August 4th, 2010

Right On

Whatever, you love that I post four reviews at once....

I know!  I'm a terrible person.  After this though, I SWEAR I will update my reviews RIGHT after I finish so that you don't get these power posts.  Also, please excuse the mistakes.  I didn't really look them over because I wanted to get caught up.  I am now!  Except for one review.

Title: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 374
Genre:  YA Lit./Dystopia

Summary (off Goodreads): In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love

Review: Collapse )

Title: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Rating: 3/5
Pages: 272
Genre: Children's lit./Fairy Tales

Summary (off Goodreads): The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a ...more The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin.

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Title: The Singing by Alison Croggon
Rating: 4/5
Pages: 496
Genre: Fantasy/ YA Lit.

Summary (off Goodreads): The Singing follows the separate journeys of Maerad and Cadvan, and their brother Hem, as they desperately seek each other in an increasingly battle-torn land. The Black Army is moving north and Maerad has a mighty confrontation with the Landrost to save Innail. All the Seven Kingdoms are being threatened with defeat. Yet Maerad and Hem hold the key to the mysterious Singing and only in releasing the music of the Elidhu together may the Nameless One be defeated. Can brother and sister find each other in time to fight the Nameless One, and are they strong enough to defeat him?

Review: Collapse )

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 310
Genre: YA Lit.

Summary (off Goodreads): One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

Review: Collapse )

You can read these reviews and all others atim_writing  or my Goodreads account.
Books so far this year: 34/75
Currently Reading: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson and A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire

Review: Ash by Malinda Lo

Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Page Count: 264 pages
Summary:"In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, re-reading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love—and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love."

(Review @ Read Sam, Read!)
bear jew

(no subject)

Title: Jane Bites Back
Author: Michael Thomas Ford
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 299
First Line: "It was not, of course, exactly what Jane had written to her sister that long-ago Christmas Eve, but the sentiment was the same."

Summary: Two hundred years after her death, Jane Austen is still surrounded by the literature she loves -- but now it's because she's the owner of Flyleaf Books in a sleepy college town in Upstate New York. Every day she watches her novels fly off the shelves -- along with dozens of unauthorized sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations. Jane may be undead, but her books have taken on a life of their own.

To make matters worse, the manuscript she finished just before being turned into a vampire has been rejected by publishers -- 116 times. Jane longs to let the world know who she is, but when a sudden twist of fate thrusts her back into the spotlight, she must hide he real identity -- and fen doff a dark man from her past while juggling two modern suitors. Will the world's most beloved author b able to keep her cool in this comedy of manners, or will she show everyone what a woman with a sharp wit and an even sharper set of fangs can do?

Source: Back of book

Review: Entertaining. Not a literary masterpiece or anything, but told with an enjoyable style. The second half of the book (maybe the last two-thirds, I'm not sure) were definitely better than its counterpart. Fairly original, aside from the fact that it's about vampires -- it was well executed in that respect, I felt. This is the second book I've read that had Byron as a vampire, though. I couldn't find anything about legends of him being a vampire, so I don't know what's up with that trend. I actually found a quote from him (at least it said it was from him) which said he didn't like the idea of vampires or whatever. In any case, a pretty fun read with decent characters. I'm interested to know how close they are to the real people. Worth a read, and will probably pick up the sequel.

Worst part: Jane's attraction to Kelly felt extraneous and irrelevant. I wish it hadn't been included.

Best part: I felt the bookstore really came to life, especially with Lucy. Also, it was easy to forget that a man had written the book.

Grade: B-

Other Books by This Author: Jane Goes Batty, The Road Home, What We Remember, Suicide Notes, Changing Tides, Full Circle, Looking for It, and Last Summer.

58 / 50 books. 116% done!

Book Review: The Book Thief

"First the colors.

Then the humans.
That's usually how I see things.  Or at least, how I try.

*Here is a small fact*  You are going to die."

I find it much harder to write about a book I liked than to write about a book I disliked or hated. With ‘bad’ books, there’s always a discussion about why the plot was awful, why the characters were terrible or how the book could have been improved. But with ‘good’ books, there’s really nothing left to say or do, except to praise its greatness.

This is truly the case with Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, which I finished reading a few days ago, but was unable to write a review about. What can I say about it except that it was a very good book? 

It is, among other things, a story about young Liesel Meminger and her life with her foster family and friends on Himmel Street in Germany during World War II.

At first glance, The Book Thief looks like just another story about a girl growing up during the holocaust, coming to grips with events around her and trying to survive hard times. Except that, unlike other books about growing up in Germany at the time of the Nazis, The Book Thief is told in a very unique and strange way, by an equally strange and unlikely narrator. It is, however, like many other books about the holocaust, filled with atrocities, tragedy and human suffering. 

The events of the book are told in a disjointed, sometimes even poetic sort of way, and the story itself has no exact beginning, middle and end; and it is this unique style which makes this book one of a kind.  The book is filled with a colourful cast of characters, some too good to be true, but that in itself is forgivable, because it only adds to the greatness of the novel. 

Despite the great sadness which reading this novel can evoke, one can also find joy and hope beneath all the unhappiness and tragedy.  One can feel hopeful that despite all the evil in the world, there are still people who are willing to risk their lives to do what’s right, and despite impoverished and difficult times, one can still find true happiness in the simple things in life.     

Personal rating: 5/5

Kitty: Angry Calico

Kenyon, Kay: Maximum Ice

Maximum Ice (2002)
Written by: Kay Kenyon
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 418 (Mass Market Paperback)

The premise: ganked from Zoya Kundara has lived on the space vessel Star Road for two hundred fifty years. As its Ship Mother, kept alive in a state of pseudoimmortality, she has provided wisdom and counsel to succeeding generations of its crew, self-exiled survivors of earth’s great plague. 

But now, to escape the ravages of space radiation, the giant starship has returned to earth, only to discover a world on the verge of extinction, its barren surface blanketed in a crystalline substance that resembles ice and that is slowly, inexorably encapsulating the planet. Zoya is chosen as emissary to this strange new earth, and now she must approach its denizens and find a suitable home for her desperate crew among the shrinking lands.

But what she finds shakes Zoya to her core: groups of humans huddled like moles in underground techno-warrens called preserves, and a pseudospiritual order known as the Ice Nuns, who seek control of the physics-defying crystals and enslave their disciples in their crazed quest for truth. For on this once green land, Ice and the science behind it are now the only God--and mastering this grand ecology of information the only higher calling. Allies are few and far between, but somehow Zoya must uncover the secrets of Ice and halt its expansion. 

That is, if the snow witches don’t get her first...

My Rating

Give It Away: Expectations were a little high for this one, because I've enjoyed Kenyon's recent work with The Entire and the Rose, and I liked the premise and cover a lot. Go figure. Certainly, there's a lot of interesting things in this book, namely in the world-building, but the book lacked a lot of tension that's necessary to keep the pages turning, and while I could finish the book (it wasn't unreadable), I wasn't emotionally invested in the characters or their struggles. But yet, there's some very cool things in this book, so it's worth reading if it interests you. It's just not something I'll come back to or even think about all that much now that I'm finished with it.

Review style: There's things I liked and things I didn't, so I want to talk through the story and discuss the things that worked and things that refused to stick with me, and how that left my overall impression of the book somewhat ambivalent. No spoilers, because I finished this over a week ago and have no need to get into nitty-gritty details. The full review is in my LJ for anyone interested, and as always, comments and discussion are most welcome.


Happy Reading!


Book club selections @ calico_reaction. Hop on over! We'd love to have you!

August: Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
September: So Long Been Dreaming edited by Nalo Hopkinson

(no subject)

I wrote here not long ago about an opening at my University book shop, Aacademon, and said that I will update in case they invite me for an interview.
I did hand in my resume and they called me the next day, saying they wanted to interview me. I was exhilarated because I thought it meant they didn't get enough qualified applicants and that might increase my chances of getting the job. However when I got there it turned out I was wrong, and that there were a lot of applicants who wanted to work for them (at least that's what the interviewer had said). Anyhow, I'm afraid that I blew it, since a. I had expressed desire to be put in the book/music department after the person said everybody filled almost every function in the store. So it came out like I wasn't listening/was too pushy, and b. I was stressed, and when she asked me what amount of time I could work each day, I started to list what obligations I had during the week, so it turned out I mentioned me going to therapy (which I told myself earlier not to do). They also make everyone applying for the job fill out a little SAT thingie which also checks your phychological disposition, I guess. I did it in two minutes, so that was okay, I guess, because I read the instructions carefully.
Bottom line, it's a fifty/fifty chance of me getting the job. I will continue to update, as the person said they'll try to contact me in a week to let me know.

I ordered The Vegan Lunch Box by J. McCann through Academon, as her site seemed appetizing and she didn't publish any of the recipes online. I'm getting a student's discount, so it will sum up in 94 NIS. Quite pricey for a cookbook, but it's an import and I'm not buying things online, so what can you do.

Question: yesterday I saw a review of Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach on Yahoo! News, and I would like to read it, as part of a research I'm doing on life in outer space, for a script I want to write. I got a title of another book called Living In space: from Science Fiction to the International Space Station by Giovanni Caprara, which is kinda old but seemed informative when the library search gave out the name.
So, is anyone read one of those? Are they good/reliable/informative on astronaut life in space/space station technicalities? About the M. Roach's book-what amount of it is fiction and what is fact?
I'd be glad to receive references to other sources of information.