Faith (dk_phoenix) Flies Through 75 in 2013: Part 2
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(First thread is HERE --> clicky)
(Just me & Jabba the Snow Hutt, chillaxin' on a wintery day...)
Yes, I'm still attempting to work through the 900+ books on my shelves, though I seem to be failing miserably at the second part of that challenge, which is to "read all new books as soon as they come into the house, so as to not increase the unread pile even MORE". You can see how that's going in the second post of this thread. Please feel free to berate me / empathize with me as you like. Strength in numbers, right?! o_O
Onward with the bookishness!
Books Read in 2013
1) Huntress -- Malinda Lo (3/5)
2) Plugged -- Eoin Colfer (4/5)
3) The Lost Scrolls (Rogue Angel #6) -- Alex Archer (1.5/5)
4) Cahills vs. Vespers #5: Trust No One -- Linda Sue Park (4/5)
5) Behind the Beautiful Forevers -- Katherine Boo (5/5)
6) Double Double: How Tim Hortons Became a Canadian Way of Life, One Cup at a Time -- Douglas Hunter (4/5)
7) Talyn -- Holly Lisle (4.5/5)
8) The Invisible Man -- H.G. Wells (3/5)
9) Bones of Faerie -- Janni Lee Simner (3/5)
10) Who Could That Be At This Hour? -- Lemony Snicket (4/5)
11) Children's and Household Tales -- The Brothers Grimm; transl. Lucy Crane translation (4/5)
12) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- Lewis Carroll (5/5)
13) Through the Looking-Glass -- Lewis Carroll (5/5)
14) Dracula -- Bram Stoker (5/5)
15) Everyday Justice -- Julie Clawson (5/5)
16) Tigana -- Guy Gavriel Kay (4.5/5)
17) Human.4 -- Mike A. Lancaster (3.5/5)
18) Beautiful Creatures -- Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (4.5/5)
19) Frankenstein -- Mary Shelley (3/5)
20) This Dark Endeavor -- Kenneth Oppel (5/5)
21) Fantasies of a Bollywood Love Thief -- Stephen Alter (4/5)
22) The Island of Doctor Moreau -- H.G. Wells (3.5/5)
23) Beyond Belief -- Jenna Hill (4/5)
24) Chemical Garden Trilogy #2: Fever -- Lauren De Stefano (4/5)
25) The Madman's Daughter -- Megan Shepherd (5/5)
26) The Dark Unwinding -- Sharon Cameron (3/5)
27) Too Good to Be True -- Kristan Higgins (5/5)
28) Catch of the Day -- Kristan Higgins (4/5)
29) The C.S. Lewis Hoax -- Kathryn Ann Lindskoog (4/5)
30) Fodor's Disneyworld Guide 2013 (5/5)
31) Tiger Babies Strike Back -- Kim Wong Keltner (2.5/5)
32) Guide to Canadian Vegetable Gardening -- Douglas Green (5/5)
33) The Elite -- Kiera Cass
34) God of Thunder (Rogue Angel #7) -- Alex Archer
35) Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi -- Rob MacGregor
36) Under the Dome -- Stephen King
37) Blacklisted -- Gena Showalter
38) The Warded Man -- Peter Brett
39) I've Got Your Number -- Sophie Kinsella
40) Just One of the Guys -- Kristan Higgins
41) Partials -- Dan Wells
42) Dark Eden -- Patrick Carman
43) The Vespertine -- Saundra Mitchell
44) Desert Spear -- Peter Brett
45) Greater Treasures: A DragonEye Novella -- Karina Fabian
46) Mort -- Terry Pratchett
47) Lament -- Maggie Stiefvater
48) Ballad -- Maggie Stiefvater
49) Reaper Man -- Terry Pratchett
50) His Clockwork Canary -- Beth Ciotta
51) City of Bones -- Cassandra Clare
52) Alice in Zombieland -- Gena Showalter
53) Hijacked by Food -- David A. Kessler
54) City of Glass -- Cassandra Clare
55) The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher -- Kate Summerscale
56) Glow -- Amy Kathleen Ryan
57) The Valley of Fear -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle\
58) Mind Games -- Kiersten White
59) Killer Assignment -- Maggie K. Black
60) Into the Deep -- Virginia Smith
61) Stalker in the Shadows -- Camy Tang
62) Stolen Identity -- Lisa Harris
63) Heroes of Olympus #3: The House of Hades -- Rick Riordan
64) Size 12 and Ready to Rock -- Meg Cabot
65) Attachments -- Rainbow Rowell
66) The Bride Wore Size 12 -- Meg Cabot
67) Such Wicked Intent -- Kenneth Oppel (5/5)
68) Amish Vampires in Space -- Kerry Nietz (5/5)
69) Master of Dragons -- Margaret Weis (2.5/5)
70) Eve and Adam -- Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate (4/5)
71) The Inner Lives of Farm Animals -- Amy Hatkoff (5/5)
72) The Fox Inheritance -- Mary E. Pearson (3/5)
73) The Hobbit -- J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read)
74) The Farm -- Emily McKay (4.5/5)
75) The Lair -- Emily McKay (4/5)
75.5) The Before: A Novella -- Emily McKay (N/A)
76) A Midsummer Tights Dream -- Louise Rennison (3.5/5)
77) Illuminate -- Aimee Agresti (2.5/5)
78) Going Vintage -- Lindsay Leavitt (4/5)
79) Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives -- Thomas French (4.5/5)
80) Memory of Fire (World Gates, Book #1) -- Holly Lisle (3.5/5)
81) Hyperbole and a Half -- Allie Brosh (4/5)
82) Princess of the Midnight Ball -- Jessica Day George (3/5)
83) Among Thieves -- Douglas Hulick
Books Purchased in 2013 (Strikeout = Read)
5. Infinity Ring #2: Divide and Conquer -- Carrie Ryan
6. The Martian Chronicles -- Ray Bradbury
8. Legend -- Marie Lu
9. Money Rules -- Gail Vaz-Oxlade
10. Ultraviolet --R.J. Anderson
11. Quicksilver -- R.J. Anderson
13. The Best Man -- Kristan Higgins
16. Broken -- A.E. Rought
17. Blood Magic -- Tessa Gratton
18. Everneath -- Brodi Ashton
19. Infinity Ring #3: The Trap Door -- Lisa McMann
20. Whatever After #3: Sink or Swim -- Sarah Mlynowski
21. Out of Sight, Out of Time -- Ally Carter
22. Rogue Angel: The Third Caliph -- Alex Archer
23. Rogue Angel: Staff of Judea -- Alex Archer
24. Cahills vs. Vespers #6: Day of Doom -- David Baldacci
26. Diplomacy of Wolves (The Secret Texts, Book 1) -- Holly Lisle
27. Organic Gardening For Dummies -- Ann Whitman
28. The Vegetable Gardener's Bible -- Edward C. Smith
35. Gossip from the Forest -- Sara Maitland
36. Magic or Madness -- Justine Larbalestier
37. The Iron Thorn -- Caitlin Kitteredge
38. Daughter of the Sword -- Steve Bein
40. Farm Sanctuary -- Gene Baur
43. The Hidden Life of Deer -- Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
44. Enslaved by Ducks -- Bob Tarte
46. The Daylight War -- Peter V. Brett
48. Ink -- Amanda Sun
49. Birds of Florida -- Todd Telander
52. The Rithmatist -- Brandon Sanderson
55. How to Teach Physics to Your Dog -- Chad Orzel
57. Birds of a Lesser Paradise -- Megan Mayhew Bergman
58. Carthage Must Be Destroyed -- Richard Miles
59. 100 Heartbeats: The Race to Save Earth's Most Endangered Species -- Jeff Corwin
60. Calls Beyond Our Hearing: Unlocking the Secrets of Animal Voices -- Holly Menino
61. The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species -- Terrie M. Williams
62. Shadow and Bone -- Leigh Bardugo
64. Hemlock -- Kathleen Peacock
66. Queen of Babble -- Meg Cabot
68. Rogue Angel: Clockwork Doomsday -- Alex Archer
69. The Inquisitor's Apprentice -- Chris Moriarty
73. A Throne of Bones -- Vox Day
74. Daughter of Light -- Morgan Busse
75. The Dark Man -- Marc Schooley
76. A Star Curiously Singing -- Kerry Nietz
Books "Acquired" in 2013 (ie. gifts or freebies)
1. Walls of Jericho -- Margaret Wheeler
2. The Hunt -- Andrew Fukuda
3. The Girl in the Steel Corset - Kady Cross
4. Voices of Dragons - Carrie Vaughn
5. Insatiable - Meg Cabot
6. Overbite - Meg Cabot
7. Tempest - Julie Cross
8. Incarnate - Jodi Meadows
9. Dark Passage - M.J. Putney
10. Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers
11. Tiger's Curse - Colleen Houck
12. Legacy - Cayla Kluver
13. Dead Iron - Devon Monk
14. Dearly, Departed - Lia Habel
15. The Sherlockian - Graham Moore
16. Sisters Red - Jackson Pearce
19. iDisorder -- Larry D. Rosen
20. The Mountain of Light -- Indu Sundaresan
21. Fast Food Nation -- Eric Schlosser
22. The How-To Handbook -- Martin Oliver
23. Greta and the Goblin King -- Chloe Jacobs
Some enforcer he turned out to be!
Read Sisters Red soon though. I've heard good things about it and want to know if it deserves to keep it's place on my WL. (I'm trying to read the books I own too, which would take at least 3 years of full time attention to truly accomplish.)
No comments on the read as you buy challenge - not something I would even try:)
I can't believe you even have a count of your unread books! How can you keep track?!
>6 Dejah_Thoris:: Thank you, thank you! :D
>7 leahbird:: Merci beaucoup!
>8 rosalita:: I know, right?! What's up with that? People reading awesome books. Grrrrr. Makes me so angry, I just want to... to... to... to keep visiting their threads. ARGH!!! *sigh*
>9 calm:: Lol, thanks! Honestly, I'm now wondering why I ever thought Read As You Buy was a good idea... o_O
>10 Kassilem:: I'll get caught up on my reviews soon, honest! One of these days! *fingers crossed*
>11 susanj67:: Oh, thank you! And you know, now that you mention it... I guess I have read a third of my purchased books! Well, now I don't feel quite so much like a failure. Just a little bit of a failure. 2/3rds of one, in fact.... ;)
>12 Crazymamie:: Haha, thank you for stopping in! Please, take one of the comfy plush chairs in the corner... best spot in the house!
>13 MickyFine:: It was! We were at my brother's house for my birthday celebration, and I wanted to make a snow creature... we actually had a kit for a dinosaur, but the snow wouldn't pack, and the "Jabba" happened instead (fully by accident, mind you). I should post a full view, he's actually quite huge below the face and arms, and had a giant 8-foot tail at the back...!!!
>14 PersephonesLibrary:: Thank you! I do love my piggy hat... :D
>15 _Zoe_:: I do what I can... ;)
>16 UnrulySun:: They're actually foam cutouts!!! Part of a "snow dinosaur" kit that I got as a joke gift for Christmas. As you can see... we made a terrible dinosaur. But, it turned out even BETTER in the end! If I can, I'll post a full view, you can see the foam scales down his back and everything... LOL. As for the mitten, the other one is a panda! I have a piggy set and a panda set and I couldn't decide which to wear, so I wore one of each! :D And with the books... well, I had a lot of free hours a few years ago (watching bad TV, probably) and went through my catalogue here on LT to mark off the unread books. It was... tedious, to say the least! But now I have the record, which I'm very glad for.
As I mentioned above... this was part of my birthday celebrations in January. We went to my brother's house and I brought along a "Build a Snow Dinosaur" kit that I'd received as a joke gift for Christmas, because I wanted to use it! (Naturally.) Unfortunately, though there was a lot of snow, it wasn't packing snow... we tried to get the hose working, but it was completely frozen, and meanwhile we piled everything up into a giant mound hoping that we could wet it down and shape it.
Well... that didn't really work so well, but we just went with it anyway. And it ended up looking like a bizarre cross between a Japanese monster and Jabba the Hutt. Definitely not a dinosaur, but who cares?! We had fun. :D
And for a little perspective:
Yeah, it was supposed to be 6 feet tall... and thinner. LOL!!!
(But seriously, I swear I'll get some reviews up soon! Books will be talked about!)
>20 Storeetllr:: Happy Easter right back!!!
>21 MickyFine:: Why, thank you! *bows*
>22 Carmenere:: It was VERY fun! And I do love the hat & mitts as well. A Christmas present from El Husbando, in fact... he knows me so well... haha.
>23 AMQS:: Thank you thank you! Hope you've had a lovely weekend!!!
17) Human.4 -- Mike A. Lancaster
This is a quick, middle-grade (or early YA) read with a sci-fi bent -- mostly based around the idea of, as you can guess by the title, humanity being upgraded. The plot is shallow and the character development a little surface-y, but the presentation is spot-on and there are moments of brilliant cleverness. And, the presentation (ie. how the story is told) worked very, very well for the nature of the story, and I thought the final few pages were what really sold the idea.
If you like sci-fi style stories and don't mind reading one for a younger audience, this is certainly worth the short time it'll take you to get through the story.
Source: Recent purchase (Scholastic book order!)
18) Beautiful Creatures -- Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
I took this one down off the shelves because I wanted to know if the movie was worth seeing... and since I hate seeing the movie before reading the book, I finally gave it a shot after having it around for several years.
I can honestly say I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did! I literally read it in one sitting, spending the entire late afternoon & evening on the couch devouring this book.
It doesn't deserve the comparisons made to Twilight, which I believe were only done for the sake of marketing by people trying to get the Twilight crowd in to see the movie. This book has charm of its own, plus a strong heroine and a love story that's believable enough for a supernatural YA. The gothic atmosphere added a nice ambiance that I haven't come across so far in any other YA, and the end of the story left me wanting to know what happened next.
As for the movie... after watching the trailer, I decided I'd rather spend the movie ticket money on buying the next book in the series. I'm pretty sure the film destroys the charm of the book, so save your pennies and just read this one instead. :)
Source: My bookshelves
I know this book was brilliant for its time... revolutionary, ground-breaking, and shocking in some ways... plus, Mary Shelley was only 19 when she wrote it, so that's rather impressive... but gosh dangit, it's boring. There's a lot of running, a lot of whimpering and self-loathing from Victor Frankenstein, and it kind of got old after awhile. Plus, the eloquence of the monster meant that I actually enjoyed his soliloquies more than Victor's ramblings (despite the "telling" instead of "showing" that came out of it, but they wrote fiction differently in those days).
Not my favorite, but I'm glad I read it nonetheless.
Source: Pre-loaded eBook on the Nook
>30 norabelle414:: Oh wow, you hated it? I need to go find your review...!
>31 Morphidae:: LOL! Glad I'm not the only one!
>32 PiyushC:/33: I haven't read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, that's another classic I should really get to... though I can't say I'm eager to do so! And less so after your comments... Dracula is just so fantastic, it's hard to compare...
And when I read Frankenstein back in school I remember that I liked it much - although it was so different to what I expected.
I read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde just last year for the first time. The main problem is that everybody already knows the punch line - that both are one person - which should be a great suprise.
Of equal interest is that both my children read The Time Machine and absolutely despised the book. It was boooorrrriiinnnggggg. I reread it a couple of years ago, and I have to concur--there are much better ACD tales around, including several of his mysteries.
I've been debating reading Beautiful Creatures for a while now as I see conflicting reviews on it. I think I'll give it a shot now
I have read neither Dracula nor Frankenstein but would like to read both. I read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde a few years ago and thought it was wonderful. Had I been on LT at the time I would likely have given it five stars.
>40 cammykitty:: I'd definitely say it's darker and less pouting! I mean, there's still some pouting... it IS a YA with strong romantic elements, after all... haha.
>41 PersephonesLibrary:: I think that's a really good point about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde... the story has been spoiled for us since about as early as we can all watch TV. I wonder what it would have been like to read that for the first time in a society where the story wasn't known yet. Did it get talked about with surprise and awe, the same way The Sixth Sense did for the first month the film came out? Hmm.
>42 Prop2gether:: That's a great story about your daughter! I understand her fury. You should have seen me watch Troy for the first time... talk about an obnoxious movie-goer... LOL.
>43 ChelleBearss:: It was SUPER fun!!! I hope you like Beautiful Creatures when you read it. It's not for everyone, but if it sounds up your alley, it's worth the time.
>44 EBT1002:: Warm and sunny?! *sigh* But I shouldn't envy you too much, I do have a trip to Florida coming up soon. :) Good to know about Jekyll & Hyde! Definitely read Dracula when you have the chance. Absolutely fantastic. Well, in my opinion anyway!
I think one of these days I'll probably watch Beautiful Creatures (the movie) when it comes on the tv. But it holds absolutely no appeal to me as a book or a theater experience. I do love some of the cast but the way it plays in the previews is ICK.
Still with the snow?! I'm so sorry! Here, have some of our sunshine. *catch!*
ETA: Answered my own question. It's definitely the recording. Stupid recording.
Beautiful Creatures is close to the top of my TBR stack as I'd like to see the movie after I read the book too.
Interesting about Kay - (at the end of yr. last thread).
It is the first book I bought on recommendation of the group and it is not the last, so this year will be very surprising.
I hope my wishlist grows less than my reading ability, but if not - who cares?
Gorgeous snow creature! And you, too, of course. :0)
I'm still alive, just really busy and haven't had much time at all to sit down and read, let alone be on LT (my pathetic book tally for April in the first post makes that pretty clear... *sad*)... that said, if you look at book #30 for the year... yes, it's true!
El Husbando and I are off to Disneyworld for our 5th anniversary... we haven't had a proper vacation since the honeymoon -- which was also at Disneyworld. When we were there, he promised that he would bring me back for our 5th and we would stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (because, if you know me, having a room that overlooks a Savannah where I can see all kinds of animals 24/7 is nearly the closest thing to heaven here on earth).
So, it's happening!!! Tomorrow!!! (Would-be robbers, we have pets, so you're out of luck... we have a house sitter and a Very Loud Bird. LOL.)
And when we get back... things should start to get back to normal, aside from the wedding prep for my sister's wedding in July.
I will endeavor to reply to all of you when I return!!! See you in a few weeks... and hopefully with a few more books read under my belt... *fingers crossed*
*virtual hugs to everyone!!!*
*waving* at Faith
Thanks for stopping in!!! (And I'll have some photos to share within a day or so.)
>47 Carmenere:: It seems like there are plenty of mixed feelings from people in this group on Frankenstein, so... I hope you enjoy it!!!
>48 leahbird:: Aww, boo! I hope you were able to find a clean copy of it. I should check your thread to see what you thought about it...
>49 TinaV95:: I hope you've read it by now and enjoyed it! I'll need to stop by your thread and see what you thought.
>50 thomasandmary:: Thank you, it was a lot of fun acting ridiculous in the snow. But thank goodness it's gone now!
>51 sibylline:: Fun times in the snow! :D
>52 ronincats:: Thanks, hope you're well!
>53 Cobscook:: Glad I'm not the only one who felt that way about Frankenstein! I can't recall if I've read The Time Machine before; if I did it would have been awhile ago. I do tend to enjoy H.G. Wells. I guess Mary Shelley and I just don't "click"!
>54 SirThomas:: Oh, you're quite welcome -- have you read it, and more importantly, enjoyed it? I can't glean from your comment if you've read it or not (in which case, if you haven't, don't thank me yet! LOL). I've found that this group is wonderful for recommendations -- I've added plenty to my bookshelves solely from reviews by group members, many books which I'd never have picked up on my own without their insight!
>55 humouress:: Aww, now snow creature is blushing...
>56 The_Hibernator:: *waves* Thanks for stopping in!!!
>57 EBT1002:: *waves again* Hellooooo!!!
>58 Dejah_Thoris:/60: I'm good!!! I'll have more comments for you below as I reply to everything on here... I'm so behind!!! Have you read Her Sky Cowboy yet? I think I picked it up the first time because of the ridiculous title as well. El Husbando still teases me about it! Oh, well, it was light-hearted fun so who cares! I think the second book by the author is out soon, with another silly title. I will be reading it, of course.
>59 PaulCranswick:: Hi Paul, thanks for stopping in! I appreciate how you check in on folks in the group when they haven't been around for awhile. Some days, it can feel quite affirming to feel missed. :)
>62 alcottacre:: Oh wow, Stasia! Beth read more in the series, that's fantastic! Did she keep on and read the rest of them too?
>63 lovelyluck:: Thank you, it was a wonderful trip!
>64 tapestry100:: Thanks, it was faaaaantastic!!!!! A trip literally 5 years in the making. Sadly, though we ate at Be Our Guest for lunch (which was flippin' AMAZING), they were only giving Grey Stuff out at dinner. *sniff* We were a little disappointed, but that's okay. If we ever go back (and if El Husbando has his way, we'll eventually become DVC members... it might take another 10 years before we can afford it, but whatever! LOL), we plan to go for dinner. That said, the food there for lunch was some of our favorite from the whole trip!
>65 Dejah_Thoris:: Thank you!!!
>66 ronincats:: Thank you, I did (*we* did)!!!
>67 humouress:/68/69: Thank you, all!!!
>70 cammykitty:: Well, I didn't get to pet a lion... but I did pet a penguin!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh she was SO FLUFFY!!!!!!!!!
>71 Cobscook:: It was an incredible trip. Animal Kingdom Lodge is just amazing... seeing the animals on the savannah outside your window in the morning is probably the closest anyone can get to having an Africa experience without actually being in Africa. That said, there are many, many cast members from Africa who come to work at the lodge and give talks / speak with visitors / etc. on life in their country and about the animals. We were only able to stay there because we rented DVC points from someone -- otherwise it's ridiculously expensive. I just adore animals and birds of all kinds, so it was basically heaven on earth to be so near these creatures all the time! It's worth it if you can find a way. I hope you get there someday!!!
>72 TinaV95:: Thank you, it was wonderful!
>73 Dejah_Thoris:: Pictures are coming! I have a few up on Facebook (just a few... there are over 1000 to sort through! ahhh!!!) so I'll post a couple of those once I've finished replying here. :)
>74 Morphidae:: Thank you!
>76 ronincats:: Thanks, Roni! Now to remember how to post pictures... :D
Me being a T-Rex outside of Jurassic Park at Universal's Islands of Adventure
At Epcot... being watched by a foliage monster!!! (Part of a Monsters University promo area.)
Yeah, you know, just ridin' my speeder bike... like I do...
As for books, I only read three while we were away, but that's okay! I'll review them later, but I managed to finish The Elite by Kiera Cass, God of Thunder (Rogue Angel #7) by Alex Archer, and Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi by Rob MacGregor. The Indiana Jones book was an impulse purchase, and I expected it to be horrible... mercifully, it wasn't all that bad! I'll probably read another one. I mean, I'm probably biased because I love Indiana Jones so much, but... hey, it was a fun adventure story! No apologies. :)
>80 Whisper1:: It was! "Fun" was what we were going for... much silliness ensued. :D
>81 ronincats:: I have to say, I really enjoy acting like I'm 8 years old... and I got to do it for 2 weeks straight! LOL.
>82 Dejah_Thoris:: Thanks!!! There are some more awesome ones I have yet to go through; if I can find a way to post a link to the Facebook albums once they're up, I'll do that too!
20) This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein -- Kenneth Oppel
I read this immediately after reading Frankenstein, as I wanted to have the original story clear in my mind while I read this interpretation. It's not quite a rewrite of Shelley's classic, but rather a re-imagining of Victor Frankenstein's childhood and youth (which uses all the scarce details from the original), and what caused him to ultimately make the decision to try and create life.
And I have to say... I think I may have liked this book more than Mary Shelley's classic. However, without reading Frankenstein, I would have missed enormous swaths of nuance and character reasoning, so I'm very glad I read the original followed by this one.
Where I found Shelley's classic lacking, Oppel was able to fill in the blanks. There's significant amounts of character development and relationship development, and the part I think I appreciated the most was the development of the relationship dynamics between Victor, Elizabeth, and Henry. I think if I went back to Mary Shelley's work now and re-read it, I'd probably get more out of it!
This Dark Endeavor is the first of several books -- possibly a trilogy? -- that explores Victor Frankenstein's youth, and this first book sets the stage brilliantly. The ending is a painful cliffhanger, but in a way that builds anticipation because you begin to understand what the ending means for Victor's future.
Source: Purchased in 2012
21) Fantasies of a Bollywood Love Thief: Inside the World of Indian Moviemaking -- Stephen Alter
It's no secret that I'm a HUGE fan of Bollywood films. Given the choice between a Western film and an Indian film, I'll probably choose India's cinema about 70% of the time. Yes, the films are cheesy and ridiculous and crazy long and your belief has to be completely suspended for the entirety of the film most of the time... but that's why I love them. Plus, music! Dancing! It's like watching a musical, every time! Plus, Indian cinema has come a long way in the past 10 years -- I know there are plenty of opinions out there as to whether that progression is for better or for worse, but I've watched some really fun and brilliant films recently.
But enough about that. I read this book for obvious reasons -- I wanted to see the inside workings of how a Bollywood film gets made, and I wasn't disappointed. The author of this book followed around the film crew of Omkara (a Bollywood interpretation of Shakespeare's Othello) for 5 or 5 months, watching how things were done, taking notes, asking questions, and interviewing everyone involved.
It's a fascinating insight into the process of moviemaking on the other side of the world, which is so very very different from the way things are done in Hollywood today. In the end, I came away with a greater appreciation for Indian cinema, and plenty of anecdotes to share. And I hadn't yet seen Omkara, so I watched it after reading the book... great movie (though kind-of depressing... hey, it's a Shakespearean tragedy, so you know what that means for the ending), and made even better for the insight I'd gained.
Source: My bookshelves
22) The Island of Doctor Moreau -- H.G. Wells
This book was another read for my Coursera course a few months ago. I didn't know much about the story other than a generalized notion of the plot, though I had seen the horrible modern film about a year ago (the Rifftrax version, thank goodness) and was well aware that the book had to be a billion times better than that piece of crap.
Well, it was. H.G. Wells was an excellent writer, and although the story is fairly short and simplistic, I did enjoy the story and finally reading the source material for yet another standard pop culture trope.
Source: Nook pre-load
23) Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape -- Jenna Hill
I read this at the bookstore, entrenched in a chair for several hours, so I could read it cover to cover. I picked it up on a whim as I was walking around looking for potential purchases, but then got caught up in the story and ended up reading the whole thing. It's a fast read (obviously), but highly compelling and very interesting for anyone who has ever asked themselves, "WTH is up with scientology?!".
It's worth noting that Hill is actually the niece of Scientology's current leader... making this book a very brave endeavor.
Now, I will say that "harrowing escape" is a bit dramatic. I wouldn't call what she went through harrowing, as I usually reserve that word for someone at risk of physical harm... but HOLY CRAP, Scientology is scary. This woman grew up in Scientology, and was indoctrinated as young as three years old, and when she realized that she wasn't going to be able to control her own life (which many people don't realize, as they are taught to accept all Scientology teachings blindly and to serve the church without question), she had a strong enough will to try and break free on her own.
There are plenty of horror stories I could pull from this book to make you want to read it -- and make you ache to help the people trapped in what are more or less scientology labor camps -- but all I will say is this: Jenna Hill's parents gave her up to a Scientology commune for children when she was something like 5 or 6 years old. That means she lived with other kids, not her parents, and her parents only saw her a few times a year (and were okay with this). You might think "okay, well that's like boarding school, right?" It's one thing to go to boarding school. It's quite another to be refused your privileges to talk to your parents, to be forced to do heavy labor, and to only receive one set of clothes which you need to hand-wash on your own. Hmm. What does that sound like to you...?
I read this book with a sense of horror and dismay. I'd like to look into other potential "escapee" stories (if indeed there are any... Ms. Hill's work seems to be the exception, and you'll understand why if you read the book) and know if there's anything we as outsiders can do to bring awareness to what goes on for the non-celebrities inside Scientology. Tom Cruise and his ilk only see a shiny, fabricated facade, designed to pull money out of them and raise the group's prestige.
It makes me sick.
Source: Read in the bookstore
>93 Crazymamie:: Isn't WDW the perfect honeymoon spot? Everyone's happy, all the time... no need to bother with "real life" as long as you're there! Lol.
>94 beeg:: I'll add it to the wishlist! Thanks for the suggestion!
>95 UnrulySun:: Hope you enjoy it / enjoyed it! I'll have to stop by your thread and see if you've picked it up yet. :)
>96 RosyLibrarian:: Yes, I've seen the second book in the stores but haven't managed to get to it yet -- but I'm really, really eager for it. Good to hear it was even better than the first! I'd not read any of Oppel's books before this, but I'm thinking I should...
>97 humouress:: Yay! I'll have to stop by your thread soon and see if you got to it!
>98 sibylline:: You probably did read an excerpt, or at least an article from the same woman! I think she wrote the article first, then the book? Or something like that? I think I recall reading that in either the foreword or afterward of the book.
>99 bluesalamanders:: Yes, it was the horror of the psychological manipulation that really bothered me. It's hard to heal from physical wounds, sure -- but when someone messes with your brain and your perception of reality, well, that's something else. *shudder*
>100 UnrulySun: & 101: Hi ladies!!!!! Thanks for dropping in!!!!!!!!
>102 London_StJ:: Ooooh, I need to get over to your thread and see if you've read it yet! I'd be quite interested in your thoughts. I haven't managed to read the second book yet, but knowing where it's going (being familiar with the original story, that is) I'm REALLY excited for it.
>103 thomasandmary:: *frantic waves in return* HI!!!! So good to see you here!!! Disney was incredible, and yes, El Husbando is far more wonderful than he has any right to be... he has to put up with ME every day, after all! LOL. Don't you worry about those book bullets -- just means I need to try harder. ;)
>104 ChelleBearss:: Thanks, you too!!!
>105 tapestry100:: It was super-duper spectacular and I wish we could go back... RIGHT NOW!!! El Husbando is dreaming of the day we can become DVC members and go down there regularly... mind you, that won't be for at least a decade if we're lucky, but it's nice to have dreams... LOL.
>106 Morphidae:: *leans out the drive-by window for happy return hugs*
24) Chemical Garden Trilogy #2: Fever – Lauren DeStefano
While I wasn’t incredibly impressed with the first book in this series after I read it, when I saw this second book on the shelf at a local pharmacy for 30% off, I picked it up without hesitation. And I wasn’t quite sure why, because I remembered feeling a bit “meh” about the premise of the first book. Then after thinking it through a little more—and reading the first chapter of the second book—I realized that even though I didn’t love that first book, it made me think and feel in a tangible way. So, naturally, seeing the next book evoked some deeper emotional response and I felt like I had to read it and continue the story.
I’m glad I did. While I didn’t come away from the book loving it—much like the first book—I did like the direction the author went with the story, because it was unique and unpredictable in a number of ways. And once again, the story and characters made me think and feel and consider the story even after I’d put the book down.
I realize this isn’t a very good “review”—I’m not talking about plot development or characters or the writing or anything that would help you decide whether to read this series or not—but this part of the experience in reading the book is what stuck with me, so… that’s that.
Source: Purchased in 2013
25) The Madman’s Daughter – Megan Shepherd
For the course I was taking on Coursera, I had to read H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau—and imagine my delight to learn that this YA “retelling” was recently published and readily available! Unlike Kenneth Oppel’s series of YA books on Victor Frankenstein that fill in backstory for the characters of the original story,
Shepherd’s novel is a retelling that includes one major modification to the original… as you can likely tell from the title, she gives Doctor Moreau a daughter.
I thought this version of the story does great justice to the original. The core and spirit of Wells’ original is there, but Shepherd fleshes out character motivations, backstory, and develops a stronger case for the consequences of characters’ actions, whether “bad” or “good”… and let’s be honest, there are points in the original where you’re not quite sure who you should be rooting for, and I loved that this was reflecting in this retelling.
If you’re going to read this version, you don’t have to read the original first, because I think there’s enough of the original’s spirit in here to appeal to newcomers to Wells’ work. However, I’d certainly always recommend reading the source material first, for the sake of context and a richer reading experience all around.
Source: Purchased in 2013
26) The Dark Unwinding – Sharon Cameron
I’m so far removed between reading this and writing down my thoughts that I can barely remember what happened in this book… which isn’t necessarily a good sign. That said, I recall this being a book with an intriguing premise that didn’t quite deliver to my satisfaction.
It’s a pseudo-steampunk YA story about a girl (young woman?) who is sent to check on her uncle and report back to her money-obsessed stepmother (?) whether he is fit to continue managing the family estate (or something to that end). When she arrives, she realizes he’s definitely not in his right mind, but as time passes she realizes that there’s more at stake than just her uncle’s future.
Or something like that. It was a sweet story, with a few lovely moments, but I think I read it too fast and had expectations for it that were too lofty. I believe there’s another book that follows it, but I doubt I’ll read it. That said, steampunk fans might want to judge this one on their own and not take my word for it—I feel like I missed something, and perhaps it would be more enjoyable on a second readthrough.
Source: Scholastic book order purchase
27) Too Good to Be True – Kristan Higgins
When Grace gets sick of her mother and friends asking whether she has a boyfriend—and receiving pitying looks when she says no—she “accidentally” invents a boyfriend in the heat of the moment, and has to deal with the consequences. Hilarity ensues!
This is more or less a book about mistaken identities, with humor, a super-hot neighbour dude, and an insecure heroine thrown in. I loved it, loved it, loved it. It was a light, fluffy, contemporary romance with enough wit and humor to satisfy on a dreary day. It left a smile on my face and in my heart… just what was needed.
Source: My bookshelves
28) Catch of the Day – Kristan Higgins
Once again, Higgins knocks it out of the park with a sweet, light contemporary romance that features enough humor to satisfy even the “but I don’t read romance” crowd! The story is set in Maine, and this time our heroine Maggie is the kind of girl who’s so unlucky in love that she finds herself falling for… the local priest. Naturally, this is a bit of a problem.
I didn’t connect with Maggie quite as much as I did with Grace in Too Good to Be True, but the very notion of this poor woman falling for a priest and beginning to think his interactions with her are flirtations were enough to keep me reading.
Another great story, another happy ending!
Source: My bookshelves
29) The C.S. Lewis Hoax – Kathryn Ann Lindskoog
As someone who appreciates C.S. Lewis’s work, both fiction and non-fiction, this was a very difficult and frustrating book to read… but I’m glad I got through it.
I won’t go into too much detail about this one, because there are several reviews here on LibraryThing that explain it better than I ever could—so please, go read those if you’re interested in the book.
Basically, the book explores the concept that Walter Hooper, a man who claims to have been C.S. Lewis’s close personal friend and secretary in the final years of his life, made up the vast majority of his claims and has lied about a great man things… which has thusly resulted in one of what seems like the greatest cons in literary history.
It’s fascinating, disturbing, and one of those cases where you can’t help but think, “this is too strange to NOT be true.” Lindskoog went to a great deal of trouble to put this information together and to puzzle this out—and what resulted here in this book is enough to make even the most stalwart C.S. Lewis fan question what they know about the man.
(No, it won’t make you dislike him, if that’s what you’re thinking! It just… changes some “accepted history”, among other things.)
Source: Borrowed from church library
30) Fodor’s Walt Disney World 2013
I read this before we went to Disneyworld (obviously…!) and it did just what it needed to do! Lots of information about Disneyworld and surrounding attractions such as Universal Studios and Seaworld.
And yes, I did read it cover to cover! It was honestly well written, and enjoyable all the way through. I quite enjoyed reading about everything Florida has to offer outside of Disney, and while we didn’t get to do a whole lot else while we were there, I marked up the book with potential places to visit in the future.
Some of the pricing was incorrect, but that’s not unusual as they have to estimate the price increases before publishing the guidebook (since seasonal rate increases aren’t usually announced when these books go to print). That said, it was more correct than the other guidebooks I looked at!
Source: Purchased in 2013
31) Tiger Babies Strike Back – Kim Wong Keltner
I received a copy of this book through LT’s ER program. The day the book arrived, I snatched it up and started reading—I found Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother fascinating when I read it, so this “rebuttal” (or more aptly, response) to that book sounded just as exciting.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite deliver. I found that the book didn’t really address Amy Chua’s book so much as use the title to tie the books together in order to entice people like me to pick it up. Keltner’s book is more like a memoir, and an unfocused, meandering one at that.
There were many times when I found myself asking, “what’s the point of all this? where are you going with this story / illustration / tangent?” and then didn’t find that the pages following actually resolved any of my questions.
I did finish the book, but I had to force myself to do so. Should the author have stayed on topic and delivered what the title and description promised, I think it would have been a much more interesting and engaging read. Sorry, Keltner! Just wasn’t for me.
Source: LT’s Early Reviewers program
32) Guide to Canadian Vegetable Gardening – Douglas Green
I had really high hopes for my backyard garden this year, so I ordered something like five different books on backyard gardening and organic gardening. Of the pile of books I ended up with, this was the only book out of all of them which I continued to refer to.
As a beginner gardener who has no idea what to do (honestly, it’s quite pathetic), Green’s book broke everything down step-by-step, even to the point of the easiest things like how to use a shovel properly.
I also appreciated that this gardening book had a Canadian focus, as our climate tends to be different than what many gardening books focus on—sometimes other books seem to forget that the climate changes across the country, East to West and North to South! This book gave information and suggestions for the different Canadian “zones” too… and an extensive section at the back with growing techniques and preparation ideas for a variety of vegetables.
If you’re a starting green thumb living in Canada, I can’t recommend this highly enough to get you going with the least amount of stress possible!
Source: Purchased in 2013
I just recently read the Wither series and I think I was in the perfect mood for it because I ended up reading them all pretty fast. Are you going to read the third one? I think the second one was my least favorite, but that always seems to be the case with trilogies.
I also need to add The Madman's Daughter to the list. I keep hearing good things.
>111 norabelle414:: Yes, read it read it!!! If you love The Island of Doctor Moreau, it's definitely worth getting to as soon as you're able. Just my humble opinion... :P
>112 Cobscook:/113: Yay! Read it! Love it! Tell me what you think! :D
>114 ronincats:: Hi, Roni! Thanks for stopping by!!!
>115 humouress:: Oh, I'm sure it'll turn up somewhere... hope you find it! Did I mention I loved it...? LOL
>116 UnrulySun:: I really feel like I missed something with The Dark Unwinding... I'm kind of hoping someone else in the group reads it soon so I can hear another opinion.
>117 RosyLibrarian:: I'll definitely read the third one when I get my hands on it! I'll probably wait until it's in paperback though, as I don't feel overly compelled to read it immediately. I hear you about trilogies, though! It's kind of weird that I liked the second one more, but maybe that just means the third one will be the best book out of the three...? Here's hoping!
>118 thomasandmary:: Hah! I knew I could do it! :P Happy reading!
>119 archerygirl:/120: Whoo-hoo! Definitely a vacation read. Or a rainy afternoon read. Or, really, something to read whenever you want a light-hearted story that's incredibly silly but entertaining and endearing at the same time. Soooo... an ANYTIME read! :D
>121 ChelleBearss:: Sounds like what I'd planned for the year! I didn't end up planting much of anything, but before I read the book I basically had a jungle planned for a very small area. What are you growing this year?
>122 EBT1002:: Yay! Would you like fries with that? Oh wait, wrong thing... I mean, hi back! XD
>123 PaulCranswick:: Thanks, Paul! I still don't have tons of time to spend online, but it's nice to get a few posts up and finally have a chance to reflect on the books I've read recently. :)
>126 London_StJ:: Yay! I'm going to check your thread and see what you've read lately as well... been too long. :P
>127 thomasandmary:: You're very welcome! I find that all of Higgins' books are that way -- she's a "sweet romance with fade to black" kind of writer, though there's certainly plenty of sexual tension to go around. She's probably one of my favorite authors these days -- I love the heroines she creates!
>128 Morphidae:: Sadly... it's not. Too many interruptions this year meant it didn't happen as planned, which was disappointing. Only about 1/4 of the plot ended up being dug up, which doesn't sound like a lot until I mention that the plot was planned to be about 10 meters long and 6 meters wide!!! That said, I've got everything ready for next year, and nothing's going to hold me back this time!
>129 sibylline:: Thank you! It was certainly intriguing. I read a few review rebuttals afterward as well... there are definitely many opinions on this book and the information within.
>130 TinaV95:: Thank you! I do hope you enjoy both of them!
>136 Carmenere:: Oh, don't worry about that... it's been a century and a half since I made the rounds on LT! Going to try and chance that this month and get reconnected. :D As for the photos, I have been known to be, er, melodramatically expressive on occasion (ie. it never stops). This is probably why I adore Bollywood films so much... hahaha.
>137 ronincats:: Hi Roni!!! I am here!!! November was the busiest month I've had in literally years, and as of today I am taking a week off... during which I'm going to try and get reconnected here on LT. I know I do tend to disappear in the second half of the year (I think it's happened for the past 3 years now...) but it's around this time that I find myself really missing these connections and book chat. And now that I finally have time to read again, I have time to connect online. It's been crazy this year, I mean, I haven't even hit 75 books yet, and for the past 4 years I've generally hit that the 75 goal in JUNE. *sigh* Guess that means I'd better buckle down this month... oh, darn. ;)
Amish Vampires in Space -- Kerry Nietz
Yes, yes. Get it out of your system first. I know I couldn't stop laughing for at least ten minutes when I discovered this (actually, the credit has to go to my church pastor, who posted about it on Facebook!!!). However, there's more to the story than a ridiculous title and concept!!!
Apparently this started as a joke at the publishing office, which you can read all about right here, which turned into an actual book being written by one of the press's authors.
Naturally, as a former church librarian who had to constantly deal with the high demand for Amish fiction (and my own personal frustration at its market saturation) -- and as someone who loves sci-fi -- I purchased a copy of this book immediately, forwarded information about it to other friends who understand the "inside joke" of the CBA and its love affair with Amish-themed fiction, and began reading it right away.
Want to know the crazy thing? So far, so good.
It's very well written, and not at all contrived. How is that possible?!
All I can say is, it's obvious that this author is very, very good at his job.
And now I'm off to keep reading it. Just wanted to share! :P
And I know what you mean about disappearing the last half of the year, only to start popping up around this same time. I think it's happened to me the last three years as well. That's one of the things I love about here, though, we're all just as excited to see each other come back and it's like no time has been spent away. =)
#139 That is one crazy title! Equally crazy to know, it actually is a good read!
I might also have to get myself a copy of Amish Vampires in Space just so people can be amazed by it.
In other news, I received an email today telling me that I've been paid (a very small amount) for my contribution to an anthology earlier this year, which means the anthology broke even and then some... so that's exciting! I mean, basically I can go out and treat myself to a Venti Starbucks drink instead of a Grande (LOL), but hey, it's something! Goes on the writing CV as paid work!
Now, to go pace by the front door until I can leave for the post office...
>146 kgodey:: Yay! The waiting is the worst... LOL.
>147 ronincats:: Oh, joy! Thank you, I hope you enjoy it! There are many talented authors who contributed and it was an honor to be included. My story is quite different from my usual fare -- it's an existential piece, which is pretty random, all told -- but as for the author listing, if you click on the words "& 15 more" after Connie Cockrell's name, mine should come up there (Faith Boughan).
>141 PiyushC:: Thank you for stopping in! I think it'll be more than a month... I'm pretty good about sticking around between December-April... LOL. But I will never give up trying for a more consistent presence. :)
>142 kgodey:: I think around the time fall begins, there's a lot of busy-ness and newness (new programs, school, etc.) for a lot of people -- and even if you're in the same-old, same-old situation, it still feels like a bit of a new beginning and life seems to ramp up for a bit.
>143 MickyFine:: Haha! I finished it this afternoon... I'm still amazed how good it actually was for a cover/title that hilarious!
Yes, the books are here! And I got a smile & a genuine small conversation out of the delivery man. We've had a new, older gentleman delivering parcels for Canada Post on our route for about two months now, and every time I have to sign for something, he's been brusque and standoffish -- despite my efforts to cheerfully engage. I like to let people know I appreciate the job they're doing -- especially in service positions -- so I do my best to have a genuine interaction to humanize the brief "transaction" if you will. He's bordered on being rude before (the last time especially, when he came last week), but this morning he made a joke about arriving too early in the morning, I made a joke about coffee, and there was one more back & forth. And he actually smiled). I know, this may seem like a silly thing to get excited about, but I'm hoping he has a better day today because of it. I know that a smile and kindness from another have helped my days go better before, and especially now in the Christmas season, I think everyone in service positions is going to need a little extra kindness.
Anyway! Once I pulled out all the Christmas gifts for family members and set them aside, here's what was left in the box for meeeee!
How to Teach Physics to Your Dog -- Chad Orzel (I'm considering reading this one and then giving it away though)
Birds of a Lesser Paradise -- Megan Mayhew Bergman
Carthage Must Be Destroyed -- Richard Miles
100 Heartbeats: The Race to Save Earth's Most Endangered Species -- Jeff Corwin
Calls Beyond Our Hearing: Unlocking the Secrets of Animal Voices -- Holly Menino
The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species -- Terrie M. Williams
Eve & Adam -- Katherine Applegate & Michael Grant
Shadow and Bone -- Leigh Bardugo
The Fox Inheritance -- Mary E. Pearson
A Midsummer Tights Dream -- Louise Rennison
The Farm -- Emily McKay
Hemlock -- Kathleen Peacock
Illuminate -- Aimee Agresti
Queen of Babble -- Meg Cabot
...oh my... BookOutlet.com sales should be illegal... :P
Great book haul! I loved Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicholson series but didn't know she had started another. I will keep my eye out for the first one.
>154 MickyFine:: I suppose, all things considered, it was!
>155 kgodey:: I know, I think it took me 3 days before I finally ordered. I kept putting things in the cart and then leaving and finally... I gave in. You're far stronger than I am if you managed to walk away from it without ordering anything at all!
>156 humouress:: Thank you! :D
>157 Cobscook:: Haha... does she like sci-fi too? Both are very well represented here... hard to say if she'd go for it in the end. As for Louise Rennison, the Georgia books have to be one of my favorite series of all time -- this new one isn't quite as good (based on my reading of just the first book so far), but still enjoyable. Plus, it's a Rennison book, which means it's guaranteed to be at least entertaining. :)
>158 ronincats:: I know, so exciting! I have the pile stacked on my kitchen table at the moment. I like to look at it... :P
67) Such Wicked Intent -- Kenneth Oppel
This second book in the young life of Victor Frankenstein was just as engaging and gripping as the first, if not more so. Things take a more mystical, almost horror-like approach in tone, and where science explained away most of the happenings in the first book, this book took it a step beyond. I think Oppel's intent is to lead toward the source material in a way that showcases both the scientific and the fantastic in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and in my opinion, he is succeeding. I have no idea where he'll take the story in a third volume (if there is a third volume), but I know I'm going to read it!
Source: Purchased in 2013
68) Amish Vampires in Space -- Kerry Nietz
A few posts up in my thread, I mention this book and suggest that rather than me trying to explain the details of this book, you can find a great summary of how it came about here -- it started off as just a cover and a joke at the publisher's office, until one of their authors came up with a real idea for a story to go with it!
And... uh... it works. It really works! It's a serious, not at all contrived, excellently written science-fiction novel. Honestly, on more than one occasion, I realized I'd been reading for several hours without getting up from my seat and thought "how is this possible?! how is this ridiculous concept working as a novel?!" In that sense, it was funny, but the story itself is serious. Also, that cover. If nothing else, you're going to want this book for the cover alone...!!!
It's character driven, with a cast of believable and flawed people -- Amish and "Englishers" alike -- and despite being from a Christian sci-fi/fantasy publisher, the Christian element isn't over the top or shoved in your face (especially during the most ridiculous, distracting moments, as tends to happen in many CBA novels). I was highly impressed at how naturally the story and the characters flowed... again, how?!
Obviously, the author is a genius. A crazy, talented genius. Hence, I ordered several more of his books, because more good sci-fi is never a bad thing.
Source: Purchased... last week.
69) Master of Dragons -- Margaret Weis
This is the third book in Weis's Dragonvarld Trilogy. I actually bought it the week it was released, back in 2005, because I loved the first two books... but as tends to happen with many books I buy (especially ones that were purchased while I was still in university), I wasn't able to read it at the time and then forgot about it.
I grabbed it off the shelf a few days ago, after getting the urge to find closure on this series after... uh, eight years. In the end, I'm glad I read it, but I'm even more glad I didn't read it when I first got the book. I think if I'd read it on release, I would have been incredibly disappointed by it -- this way, I had eight years of hoping and wondering and anticipating a great ending, and of course by now my excitement has lessened and the let-down isn't as painful.
It's a decent fantasy story, yes... but that's it. I was disappointed to find the ending full of standard tropes, wooden dialogue, and contrived dream sequences that lacked the magic and horrific wonders of the first two books in series. Weis had surprised me in a number of ways in those first two books, with twists I hadn't anticipated and fascinating characters doing horrible things (or wonderful things), and her worldbuilding had me captivated.
In this book, we're out of the setting from the previous books, which may be why it feels a little wooden. There's also an annoying female character whose sub-plot story, in the end, only ties into the main story in one important way (and it feels sudden and random), and left me wondering why her role couldn't have been filled by someone else, leaving her out entirely.
Giving Weis the benefit of the doubt -- she is quite the accomplished writer, after all -- I wonder if she just didn't know how to end things here, or if she was on a deadline that crunched her imaginative efforts. She's published nothing else in this world since (ending it at just the three books), despite having built something interesting that could have provided additional material. Maybe the series didn't do as well as the publisher had hoped. Hard to say.
In the end, it's too bad it came to a disappointing end, but I got my enjoyment from the first two books in the trilogy and at least I now have closure. *shrug*
Source: Off my bookshelves
70) Eve & Adam -- Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate
Books with genetic modification / robotics themes, where the main character is modified but doesn't know it (but the reader can obviously guess it from the beginning) tend to grate on me, especially when they ignore the important questions of ethics, what makes someone "human", etc. I realize that in YA this might not be the first thing an author thinks of (or maybe it is, and then the editor/publisher forces a change to the manuscript), but I think it's just as important a question for teens as it is for adults.
Eve & Adam doesn't necessarily address all these questions, but the ethics of creating humans is certainly at the forefront of the main conflict, and for that, I think the authors handled the subject matter very well. The main character, during her recovery from a terrible accident, is given a project to occupy her time -- she is tasked with creating her ideal human on a sim program. She thinks it's just a sim, for fun, and to learn more about science. The reader can see what happens next from a mile away, but that doesn't make it any less intriguing.
The writing style was clear, simple, clean -- making this a quick read that got right to the point. And most compelling of all, the "bad guys" aren't exactly the "bad guys", even though they are in the sense that they do bad things for the right reasons. More or less. Even the main characters are far from perfect, and the subplot with the main character's friend, while resolved a little too easily, felt right in its brutality and realism.
And it's that ambiguity in a subject that is, at present, ambiguous and without the "right" answers that makes this book worth reading. Yes, there's plenty of teen angst and "does he like me?", but I can get past that for a compelling story. Plus, it was entertaining!
Source: Purchased in 2013
71) The Inner World of Farm Animals: Their Amazing Intellectual, Emotional, and Social Capabilities -- Amy Hatkoff
The more I learn about farm animals and their emotional & intellectual capabilities, the more amazed I am... but also the more distressed I am at how we treat other living beings on this planet. Honestly, after what we've been learning, I don't know how we can continue to breed and consume these incredible creatures the way we have been. I wish I could do something but I don't know what to do... and then when I consider how we treat other human beings, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that we do this to the animals on our planet that we consider "disposable." But anyway. About the book...
This volume is a fairly quick read that summarizes material out of other source materials, providing stories and information out of scientific studies, as well as anecdotes that illustrate the things we've learned. Farm animals, we now know, are not just dumb farm animals. Cows, for example, make "best friends" and will mourn the loss of a friend for weeks -- including traveling to their grave and laying on it. Chicks, while still "embryos", will begin calling to their mother 24 hours before they're ready to hatch, and their mother peeps back to them in soothing tones to reassure them. If they don't hear their mother... these creatures are born into insecurity and fear. Pigs are smarter than dogs -- if they complete a task correctly once, they will remember it forever.
One story that stood out to me in this book was the story of a chicken named Liza -- the story comes from another book but was included in this volume to illustrate information on chickens' emotional intelligence and social behavior. One day, a farmer's chickens were hanging out in a field, when a hawk began circling overhead. The chickens communicated danger to each other and all ran toward safety in the treeline. But when Liza reached the trees, she turned around and realized that her chicks -- who were too young to understand the "danger" call -- were still in the middle of the field, eating. She immediately raced back to her babies, spread her wings over them, and flattened herself to the ground, covering her chicks. She was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice -- potentially giving up her own life -- for the life of her children. If a human does this, they are considered a hero. A chicken does this, and we don't blink an eye. And while I believe that a human life is more valuable than a chicken's life (just my personal belief), I don't believe we have a right to treat any living being with disrespect -- and seeing that same action done out of love for one's children, regardless of the species, well... it's incredible, beautiful, and breaks my heart to think that we dismiss these farm animals as being stupid and unworthy of care or respect.
Anyway. The book is extremely compelling, will force you to think, amaze you at the intelligence of animals on our planet that we've considered "dumb as rocks" before, and the photographs are beautiful.
If I could share this book with every single person I know, I would.
Source: Purchased in 2013
The Inner World of Farm Animals sounds fascinating!
Mind you, the first step would be to convince my husband that our kids need to eat more vegetables; he counts potatoes and eggs as acceptable veggies (i.e. non-meat). (I know potatoes are, but from a nutritional point of view, not high on my list.) Today we joined friends to celebrate their daughter's first birthday, which was at a buffet restaurant where the meat items were on one side and the vegetarian items were on the other, and somehow he failed to discover the non-meat side. Unfortunately, though I went and got some veg for the kids, it was too late to convince them to eat it.
There is also the hard fact that most of these farm animals would be endangered very soon after being taken off menus. Look how little protection we genuinely give animals that aren't pets or food. Cows would go the way of wild buffalo if farmers didn't have a use for them. Eating less meat and only buying from small farms goes a very long way to ensuring respect.
>165 humouress:: Oh dear! And there are so many interesting veggies out there (I've discovered many of them over the past few years, it's actually rather exciting) and there are so many delicious ways to prepare them! Currently, I'm making a lot of blended veggie soups. With all the amazing spices we have on this planet, there are myriad ways to prepare vegetables that avoid making them boring... but alas, yes, it does take some convincing. I've converted my husband, thankfully. I'm working on my parents, but when I bring "weird" vegetables to their house for dinner, my father gets uppity and snarky. That was charming at first, but not so much anymore... heh. I think he's just a little too set in his ways... but I won't give up!
>166 tapestry100:: Yes!!!! That's fantastic!!! I keep "casually" dropping the title into conversation whenever I can, just to see reactions. It's really quite fun. I should get a paperback copy myself to carry around and see people do the double take... LOL. I can't wait to hear your story about going to pick it up... :D
>167 leahbird:: I really, really, really appreciate your point of view on this!!! I'm so glad you commented with your thoughts. This is something I'm really struggling with right now, so your perspective as someone who raises farm animals and respects them greatly is very valuable. I would say, just in a quick response, that not all living beings seem cut out to be mothers, chicken or human alike (or any other species)... there are enough human mothers who neglect / abuse / kill their own children to make me believe that just because it's a natural function, not all living beings should procreate. That includes animals of all kinds, but unfortunately for them, they don't have a choice / know better / are unable to make a conscious decision otherwise. But, that's not entirely relevant here, and I do see your point on the potential endangerment of farm animals if we stopped eating meat altogether. The small farm & eating less meat option seems to be the most practical... it's going to take extra effort (I think I'd like to have a tour of any place I'm buying from to make sure the animals are allowed to be animals while alive... I've heard that many small farms are happy to do this if you ask nicely) but it will be worth it in the end. Argh. Sorry if this seems rambling... I'm just finding myself in such an inner struggle at present.
72) The Fox Inheritance -- Mary E. Pearson
Set 260 years after The Adoration of Jenna Fox, this book follows the lives of Locke and Kara, Jenna's friends who were with her in the original accident. The story is narrated by Locke, who is extremely introspective and provides a surprisingly calm narrative -- which may be part and parcel of having had his consciousness locked in a little box for 260 years.
If you've read the first book, you're undoubtedly curious to continue the narrative and read this one. Personally, I found this book less engaging than the first one, for a few reasons. First, the introspective behavior meant that even with plenty of action going on around Locke and his character, it never really felt active because of the interruption of his thoughts.
We're also dumped into the future, 260 years later... and while there are hints of future reality -- non-Pacts, rebellion, V-screens, etc. -- we don't get to understand the future world in a way that might make the story more immersive and believable. It was a little frustrating to not understand society and only have hints dropped, but I suspect we'll have a better rounded view of the worldbuilding in the third book (yes, there is a third book).
It wasn't a bad book, by any means, and the Bot character of Dot and one other (who I won't reveal the name of because, spoilers) were the most intriguing of everyone involved. I wish we'd had more of them instead of Locke's never ending thoughts, but like I said, it wasn't bad. I didn't put it down at any point in frustration, I merely turned the last page feeling mildly indifferent.
That said, I do plan to read the third one, as I'm curious as to how the rest of the story will play out.
Source: Purchased in 2013
73) The Hobbit -- J.R.R. Tolkien
A re-read... always marvelous, and I always come away with something new from the story.
Looking forward to seeing the second film at the end of the week. :)
It's also important to remember that, even if you don't tour the farm, buying from small farms means a clear and easy to trace chain of responsibility. If you buy ground beef in the store, that meat is from a very large number of cows from many different farms so if there is a problem it is nearly impossible to know where it came from. If there is a problem with something from a small farm, they can identify and remedy the problem almost instantly. It's one of the great public health aspects of small farming. You won't stay in business long by poisoning your neighbors. ;)
ETA: It's also important to buy your veggies from small, biodiverse farms to protect wild animals. Biodiverse farms use less harmful practices and often maintain wildlife corridors that allow animals to safely move from one wilderness area to another. Industrial farms severely impact wildlife movements and often have to kill wildlife that wanders onto the farm to prevent "contamination" and product loss.
>171 kgodey:: Fortunately, it's a quick read! Just took me a few hours on Tuesday afternoon.
>172 PiyushC:: No need to be envious! You can do it too, it's a quick read! :D
>173 MickyFine:: I understand that, for sure! I've felt that way about more than one book "series" before. It's one of those cases where, if the third book is amazing, you might be convinced to read them all, but otherwise... sequel denial it is!
>174 humouress:: That was one of the best parts of holidays as a kid... later bedtimes! But then when you get older, you're more and more excited when you get to hit the hay early... haha. As I sit here, it's not even 7pm and El Husbando has fallen asleep on the couch, and I'm tempted to join him... LOL. Anyway, hope the family enjoyed the movie trip!
74) The Farm -- Emily McKay
In the not-too-distant future, a virus is accidentally released that infects 10% of the population, turning them into bloodsucking monsters called "Ticks." In this book, Lily and her autistic twin sister Mel are shipped off to a Farm -- a government-mandated "safe camp" for teenagers -- but it quickly becomes apparent that all isn't what it seems... and they need to escape.
The book is just that, it's about escape... and it's riveting. I wasn't sure how I'd react to "another vampire novel", but it didn't end up being one of those books at all, but more a story about the struggle for survival in a changing, dangerous world. I loved that we had chapters written from the point of view of the autistic sister as well, because it allowed the character to be humanized instead of just a prop or set dressing... which I think can sometimes be an accidental result of writing a mostly non-verbal character. I believe McKay had consultants to help her write those chapters, and as someone whose mother and sister both work with autistic and special needs children, I really appreciated this different spin on main characters.
Anyway... the book itself, while very engaging and less romance-driven than some YA these days, was a 3.5 read for me up until the final few chapters... but the ending, oh, the ending! My heart hurt, and I felt a sense of loss for not having the next book right to me to immediately learn what happened.
So I ran out to the bookstore, thirty minutes before it closed, and bought book 2.
The blurb on the cover is right -- it's a story that's reminiscent of parts of Resident Evil and the Hunger Games, but with its own identity. If that sounds up your alley? You're going to want to read this one.
Source: Purchased in 2013
The Hobbit is one of those books just made to re-read isn't it? I may do just that next year in fact. Saw the second movie yesterday and thought it better than the first.
Have a lovely weekend.
>180 PaulCranswick:: I thought it was better than the first as well! Smaug was just... absolutely breathtaking. Wow. I have to be honest, I've seen it twice already. HAH!
In other news, after finally admitting to myself that I can no longer keep track of the books on my shelves (a duplicate on my Christmas list that I already have on the shelves was the tipping point), I spent 6 hours on Monday organizing the bookshelves. Unfortunately, it now looks like a bookstore barfed all over my basement, because there are books everywhere and there's literally no space left to put them. The shelves were stacked double and triple deep, but of course that's no way to organize things, so now I'm not quite sure what to do. El Husbando has said he'll buy me a few more shelves this week so we can solve the problem (yay!) but it really is at that daunting "half-finished" phase that looks quite hopeless. I'll see if I can get a photo today and post it up here.
In the meantime, I spent yesterday evening avoiding the basement & the books entirely, and instead shifted my time between reading and baking (pumpkin cinnamon loaf, chocolate pumpkin fudge, pumpkin donut holes with nut butter caramel... can you tell I had a can of pumpkin that needed to be used up? haha), which was absolutely marvelous. It was so nice to have an evening to myself to just relax... can't remember the last time that happened. I'm crossing my fingers that maybe it can happen more often... (at least during the holidays!).
Now, to try and justify whether I can eat the pumpkin donut holes for breakfast...!
>184 leperdbunny:: Glad to be of assistance! *bows deeply*
>185 tapestry100:: I know, right?!? Just wait until you hear about the second book... er, actually, don't read my review of the second book until after you've read the first one. I'm going to do my best to avoid spoilers, but it's going to be nearly impossible if I want to actually express my thoughts, so... go read The Farm and then come back! Haha.
>186 kgodey:: Childhood books are always fun to see! Full of so many memories. I'm sad that I think many of mine are now gone... we moved a lot, so I think most of them disappeared or were passed on to my siblings, and who knows where they are now. That said, funny you should mention that the books your parents brought from India are dusty -- when I was taking Hindi lessons last year, my tutor started bringing out children's books to help me learn, and I suspect they must have belonged to her now-adult children and were rarely touched, as they were also very dusty (and falling apart in many cases)! However, it makes me almost happy to see children's books falling apart -- it tells me they were well-loved by the children who owned them. :)
75) The Lair -- Emily McKay
All right... it's going to be very hard to review this without giving away spoilers, but I'll do my best, however if you are planning to read the first book and have not done so yet, I'd probably recommend leaving this one for now and coming back to read this review later. So, here's your official warning:
***WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD***
The second book after The Farm begins just a few weeks after where the first book left off, with the main characters at the destination they were heading to. I appreciated beginning the book here, because it continued to maintain that sense of urgency and immediacy we developed in the first book -- and if I'm being honest, I have to think hard about where each book begins & ends, because they both blur together slightly. I think that's a good thing.
There are two aspects to this sequel that made it a win from my perspective. First, however, I will say this: while the book overall didn't quite demand as much emotional energy as the first book (not unusual for a sequel, once you've already learned about the world & world building), I wouldn't call it weak by any stretch -- there's danger, urgency, and death, and it doesn't really let up until the last page... except for Lily's "doesn't he like me?" thought processes. I found that there was a bit more mooning in this book, and while it did feel a bit annoying at times, it still didn't come anywhere close to what we see in other "apocalyptic" scenario YA novels. So, I think it gets a pass here.
Now, Thing #1 that makes me love this book: I should have mentioned it in the review of the first book, but it really stood out to me here so I think it's still worth mentioning. The teenagers in this series talk like teenagers, especially like teenagers who are fighting for their lives in the middle of a hellish scenario. They use -- *gasp* -- foul language... but it happens naturally and organically, and unlike other books that seem to censor teen speech, the author got it right here. She must have had teens to listen to, because I believed it and it sounded right. It also helps that the books are peppered with brief but effective pop-culture references (sadly, this will make the books slightly dated in a few years, but it works very, very well right now), as this makes the story also more believable and relatable. Despite the whole "tick" and "vampire" thing. Seriously! Heh.
And Thing #2... this is where the real spoiler sets in, so walk away now if you're still interested and haven't read the first one. Seriously! I'm warning you! Stop reading now! Okay, okay. At the end of The Farm, Mel's sacrifice gets more or less negated by Lily. We see this happen, but it doesn't entirely register that that's what her actions have done until we get to The Lair, but that's really what she did by forcing Sebastian to "turn" Mel. Hence, in this book, we get to read chapters from Mel's perspective again, but after she's been turned... now that she's dealing with the reality that she is no longer autistic. I found this fascinating, because it means her "normal" is no longer normal. The way she has existed for her whole life has been shifted, and the way she saw the world has dramatically changed -- and she didn't ask for it. And because who she was has been more or less erased, and autism is no longer her "normal", she clings to the patterns and behaviors she had while autistic. And that's an amazing thought to work through.
I'm not sure I'm explaining how profound a shift I think that would be for someone (because from her perspective, there was nothing wrong with herself in the first place, autism just was -- and to be "fixed" would be, I think, one of the most traumatic experiences a person could have), and as a reader, it really made me think and ask some hard questions. I'm not sure the author intended that, but it hit me hard and I really appreciate the author's attempt to work through this issue with her character. I've never seen this sort of thing before in a YA novel, and for that I applaud the author and am deeply appreciative of her efforts to incorporate this into a story filled with blood-sucking monsters.
Who would have thought...?!
Source:Purchased in 2013
***SPOILER-FREE AFTER THIS BREAK! YOU CAN START READING AGAIN!***
75.5) The Before: A Novella -- Emily McKay
A quick little novella that gives us the lead-in to the beginning of The Farm. You can buy the ebook online, or read it online for free on Wattpad.
I found that it rounded out the story and the world that McKay had built, though there were a few too-convenient mentions of characters in The Farm who, while reading that book, I'd been under the impression that Lily hadn't seen or thought of for quite a long time. But, I suppose it sets up the scenario effectively, as it was designed to do.
I won't bother rating it as it's a very quick read and more of a short story, but I will say that if you're reading The Farm or plan to, keep this quick tale bookmarked and be sure to read it afterward (or before, I guess, but I prefer to read these things in the order the author produced them).
76) A Midsummer Tights Dream -- Louise Rennison
Another silly installment from Louise Rennison! It's quick and fluffy and completely ridiculous, but I think I enjoyed this second adventure of Tallulah more than the first one -- probably because I'm used to her voice now, which is different (but similar, in some ways) from her cousin Georgia's voice (though I will always prefer that series). I think a lot of jokes went over my head because, let's be honest, I'm not from the North and I'm not all that familiar with quirks of people from the North (in England, that is) -- but if you are, I think it would be even funnier.
Still worth the read if you're a fan of Rennison's storytelling style, though!
Source: Purchased in 2013
Now it looks like I'll have to add the Amish Vampire book, the farm animal one and the Farm ones too!!!
I'm not visiting again soon!! :P
>191 TinaV95:: Well, I can't say I'm sorry for having read so many good books lately... ;) Hmm, if I don't see you around maybe I'll track down your thread and tempt you with notes like "ooh, some 4 and 5 star reads this week..." heehee
I plan to spend the day baking cookies (and icing them with frosting that I'm going to experiment with, ie. see if I can use natural food coloring like beet juice and spirulina to get fun colors... and then, SPRINKLES!), reading whatever strikes my fancy, and possibly watching Christmas movies whilst wrapping gifts.
It's the first day in ages where I have literally no obligations (I really can't remember the last time that happened), and I am so excited.
I think I will start the day by finishing off that tray of donut holes I baked earlier in the week... YAY! *skips off to the kitchen*
>195 lkernagh:: Haha, that's fair enough! Consumption is an important part of, er, home-based economic... uh... whatever, here, have another cookie! *thrusts plate your direction*
The ice storm rolled in later than expected, but came with a fury overnight. Unlike many people in our city, we actually have power this morning.
I took a photo of our cedar tree in the backyard, which is swaying slightly and causing my heart to lurch as it dips back and forth...
Faith, it is nice to see you safely ensconced in the bosom of the group again. Have a lovely Christmas and try to stay warm if not sober. xx
Sending you some tropical heat to tide you over winter, Faith.
Wishing you the best for the festive season and for a wonderful 2014!
Not even close to being caught up here, Faith, but I wanted to drop down here to wish you a very Merry Christmas before the day was over. Merry Christmas! Hope it was filled with fabulous!
I had a great, but busy, Christmas Eve & day -- though sadly I received only one book off my Christmas list (yes, everyone in the family still makes lists!)... I think everyone just assumes I have too many books, despite the fact that my list was 75% books. That said, I did receive a gift card from El Husbando for Chapters, and some unexpected cash from his parents, so we're planning to head to Chapters tomorrow so I can sate the yearning for fresh tomes. :D
77) Illuminate -- Aimee Agresti
The cover endorsement reads, "part The Portrait of Dorian Gray, part The Devil Wears Prada", which sounded right up my alley. Several teens are sent for a special internship to a mysterious hotel, where they (of course) discover that all is not what it seems -- because the hotel is in the business of buying souls (you learn this on the back cover, so it's not a spoiler!).
Intrigued? I was. And I even loved the first half of the book, which gave me everything the endorsement claimed it would, along with an interesting set of main characters and a mysterious notebook to boot. However... if you like books such as those mentioned in the endorsement, you probably enjoy subtlety to your mystery... and unfortunately, about halfway through the book, we got pounded over the head with it.
Without revealing too much, in case you're planning on reading it, a certain character appears that takes the story from the intriguingly plausible right into the realm of "you've got to be kidding me." It feels heavy-handed and unnecessary, and I think the book would have retained its atmospheric appeal should the author have chosen to leave this character out. In fact, thinking back on the book and his appearances in it, taking him away would have simply kept the story dark and mysterious instead of making me feel like I was being beaten over the head.
In the end, disappointing. I would like to know where the story goes in the second book, however this first one wraps up nicely enough that I can honestly say that I don't feel I will be spending time with the next one.
Rating: 2.5/5 (first half of the book is at least a 3.5, though...)
Source: Purchased in 2013
78) Going Vintage -- Lindsay Leavitt
When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she decides to swear off modern technology and live like the "good old days"... specially, 1962. Inspired by a list of goals made by her grandmother in high school, she pledges to complete the list by homecoming. Of course, completing the list is harder than she expected... and it doesn't help that her ex-boyfriend's cousin seems to be paying more attention to her than he ever has before...
A cute, fun, quick read. The teenagers are realistic and clever, and the family dynamics make this a really interesting story -- instead of cutting the main character's parents out of the story, they're there in full force, with problems and secrets of their own that trickle down to their daughters. Mallory's sister also gets plenty of face time, and as they are quite close, there's a lot of sisterly interaction as Mallory's sister helps her through the list (which no one else knows about).
And while I do think that there is a certain something missing from the book, Mallory's unexpected and intelligent. decision at the end is what gives this book 4 stars. I applaud the author for the way she wrote her main character right up until the final page -- she was consistent, and independent in her thoughts and actions... you'll get it once you read it. :)
Source: Purchased in 2013
79) Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives -- Thomas French
Occasionally horrifying but often fascinating, this book was written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Thomas French, who wrote an unprecedented account of what goes on behind the scenes at a zoo.
He tells the good and the bad, chronicling life in Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. From a power-hungry CEO to a chimp who loved blondes, it's an incredible, eye-opening account of zoos and how they operate... and at no point did I find French pulling to one side or the other in the argument of "should zoos exist?" When I started the book, I was concerned that it might be biased to one view or the other, but there's a reason why French is an award-winning journalist -- he showcases the good and the bad, the incredible and the unbelievable, with a neutral eye.
There are many sad stories in the book, of course -- animal and keeper deaths, which is the nature of working with wild animals -- but I can honestly say I will never look at another zoo the same way again. I have a deeper appreciation... and a deeper concern. It's a strange, conflicting place to be in, but I think that anyone who loves animals and has a passion for conservation and their well-being will find this book worth their time.
Source: Purchased in 2013
80) Memory of Fire (World Gates, Book #1) -- Holly Lisle
I want to more strongly recommend this book than I will, if only because the second half of the story is really well written, with fascinating world building and magic system... and an ending that made me run to the computer and order the two other books in the series the moment I finished this first one.
However, it does something at the beginning that makes me so agitated that I probably would have stopped reading, had it not been one of Holly Lisle's books. The story begins with characters who constantly refer to aspects of the magic system and a shared history that the reader knows nothing about, and which is not explained -- the reader is dropped into the story with people who use vocabulary and terms that are unfamiliar to the point of not being able to understand what's going on, and as a reader, I don't like feeling stupid. I don't like feeling lost or confused, and I want the characters to throw me a bone, even if it's tiny snippets as we go.
I realize this form of storytelling is personal preference -- I don't think it bothers some people -- so you may have no issue and just enjoy it the whole way through. For some people, that type of "dropped in" beginning just intrigues them and makes them want to read on, but I don't like having to figure things out on my own. I don't need ten pages of explanation or backstory, but just a comment here and there to clarify would have helped. By the time we were halfway through the story, I'd figured it out -- and it was really cool! -- but I just felt frustrated getting there.
But like I said, you may not have that issue at all, it all depends on storytelling preference. And that said, the second half of the book is good enough to make me want to read the next one immediately, which tells me that the author did her job in the end anyway.
Rating: 3.5/5 (lower rating for my struggles with the first half)
Source: Purchased in 2013
81) Hyperbole and a Half -- Allie Brosh
If you're a fan of the website by the same name, this is worth your time! There's about half recycled material from the website here (her best cartoons, which I didn't mind reading over again at all) and half new material.
Of course it's a quick read, but it's fun and will make you laugh. If you haven't read any of Brosh's work before, I'd recommend reading a few of her pieces on the website before straying into book territory, as her work isn't for everyone.
I can honestly say I'm not sure which of the stories is my favorite... I love the one about climbing through the window for cake, as well as coming out of anesthetic ("PARP!")... but the dog stories are great, too. And she has the best explanation of existing through depression that I've ever seen, anywhere (which really helped me to understand what my brother was going through over the past few years).
Worth the money spent, in my books!
Rating: 4/5 (I wish there was a bit more new material, but oh well!)
Source: Purchased in 2013
And, I hear ya on the bookshelf problems. I got 4 new ones recently and still have piles sitting around!
>223 UnrulySun:: Oh, gosh! I got 2 new ones a few days ago, and quickly realized that although there is now one empty shelf there... I will probably fill up the space once I make my post-Christmas book purchases with gift money. Aaaaugh! And there's literally nowhere else to put shelves anymore!!! Oh, the problems of bibliophiles... haha.
>224 leperdbunny:: I know. Let's be mad about it together. *pouts* ... *glares at book*
>225 MickyFine:: I think I love the birthday cake story because I can relate to it, somewhat... I gained, er, somewhat of a reputation as a child for my love of cake. I didn't, however, at any point climb through a window and devour the whole thing. For that, Brosh has my utmost admiration. Also, I'm a little bit jealous. HAHA.
>226 humouress:: *chants* READ THEM, READ THEM, READ THEM! :D
>227 Cobscook:: I'll cross my fingers for you as well! As of this morning, reports are coming in from around the Greater Toronto Area that melting ice and high winds today could knock the power out again for thousands of people, or prevent restoration of power. They'd estimated originally that everyone around Toronto would have power back by today, but that looks like it won't happen. Apparently the trucks are having trouble accessing some lines because there are still downed trees and branches everywhere (since all resources were diverted to power restoration, no one has been able to start debris clean-up yet). I hope you're able to get yours back today and that you avoid the high winds in Maine!!! Gah! I can't believe we're in day 8 of this whole mess!
Yeah, it seems like it will be several more days at least before everyone has power back. I'm really glad that the lines in Pickering are buried, so we got ours back after just under 48 hours.
82) Princess of the Midnight Ball -- Jessica Day George
This is a fairy tale retelling of "The 12 Dancing Princesses," and that's that. It's not twisted, or wicked, or manipulated to be purposefully opposite or different, as we've seen in a lot of fairy tale retellings these days. It's a retelling, plain and simple, with small adjustments (one big one, but it doesn't take away from the story) to account for the author's freedom to tell the story as she likes.
Hence, I found it to be a sweet, enjoyable, relaxing read that retained that somewhat detached tone that fairy tales often do. I wasn't entranced or amazed, but I liked it and I liked the author's cadence in how she told the story.
Source: Purchased in 2013
That photo of your cedar tree was scary! I hope the weather will start to be kinder to you, and I wish you a Happy New Year!
Your opening comments about trying to make a dent in the large amount of books you own, resonates with me. I've become a horder of books. Now that I'm home during the day, I realize the full extent of just how much this obsession is out of control. I like your idea of reading the new ones that come into the house. I've tried that, with minimal success.
I know I simply like to look at all my books. My favorite place is the library, where I can be surrounded with so many different books...
I send all good wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year. Here's to make a dent in our piles of books in 2014...
>233 Whisper1:: Hi Linda! I did the math yesterday and I've read only 43% of the new books I brought in this year... which isn't great, but it's better than in previous years. Like you, I enjoy just looking at all my books... it's like having a world of endless possibilities right in front of you! But, that perhaps isn't the best use of my time or money, so I'll continue to try curbing my buying habits (or at least bringing only books in that I'll read immediately). I don't want to give up! And yes -- let's continue attempting to make a dent in our books in 2014. I won't let my shelves defeat me! :)
>235 swynn:: Yay!
>236 MickyFine:: You know, I had no idea there were two other books until you mentioned it! The story wraps up so completely, I hadn't considered that George would return to those characters. That said, after looking them up, I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for them!
>239 _Zoe_:: Ugh! That sounds horrible. Glad they finally have it back on... here we are a few days later, and I heard this afternoon that there are STILL people without power in some small pockets. GAH!!!
>240 MickyFine:: Good to know, thanks!!!
Well, I did read one more book in 2013, but since the vast majority of us have made the migration -- and since I can't possibly keep up with two groups -- I may post my thoughts on it over there.
Follow me over, if you're so inclined!