Categotry Archives: Book Reviews


July 2011

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Impressively I thought I hadn’t managed to do last month’s book blog but I totally did! I think I forgot because I was drunk while posting it. That was the night I had like 4 shots of tequila and a beer. Oh man. Oh wait and then the other thing with like 3 shots of vodka. Ok, but that was after I posted it so it barely counts. I mean, sure, the whole room was spinning, but whatever. Whatever.

So July! I did SHITTY. But a lot of July was spent taking care of kids and driving and….starting my internship. My excuses even suck. Not every month can be a 30 books read! Stop judging me.

Books Read: 8

Books Partially Read: None. I read them all! That’s a first.

Books Bought: 9

Money Spent: $27

Books Borrowed: 4

Books Given: 4

Books Re-read: 0

Money made (from selling books): 0

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 41

So once again I bought too many books. Seven of them were from this awesome used book store in Alameda which I discovered while house-sitting there last month on my many walks across the stupid island gathering blisters and broken foot bones. The other two were at used book stores in Oregon.

Out of my eight books this month, guess how many were favorites? It’s not eight, don’t panic. It is six. But the other two I didn’t even hate, I just didn’t love them.

Favorites: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, The Shadow in Hawthorn Bay by Janet Lumm, Divergent by Veronica Roth, What Every Woman Knows by James M. Barrie, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, and Life Among The Savages by Shirley Jackson.


Beauty Queens is about a bunch of teenage pageant girls who get stranded on an island and have to survive an evil lair of bad guys under a volcano, an Asian dictator, and some pirates from boarding school. It’s hilarious and socially scathing.

The Shadow in Hawthorn Bay is old school YA set in Scotland/Canada. It was pretty and nostalgic.

Divergent is amazing and everyone should read it. Dystopic future a la Hunger Games, equally awesome but in very different ways.

What Every Woman Knows is a play by the author of Peter Pan. I bought it at the library book sale in Bandon, OR and found the very smart female character overcoming sexism to be delightful.

Girl Who Circumnavigated is the second book by Valente I’ve read. This one is much more a kid’s book similar in scope to Alice in Wonderland with girl entering alternate world and having to go on adventures and deal with a mean Queen, save her friends, etc. It’s very whimsical and entertaining. Would be great to read with a kid but was good to read as an adult too.

Life Among The Savages is Jackson’s partial (fictional) autobiography about living in the country and raising her kids. It is hilarious and baffling and awesome. She wrote the famous short story “The Lottery” which everyone should have read. Katherine (my cousin) was reading this at the beach and kept chortling and relaying passages so I got it from the library when I got home and devoured it on the houseboat. It’s a fabulous vision of parenting mid 20th Century. Also apparently there is a sequel, say what now. Must get.

Less favorites: Follow My Lead by Kate Noble (unexceptional romance novel) and A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner (4th in the Queen’s Thief series which I wrote about last month).

Book Quotes:

“Desire played by its own rules. She wanted him to want her. Madly. Truly. Completely. His wanting her supplied a missing piece she couldn’t supply for herself; no matter what the self-help books said, desirability was something reflected back to you. And right now, she needed that.”

From Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

“The sun hitched up her trousers and soldiered on up into the sky. September squinted at it and wondered if the sun here was different than the sun in Nebraska. It seemed gentler, more golden, deeper. The shadows it cast seemed more profound. But September could not be sure. When one is traveling, everything looks brighter and lovelier. That does not mean it IS brighter and lovelier, it just means that sweet, kindly home suffers in comparison to tarted-up foreign places with all their jewels on.”

From The Girl Who Circumnavigated by Catherynne M. Valente.


June 2011

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I don’t have a lot of time and there’s no internet at this beach house so I’m in a bar with free wifi. My life is sooooo hard, beer by my side.

Books Read: 13

Books Unfinished: 8

Books Re-read: 3

Books Bought: 2 ($25)

Books Borrowed: 15

Books Given: 7

Money made from selling books: 0

Favorites Books: Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, The Thief and The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner, …. and Book ‘Em by me. I’m sneaking it in at the end there. Yes. I read my own book again and I still like it.

Just Like Heaven is the newest Julia Quinn. I love her. It was about a Smythe-Smith (they play instruments very badly and have been recurring characters in some of her other books). It’s a romance novel, obviously. It was cute, sweet, funny etc. I enjoyed it.

Deathless by Valente was kind of amazing. It’s an actual adult fiction novel and I don’t read many of those so if one actually drew me enough to finish, I feel it counts as a good recommendation. It was set in Russia and is all magical realism, historical, Russian folklore/myths. Basically it’s about a girl who is taken to the sort of underworld by a handsome man who rules it and enters in the battle between death and life and makes friends with mythical creatures. Overtones of Hades/Persephone obviously. Except her mother is not trying to get her back. She is very real and conflicted in her love/hate/love of the guy and her desire to live a normal life back in the real world. I thought she was a fool. Their relationship was super intense, yes, but they defined the rules and all that mattered was honesty. Everything else goes. And there was a lot of everything else. Next I shall read her The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, which I am very excited about.

Megan Whalen Turner was recommended to me by Jocelyn who was reading the 4 book Queen’s Thief series. I got the first one from the library and devoured it. They’re a quartet from the 1990s that are YA fantasy. They’re fabulous. It took me a while to realize what I loved most about them (and it’s very much a writer/reader thing). So, in most books the narrator is either omniscient or transparent. Generally, all information is presented to you–the reader–and surprises are rare (maybe I’m reading the wrong books, but I read a lot of them and I am seldom surprised by plots). These books surprised me because she wrote them withholding information. Her characters might know something but they didn’t share it. They didn’t even hint at it most of the time. The reader would find out the truth only when it was revealed to other characters. There wasn’t internal monologuing or a lot of wishy-washy debate happening in these books. They were straightforward, action moving forward, and then surprise! You weren’t expecting that! The main character–Gen–was also fantastic. Super smart, tricky, secretive, snarky, Some of my favorite character traits in a fictional world. I highly recommend at least the first two in the quartet to anyone who likes great story-telling and interesting surprises. I didn’t love the third and fourth ones as much. The third one adds an additional perspective which I wasn’t fond of. And the fourth one is mostly about a side character from the first one which I was less interested in. But the first two I really really loved.

Least Favorite Books: A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford (started out good, switched writing style halfway through and became just terrible), Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn (also started out good–I read almost the whole thing but then skimmed the end–but it was kind of….boring, I guess is the best word.), I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (the movie is based on this and I was curious. I shouldn’t have been. Horribly written), Die For Me by Amy Plum (another in a string of recent angel/human tortured love tripe. Bad), and Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck (was all excited. Indian myth, tigers, circus, but soooo boring).

Favorite Quotes:

“A marriage is a private thing. It has its own wild laws and secret histories and savage acts, and what passes between married people is incomprehensible to outsiders. We look terrible to you, and severe, and you see our blood flying, but what we carry between us is hard won and we made it just as we wished it to be, just the color, just the shape.”

–from Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente.


May 2011

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So there’s a good reason for being late this month. I was driving from San Diego all the way back home on the 1st with a three hour stop in Los Angeles to hang out with Long-Hai. Blurgh. Love Long-Hai, hate driving from SD to the Bay Area. Too long. Too many horrible cow farms. Poor cows.

So books! Last month, I read some. Mostly I read parts of some and then threw them to the ground and yelled, “No!” Heh. It was a lot of partial reads.

Books Read: 14

Books Partially Read: 12

Books Bought: 13

Money Spent: $31

Books Borrowed: 9

Books Given: 3

Books Re-read: 1

Money made (from selling books): 0

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 35

So books read squeaked past books partially read. Go me. The books bought were 12 from the Alameda Public Library Book sale and 1 from Serendipity Books in Berkeley (which is an AWESOME used book store Tami introduced Kris and I too last month). The one book I re-read is a book I read like 2 months ago and then sat around on the library waiting list again for a month and read again. It was not quite as good the second time. I was sad. And To-Be-Reads…well it’s a little less than last month. Maybe I’m getting ahead (hint: I’m not).

Favorite Books This Month: Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Cloudy With A Chance of Marriage by Kieran Kramer, Vespers Rising by Rick Riordan et all, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan, George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends by James Marshall and Abandon by Meg Cabot.

That was a lot. Sorry. Short now!

Wither is this awesome dystopic future novel where one generation tries to extend life spans and fucks up the genetics of their offspring so everyone dies in their 20s. Girls get forced in to polygamous marriages to procreate and the story follows one girl put in this situation. It is excellent. It’s also a trilogy. So I recommend reading this one but also caution you that you might want to wait for the second one to be out at least.

Cloudy With A Chance of Marriage is the third one in Kramer’s Impossible Bachelor series and I’ve already written about 1 and 2. This one was better than 2, I thought, but still not as delightful as 1. Maybe I need to read 1 again to see if it’s really as good as I think because Jocelyn was unimpressed with it and liked 2 better. Basically this one is about a navy captain and a bookseller and their romance on a foggy street plus all the wacky characters living on the same street. In Regency England.

Vespers Rising is the bridge book between the 39 Clues series and the new Vespers series which will be starting soon. Damn Riordan for these books. Because I like them but there’s so many and you have to wait for them to come out and they’re all written by different famous YA/tween authors and they’re all good in different ways. This one was pretty great. It was short stories to introduce the Vespers and I enjoyed 2 of them more than the other 2.

Nihon-Ja is the 10th book in Flanagan’s Ranger series. 10th. I have been reading this forever. Also they come out in Australia and then take months to come out here so I also own several Australian copies that I paid a pretty penny for (damn you, shipping). This one is set sort of in Japan (it’s total alternate reality) and is great but maybe not AS great as some of the middle ones which were super great. I mean, it is 10 books. And he’s not like a super versatile author. A lot of the jokes/writing/plot/themes are the same. Still, I enjoy them.

George and Martha is our next Finer Things Club book so I don’t want to talk about it much. But it’s a picture book about two best friend hippos and I love Martha.

Abandon is the story of Hades and Persephone basically. Not quite, of course because it’s set in present day and has different people. It was good. It’s the start of a new series for Cabot and if you know me you know I’ll read anything she writes. Still, I enjoyed this one. It’s set off the coast of Florida on an island and I like the girl, Percy.

Least Favorite Books: Green by Jay Lake, Hacking Timbuktu by Stephen Davies, and Hounded by Kevin Hearne.

Green, I got almost all the way through and then it just devolved into S&M and I was like, “Seriously?” I mean, I am not against S&M at all (see how I own Carrie’s Story?) but this storyline didn’t need it. It was totally gratuitous and when it came to doing it with her older female role models I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Hacking Timbuktu–uh. It’s hacking computers and non-hardcore parkour in Timbuktu. I’m horrified I even bought it. Fifty cents seemed reasonable. And now I can give it to my 12 year old boy cousin.

Hounded is the first in a series about an Iron Druid and his fights with the fae and gods and witches and possibly vampires and who knows what else. I couldn’t handle it after like four chapters. Soooooo badly written. And it’s the first of at least 3! The others are coming out later this summer. How are people that write this shitty getting awesome book deals? Why can’t I have one?

I’ve already read one book this month and loved it (the new Julia Quinn so, of course). We’ll see how many others I do this month. Got to work on my own projects more this June. So much to do!

Favorite Quotes:

“[The clouds] have seen abysmal oceans and charred, scorched islands. They have seen how we destroyed the world. If I could see everything, as the clouds do, would I swirl around this remaining continent, still so full of color and life and seasons, wanting to protect it? Or would I just laugh at the futility of it all, and meander onward, down the earth’s sloping atmosphere?”

“And here we are: two small dying things, as the world ends around us like falling autumn leaves.”

Both quotes from Wither by Lauren DeStafano.


April 2011

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May, you glorious month, you! Does it seem like April lasted FORever to anyone else? Because I really felt it was unduly long. Looking back at my calendar at things I did at the beginning of the month seems like they happened 60 days ago instead of 30. The month where time stood still. And it’s not that I wasn’t busy and therefore bored out of my skull. I was actually quite busy. Plus I did Script Frenzy (and finished successfully with 100 pages of graphic novel on Friday).

So this month I set no goals. I wasn’t trying to read a book a month. And I wasn’t successful at that either. Unless you count how many books I TRIED to read this month, in which case I did do 30. Boo-yah. I did also borrow a shit-ton from the library, a lot of those were gardening books. Oh library, how I love you. Why will you not give me a job?

Books Read: 20

Books Partially Read: 10

Books Bought: 1

Money Spent: $3.50

Books Borrowed: 36

Books Given: 5

Books Re-read: 3

Money made (from selling books): $11.25 (Look at me go! I’m living the high life now.)

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 41 (Boo-garty.)

Favorite Books this month: Chime by Franny Billingsley, Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and Eona: The Last Dragoneye by Alison Goodman, Bossypants by Tina Fey, Alcatraz Versus The Shattered Lens by Brandon Sanderson, and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

OK, so, I read The Little Prince for Finer Things Club (which happened today and of which there are pictures coming soon). I read it once long ago in the French during High School for Madame Pantzer’s class. I remember liking it then, I like it now also. It is delightful and puzzling and great for a tea party/costume/reading club.

Eona came out this month and I was pretty excited because I read and liked Eon months (years?) ago when it first came out (I also re-read it this month). It was not a disappointment. I think it was actually better than the first one. There was a lot of character development which went in unexpected, but totally logical, ways. I love that kind of thing. Eona impressed me because Goodman took a character that was horrible and made me like him. And then made me hate him again. I don’t normally change my opinion of a character so many times.

Bossypants I requested from the library well over a month ago and finally got up to #1 on the waiting list. It was hilarious. It could have been MORE hilarious but it was still satisfactory in the number of laughs. I laughed a lot. Mostly sort of choked delighted horrified laughter. Kind of like my reaction sometimes to Liz Lemon. The two things I liked best about the book (other than the funny) were how ordinary she made herself seem. She’s writing about being on SNL and being called by Bill Clinton and stuff but she’s also talking about pumping breast milk and being intimidated and talking to her mom. It’s a lot more ordinary than extraordinary which was something I didn’t really associate with Tina Fey prior to this. Secondly, she writes a little about the writing staff for 30 Rock and mentions Donald Glover. I love him! So basically I was just thrilled about that.

The latest Alcatraz book by Sanderson was great and also misleading. I am still irritated by that. The cover flap says it’s the thrilling conclusion but then I got to the end and it WASN’T OVER. Why must you always lie to me, Alcatraz? And why do I keep coming back for more all the same even though I hate unreliable narrators? If I haven’t raved about these books to you before–they’re about a boy named Alcatraz who has to fight the evil Librarians who rule the Hushlands (aka our world) and are hiding the Free Kingdoms from us because they like to control information. They’re delightful and A. is an excellent voice.

Chime. Chime, chime, chime. OK. So Jocelyn forwarded me this review about Chime and I was like, “Wellllllll, it does sound pretty but I hate hate hate unreliable narrators.” But the library had it so I got it and the rest, as they say, was me reversing opinions. Not only is the writing lovely and entrancing, she’s not actually an unreliable narrator. Those bitches to me are the ones who out and out lie to you and know it. Briony isn’t technically ever lying to you and also the truth was rampantly obvious within like 20 pages so I could just sit back and enjoy the lovely story-telling. This is gonna be a huge claim but in some ways it reminds me of The Changeover by Margaret Mahy (that cover is HORRIFIC)–which is one of my favorite books of all time. It doesn’t quite reach that level for me but I think that’s only because I didn’t read it as a teenager. If Chime had teen nostalgia on its side I might like it just as much. Outrageous claim. We’ll see if I read it multiple times in the next 20 years and still love it in 2031 like I love The Changeover now.

Least Favorites Books this month: Lord Lightning by Jenny Brown and Choker by Elizabeth Woods. I have nothing to say about those.

Book I feel the need to mention: Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right by Kieran Kramer. Because I talked about her first book When Harry Met Molly last month and was all excited about this one, remember? But this one was kind of disappointing. It was kind of like she wrote Harry/Molly and it was a success and then she took a book she had already written and changed the character’s names and revised a little so it would fit as the second book in this Impossible Bachelors series. Disappointing. Just not the same air of whimsical discordance. At the same time, I will fully be getting the third in the series–Cloudy With A Chance Of Marriage–ASAP and reading it. I’ve not given up on Kramer yet.

So May month. Goals? Thoughts? I do have a lot of back-log to read. I mean it’s sort of ridiculous. Lots of books out from the library still. And ones I’ve been given and haven’t gotten to yet (I’m looking at you 10th Flanagan. Should I read the first 9 again before I read you? Who can say.)

Who can say.


March 2011

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Last month I made some big claims about how I was going to read a book a day this month. Was I successful? Oh yes. Yes, I was. I read 24 books in the first 13 days. Then I slacked for about a week. And then I read some more. I also went to the eye doctor this month and he was all, “Do you read without contacts or glasses?” in a semi-disapproving tone. I didn’t know what to make of it. Because I do that thing. Meh-*izzle*.

Books Read: 38 (ha! Suck on that, March!)

Books Partially Read: 3

Books Bought: 2

Money Spent (approximately): $25

Books Borrowed: 19

Books Given: 17 (my mommy loves me. and there was a library book sale)

Books Re-read: 15 (feeling nostalgic again but none of them were graphic novels. I totally didn’t read those to up my numbers. This was legitimate book reading! Though admittedly a lot of it was YA. But when it is NOT?)

Money made (from selling books): None. But I’m creating a pile to sell

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 31. Guh.

Favorite Books this month: Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund and Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

I’m trying to keep it short and sweet this month for you. =)

Ascendant is, of course, the sequel to Peterfruend’s Rampant, which I believe I wrote about before. Yup. It’s about an ancient order of nuns who are unicorn slayers. Unicorns come in many different forms–more than the one that’s on all those tapestries. Some are huge. One hung out with Alexander the Great. The unicorn history bits are actually pretty fascinating. I mean they are fictional, but it’s an intriguing conceit. Primarily the books follow one girl who is a descendant of 2 great unicorn hunting lines. In the first book she finds out unicorns exist and learns to fight them. In this one she’s still fighting but there’s a lot more about endangered species and finding better solutions than outright slaughter. It’s kind of better than the first one. I’ll read the third one (wink) that’s all I’m saying.

Call Me Irresistible is the culmination of several different books set in the same town for Phillips. It’s a small town in Texas with a lot of wacky characters. The main female lead comes from LA (and cameo’d in a previous book). The guy is from a couple different books. He was in one about his parents and another one about his best friend. There’s also some characters in this one who come from a fourth book of Phillips (about a female POTUS. Yeah. She gets to be President AND have a romance novel.) I LOVED this book. The other ones that have led up to this were good but this one is great. Excellent writing, characters, plot momentum. Just all around fabulous romance novel. I want to read it again already and the last book I did that with was Agnes and the Hitman so that should give you some idea of this one stacks up. Also, I think if you liked Agnes you’ll like this one.

Honorable Mentions: Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves (it was maybe not AS GOOD as Bleeding Violet which I wrote about here.), Lost Laysen by Margaret Mitchell (I mostly loved the intro/biography part but the novella was good too), The Rules According to JWOWW by Jenny Farley (I blame Katy W. for this one. Ha! But I did find parts of it amusing), and When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer (which was HI-larious. It’s a romance novel but one of the most non-stereotypical I’ve ever read. So much of it was NOT what would have happened in that time period. Totally ridiculous. I want to read her second book–Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right–pretty bad now.)

Least Favorite Books: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney (didn’t like the main girl, didn’t like the love interest. Did like the male best friend and was sad he wouldn’t get the girl. Didn’t like it’s a series, didn’t like the writing–written down to teenager. Way, way down.) and Jekel Loves Hyde

by Beth Fantaskey (should have known better since I didn’t like Fantaskey’s Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side much either. This one seemed worse though.)

Fave Quote of the Month (from a gorgeous art book which really should have been included in the Honorable Mentions. Super pretty):

“[speaking of the Eiffel Tower] For it will be told in no uncertain terms that it is simply a pretext, a mere excuse to depict everything admirable that is to be found in its vicinity, and it ought not forget those occasions when it has been allowed, by special favor, to figure prettily in the landscape…So be quiet, abstraction! Shut up, theorem!”

–From Arsene Alexandre’s ‘Prologue’ in Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower: A Turn-of-the-Century Tribute to the City of Light.

Ta-Ta Till Next Month!


February 2011

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Kind of a little late today on the first day of March, but I got distracted reading. And being really lazy. Though to be fair, I read three books already today so not TOO lazy. Other then the lolling around and not showering until 2pm part. Hmph. Let’s ignore that.

Three books today! I’m well on my start for March. I was kind of disappointed in myself for February since I set a goal of reading 28 books. Hey, I was like–February’s short! I should read as many books as there are days. Didn’t make it. Almost made it. Sort of. If you count books I didn’t finish. I almost just read a bunch of graphic novels so I could fake success. But I think too much of you people to cheat like that. No. Really.

Well, I didn’t do it so obviously I think something of you. Or, more likely, myself. But March is a new month and I’m already two up. Maybe it’s a re-goal.

So. February. My birthday month! Good times. It’s like I reach February and my brain says, Eek! It’s almost your birthday and you will get MORE books. Better read all these ones you got for Christmas fast, bozo. Motivating.

Books Read: 17

Books Partially Read: 7 (See if you add those together it’s 24. Almost 28.)

Books Bought: 0

Money Spent: 0!

Books Borrowed: 3 (Have I grown disillusioned with the library? Have I just read all their books?)

Books Given: 5

Books Re-read: 7 (I got nostalgic. For really bad British YA novels. It has significantly impacted my brain speech patterns. It’s not pretty in here.)

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 29 (Well, it’s a little better than last month.)

I feel like I read a wider variety of book types this month but looking back it’s really the same old. YA, romance, and fantasy. I did try some out of my comfort zone reading–apocalypse fiction of the serious kind (not the kind I write with pirates and ninjas). Namely The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy and Into the Forest by Jean Hegland. Both set in California, both seemed awesome, both bored me. Sigh. They did seem really awesome and I think many people I know would love them. I just have serious misgivings about serious literature. Give me a quick laugh and a cheap thrill any time. I like my fiction escapist.

And speaking of… my favorites this month were, of course, ridiculous.

I re-read The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger and it remained awesome. I complimented it before and I stand by my words.

I also read the latest Kresley Cole. Cole is a romance writer. I read all her paranormal titles and they are fairly uniformly hilarious and awesome. Great sex scenes and fabu characters. This one–Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark Series, Book 9)–starred Regin (the Radiant), one of my favorite Valkyries in some of the other books. She is sass and a texter supreme. Hilarity reigns with Regin the Radiant, got it? But this book was kind of a let-down in terms of her being kick-ass. Possibly because she kept getting tortured. Still pretty good. Way better than the last one. Stupid vemon (vampire demon).

Two books by new authors (to me) that I liked were The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card and Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves.

I feel a little ashamed admitting I’d never read Card. I mean, Ender’s Game? Classic sci-fi. Never read it. The Lost Gate is a YA book which might be the first way it sucked me in but it was also really, really good. I see why he’s so famous now. And then Dia Reeves. Holy Bleep. What can I say about this book? It’s about a girl who’s kind of a sociopath and falls in love(?possibly love?) with a boy who’s also kind of a sociopath. It is AWESOME. It’s set in this town in Texas where there are gates everywhere. Not like happy wooden white picket fence gates, like gates through space. Some people can see them, some people can’t. And sometimes really bad things come through them. This is not a town I would want to live in. Nor would I want to live in Dia Reeve’s mind. But sign me up for visiting in book form any time. I cannot wait for the stupid library to get her follow-up set in the same town. It’s called Slice of Cherry and is about serial killer sisters. Squee! So dark, so twisty, so innovative.

So good.

Hmm, what else did I like this month? I enjoyed re-reading my ridic YA books by Katie Maxwell about Emily. Her voice is so perfect and hilarious in these. It makes me laugh and want to wring her neck. There are 5 of them but there should be more because it totally cliff-hangers. But Katie Maxwell has gotten too caught up in her stupid vampire Dark One and Dragon adult romance series to finish the Emily ones. Lame.

I liked the new Eloise James too–When Beauty Tamed the Beast. Probably because I almost always enjoy Beauty and the Beast stories. Though the whole chicken coop with scarlet fever episode was disgusting.

I also read the sequel/companion novel to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (which, if you’ll remember I crazy loved to the point of sounding racist) titled The Broken Kingdoms. It took me like two months to finish this book because it was such a huge disappointment. I still want to read the final one in the series, I can only believe it will be better and less abstractly about aesthetics than characters and plot. Groan.

Also kind of disappointing was Jennifer Crusie’s latest, Maybe This Time. Just not the same energy or entertainment value as Agnes and the Hitman. Too much ghosts and evilness happening to little kids. Also super bratty little kids. Not their fault per se what with all the poltergeists, but still. And the guy was kind of not romantic. It’s a romance novel. I mean, work with me here.

I read Zack Whedon’s contribution to the continuing Firefly saga–Shepherd’s Tale and really just want to say: “Joss, get off your ass and write something again. Your brother is NOT YOU.” Though I did enjoy the part where Jayne called River “Jelly Brain”. And the reverse linear story-telling was interesting.

Gah. I have too many books to talk about this month. Sorry. There was a lot of interesting things happening.

Finale to Karen Marie Moning(Yes. Moning)’s horrid Fever series came out–Shadowfever–and I got it late for Christmas and read the gigantically fat volume this month. I think it should count as three books. It’s terribly fat. At least 2 books. It was…ugh. Well, at least it finally explained some things. But jeez louise it took a long time getting there and laying mis-trails. I don’t really recommend reading these ever. I did kind of at first when I’d only read the first one but then I read all of them. And now I can say pretty definitively as the one who braved all five that you don’t need to go there. Let it be the unexplored country to you and I can be the sole survivor who returned from the tundra and said “There be dragons.” Ha! Actually, there are sort of dragons in it.

Last one! No! Seriously! I somehow discovered Harmony by Project Itoh and was intrigued by the whole concept of Japanese sci-fi/fantasy. Mm. Ok, wait no. That came out wrong. I’ve read Japanese sci-fi/fantasy before. I guess I mean the new wave of progressive younger writers who are making it a scene in Japan right now? There’s a whole movement and I was curious about them. So I got this book with one of my many Xmas/Bday Amazon GCs. It was interesting. Parts of it were boring and the philosophy’s proponents had holes in their arguments sometimes, I felt. But the style was new feeling to me. All the html (called etml because it was emotional encoding to simulate feelings) was fascinating because my brain totally thinks like that too! Notice I use it in the last post before this one. It’s totally fake html encoding, obviously–it’s just used to simulate emotion or present non-linear story-telling snippets. At least that’s how he (and also I) used it as you can see in my example. He wrote Harmony while he was in the hospital dying so there’s that added notoriety to the novel–which is both depressing and probably really, really good for sales. It’s not great (though I question if some/most of that is the translation) but sometimes it is poetry and perfectly shiny.

OK. I feel I’ve pretty well covered my likes and dislikes this month. And this has gotten to the too long point and past it already. So I’ll leave you. Till next month. Which may or may not include 31 books read. Don’t think I won’t read all 23 volumes of Fruits Basket over again just to make it too. Because I have been thinking of doing that anyway. Fluttery Sigh. Fruits Basket.


January 2011

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Categories: Book Reviews, Tags:

A new year, another month…Time for a book round up.

Books Read: 20

Books Partially Read: 8

Books Bought: 8

Money Spent (approximately): $70, technically. But $30 of that was a gift certificate and the other $40 I got in trade from selling books so I really really want to count this as $0.

Books Borrowed: 20

Books Given: 4

Books Re-read: 0 (but I did buy two books I’ve already read–The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) and Sunshine. So I’ll be re-reading soon.)

In other news those links are totally serving my Associate Account at Amazon. Which I have, admittedly, had this entire time and just not taken advantage of. Maybe it will net me something this year. Maybe I’ll get tired of having to cull the links though and copy/paste them and give up on that enterprise.

Ooh, new category!

Money made (from selling books): $134.

None too shabby. $48 of that was pocketed in cash and I still have $45 in trade at Powell’s to spend in the coming months. Possibly online instead of driving all the way up there as I am prone to do on a whim.

And lastly, and embarrassingly:

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 26

A lot checked out from the library I haven’t gotten to yet. Also 3 of my Powell’s purchases. Heh.

To the meat of it.

Favorite books this month: The Lady Most Likely by Julia Quinn, Connie Brockway, and Eloisa James and Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore.

Bite Me was the third in the SF based vampire books by Moore and it was fabulous. Also I got it for free last month from Catherine (Kim’s mom) as an ARC. Score. Uh. ARC stands for Advance Reader’s Copy if you didn’t know. Catherine used to work at a book-store and still gets boxes of these to dispose of at libraries/the prison system. I sometimes get to look through them first! Lucky. Anyway, it could or could not be the end of the series. Hard to tell with that ending. But it’s told from Abby Normal’s perspective and she is biting sarcasm girlie gothic hotness. Lots of hilarious characters, brisk pace and plot. Excellent use of the Emperor and bringing back the downtrodden cops and Animals from the Safeway. All of this would make sense if you’d read Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story or You Suck: A Love Story or this one. And why haven’t you anyway? They are all great. Go read them right now. Also, that cover of Bloodsucking Fiends is better than the cover on the one I’ve got. Jealous.

The Lady Most Likely is a sort of three parter story written by three great romance authors. I *think* I know which one wrote which part but they blended it really well. They also continued the story-line throughout mostly OK–the main MAIN guy kind of vacillates between being an ass and being awesome in a couple of the transitions. But otherwise it’s good. Also it introduced me to Connie Brockway which I am unsure yet is a good or bad thing. I have now read four of her novels and have three left from the library here on this shelf. I am kind of methodical in my reading habits. Find a new author I like, I will place holds on their whole back catalog at the library. I liked two of the ones I’ve read so far, not so much the other two and these other three I’ve kind of lost interest in already.

Books I liked and want to give honorable mentions to: Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve, Bridal Season and Bridal Favors by Connie Brockway, Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories by Zach Whedon, Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto by Eric Lopez, iDrakula by Bekka Black, and Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

Sorry that was kind of a lot. Short reviews! This post is already way too long!

Odd: Almost a favorite of the month. It was a great fairy tale. And very short. And by Gaiman. Can you go wrong? Well, you can. I almost exclusively only like his YA/kid stuff.

Fever: I reviewed on Good Reads

Bridal Season and Bridal Favors: Main female characters running a wedding service. The second one (Favors) is better. Typical romance novels. Good characters and dialogue though. Enjoyable fluff.

Dr. Horrible: Have you seen the web show? This is background info on the characters in comic form. The Bad Horse stuff is the best.

Baumgartner: Ha, a Powell’s buy almost exclusively for the title and the author bio. Also it looked hilarious. It was good but not AWESOME.

iDrakula: Dracula told through emails and text messages. Kind of genius. Also updated obviously to modern day teens. Totally enjoyed it.

Universe: Also reviewed on Good Reads

Books I disliked: Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex, Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw, and Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Two of these–Fat Vampire and P&P–I mostly disliked because I liked the author’s other books so much. Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday and Eulberg’s The Lonely Hearts Club. Fat Vampire starred a completely unlikable fat kid. I should be kinder to America’s obese young. But he was morally corrupt. Dislike. Prom and Prejudice was just too closely modeled after Austen’s original P&P without making her characters interesting in their own right. I love P&P OG and variations on it, but it’s nice if they at least try to make it a little different.

Ok, and Anxious Hearts. Ugh. It’s based on Longfellow’s poem Evangeline and it starts off good but then it just goes downhill. So boring! So poorly planned and executed! So obvious in its third act conclusion. Pah.

So already after one month I can say that I’m sick of the whole Amazon Associate linking. Till next month, friends. Kisses.

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