie F on May 3, 2012

Title: Attachments 
Author: Rainbow Road
Hardcover: 323 pages
Pub Date: April 14, 2011
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can’t seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he’d be sifting through other people’s inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can’t quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can’t help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.

But by the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you.” After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can’t see exactly where it’s leading him.


I enjoyed this book so much more than I expected! I thought it would be fun (it was). I thought it would be entertaining (it was). I thought it would make me laugh (it did). I didn’t expect to tear up, care about the characters, and not be able to put it down.

While it is set up as a light and fun book, it talks about relationship,s friendships, and some serious issues in realistic and touching way.

The set up of this was really cool too. The only way you see Beth and Jennifer, at least for most of the book, is through their emails that Lincoln reads. It may seem like it would be hard to connect with characters in this way, but it was really easy! It actually felt more personal than being inside a characters head. It made me very glad I don’t send personal emails at work!

The reader sees Lincoln through a more traditional method: his whole life. He  is a complex guy and, for a book that felt like it would be more for women, I think a lot of men could relate to his struggles and life.

Overall, it was a great book to read. With summer coming up, I would highly recommend it as a summer read if you like books that are not only fun, but also make you think and feel.


Posted in Review, Summer reads | Tagged: | 2 Comments »