March 14th, 2009

worm, books, princess

I'm Back in Action!

Hello everyone, I am a returning user of livejournal.
I used to be obsessed with reading but then that hobby slowly but surely started to disinterest me.
Now that I look back at it, I think I was crazy because I now know that I am definitely a girl who is willing to read a lot. And I am willing to write the longest reviews you have ever seen.
I just grabbed some books off my shelf that I started reading but never got to finish because I became disinterested.
I read mostly YA books.

The books that I am willing to finish are:
Vampire Kisses 3: Vampireville by Ellen Schreiber
How I Changed My Life
by Todd Strasser
All-American Girl
by Meg Cabot
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

I am currently liking Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney and Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty: Everything You Need to Look Pretty, Natural, Sexy, & Awesome by Bobbi Brown.

I must admit that the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series is childish but I still find it amusing.

Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty has the best makeup advice you could ever get.

So there you have it!
I am starting over!
Now I'm on a new, clean slate.
I might be a little behind on my books just so you know.


Sincerely,
Dani


x-posted
Carnival

#19 Midnight Nation by J Michael Straczynski

A couple weeks ago my fiancé told me that I should read Midnight Nation. He compared it to Neverwhere, a book I’ve read recently and really enjoyed. I was skeptical at first. Neverwhere is a very British book, how could this very American story be similar? Once I started, I realized quickly that I had underestimated it. Midnight Nation tells the story what happen to people who have been forgotten by society. They fade from our world, exiting in a bleak shadow of our own universe that is patrolled by monsters. Our protagonist, Los Angeles police officer David Grey, falls into this midnight nation, but not because he’s been forgotten. His very soul has been stolen. Now, lead by a beautiful and mysterious woman named Laurel, he must make a trek to New York City to retrieve his soul, and he has less than a year to do it. If he doesn’t make it in time he will become… well, you’ll just have to read it to find out.

Midnight Nation is an incredibly well written graphic novel that works well on many different levels. On one level it’s a very complicated story about hope and the universe, but it’s also the classic struggle between good and evil. David, a police officer who struggles to do what is right, is a very likeable hero, and his guide Laurel is a well written strong woman. The reader is able to connect with them early on, making this graphic novel very hard to put down. The secondary characters are also well crafted. For example, the author could have taken the easy, more predictable way out by making the antagonist purely evil, but he instead gives him layers. The artwork not cartoonish, but instead has a sketchy realistic quality to it that suits the gritty storyline really well.

Midnight Nation
is highly recommended for people looking for a story with a little meat on it. I also think it’s also a good gateway book for people that are looking to get into graphic novels, as the story is very easy to get into and hard to put down. I highly recommend this.

Rating: five out of five stars
Length: 304 pages
Source: borrowed from roommate
TBR Pile: 150 books
Similar Books: The trek across America aspect reminds me a lot of Y: The Last Man by Brian K Vaughn. The people falling through the cracks of society aspect is (as my fiancé mentioned) very Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
Other books I've read by this author: None!

I also finished the audiobook of Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire this week. I'll post my review of that a little later.

xposted to bookish  and temporaryworlds 

Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets

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Book #9
Book Title: Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets(reread)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Category: YA fiction; fantasy; series
# of pages: 341
My rating of the book, F- [worst] to A [best].: A-
Short description/summary of the book: (taken from amazon.com):It's hard to fall in love with an earnest, appealing young hero like Harry Potter and then to watch helplessly as he steps into terrible danger! And in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the much anticipated sequel to the award-winning Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, he is in terrible danger indeed. As if it's not bad enough that after a long summer with the horrid Dursleys he is thwarted in his attempts to hop the train to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to begin his second year. But when his only transportation option is a magical flying car, it is just his luck to crash into a valuable (but clearly vexed) Whomping Willow. Still, all this seems like a day in the park compared to what happens that fall within the haunted halls of Hogwarts.
Chilling, malevolent voices whisper from the walls only to Harry, and it seems certain that his classmate Draco Malfoy is out to get him. Soon it's not just Harry who is worried about survival, as dreadful things begin to happen at Hogwarts. The mysteriously gleaming, foot-high words on the wall proclaim, "The Chamber of Secrets Has Been Opened. Enemies of the Heir, Beware." But what exactly does it mean? Harry, Hermione, and Ron do everything that is wizardly possible--including risking their own lives--to solve this 50-year-old, seemingly deadly mystery. This deliciously suspenseful novel is every bit as gripping, imaginative, and creepy as the first; familiar student concerns--fierce rivalry, blush-inducing crushes, pedantic professors--seamlessly intertwine with the bizarre, horrific, fantastical, or just plain funny. Once again, Rowling writes with a combination of wit, whimsy, and a touch of the macabre that will leave readers young and old desperate for the next installment.


My Thoughts: I just love how as the series progresses, the Harry Potter books continue to get darker and darker! I really love all of the books, but the first two in the Harry Potter series are the weakest, imo. I really do enjoy them but not as much as the other books in the series. I think that rereading this series is really beneficial because, at least for me, I seem to pick up things that I didn't notice the first time I read this series. I cannot wait to read Prisoner of Azkaban and the rest of the series, because I enjoy books 3 through 7 the most!

Books read this year: 9/50.

Pages read this year: 2343/15000

Next read(s): I am about to start rereading Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling today!
  • devi42

Watchmen: graphic novel or comic?

"Neil Gaiman used to be a journalist, but gave it all up to write comics, which he claims are a totally valid late twentieth century art-form, and he's even won awards for them so that's all right" - From the author bios in Good Omens (Yes, I do know that Neil didn't write Watchmen)

I had an interesting time explaining the term "graphic novel" to two friends over lunch the other day. Neither had had heard the term prior to the buzz around the Watchmen movie and neither knew that there were novel length books told in comic book format.

"But Watchmen isn't really a graphic novel," I added. "It was originally published as individual issues. It's a comic book that's been collected in a volume."

"All the articles and reviews are saying it's a graphic novel," friend A pointed out.

I shrugged. "Yeah, well, everyone has delusions of grandeur. I love it, but it's a comic."

At the time, it seemed like a fair analysis. After all, there are several collected volumes of Strangers in Paradise and no one calls them graphic novels. Topping 500 pages, Craig Thompson's Blankets is undoubtedly a graphic novel but is Watchmen, a book that was released in chunks and only latter known as a single book?

Further muddying the waters are classic authors - like Dickens - who published in serial format.

What are your thoughts? Is Watchmen a graphic novel or a comic? Is (as my comic obsessed boyfriend maintains) the whole term "graphic novel" just plain silly to begin with.
Carnival

#20 Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

Before reading Son of a Witch, I had experienced two other Gregory Maguire books: Wicked (which was very enjoyable) and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (which I loved), but I noticed both of them suffered from an awkward start (Wicked more so than Confessions). Son of a Witch follows this pattern. The book opens up with Oatsie Manglehand, who is leading a group of travelers when she comes across a group of murdered missionaries whose faced have been scraped off. She also comes across an unconscious young man who is very close to death. She brings him to the House of St Glinda, where the Maunts (a religious order of women, much like nuns) reveal him to be Liir, the rumored son of The Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba. Then the story splits into three parts. Most importantly is Liir’s past, told in a dream-like state, starting out from the death of Elphaba and continuing for the next ten years. Another part is Sister Doctor and Sister Apothecaire’s investigation of the scraped missionaries. A third, smaller part, tells of the Candle, a Quadling girl, and her attempts to bring Liir back to life with her music. This disjointed beginning makes it difficult to get into the stories. As a result, the book doesn’t pick up until you’re more than a fourth in, and it’s not really until you get to the second part of the book, The Service, that it becomes something special.

Liir’s story (for despite the side sections in the beginning, it’s really his story) is quite different than Elphaba’s because he’s a very different person. I’ve seen a lot of negative views about the characterization of Liir and the other players in the book, but I had no problems with him or anyone else myself. While Elphaba was something special, Liir is a normal young man. It’s fascinating to watch his development from confused adolescent to a more mature man, even though he makes some terrible decisions while doing so. The storyline, although it takes a while to get off the ground, is for the most part enjoyable. Gregory Maguire is not a fluff writer by many means, and there are a lot of layers that exist in this book, including plenty of subtext on religion, the military, masculinity, democracy, and even a little about sexuality. For the most part, these messages work very well in the story, but there are parts when the message seems more important than the story itself and the book can almost get preachy. I thought long and hard about this book once I was done. Sure it was flawed, but in the end, I really think that I enjoyed the time I spent with Liir, Candle, and the Maunts (I have even named my mp3 player after Liir). There were a lot of little things I enjoyed as well, such as the members of The Conference of the Birds.

I listened to the audio book version, narrated by Gregory Maguire himself, who does a very solid job. One thing I really enjoyed about the audiobook was the fact that there is a short interview with the author at the end. Once again, I was reminded of what an intelligent, funny, likeable person Gregory Maguire is. He’s just the kind of person I’d like to have tea or coffee with and discuss literary fantasy, despite the fact that I don’t drink either.

Rating: three and a half out of five stars
Length: the print version is 337 pages
Source: the audio library
TBR Pile: 150 books
Other books I've read by this author: Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

xposted to bookish  and temporaryworlds 

Kitty: Angry Calico

Lewis, J.F.: Staked

Staked (2008)
Written by: J.F. Lewis
Genre: Horror/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 370

The premise: Eric is a vampire with a memory the consistency of Swiss cheese, which is a problem: when he gets mad, he blacks out and can't remember who he's killed or why, and this time, it's gonna cost him: one of his murders has the werewolves on his tail, and they won't let up until Eric is dead-dead. And if Eric doesn't have enough problems, his human girlfriend Tabitha won't leave him alone until he changes her to a vampire, and then he meets Tabitha's little sister Rachel, he finds her much more appealing (which would make sense, since she's not a vampire and Tabitha is). The problem is, he isn't convinced the women in his life don't have something up their sleeves, and it's all he can do just to stay alive right now. Well, as alive as a vampire can be, that is.

A head's up: this is the author whose church shunned him for the content of his book, which I guess would be rather horrific and shocking if you don't read this kind of thing on a regular basis and/or don't understand that authors ARE NOT what they write.

My Rating

Worth the Cash: if you're looking for vampires that are not the tragic, long-suffering, romantic hero types, you're going to like Eric. He enjoys what he is and makes no apologies for what he does, even when he SHOULD be making apologies. There's some typical vampire conventions used, but I think Lewis also introduces quite a number of interesting riffs on the genre. The world-building is also pretty interesting, because Lewis dumps all manner of things on the reader (werewolves, magicians, demons) without it getting overwhelming, and the humor in this book, sadistic as it sometimes is, is quite enjoyable. The one warning I would give to readers is that while this book does END with some kind of resolution, there's a lot left hanging and we get only hints to the answers that I really, really, REALLY hope are in the second book, ReVamped, which I do plan on getting my hands on. But for its flaws, Staked is an enjoyable, fast read that's solidly written and one I'm glad I got my hands on it.

The full review, with plenty of spoilers and cover art commentary, may be found in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.

REVIEW: J.F. Lewis's STAKED

Happy Reading! :)
group, harry potter, spying

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

When I first read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I didn't care for it.  I thought it was boring and read more like a teen novel than anything.  I recently re-read it to get in the mood for the movie, and I was pleasently suprised.  The plot is much better the second-time around, IMO.  I think that in my rush to get to the end and find out what happened, I skimmed over some interesting plot points and characterization along the way.  I love this book now, not as much as the third in the series (which I think vaulted the series from children's books into something much more complex), but it still has an important place. 

I think the book is much more enjoyable when the reder knows what happens in the seventh book, as it adds credit to the backstory JKR is trying to estalish.

Has anyone else found that the sixth Harry Potter book is better given a second read?

Random Book News & Links

Do your daily reading habits display a dysfunctional demeanor? The Guardian UK has a quiz.



Hoping to uncover the secrets to creating a kids' lit hit, CNN.com analyzes 70 years worth of children's classics.


A recent survey found that two out of three Brits have lied about the books they've read. George Orwell's 1984 tops the list of literary lies, with War and Peace a close second.


Fresh off her success with the Twilight adaptation, filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke has picked another teen-angst tome for her next film. But will the goth girls go gaga for If I Stay?


For fifty years, a small Parisian bookshop has offered food and lodging to penniless authors - the only rule is that they read a book a day. The shop is called Shakespeare and Company, and The Guardian UK has penned 'em a profile.


So you've read Watchmen, watched Watchmen, and eaten Pez from Watchmen. Perhaps it's time to try something new. Are You A Serious Comic Book Reader? recommends two other superhero-deconstruction comics: Rick Veitch's The Maximortal and Milligan & Fegredo's Enigma. Both are brilliant, but Enigma's my personal favorite.
worm, books, princess

Borders Haul

I just came back from Borders and I was a little disappointed that they didn't have a lot of the books I wanted in stock.
But I am still happy with what I got.
I purchased two books.
Even so, I am still happy because it's not like I needed any it was just because I wanted them. I have plenty already, trust me.
So, I got:
The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
The Uglies
by Scott Westerfeld

Many of you may be familiar with them.

I think that I will enjoy The Nature of Jade because I think I will be able to relate to it.
The Uglies looks like a good book because it has a pretty interesting plot and it is YA, after all.

Have any of you read either of these books?
If so, did you like them?
If not, are you planning on reading them?

Sincerely,
Dani


x-posted
Winter FMA

Linnea Sinclair Book-A-Day!

I adore Linnea Sinclair, I have since first reading The Accidental Goddess years ago. So trust me when I say that I was uber-excited when I finally received my copy of Hope's Folly (better late then never right?) and decided to have a week-long re-read of all her books (that I own)!

On the plate shall be:
Sunday: Finders Keepers
Monday: Games of Command
Tuesday: The Accidental Goddess
Wednesday: The Down Home Zombie Blues
Thursday: Gabriel's Ghost
Friday: Shades of Dark
Saturday: Hope's Folly

Look for my first post soon at my blog: Poisoned Rationality!

Let's have some fun!

Lexie