Bestie Banters – The Death Cure

Welcome back to Bestie Banters.  My BFF Rachel and I wrapped up book 3 in Maze Runner trilogy, The Death Cure, and shared our thoughts via e-mail conversation.  WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS!

Julz: While book 3 was better than 2 and there were a lot of questions answered, I kind of wished Thomas had chosen to regain his memories.  I thought that would have clarified a lot.

Rach: I completely agree.  I really expected them to force it on him or for him to logically choose that option.  Especially after all snip-its of Thomas’ memory that we were exposed to in the previous books, I really thought his memory was the key to figuring everything out and was looking forward to knowing.

Throughout the third book, I had a very hard time remembering that they were just kids. They went through so many horrific trials in all three books and, for the most part, approached them with such logic and poise. I cannot imagine the pressure to rebuild the world resting on their small shoulders – especially since Thomas didn’t even pick up on Brenda’s innuendo near the end when they had escaped!

Julz: OK, who edited this book?  I noticed two glaring mistakes that really bothered me.  On page 52, Thomas is being dragged away by guards, but it says, “His captives yanked him farther into the room.”  Um, it should be CAPTORS.  And then on page 61, same thing.  Their hostage is “Minho’s captor…”  Drove me nuts.

Rach: How perceptive are you!  I did not notice that.

Julz: I was upset about the whole Newt thing.  But I’m also glad Thomas had the courage to fulfill his wish.  As smart as the Gladers were, none of them deserved to descend into madness.

Rach: Newt’s situation just broke my heart.  I thought it was bad enough when they had to leave him behind at the bowling alley, but then to have the confrontation that ultimately allowed him to fulfill the wishes – it was hard to read.

Julz: Did I read right in the afterward by the Chancellor that The Flare was released on purpose as a means of population control?  Why would they need to control the population when the solar flares decimated so much of the world already?

Rach: I absolutely had to go back and read that again when I was finished because I didn’t quite believe it.  For as calculating as WICKED was to run all the trials and scenarios I feel like the recklessness of releasing The Flare does not fit in with their persona.  I also felt like that piece of information should’ve been revealed earlier in the book and worked into the story line instead of just BOOM adding it at the end for you to digest.

Julz: I had a feeling Theresa would die in some sort of heroic act.  I knew the only way she could redeem herself in Thomas’s eyes would be to save his life, even if it meant sacrificing her own.  And am I a bad person because I wasn’t upset that she died?

Rach: Absolutely not – I’m right with you on that one.  I was getting extremely tired of the back and forth and longing glares/glances they were exchanging.

Julz: And where can I get me some Bliss?

Rach: Right?!?  In my head I was trying to picture where everyone was getting the bliss from because they stated how expensive it was, but it sounded like they treated it like a street drug.  I alternated from men almost consumed by The Flare lurking in the alley, to dispensaries, to the munies making money selling it.

It was refreshing to have a YA series end logically and with a sense of satisfaction.  I’m pretty tempted to read the prequel.  It seems like the author felt the need to write it because he didn’t give Thomas his memory back and all the fans are dying to know.  I would imagine we will get the history of WICKED, of Thomas’ childhood before WICKED, and also the solar flare event.

Julz: Well if you do, you’re going to have to come back and tell us all whatcha thought…

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Ahhh, Vacation

hubs on vaca

Now that I’m caught up at home and at work, I thought I’d recap our lakeside retreat in honor of our 11th anniversary…  We had the most relaxing time hanging out at the cabin.  Did we do much?  Nope. When we were hot, we swam; when we were hungry, we grilled.  Nice cool nights were perfect for plenty of campfires.  Just being together without the distractions of civilization was delightful.  I enjoyed laying on a towel next to my darling, browning in the sun and reading great books.  I absolutely adored The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and now I can’t wait to get my hands on The Goldfinch.  I also finished an old-school Vine book, The Infinite Tides, and had a funny Twitter conversation with the author.

Despite my best intentions (encouraging i.e. nagging)  The Hubs read all of 3 pages in the novel I recommended for him.  He wasn’t even enticed by Daniel Silva.  Yup, I’m married to David Puddy.  More commentary could certainly be warranted, but  I don’t want to publicly shame him TOO much…puddy

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

secret historyPublished by Ballantine Books, 1992 *****

There was so much to love about this book: the tension, the atmosphere, the characters… When Richard attends a small Vermont college, he falls in with an unusual clique of Greek scholars. These kids are young enough to be somewhat innocent of the world outside their own orbit, but old enough to adopt quirky, sophisticated affectations. They all have admirable qualities, but they certainly have some major issues (pill-popping trust fund alkies), including being murderers. Richard is the most naïve of the group and a bit of a pushover. But they all seem to bow to the will of enigmatic Henry. Once I began to trust and respect him, Henry’s flaws and cynicism surface. Francis was my favorite character and I found him to be the most honest and loyal.

The way it was written was so thoroughly engaging. Every time I thought one of the characters would react or behave a certain way, they would do something completely unexpected and weird, adding to their level of mystification. Certainly their apparent lack of remorse was somewhat disturbing, but that just added to the sinister nature of the novel. Ii was utterly riveted by the whole book and will be enthusiastically recommending it for a long time to come.

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Maggie’s Wars by Phil Pisani

maggie's warsPublished by American Book Incorporated, November 2013 ***

I felt a little mislead by the synopsis of this book, and though it did offer some decent historical fiction, I found myself wanting more from the story. I thought the focus would be on Maggie and her experiences reporting on the war, but I wasn’t expecting an alternating narrative from the perspective of her officer beau Johnny. There’s Maggie’s first-person narrative detailing the struggles she faced as a woman in the field of journalism, then there’s Johnny’s account of his time during the final year of war in Europe. But Maggie’s story ends up being more about her on-again/off-again relationship with Johnny, her aspirations as a reporter in a very sexist era and profession, her tendencies to sleep her way to getting a scoop or a better assignment, and her frustrations with censorship. While her experience witnessing the liberation of Dachau was affecting, there were hardly any details about her observing the Nuremburg trials first-hand.

I liked Johnny as a character and appreciated his heroism on the front lines. Maggie herself was less sympathetic, letting her ambition cloud her judgment. While she was a determined and strong female character, she wasn’t entirely likeable. I thought the writing itself lacked refinement, and I was completely let down by the conclusion. It had the potential to be a great book; the premise was intriguing, but I just wasn’t captivated by the story as a whole.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Maggie's Wars HF

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The Infinite Tides by Christian Kiefer

infinite tidesPublished by Bloomsbury USA, 2012 ****

Astronaut Keith Corcoran is so supremely focused on his career goals, that once he’s on the International Space Station and he is confronted with his daughter’s death, he doesn’t quite know how to react. Keith’s perspective is so unique, and he’s so singularly focused on achieving a directive, that he is utterly perplexed by the grieving process. When he finally returns to earth, his wife has left him with an empty house to sell. As he meanders through the following weeks, he ponders his situation with the deadpan logic of a Vulcan. There’s a bit of inaction while he considers what to do next, but it’s entertaining to read an engineer’s introspections (being married to an introvert engineer myself). His interactions with the neighbors lend some comedy (a realtor’s intrusion had me cracking up). As much as I was left dying to know what NASA needed from him (possibly something to do with an approaching comet), I was relieved that Keith was able to learn to live in the moment.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.

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11 Years

It’s been AWESOME!

wedding(This was long before bride reveal photos were all the rage.  It was the first moment The Hubs and I were alone after we recessed down the isle.  One of my favorites.  He’s totally checking me out.)

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Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again For The First Time

Another past Broke and Bookish topic I wanted to address this week while I’m away:  Books I wish I could read again for the First Time:

  1. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – Because I’ve never read anything like it before or since
  2. South of Broad by Pat Conroy – My first exposure to Conroy’s exquisite fiction
  3. Exodus by Leon Uris – The first book I’ve read by him snowballed into an obsession with his backlist
  4. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory – My gateway drug into the world of the Tudors
  5. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – As much as I loved this epic, I’m sort of disappointed I read World Without End so soon after
  6. Life of Pi by Yann Martel – I’ve read it three times, but it’s never the same sense of wonder as the first
  7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I was so enamored with this book, I walked around shoving it in people’s faces the day I finished it
  8. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – I was totally swept away by the concept
  9. Lamb by Christopher Moore – The humor and the novelty are never the same the second time around
  10. Harry Potter (x7) by J.K. Rowling – but of course…

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