Monday, May 13, 2013
The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry
Neptune's Tears by Susan Waggoner
The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Devonshire Folk Tales
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Blogs and Bloggers mentioned:
Cari of Cari's Book Blog
April of Good Books and Good Wine
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Library Card by Jerry Spinelli
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Graffiti Moon by Kath Crowley
Fire by Kristin Cashore
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel: The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier
Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt
The Dork Diaries: Tales From A Not-So Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel: Kristy's Great Idea by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Buried Alive: How 33 Chilean Miners Survived 69 Days Deep Under the Chilean Desert by Elaine Scott
Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston
It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
Slathbog's Gold by M.L. Forman
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
What I plan to read:
A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Thursday, May 9, 2013
In A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin has created a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill the pages of the first volume in an epic series sure to delight fantansy fans everywhere.
In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes of the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
(Summary from GoodReads)
I’d been thinking of reading A Game of Thrones for quite a while. Now that the t.v. show is on and most of my friends are reading the books, I decided it was finally time to check them out for myself. I know, I know, I’m such a follower. Anyways, while I wouldn’t characterize A Game of Thrones as high brow literature, it’s highly enjoyable fantasy who like a good story and don’t gratuitous sex and violence.
A Game of Thrones is an 800 page long book told from 10 different points of view. Thank goodness for the handy character list in the back of this book, because I don’t think I’d have made it through otherwise. These two characteristics make it sound as though Martin’s book is tough to read, but once you figure out who’s related to who and how, it helps simplify matters.
As I’m sure a lot of you know, George R.R. Matin has not created a cast of likeable characters. There’s a decent handful of asshats in this book, but they make a huge difference in driving the story forwards. I particularly enjoyed reading about Jon, Arya, and Daenerys and am eager to hear where their stories go.
The plot of A Game of Thrones moves fast. There is literally never a dull moment. This book has a lot of political intrigue and while I sometimes don’t like it, I think it works because Martin’s character are so well written. You either love them or you hate them.
This is not the book for everyone. It’s long and there’s a lot to remember, but it’s wholly enjoyable. I can’t wait to pick up AClash of Kings and dive into the t.v. series as well.
Friday, May 3, 2013
For nearly four years, fantasy and science fiction enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting this second volume to Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles. The first volume, The Name of the Wind, won the prestigious Quill Award and was recently voted as the third-best SFF novel of the decade on Tor.com. In this linchpin book of the trilogy, Kvothe continues his perilous search for answers about the Chandrian even as he grapples with more pressing dangers.
(Summary from GoodReads)
When I read The Name of the Wind in 2011, it became an instant favorite. I picked up The Wise Man’s Fear expecting to be just as blown away, and while I was thrilled to see that Rothfuss’ prose was still gorgeous, the plots of Rothfuss’s books are two different. While I missed hearing about Kvothe’s childhood, The Wise Man’s Fear is a sequel that shows how Rothfuss has grown as a storyteller and shows different and fascinating sides of his world.
The set up here is the same as in The Name of the Wind: a man telling his story to a barkeep and periodically to one of his workers who listens in. Rothfuss covered most of Kvothe’s childhood in book one, so we hear a lot more about his days at the university here. To be honest, that part went largely as expected: similar friends and similar enemies, with a few notable incidents and new characters thrown in.
However, not all of The Wise Man’s Fear takes place at the University. Kvothe travels to new places and gets new life experiences. As I read Rothfuss’s sophomore novel, I was constantly amazed by the worldbuilding. It reads as though every nook and cranny was carefully thought through and put together. There may be only one book left, but I know there are a lot of details that we have yet to see and pieces that will draw together in the conclusion.
Because this book is so heavy on forwarding the world building and driving character relations, the beauty of the writing didn’t strike me as often or as much as in The Name of the Wind. It was still lovely and enjoyable, but Rothfuss clearly set out to accomplish a great deal in this book. I’m especially eager to see how things tie up with Kvothe and Denna.
The Wise Man’s Fear is a very different book from The Name of the Wind and while I’m not sure I liked it as much, it’s still an exceptional read. Rothfuss is easily one of the best fantasy writers out there today. He even threw in a twist right at the very end of this one, making the wait for The Doors ofStone all the more arduous.
The Allure of Books
The Book Rat
Good Books and Good Wine
The Allure of Books
The Book Rat
Good Books and Good Wine
Monday, April 22, 2013
So it occurs to me that even if it hasn’t been obvious, I have been attempting to be someone I’m not. I have been thinking a little too hard about the cliques that come along with blogging, and letting it bother me. Those days are over.
Before I started blogging, I became friends on GoodReads with a certain person who shall remain nameless. I thought she was so cool and when I saw her blog, I was totally inspired to start my own. She writes great reviews and is pretty funny. I used to think of her as one of my closest blogging friends. Now we still talk on Twitter every now and again, but we’ve obviously grown apart.
This person now associates with a handful of other bloggers whose blogs I enjoy reading. Their content is good and there’s a lot of individuality behind each blog. I’m referring to a group here that’s a fairly small size. While these girls are all friendly, it seems to me as though they largely associate with one another. I get it—when it comes to girlfriends, the ones who you can laugh with but who will also support you when you’re down are the best picks.
I tried to subtley insert myself into this group a few times. You know, join conversations on Twitter, perhaps casually drop a mention of hoping to meet them one day if we happened to be at the same event. It’s recently occurred to me that I’ll never be a part of this little group. Honestly? That’s completely fine with me. I still have blogging friends that I’m pretty tight with and those people know who they are.
So I’ve stopped trying and have decided to let it go. Unless it’s something I feel strongly about, I let the Tweets pass me by. I’ll be courteous and chat with one of these ladies if it’s something I’m super passionate, but why keep trying? Why put so much energy into something that’s just not going to happen?
Since getting a full-time job, I’m not on Twitter nearly as much. I often leave it open during work in case someone Tweets a link that’s useful to me in a professional sense, but after work I don’t spend much time online. I’m currently getting ready to do a sprint triathlon in June and I try to keep at lest somewhat busy on the weekends. I have friends in my personal life who constantly welcome me with open arms, and who are not only loving and supportive people, but just plain fun to be with. I’m in a healthy spot outside of blogging and I like it that way. It makes sitting at home trying to stimulate futile internet friendships look like an absurd endeavor.
Some of you may be thinking that I’m ditching Twitter entirely. That’s not true either. I will definitely be doing my best to respond to all Tweets that are directed at me personally, and I’m happy to make new friends.
I doubt I’m the only blogger who has wondered what exactly my place in this community is. Am I cool kid? Or just an outlier sitting in the background with a Coca-Cola, occasionally blurting out that random thoughts that pop into her head?
Clearly, I am the latter. I am an outlier. A weirdo. Truth be told, I always kind of have been. It feels nice to just admit it. I think writing this post will hold me accountable in regards to not stressing about cliques and other blogging drama.
Be friends with who you like, if they have 3,000 Twitter followers or 300. Don’t try to be something you aren’t. While I don’t think anyone will call you out on it, I do believe you’ll be happier.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Today is a Top Ten Tuesday Rewind day! Today I'm tackling a list that I immediately regretted not posting as soon as I saw it on other people's blogs. Since I seem to be especially good at completing Top Ten Tuesday lists that revolve around buying books, I thought it was appropriate that I talk about all of the books I plan on buying in the future. I would also talk about the Beauty and the Beast sized library I plan on obtaining so I have a place to keep all of these books, but I'm still working out the details on that one.
At any rate, I've decided to include and link up to the author's upcoming book in each of these cases. If I don't know when his or her next book will be out then the link will lead you to the most recent release.
1.) Victoria Schwab
The Near Witch. Her books are always haunting yet gorgeous.
2.) John Green
3.) Catherynne M. Valente
It took a chapter or two, but when I read Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, I fell head over heels in love, and I enjoyed The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led The Revels There even more. Although Catherynne has some adult books out that I don't own, I hope to acquire them soon. Both the world and the writing in the Fairyland series is just totally magical.
4.) Stephanie Perkins
5.) Diana Peterfreund
I admit, even though I like all of Diana's books, some of them have their weird moments for me (Killer Unicorns series, I am looking at you). However, their concepts are always so brilliant and her writing is lovely.
6.) Maggie Stiefvater
7.) Neil Gaiman
I shouldn't have to explain this one. I mean, it's Neil Gaiman. COME ON. However, I will, because I like you guys. When I read Stardust, it basically felt like the ultimate fairy tale/fantasy for me. It's everything I want a fairy tale to be. Well done, Neil.
8.) Tamora Pierce
9.) Katja Millay
It may seem weird that I am adding Katja to my autobuy list when I've only read one book by her, but her writing is simply stunning.
10.) Patrick Rothfuss
Gorgeous writing and brilliant storytelling? If Patrick Rothfuss ever actually finishes writing The Doors of Stone I'll definitely buy it.
There you have it. A small sample of the books that will inevitably be added to my collection. Which authors are on your auto-buy lists?
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
There are some things you can’t leave behind… A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.
Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.
(Summary from GoodReads)
The summary of If You Find Me that I first looked at made me think it might be a thriller or suspense novel, but it’s actually closer to a contemporary or realistic novel. I actually thought this would be unlike anything I’ve read and while I was mostly write, it shared a few elements with the film Winter’s Bone. For the most part I enjoyed If You Find Me, even though parts of it were a bit melodramatic.
Carey and Jenessa’s story is a tough one to read: they’ve lived a life without a lot of modern amenities, and they don’t entirely realize that they deserve better. Their mother isn’t a great parent, and they have to go through a lot of rough transitions to get a better life. While some of these elements are enough to make a person’s stomach turn, they make Murdoch’s story feel all the more real.
Murdoch is skilled with prose, but I felt that her plot needed work. It became clear fairly quickly what the big twist in this book was. I wanted to feel compelled by it, yet the way it was executed lacked emotion towards me. When it was described, the amount of emotional distance that the narrator used didn't feel quite right to me. Some of the relationships in this book also felt contrived.
I read If You Find Me quite quickly, and for the most part, I found it satisfactory. Murdoch knew the setting where her story took place, and the atmosphere was great. Even though it didn’t totally satisfy me, she did enough things right that I’m hoping to pick up more books by Murdoch in the future.