I've done a Tuesday meme twice, and both times I've done it on Wednesday.
So I figure I've got to start a Wednesday Meme to help me do Tuesday's on Tuesday. And I've picked Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine.
Basically, I pick a book I'm excited about. Ya'll already know that I'm mega excited about "Odd and the Frost Giants" from my I'm So Excited!!!! post. I recently discovered that it's already out in the states. HURRY UP AND COME OUT HERE!!!!
Another book I am super excited about, though, is "the Cloud Pavillion" by Laura Joh Rowland.
For those of you that don't know, she writes mysteries that take place in Japan, and they are awesome! Of course I would say that, though, because they take place in Japan. You'll just have to check it out for yourself.
The Cloud Pavillion
by Laura Joh Rowland
Publication Date: October 27, 2009 (so soon! Yay!)
Publisher: Minotaur Books
from the Macmillan website:
Japan, 1701. A woman is brutally attacked within a bamboo prison as clouds swirl around her head. Meanwhile, at Edo Castle, samurai detective turned chamberlain Sano Ichiro is suspicious of his old rival, Yanagisawa, who has been oddly cooperative since returning from exile.
But just as Yanagisawa’s true motives begin to emerge, Sano’s estranged uncle comes to him for help: His daughter has disappeared, and he begs Sano and his wife—who once suffered through the kidnapping of their own son—to find her before it is too late.
I've done a Tuesday meme twice, and both times I've done it on Wednesday.
I have fallen in love! Has anyone read this book? Or read any reviews on it that towards which they could point me.
What do you think?
So, I realized last week that I actually accidentally posted this on Wednesday. And then I forgot about it yesterday, so now I am once again posting it on Wednesday. Oops! The Tuesday meme hosted by An Adventure in Reading.
I'm in Bakshaan, the richest city in the land I am in, which doesn't seem to have a name. I've just discovered that a sorcerer against whom I have a grudge is also in the region. I'm fully recovered from my trek through the Swamps of Mist, I have with me my trusty sidekick and my trusty sword, and I'm trying to figure out what to do next.
Where are you?
To celebrate my excitement about the upcoming release of "the Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls" (okay, I know it's not until February, but still, I'm excited! And if you haven't read the others yet, it's time to get on it) and my joy about enjoying the Vampire Diaries TV series on the CW, I have decided to host MY VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY!!!!
That's right, I'm giving away a copy of "the Vampire Diaries: the Awakening and the Struggle." Unfortunately it's not the old one with the cool cover but the new one with the less cool cover.
Here's how to enter:
Post a comment with your e-mail address (so that I can contact you, of course), and, if you would be so kind, let me know what your favorite (non-Twilight) vampire book is. :-)
Want extra entries?
+1 - new subscribers/followers to my blog
+2 - if you already subscribe to/follow my blog
+1 - if you post a link to the contest in your blog
+3 - if you mention and link to the giveaway in your blog post
+2 - add me to your blog roll
EDIT: (new ways to gain entries!)
+2 - answer the question at the end of this post
+5 - post my button (html can be found in the sidebar) in your blog (and don't forget to post the link!
Anyhow, so that's it! Conest ends on October 28th, 2009 at 11:59 PM Paris time (which is 5:59 PM Eastern time). And it's open to everyone, no matter where you are (meaning internationally! YAY!!!!).
Post all of your entries in ONE comment!
Title:The Martian Chronicles
Recommended?I guess, but not heartily. Especially for avid science fiction lovers that also love short stories.
What I Have to Say: Well, first off, I wish that I had known before I started that this was actually going to be a series of short stories with very little link between them all. I might have saved myself the trouble of reading it, since in the end, I really didn't enjoy it.
I'll admit that it was very well written and imaginative, nothing short of what one would expect from Ray Bradbury. The Mars of the future that he creates is one that is easy to believe in (or would be if we didn't already know it wasn't like that), and the changes it goes through over time are almost what is to be expected, sometimes a daring leap away from the expected.
So it wasn't bad. It was just boring. Most of the time. The occasional story that was an exciting, thought provoking, and adventuresome escape from reaility. For eight whole pages, it was easy to forget that I am living today, in 2010, in a world in which Mars is uninhabited by human or other. I would get so into that Mars, not wanting it to end. . .
And then the next story would start, and I would have to force myself to read, to not fall asleep, for a good 70 or 80 pages until the next 8 pages of joy would sneak up on me.
The prose was lyrical and beautiful, and Ray Bradbury's ideas are fresh and different (especially, I imagine, back in the 1940's when it was written). It's really just such a pity that it had to go off and be boring. Because it could have been great. It had potential.
Summary (from Goodreads):Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red Planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars—and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever. Here are the captivating chronicles of man and Mars—the modern classic by the peerless Ray Bradbury.
Title:The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Recommended?Absolutely! But expect to feel lost occasionally.
What I Have to Say: Reading this book was an interesting experience.
Imagine living in a foreign country where you don't speak the language. You're really excited about a movie coming out and finally it does, and you go to see it in a VO theatre, so that it will be in English and just subtitled in the foreign language. Well, it turns out that 1/4 of the movie is actually in that foreign language, and, of course, since you're in a country where the language is spoken, there are no English subtitles for you.
The movie is awesome and you totally love it, but at the same time you know that you definitely missed something since there was a good 1/4 of the movie that you didn't understand. You could just see what was happening.
Well, that's how I felt reading this book. I absolutely loved it; the narrator was hilarious and interesting and exciting. He had an absolutely depressing and devestating story to tell, and he just jumped right in as if it was any other normal ole everyday happy story.
Oscar Wao himself was a totally likable character that you couldn't help but love but for whom you also couldn't help but feel sorry. Sometimes I wished I could be there with the narrator, pushing him in the right direction, urging him to do things just slightly differently.
His sister and his mother, while slightly less developed characters, were also exciting to follow. They were both just a little bit more than the average Dominican woman. They both had just a little something extra to add to the table, and, in their own way, their stories were just as fascinating as that of Oscar.
But still, this said, I couldn't help but feel that I was missing some basic elementary knowledge needed to really fully understand everything going on.
First of all, there was a lot of Spanish used - phrases and words that I just didn't understand. I'm learning Spanish, but I'm not quite there yet. And massive amounts of Dominican history were referenced without ever actually being explain. Maybe it's just me, but I never took a class on Dominican history. I also never took a history class in which we learned about Dominican history. So did I know that the United States had occupied the Dominican Replublic more than once? No. Did I know who Trujillo was before starting this book? No. Did I have any clue why Trujillo was constantly referred to as the Failed Cattle Thief? No. (Do I now? No.)
Do I feel that knowledge on these subjects (and many more) would have contributed vastly to my enjoyment and understanding of this book?
The answer to this question is a whole hearted YES!!!!
I mean, I really feel like I should go take a class on the Dominican Republic (where I have actually been) and its history and then read the book all over again.
None of this changes the fact that this book was beautifully written and heart-warming and heart-wrenching.
Summary (direct to you from GoodReads):Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fuku - the curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.
Author Junot Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss. A true literary triumph, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao confirms Diaz as one of the best and most exciting voices of our time
I've been away in Neuchatel, Switzerland for the weekend for La Fete des Vendanges, but now I am back with a meme about books, a review (to be posted later in the day), and, just possibly a list.
And I just finished the very long meme, and I feel like I interviewed myself. Read if you dare. :-)
Monday's Book Meme
1) What author do you own the most books by?
Oddly enough, probably Piers Anthony.
2) What book do you own the most copies of?
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (I have two in English and two in French)
3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Yes it did, even though I know I end sentences with prepositions and I know that it is something that is totally accepted in the English language.
4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Isn't every girl secretly (or not so secretly) in love with Mr. Darcy? Other than him, though, I'd say Macon from Sarah Dessen's "Someone Like You."
5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
"Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Patterson.
6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
That would have to be "Bridge to Terabithia" once again. Or anything from the Goosebumps or Sweet Valley High series.
7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
"The God of Small Things" by Arundathi Roy. I think it's actually the worst book I have ever read in my entire life.
8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
It's cheesy and fluffy, I know, but I really LOVED "Twenties Girl" by Sophie Kinsella.
9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman. There are things to be learned from this book, though they might not be immediately apparent. Also, I really think that ANYONE, even someone who hates to read, can find something to enjoy about this book.
10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
I really can't say. I haven't read enough "real literature" lately to feel like I'm qualified to have an opinion.
11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
"Snowflower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See would be awesome. I would also love for them to remake "Memoirs of a Geisha" and do it justice this time.
12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
"Interworld" by Neil Gaiman - I just know they couldn't do it right.
13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I was on this really weird silver circular thing floating above the trees, and I was being forced to dance even though I didn't want to at all. Then Kurt Vonnegut fell out of the sky onto the circular thing with me, and I wanted to talk to him. But I couldn't make myself stop dancing, and he kept talking and wondering why I wouldn't respond.
14) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Maybe "the Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon. I'm sure I've read books that others would find more difficult, but this one was hard for me. I did love it in the end, though.
15) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
The only one I've ever seen live is "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
The French. I love Russian literature, and, if I couldn't read the French in their own language, I might like it more. But the fact is - I can read French authors in their original language, and that changes everything.
18) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Dave Eggars - I don't love love LOVE him, but I don't even like David Sedaris. I find him petty and annoying. So there you have it.
20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Chaucer, of course - the Canterbury Tales are what it's all about. Although I have to admit I've never read Milton. I should put "Paradise Lost" on my TBR list.
21) Austen or Eliot?
Austen, because she is just SO amazing. I can indeed say that I love love LOVE her. Then again, I don't know how this even compares. I'm not into poetry, so Eliot's not for me.
22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Paradise Lost, perhaps? Or maybe "Lolita" by Valdimir Nabokov, but I'm unfortunately not that interested in reading it.
tie between "Salome" and "the Starlight Express"
I don't really read a lot of poetry, as I don't love it, so this is hard for me. It's cliche, I suppose, but I'll go with "the Road Less Traveled" by Robert Frost. Or really anything by Robert Frost.
25) Short story?
Any short story by Haruki Marakami or Roald Dahl. Unfortunately, I have trouble with short stories. I find myself always needing and wanting more. So I don't really read a lot ot them.
26) Work of non-fiction?
I'm sure I'm forgetting some, as I never really decided on a favorite non-fiction, but I really enjoyed "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" by Jack Weatherford. Oh, and "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond.
27) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Arundathi Roy - because people actually LIKE her, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. And now I feel mean having said that.
28) What is your favorite desert island book?
does "the Counte of Monte Cristo" count? There are islands in that. And they are pretty much deserted.
So, in general, I tend to be very bad at challenges. I start by keeping track of the books I read, and then I get to a book that I don't love so much, and it takes me forever to read and then I forget that I was reading it for a challenge and then the keeping track of books thing just stops.
I had decided to challenge myself, though, to be better. And, since I do desperately need to read all of the older books that are taking over my shelves, I have decided to participate in S. Krishna'sClearing off Your Shelves Challenge.
Go check out her post to see what this challenge is all about.
The challenge is for the months of October and November, and we have to decide which percentage of books we read will be old instead of new. Since I'm participating in NaNoWriMo in November, I'm guessing I won't be reading a LOT. So I'm going to go all out and say at least 80%.
Especially since I am new to blogging, and I therefore do not have any ARCs. And I don't really even know how to go about getting them.
And there we go. I'm going to try to make a list later.
So, I discovered this weekly feature over at A Reader's Journal, but, as she says, it was started and is hosted by Raidergirl3 from An Adventure in Reading. I love it, and I've been looking for one of those weeklies that I love that I can participate in.
So here we go - every Tuesday I get to say where I am in my books! Yay!
So this Tuesday I am on Mars. I am on the 4th mission there from Earth, and I know that the other three disappeared. I am therefore kind of nervous, but I've just learned that all the surrounding villages are abandoned (one as recently as about a week ago). I'm about to sleep on the spaceship and hoping the captain will soon give the go ahead to go exploring the new planet.
I love Neil Gaiman.
Seriously, I do.
One time, when I was living in Montreal, he did a signing and a reading in Toronto. I had a big test the next day (perhaps in Algebraic Geometry; I forget), but I just HAD to go. So I, of course, skipped class and drove over to Toronto. I got there for the beginning of the reading, stayed for the whole reading, and was lucky to be close to the front of the line for the signing (they gave us numbers when we entered). I got my books signed and had a brief chat with Neil Gaiman (I somehow managed to not be so starstruck that I couldn't speak - it was AMAZING getting to talk to him, though!!!!) and managed to leave Toronto around 10 PM. For the 6 1/2 hour drive to Montreal. Getting me back at around 4:30 in the morning. Giving me just enough time to sleep for 3 hours before having to be up getting ready to head to my midterm taking place at 8:30.
This from someone who absolutely does NOT drink coffee (or even tea) and needs at least 8 full hours of sleep to function. I can deal with 7 if I'm going to have the chance to take a nap before doing something that requires thought.
I'm sure I did horribly on that midterm.
It was worth it to see Neil Gaiman.
The Sandman is my absolute FAVORITE comic book of all time, American Gods ties with the Neverending Story for my favorite book of all time, and both Neverwhere and Stardust are up there in my top 10. Good Omens made me give Terry Pratchett another try (only to disvoer that it was definitely Neil Gaiman that made me love the book).
BUT, for a while there, I felt like I'd sort of lost him. All of his short stories are great and all, but I'm really not into short stories. "Anansi Boys" was good, but FAR from great. "Interworld" and "Coraline" I liked, but neither would have been enough to make a real Neil Gaiman fan out of me had I not already been one.
I was so sad because - WHERE had my favorite author of all time disappeared to in these stories?
And then, "the Graveyard Book" came out. And I fell in love all over again. It was perfect and wonderful and everything that I had come to expect from Neil Gaiman but wasn't getting. And now, my expectations are high once again.
Which is why I am absolutely THRILLED about the upcoming release of "Odd and the Frost Giants."
I mean, seriously, I CAN'T WAIT!!!! It comes out October 1, and I am going to try to be almost done with what I am reading when this happens, because I know it will just trump everything else.
With my expectations once again ridiculously high, I just hope it will live up to it.
That said, I am still kind of disappointed. I am ready for him to release another adult novel (Odd is definitely not). I'd say it's about time.
I've been on an old-school science fiction kick lately, so if you're interested, here's another old one for the shelves.
This book was originally written in Russian, and I read the translation by Natasha Randall. Looking for a picture of the cover, though, I came across the cover for the translation by Mira Ginsburg, and I just find the cover(the lowest one) so beautiful that I'm thinking I might need to read this translation, too.
Who Should Read It?mathematicians and science fiction lovers alike along with basically everyone else who doesn't mind thinking a little when they read
What I Have to Say:In the future, we find communism perfected. These people live in the perfect totalitarian society, and they are content. But are the really?
At first, I wasn't sure about this book. We follow the story of a mathematician through his writings, and it just seemed so impossible to me that a mathematician would rationalize the way this one does. He seems to forget that math cannot exist without chaos. That SO many things could not be done without the presence of i, the square root of -1. Without i, which for those of you out there that might have forgotten your mathematics, stands for imaginary and will be seen in all imaginary numbers, the possibilites of what can be gained from mathematics are cut in half. More than cut in half. I would even go so far as to say that, in order for the rational to make sense, we need i, we need the imaginary.
HOW could a mathematician who understands this like only a mathematician can actually WANT to remove the square root of -1 from himself, from his life, and from his world.
It didn't make sense to me.
As the story progressed, though, I realized that it did. And it really helped me to understand just how far gone this society was. It was so totalitarian that EVERYONE was brainwashed. To believe that there was nothing better. That change and the desire to change and dreams and the desire to dream - that these things were just a sickness. More than that, freedom, and the desire to be free, is the absolute worst sickness of all. A degradation from what is good and right.
Well, when the irrational, unexplainable, previously unimaginable happens to our mathematician, in the form of one of the most irrational things of all, love, all hell breaks loose. Suddenly, he can't get rid of the i within him; he is two selves, and he can't seem to figure out how they go together.
Will he learn what it feels like to be free? Will he even want to?
This book attacks oppression with a viciousness rarely seen, and yet, at the same time, the author seems to hold a warm place in his heart for the potentials of a totalitarian society. It also recognizes that every society has its flaws, be it based on fascism, capitalism, or religion.
This book is incredibly well written and well developed and oh so thought-provoking. It was slightly complicated to read, but I can't help but wonder if this is because some things are lost in translation.
I would go so far as to say that this book is a masterpiece of science fiction, lacking very little.
Summary:I feel like I sort of gave a summary of my own, for once,, with my review. I would provide you with one nonetheless, but I can't find any that don't give away absolutely everything and that aren't ridiculously overly long. So no summary this time.
I think a 1 star book sort of has to be followed up with a 5 star book!
Title:the City and the Stars
Author:Arthur C. Clarke
Who Should Read It?any and all science fiction lovers
What I Have to Say:I read this book in French, but I'm guessing I'd say the same things about its' fantasticness had I read it in English. The futuristic world that Arthur C. Clarke describes is horrifyingly believable. It is beautiful while at the same time being freakishly simplistic and, dare I say, communistic (is that even a word?). In Diaspar, the last human city in existence, everyone and everything finds beauty in sameness, except Alvin. We follow him on his quest for something different, watching as he is shunned for being different, watching as he struggles to find more. Watching as he struggles to deal with that more, which he finds when he discovers that Diaspar is NOT the last human city. There is another. And THAT is what makes this book so amazing. Over millions and millions of years, two cities of humans have developed in such completely different yet possible ways; one focuses on sameness and technology, the other on diversity and nature. Discovering these two worlds, Arthur C. Clarke gives the reader the feeling that HE has already been there; the clarity of his descriptions are poetic.
This book makes you feel, it makes you think; it makes you step back and wonder what is the purpose of man; it is pure genius. Reading this, one can't help but believe that the human imagination has no boundaries.
Summary (from fantasticfiction.co.uk):Men had built cities before, but never such a city as Diaspar; for millennia its protective dome shutout the creeping decay and danger of the world outside. Once, it held powers that rules the stars. But then, as legend had it, The invaders came, driving humanity into this last refuge. It takes one man. A Unique to break through Diaspar's stifling inertia, to smash the legend and discover the true nature of the Invaders.
Now that my friends are gone and Book Blogger Appreciation Week is over, I can get to trying to catch up on some reviews. And the first one of these catch up reviews will go, unfortunately, to a book that I didn't love. ::sadness:: I always feel so bad about not liking a book. I mean, that author worked HARD on that book (most likely) - whom am I to not like it or to judge? That, of course, doesn't stop me from judging. So now you have it, my very first one star review, which is more like a rant.
Who Should Read It?I really didn't like it, so this is hard for me to say. Read how I felt about it and the summary (if you please) and decide for yourself.
What I Have to Say:Oh man, I REALLY did not like this book. First of all, it took me FOREVER to read. I had it on my kindle, and I went on vacation, and I think subconsiously I forgot to bring my charger with me so that my kindle would die so that I wouldn't have to finish it while enjoying myself. Then I got back and went to spend the weekend at my boyfriend's parents house, and of course I FORGOT my kindle. Again, I am sure it was more subconsciously on purpose than accidental. I was determined to finish, but I could at least do it when I wasn't supposed to be enjoying myself.
That said, the story is about a witch, Marla Mason, who is THE most annoying main character of all time. She is egotistical and uncaring about everyone and everything around her. Which therefore makes it hard to believe that she is actually as obsessed and in love as the book claims with her drug-ridden, rodent-infested polluted human-waste smelling city. And nature - her city has none, so obviously she scorns it. But the fact that she is makes her even more annoying, because everything she does is either for it or for her, no matter whom she hurts along the way. I feel like I would have wanted to slap her, but really, I disliked her so much that I couldn't bring myself to care.
Once we understand who she is and what she cares about (herself and her city), the rest of the book is 100% predictable. There is no character development whatsoever (not just with her but with any of the characters), the plot development isn't really development, instead just moving along as it is forced to so that the book can have an end. And the only shockers are the weird S&M party and sex scenes. Which were totally uninteresting but slightly disturbing and tried to develop Marla as a character but basically failed. I really would rather have skipped them.
All this, and I still haven't mentioned that it's supposed to be an urban fantasy. And Marla's supposed to be a witch. But I guess the fact that her magic is connected to her city basically allows her to not have to use it. The paranormal in this book is severely lacking, especially when it comes to Marla.
Some of the scenes are just so ludicrous that I had to step back and wonder if it is really possible that there are people that would do such things (as Marla, the good guy in this book) - and then cross my fingers and hope that no, there are not.
And if I continue my rants, which I definitely could, I will give away the whole book. And there are potentially still people out there wanting to read it.
Summary (from marlamason.net - mygod, do people really like her THAT much?!?):In Blood Engines (10/07), sorcerer Marla Mason, guardian of the city of Felport, has a big problem. A rival is preparing a powerful spell that could end Marla's life -- and, even worse, wreck her city. Marla's only chance at survival is to boost her powers with the Cornerstone, a magical artifact hidden somewhere across the country in San Francisco. But when she arrives in the pretty white city by the bay, she finds the quest isn't quite as simple as she'd expected... and that some of the people she'd counted on for help are dead. It seems that San Francisco's top sorcerers are having troubles of their own -- a mysterious assailant has the city's magical underworld in a panic, and the local talent is being (gruesomely) picked off one by one. With her moderately faithful sidekick Rondeau in tow, Marla is soon racing against time through San Francisco's unknown streets, dodging poisonous frogs, murderous hummingbirds, cannibals, and an increasingly hostile reception from the locals, who suspect Marla herself may be the source of the recent murders. If Marla doesn't figure out who's killing the city's finest in time, she'll be in danger of becoming a magical statistic herself...
Okay, so it's a little bit late, and it's really number 3 for me, but on Friday, this was our task:
Hopefully this week you’ve been visiting a bunch of new book blogs and maybe noticing some things about them you’d like to try yourself. Or maybe you’ve just had some ideas for improvements to your blog you’d like to put into place or new ideas for content. But there’s also probably something you really love about your blog, too, something you’re really proud of. It’s time to show off! Tell us and this is really important, in 50 words or less what you love best about your blog! And then in 50 words or less where you want your blog to be by the next BBAW! Ready? GO!
So, what I love most about my blog is that I have fun with it. I get so excited writing about the books I've read and sharing my feelings. And then when I'm done, I can go back and read over it and remember what I thought about a book.
By the next BBAW, I'd like to be more active in the book blogging community, have a better layout (one I actually love) for my blog, and have more followers. I love sharing the books I read with others, so I'm hoping to get my blog more exposure.
Wow, I think I did it - both in 50 words or less. That was hard. I tend to be wordy, and I keep wanting to go back and add things. But I won't. I'm proud of myself!
Okay, so theoretically, this is supposed to be the 4th post, but I missed out on the first two, so for me it is just number 2.
And I am going to have to make it quick because my friends are taking their very quick showers and then we are heading out for a day of tourism in Paris. And I am supposed to be getting ready and not blogging.
So, today I am supposed to write about that book that I discovered on a book blog that I now just love love LOVE absolutely cannot live without.
And oddly enough, I can't seem to think of one right now. A book that I actually DISCOVERED in a blog. . . I'm sort of new to the book blogging scene and have only even been checking them out for the last couple of months. So there are books that are on my list of books to read that I wouldn't have even thought about without book blogs, but I really can't think of any books that I have ALREADY read.
So, I will post instead about the most recent book that I read that absolutely BLEW ME AWAY and that I loved totally unexpectedly. I think the last time that this happened was over a year and a half ago, with "the Time Traveler's Wife," which is absolutely without a doubt a (5 star) book if ever there was one.
This book was so incredibly beautiful that it took my breath away. I read it all in one sitting and cried my eyes out from about page 50 right on until the very end. I read this book ages ago, and sometimes I still think about it and am overwhelmed by its' elegance and beauty; It goes backwards and forwards and then backwards again. The characters are so interesting that sometimes in life I will be thinking about someone or something someone said, trying to figure out whom it is. Then I will remember that it was Henry or Clare or someone else from the book.
And the thing is - I ALMOST didn't read it. The cover did absolutely nothing for me, and, since I VERY rarely read the backs of books, since I don't want to know anything about them, the cover is very important to me. The colors were pretty, which was the only thing it had going for it. LUCKILY, I kept seeing the book everywhere, and LUCKILY, the author, Audrey Niffenegger, had my name, and I thus picked up the book every time I saw it. Otherwise, I think I would have missed out on this gem of a book. And that would have been tragic.
I was just checking out Confessions of a Wandering Heart, where you should absolutely go to check out her September Giveaway.
She's giving away copies of Molly Harper's "Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs" and "Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men." They both look totally awesome, and I am super looking forward to reading them.
Anyhow, the contest is not the point of this post. If you go to her blog, you will notice that she has posted the following picture:
AWESOMEST CHAIR EVER
How COOL is this chair?!? Seriously - I absolutely MUST have one (when I move back to the other side of the Atlantic, that is). Or two.
So, I have just today discovered that this week is book blogger appreciation week.
And seriously - what a horrible week for me for this to be. I am a book blogger, and I want to be appreciated and all, and I want to post things so that I can be appreciated. But this week I just so happen to have two friends in town and therefore don't want to be sitting in front of my computer blogging when I could be hanging out with them.
That said, this morning I had to work, and they went out without me and have not yet returned, so I figured I would do this little meme suggested by http://bookbloggerappreciationweek.com.
The question I have picked is:
And the answer is. . .
Well, I am sort of obsessive compulsive about having things in alphabetical order. EVERYTHING I have, pretty much, is in alphabetical order. I have about 1000 CDs, and they start with numbers and from there it goes on to the alphabet. And, if I have a ton of CDs of a certain band, they will be arranged alphabetically by album title. I know that a lot of people arrange CDs chronologically, but that just sort of irks me - it totally rubs me the wrong way. If even one of my CDs is out of place, I will have this horrible tense stressed out feeling until it is back in place.
All of my video games are in alphabetical order - by name of the console and then by name of the game.
All of my DVDs are in alphabetical order by title.
I've gotten better at this, but I used to have to have all of the clothes in my closet separated into colors and then arranged alphabetically by color name. Luckily, I am no longer that psycho.
All this said, it is therefore weird that my books do NOT tend to be arranged in alphabetical order. Theoretically I would like them to be (by name of author), but sometimes it's just not that easy.
First, I have three separate sections. I have books that I have already read that immediately jumped to my list of favorite books ever. I even have a special bookshelf for them (unfortunately both of these are in storage right now, waiting for me to move back to the United States). These books always remain in alphabetical order (even in the box in which they are presently suffocating) using the author's last name. Then I have a section for books which I have already read that didn't make that list (which is most books), and these tend to be arranged by size, and within size, they are alphabetical to the best of my ability.
Then, I have the books that are waiting to be read, and these, right now, unfortunately tend to be arranged in order of ones I most want to read to ones I least want to read.
Some of the weird but also super cool bookshelves in my apartment; trust me, there are many more books in our apartment than just that. :-)
In the past, when I lived on the other side of the atlantic ocean, I did manage to arrange them alphabetically. Now, though, in France, I tend to bring them back to the states to store when I am done with them, and the bookshelves here are so weird that they tend to just get thrown any which way, and there really is no specific order. It sends evil shivers down my spine.
I can't wait to move back to the other side of the ocean and to have all of my books with me and be able to have them all out and arranged how I like. If I ever have a house, the hallways will be lined with bookshelves. Awesomeness!
So, when I decided to start this blog, it was because I couldn't stop writing about books in my other blog, which wasn't supposed to be about books. So I thought, hey, it would be cool to have a blog in which I can JUST write about books.
And then I thought - wouldn't it be cool if in that blog I review all of the books that I read?
The problem with that, though, is that I HATE book reviews. They always give a plot summary and talk too much about the development of the characters and the things that happen in books. There are almost ALWAYS spoilers. And let me tell you, I HATE spoilers. Seriously.
To the point in which I base a book on its' cover and its' placement in the book store. Because most of the time I don't even want to read the back of the book because it will tell me too much about what's inside. I like to know next to NOTHING about a book before I read it.
To me, the perfect book review would say next to nothing about the actual book itself, instead talking more aboutfeelings that were had during the book, about whether or not it was readable, and, if it has to talk about that sort of thing, about if it was well written and if the plot and the characters were well developed. I just want to know that they WERE well developed, not about HOW they were well-developed.
If it takes place in a fantasy land, great - you can tell me that the fantasy land in which it takes place was amazingly well created and thought out and the reader will almost feel as if he is in that fantasy land.
But don't tell me ABOUT that fantasy land. Because I don't want to know. I will discover it when I read the book.
So anyhow, that is why I decided to do my reviews how they are. The summary comes last because I know that *I* wouldn't want to read the summary. It's there at the end for those that want to, but easily avoidable for those that don't. In my what I have to say section, I talk about impressions and feelings and flow without, I hope, giving away anything about the book.
Because I just can't STAND that.
And I always wished that someone would do book reviews like that for me.
Right, so that's why I decided that I had to do this blog, and that's why it's done how it is and why my reviews are how they are.
Title:The Vampire Diaries: the Awakening, the Struggle, the Fury, and Dark Reunion
Author:Lisa Jane Smith
Okay, so for this post, I'm doing it, I'm changing the format that I have always used. Why? Because, I loved these books, really I did, but here, I want to talk about the TV show! I read the books this summer because I knew that the CW had turned them into a TV show that they were going to be airing this season.
Honestly, I love everything I've ever read by L.J. Smith, and I've always loved all things supernatural and all things vampire, so I really don't know HOW I had never read these books. But I hadn't. In any case, they were all fantastic, and I was psyched to finish all of the old ones (the one that came out this year is up soon on my list of books to read) before the season premiere, which was yesterday.
How could anyone NOT love L.J. Smith, with an author photo like that?!?
I watched the pilot this morning, and I absolutely LOVED it! Seriously! It was a bagazillion times better than I was expecting.
First of all, I didn't like the idea that Elena was going to have brown hair. I hated that Ian Somerhalder, who is so frickin' HOT and whom I have absolutely ADORED since seeing him in Young Americans (see Young Americans photo to the left and hotness photo below) was going to be playing DAMON, the BAD brother. HOW was I supposed to drool over his gorgeousness and love him all over again if he was going to be playing the BAD guy? Totally uncool!
Ian Somerhalder Hotness
And then I'd also heard that Elena was going to be weak and totally different from her character in the book.
Well, Elena is not AT ALL weak in the show, her brown hair actually suits her well, and in the end, I think (only after one episode, mais bon) I actually like her character in the show better than in the book (shhhh, don't tell L.J. Smith). And then Ian Somerhalder as the bad guy - SO unexpectedly hot! He plays the role so well that I really couldn't see him as anyone else. And then Paul Wesley, whom I had never before heard of and who played Stephan, did am AMAZING job. I totally thought he didn't look right at all for the part, but he absolutely ROCKED it!
Stephan, Elena, and Damon
All in all, I was impressed. Nothing was as I hoped or imagined; it managed to exceed my hopes and expectations. And, coming from someone who NEVER likes the movie or the show better than the book, that is a mega high compliment.
Now I just hope the rest of the season will live up to my new high expectations. I know the next book will!
Title:Once Upon A Day
Who Should Read It?People needing to be reminded that strength and hope can come from the most unexpected of places; or anyone just looking for a good, heartfelt, touching story
What I Have to Say:I feel like I use the words heartfelt and touching a lot when I am describing books, but really, that's what this book is. Heartfelt. And touching. It was also really cool; Lisa Tucker came up with an amazingly interesting way to have the past meet the present without involving things like time machines or black holes (not that I have anything against either of those things in a book). The plot is right on, the characters are well-developed and absorbing, there is just the right amount of drama, and the writing style is easy to follow and to the point.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that "Once Upon a Day" is riveting, but it is gripping and amusing, hooking the reader from chapter 1 and keeping them wanting more.
This book is more than mediocre, more than good, but less than spectacular. There's something that's missing, some reason that I didn't love love LOVE it, but I can't seem to articulate exactly what that missing thing is.
Summary (from Publishers Weekly via Amazon):In the present day, 23-year-old Dorothea has left her overprotective father's secluded 35-acre New Mexico estate, called the Sanctuary, where she and her brother, Jimmy, had been sheltered from current news and all modern-day innovations. Searching for her runaway brother in St. Louis, Dorothea meets a recently widowed doctor-turned-cabbie, who introduces her to the vibrant outside world he's been trying to escape. A parallel tale set in the 1970s follows the budding romance between a successful film director and the waif who becomes his muse, his wife and the object of his obsessive control.
Who Should Read It?Anyone who knows what it feels like to break up with or lose someone you love
What I Have to Say: I've always wanted for someone to write the story of a really rough break up and the getting over of it. With mega focus on the process of getting over it. This is the closest I've ever come to reading something that seems to really get it. Even though it's not about a breakup, it's about a death.
Still, that's what I liked about this book. No longer being with someone you love, either through a breakup or a death, is HARD, and people don't just "get over it" and "move on." It takes time and a lot of hard work and sometimes drug and usually depression and hilariousness play a role. This book is brutally honest about that, and I loved getting to see the process of building new relationships through her pain that ultimately help her to push the pain further and further away from the front of her mind.
That said, this book was just GOOD, not GREAT. It's one of those books that you read and that you enjoy reading but that, in the end, leaves you without impression. The story is good, the characters are good, the "getting over it is good," and that's it. There was nothing so extra special that made me want to get up and scream "YES! This is the book about breaking up I've been looking for!!!!" Just,. . .mediocre.
Summary(from Publishers Weekly via Amazon):Sophie Stanton feels far too young to be a widow, but after just three years of marriage, her wonderful husband, Ethan, succumbs to cancer. With the world rolling on, unaware of her pain, Sophie does the only sensible thing: she locks herself in her house and lives on what she can buy at the convenience store in furtive midnight shopping sprees. Everything hurts—the telemarketers asking to speak to Ethan, mail with his name on it, his shirts, which still smell like him. At first Sophie is a "good" widow, gracious and melancholy, but after she drives her car through the garage door, something snaps; she starts showing up at work in her bathrobe and hiding under displays in stores. Her boss suggests she take a break, so she sells her house and moves to Ashland, Ore., to live with her best friend, Ruth, and start over. Grief comes along, too—but with a troubled, pyromaniac teen assigned to her by a volunteer agency, a charming actor dogging her and a new job prepping desserts at a local restaurant, Sophie is forced to explore the misery that has consumed her.
Um, will someone please explain to me why there is an AURYN on the cover of this book?!? I guess it's supposed to be the ring talked about within, but it just seems wrong.
Title:the Seven Towers
Who Should Read It?Anyone interested in reading a cute, quirky fantasy with bad guys and big evil monsters
What I Have to Say:Contrary to what is said in Amazon's product description, this is not one of Patricia C. Wrede's best. It's quirky, but not quite as quirky as I was hoping for. It's funny, but not quite as funny as I was hoping for. It's daring, but not quite as daring as I was hoping for. You get the point.
That said, this book has *7* main characters (that's right, SEVEN), and they are all well-developed with very different personalities. The plot is well-developed and intriguing and leaves the reader guessing right up to the very end.
It really is a great book, and I have trouble pinpointing WHAT exactly it is that I have to complain about; it was exciting and adventurous and not quite what I wanted it to be.
Still, though, a book worth reading!
Summary (from amazon!):They are seven players in a game of deadly magic— Eltiron, Prince of Sevarin; Crystalorn, Princess of Barinash; Ranlyn, the desert rider; Jermain, the outlaw; Vandaris, the soldier; Carachel, the Wizard-King; and Amberglas, the sorceress. Each of them has a secret, and each fights his or her part in the thrilling battle that has put seven kingdoms on the very edge of destruction. Filled with wit, swordplay, humor, and intrigue, this early novel is one of Patricia C. Wrede’s best
Who Should Read It?People who enjoy books that explore relationships in depth, especially those of a mother and her daughter
What I Have to Say: Gail Tsukiyama has such a beautiful, graceful style of writing that I feel as if she could write about ANYTHING, and I would love it. Everything just sort of flows, each idea merging neatly and beautifully with the next one. With Dreaming Water, as with every other book I have read by Gail Tsukiyama, I felt as if SHE must have been ALL of the characters. How else would she have that much insight into what that kind of relationship must be like?
Dreaming Water, aside from being about a relationship between a mother and her sick daughter, a girl and her sick best friend, and an American woman and her Japanese husband, this book is about strength and courage and being open enough to see things through different eyes than your own. It's about what makes life worth living but also about why these things make it okay to die.
It's such a simple story, but Gail Tsukiyama's telling renders it heartbreaking and heartwarming and magical.
This book is majestical.
Summary (from weread.com):Hana is suffering from Werner's syndrome, a disease that makes a person age at twice the rate of a healthy individual: at thirty-eight Hana has the appearance of an eighty-year-old. Cate, her mother, is caring for her while struggling with her grief at losing her husband, Max, and with the knowledge that Hana's disease is getting worse by the day.
Hana and Cate's days are quiet and ordered. Cate escapes to her beloved garden and Hana reads and writes letters. Each find themselves drawn into their pasts, remembering the joyous and challenging events that have shaped them: spending the day at Max's favorite beach, overcoming their neighbors' prejudices that Max is Japanese-American and Cate is Italian-American, and coping with the heartbreak of discovering Hana's disease.
One of the great joys of Hana's life has been her relationship with her beautiful, successful best friend Laura. Laura has moved to New York from their hometown in California and has two daughters, Josephine and Camille. She has not been home in years and begs Hana to let her bring her daughters to meet her, feeling that Josephine, in particular, needs to have Hana in her life. Despite Hana's latest refusal, Laura decides to come anyway. When Laura's loud, energetic, and troubled world collides with Hana and Cate's daily routine, the story really begins.
Title:Sundays at Tiffany's
Who Should Read It?For anyone interested in reading a good, sweet love story with a twist
What I Have to Say:What a great IDEA! Unfortunately, I wish that someone else had gotten to it first. I mean, seriously, how cool would it be to have an imaginary friend when you are little. And then to run into him later in life and fall in love. SO many amazing things could have been done with this idea, and I just feel like James Patterson didn't go nearly as far as he should have and didn't do nearly as much as he could have. He didn't take the idea and run with it, so to speak. The imaginary friend wasn't well enough explained, the love story was so under developed that it was basically not developed, and the mother of the main character was stereotypical and seen a thousand times before.
That said, it was still pleasant enough to read, and the idea was good enough that the book had no choice but to be exciting. I was never once bored, and I never felt like it lagged.
All in all, an okay book.
Summary (brought to you direct from Amazon):America's #1 bestselling author, James Patterson, brings us a magical story about a love that transcends boundaries . . .
AN IMAGINARY FRIEND
Jane Margaux is a lonely little girl. Her mother, a powerful Broadway producer, makes time for her only once a week, for their Sunday trip to admire jewelry at Tiffany's. Jane has only one friend: a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael. He's perfect. But only she can see him. Michael can't stay forever, though. On Jane's ninth birthday he leaves, promising her that she'll soon forget him.
AN UNEXPECTED LOVE
Years later, in her thirties, Jane is just as alone as she was as a child. And despite her own success as a playwright, she is even more trapped by her overbearing mother. Then she meets someone-a handsome, comforting, funny man. He's perfect. His name is Michael . . .
AND AN UNFORGETTABLE TWIST
This is a heartrending story that surpasses all expectations of why these people have been brought together. With the breathtaking momentum and gripping emotional twists that have made James Patterson a bestselling author all over the world, SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY'S takes an altogether fresh look at the timeless and transforming power of love.
Who Should Read It?This is for everyone who has ever enjoyed a good chick lit book, no matter what kind it is.
What I Have to Say:Go Sophie Kinsella for writing a ghost story! And for doing it oh so well. Frankly, I am ridiculously impressed. I feel like so many authors lately are trying to do the supernatural thing, and don't get me wrong, I LOVE it. I am a total supernatural fan. But I feel like it's really hard to write a book about something supernatural and have it accesible to everyone (not boys in this case, but you know what I mean), even those totally not into supernatural things. Sophie Kinsella has not just succeeded, she has mastered the art. "Twenties Girl" is fun and quirky, and every twenty something has been there and done that, minus the ghost.
Reading this book was so much fun that I just KNOW Sophie Kinsella had a rockin'time researching and writing this book.
An easy breezy totally necessary read!
Summary (from fantasticfiction.com):Lara has always had an overactive imagination. Now she wonders if she is losing her mind. Normal twenty-something girls just don't get visited by ghosts! But inexplicably, the spirit of Lara's great aunt Sadie - in the form of a bold, demanding Charleston-dancing girl - has appeared to make one last request: Lara must track down a missing necklace Sadie simply can't rest without. Lara's got enough problems of her own. Her start-up company is floundering, her best friend and business partner has run off to Goa, and she's just been dumped by the love of her life. But as Lara spends time with Sadie, life becomes more glamorous and their treasure hunt turns into something intriguing and romantic. Could Sadie's ghost be the answer to Lara's problems and can two girls from different times end up learning something special from each other?
Who Should Read It?Really, anyone into teen fiction; anyone that likes books with girls and boys and love and excitement and pseudo mystery.
What I Have to Say:It's hard for me to say something about a Meg Cabot book other than "It's Meg Cabot; need I say more?" And really, I feel like saying that again. The fact is, I love Meg Cabot, and I love everything I've ever read that she's written, even if some are better than others. Airhead was definitely better than others, and I was worried that Being Nikking wouldn't be able to live up to the awesomeness of Airhead. It definitely did, perhaps even surpassing it. It's creative, it's original, it's a love story, and it's a mystery. Cabot's continuation of the life of Emerson Watts and supermodel Nikki does not disappoint. Em is a fun, witty, likable character, and it's impossible not to laugh (or cringe, depending) at the situations that she regularly finds herself in. I couldn't put this book down as I followed Em on her exciting and dangerous voyage towards truth, and by the end I was practically falling off ly seat (or rather out of my bed), mouth agape, wondering how I will EVER manage to wait until 2010 to read the next book in the series.
Summary (direct to you from Amazon):Things aren't pretty for Emerson Watts.
Em was sure there couldn't be anything worse than being a brainiac the body of a teenaged supermodel.
But it turned out she was wrong. Because that supermodel could turn out to have a mother who's gone mysteriously missing, a brother who's shown up on her doorstep demanding answers, a former best friend who's intent on destroying Stark Enterprises to avenge the death of his lost love, and a British heartthrob who's written a song about her that's topping the charts.
How can Em balance all that with school, runway shows, and weekend jaunts to St. Johns - especially when she's got ex-boyfriends crawling out of the woodwork who want more than just a photo op; a sister who is headed to the high school cheerleading championships; a company she represents that seems to be turning to the dark side...
Not to mention trying to convince the love of her life that models aren't really airheads after all...especially one model in particular.
But then, nobody said it was going to be easy being Nikki.