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October 25, 2014

Book 36 of My 2014 Goal

MeritropolisMeritropolis by Joel Ohman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to make of the cover of Meritropolis by Joel Ohman but it did spark my interest. (The cover makes complete sense once you read it.) The description the author wrote on Amazon didn't tell me enough about it to really make me want to read it, it sparked my interest but it didn't have me thinking that I had to have this book. Between that little spark of interest in his description and the cover that caught my eye I figured I would take a chance (and I am so glad I did).

I don't want to write any spoilers so I am not going to re-cap the whole story but Meritropolis is a place/city that had been like any city but 'the event' happened. A fence/wall was built around it and it faced a huge problem, there were too many people and not enough resources for them all so a "system" was put in place where "the needs of the many always outweighed the desires of the individuals." So in order for Meritropolis to survive and flourish everyone inside the gate was assigned numbers of their worth to the community every week. (This was agreed upon by all people living there at the time.) If your number is below a certain number then you are 'zeroed' which is a euphemism for being killed. They did not kill you outright but that person was put outside the gate and what is living outside the gate will kill you.

In several aspect the book it did remind me of 'The Hunger Games' with the lead character, Charley being a bit or a rebel (reminds me of Katniss) and wanting to bring the system down. Charley was just a child when this system was put in place so he didn't have a say in it but now at age 17 he sees how barbaric it is. He is a believable character most of the time and well developed. The other characters being at varying degrees of development and I wished a few more of these characters were as well developed as Charlie was.

The pace of the book was quick and there was something always going on. It might have been something physical or some other form but the pace was eventful from beginning to end with no slowing in between. Speaking of the ending, well, it left me wanting more.

The format of the book was clean and clear. Each chapter was on mark and I really liked the little pictures (with name and definition) before each new chapter started. I didn't notice any typos or swearing.

The only true negative thing I have to say about the book is that the author didn't write a captivating description to draw readers in, I think he is describing his book too short.

This book is one of those you pick up and don't put down and anyone who enjoyed books such as Hunger Games or Divergent should enjoy this one. I recommend it for YA (male and females should enjoy it) and all those who are YA at heart.

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October 8, 2014

Book 35 of my 2014 Goal

A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities (Quirky Essays for Quirky People, #2)A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities by Barbara Venkataraman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities (Quirky Essays for Quirky People) by Barbara Venkataraman is a feel good, amusing, read it 'just for the fun of it' type book. Even the cover of it screams fun and I bet we all know someone that is a DIY (Do It Yourself) type guy who just can't seem to get it done right. The other stories (author calls them essays) are just as fun, ironic, and amusing.

I won't recap the whole thing as the author has already done a great description that you can read for yourself but I will say that this is a fantastic read to have a good laugh. The characters and stories were for the most part believable. The characters were all developed enough where I couldn't help but at least have some sort of superficial bonding/connection with them and I found myself thinking, "I know someone like that" or "That sounds like my day/luck".

I want to mention that this comes in 'Audio' version (which is the one I have). It is narrated by Carrie Lee Martz who has a wonderful voice and pronounces her words and with such passion. I did not notice any flaws in her narration. (There is no misunderstanding her because she is slurring her words, hesitations, stuttering, etc.)

I really enjoyed this book and totally recommend it to anyone who wants light stories with a side of humor.

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October 5, 2014

Book 34 of my 2014 Goal

Afterlife and Other StoriesAfterlife and Other Stories by Ed Krizek
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Afterlife and Other Stories by Ed Krizek is a collection of short stories provoking different feelings, some happy, some sad, etc., and to be honest with you, some I didn't quite understand the point of. I am assuming that they all have a point, some sort of conclusion, trying to relay a message or thought otherwise there really wasn't a point to the author writing them. Some of the stories I understood right away what that point was but others just left me hanging and wondering what I missed.

The stories varied in length but all of them short stories so there really was no 'bond' with any of the characters, more of a superficial feeling for them. None go very deep into the character which makes the cover of the book so appropriate, an orange "here I am" color but no 'scene' to really get 'into'. This isn't one of the stories but an explanation of what I mean by that is: 'There was a little girl who loved her doll. She went with her mother on errands and when she got home she realized the doll was lost. She was very sad and cried and cried. They went back to the store and the little girl was so happy to see her doll sitting on the counter waiting for her. She scooped the doll up and held her so tight.' Although I didn't bond with the little girl in that story, I don't even know how old she is or her name, I would feel sad she lost her doll and then happy she found her.

Before I go any further I should point out that I read in bed before sleep so 'my brain is drained' so to speak and I prefer stories where the author draws the conclusions and there isn't a lot of 'thinking' on my part. I know what the plot is, it is very clear and the conclusion ends the story (or carries it over into the next book) but there is always some sort of ending with some problem solved or question answered. Some of these stories in this book left me with more questions as to what the point was. I can draw multiple points from them but unsure which was the correct one (or even if there was a 'correct' one). This didn't relax me, it only adds to me thinking, staying awake, and frustration even. So the only conclusion I can draw is that this book just wasn't for me.

Not that I am saying there are no good stories in it. I found 'The Beggar' very good and 'Peregrination' comical, just to name a couple. I also found some quotes very interesting, for example, in one of the stories someone explained the difference between neurotics and psychotics and said that "neurotics build castles in the sky and psychotics move into them". Quite amusing and I imagine very true!

To sum it up, the stories in the book all may have been good but it just isn't my kind of 'bedtime' stories

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