"I may not know how to fly but I know how to read and that's almost the same thing."-- Gregory Maguire, Out of Oz

"...while finding true love was one of the most splendid things that could happen to you in life, finding a friend was equally splendid." -- Felix J Palma, The Map of the Sky

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Ten Favorites I Want to Re-Read and Review

My picks for the Tuesday Top Ten, as invented by The Broke and Bookish. This week's theme was "Top Ten Tuesday Freebie! Pick your own topic!" and I decided to list my Top Ten Books I Want to Re-Read and Review for this theme for two very special reasons.

The first reason is that my "repeat offenders," my favorite books that repeatedly make it onto my TTT Lists, were read long before I started blogging and logging onto GoodReads. So while I pimp my favorite books and authors out, loudly and proudly, I have never left fully articulated and complete reviews as to why they've capture my heart. I feel like that is something I should do.

The second reason, is that my year of moving my reviews from GR to this blog every Wednesday morning, is over. They are all here. And while I strive to read new books every day, I can't always afford as many new ones as I like, and I can't always get out to the library. And when I finish a new book I'm so excited I want to post that review as soon as it is written... which doesn't help with the empty slot on Wednesday. So the logical thing is to re-read and review my favorite stories and let those reviews wind up on the Wednesday time slot.

These are the ten books/series/authors I will be re-reading (in no particular order):

  1. Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
  2. Twilight Saga & The Host by Stephanie Meyer--I'm sure she's been reviewed to death but its not going to stop me.
  3. Harry Potter by JK Rowling
  4. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
  5. The Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire-- I've only review the 4th book.
  6. Charles de Lint -- I've not read everything he's done, but I'm certainly trying.
  7. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  8. Call of the Wild by Jack London
  9. The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly
  10. Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist
(I'm actually in the middle of re-reading Wicked at the moment.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ten Books About Friendship

My picks for the Tuesday Top Ten, as invented by The Broke and Bookish. This weeks list theme is supposed to be books about friendship -- My books this week aren't specifically about friendship, but they do contain friendship-themes through out in both positive and negative view points.
  1. Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  3. Holes by Louis Sachar
  4. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons
  5. Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  6. Incident at Hawk's Hill by Allan W. Eckert
  7. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  8. Harry Potter by JK Rowling
  9. A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice
  10. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

My picks for the Tuesday Top Ten, as invented by The Broke and Bookish. This week's theme is Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't.

 Year Zero by Rob Reid. -- It wasn't as funny as promised...But it's good light reading.

 Whitechapel Gods by SM Peters. -- Beautiful cover, disappointing writing.

Uglies by Scott Westerfield. -- Full of cliches.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. -- Sad and dry, not really my thing.

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. -- I just didn't like the unhappy turn.

 The Meaning of Night by Micheal Cox. -- Starts good, long book full of irrelevant-to-plot events, takes too long to get to the point.

 Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire. --The story is disconnected from the characters.

 Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon. -- I actually enjoyed this by the end, but the story was written from a barely literate black man's POV which made starting the book difficult.

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris. -- My first and last CH novel. The plot was decent, but I didn't enjoy the writing style. 

Last Stop This Town by David H Steinberg. -- Poorly written, rip-off.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Quotable Thursday

This week for Quotable Thursday, I'm reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire. One of my favorite moments, in one of my favorite books is, newborn Elphaba's father explaining that "--the baby is damaged."-- Enjoy!
For a few moments, Frex could only shake his head. Nanny did not like him and she would not like him, but she softened. "Frex, it can't be that bad. There's always away out. Tell Nanny."
"It's green," he finally said. "Nanny, it's as green as moss."
"She's green, you mean. It's a she, for heaven's sake."
"It's not for heaven's sake." Frex began to weep. "Heaven is not improved by it, Nanny; and heaven does not approve..."

Quotable Thursday originally brought to you by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) 
by Patrick Ness

***Spoiler Alert***

If you haven't read Book 1 and hate spoilers, do not read this review! 

There is absolutely no way to review Book 2 without mentioning the events and characters in Book 1.

If you really want to know:

Read on.

“We are the choices we make. And have to make. We aren’t anything else.” 

The Ask and the Answer is a little bit different than The Knife of Never Letting Go...The story pretty much starts where The Knife's cliffy lets us hanging... Viola's life hanging in the balance and Todd facing down evil Mayor Prentiss with no hope in sight. But in part 2 of Chaos Walking, Viola and Todd become separated, and so the story is told from two perspectives. His and hers.

Through Todd we learn Haven surrendered to Mayor Prentiss, who then changed Haven's name to New Prentisstown and declared himself President of the New World. Mayor Prentiss is a sick twist, no doubt about it, and he didn't waste time learning that the best way to keep Todd in line is by holding Viola hostage. Todd is sent to work, under Davy Prentiss Jr's supervision, as a slave-driver, keeping the Spackle prisoners clearing the land.

Through Viola, we meet the healers, and a new character by the name of Mistress Coyle. Mistress Coyle tries to develop a relationship with Viola, asking her questions about the new settlers coming in, and pumping for information about the invading army, and trying to get Viola to understand that the decision to surrender was not a unanimous one. Unfortunately for Viola, it takes her too long to figure out Mistress Coyle isn't the beacon of hope she promises to be.

As a cold war turns red hot, Chaos Walking dives deeper into darker themes. Men and Women are separated by thought in book 1, but in book 2 they're separated by opinion, by walls, by curfews. And as President Prentiss's dictatorship thrives, he takes the Spackle servants of Haven and turns them into chattel. As President Prentiss begins to settle into his new role, revolutionaries flee, organize, and fight back; people get caught in the cross fire and terror spreads... Bringing the thin line that separates terrorism and revolution under stress. 

I loved getting a closer look at Davy Prentiss Jr,. In book 1, he depicted as being as awful as his father and in book 2 we get to see why that is. First he's raised by a sociopath, then he's cast in the role of forever trying and failing to achieve his father's love... And as the new president tries to keep his new government together, the more it becomes blatantly obvious that blood's got little to do with family.

Todd and Viola are put under increasing pressure to conform and behave, so the other may live, so they might someday reunite... Even as they hold their survival first, they begin to recognize the cost of choosing sides in a war... The cost of lives of those stuck in the middle.

And just as the story is becomes overloaded with moral and emotional dilemmas, just as a full scale war for possession of the New World begins-- Another cliffhanger ending.

The only  reason this story missed out on another five star rating: I felt the author became inconsistent with Todd's narration. he only remembered once in awhile that Todd couldn't spell big words...Although that may have been an attempt at removing the last of the humor and evolving the story into more serious material... I was also a little peeved at another cliffhanger.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art

My picks for the Tuesday Top Ten, as invented by The Broke and Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art...Please note the books are this list are not necessarily here because they were awesome reads, they are here because they were some of the nicest to look at. That isn't to say they were bad either, I'm pretty sure I've got a mix.

Whitechapel Gods by SM Peters

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

Lord of Misrule by Gordon Jaimey

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Map of the Sky by Felix J Palma

The Little Country by Charles de Lint

The Children of Hurin by JRR Tolkien

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) 
by Patrick Ness 

"That's the thing I'm learning about being thrown out on your own. Nobody does nothing for you. If you don't change it, it don't get changed."
Todd Hewwit knows a lot of things: he knows a group of settlers left the Old World for the New World, to live a simpler existence away from the evils of society. He knows there was a war between the native people, The Spackles, and the humans. He knows The Spackles used Germ Warfare; releasing bugs that turned the internal monologues of men into never ending Noise, while killing off all the women, and giving animals the power to speak. He knows The Spackles were eventually defeated, leaving Prentisstown the only surviving settlement.

Todd, the youngest member of Prentisstown, is eagerly awaiting the arrival of his thirteenth birthday, where he will officially be considered a man. But when Todd and his dog Manchee discover a hole in the Noise, he learns that everything he knows is a lie and he is forced to run for his life.

I absolutely adored this book, I couldn't put it down. Let me tell you why.

I love the frustrating air of mystery and danger around everything. If Todd goes apple picking he could get eaten by crocs just a easily as being slapped around by a madman. Then the hole in the noise. A quiet that moves. A convoluted concept that made me want to scream, "What the hell is it!" I like Todd as a hero; he's not a bad guy, but he's not pure as the driven snow: he is a teenager. He's prone to ragey tantrums; I appreciate the realism. Adolescence is a time for emotional fits--Puberty's a bitch. Add in the knowledge that everyone is lying and nobody wants to explain why, and it jumps beyond realism. I feel the anger, the betrayal, and my heart breaks for Todd. All he's got left is his dog and---

But I can't tell you who the AND is...the And is a bid fracking spoiler. I try to avoid those.

This book doesn't waste any time moving right along; no long drawn out explanations for anything, even when you really really want them. It is suspenseful; the pages kept turning because I wanted the answers as much as I want to see where the adventure leads.The explanations as to why things are the way they are, get dropped when its most convenient for the author, when its most helpful to the story. There's plenty of humor, mixed into the darkness, but there's plenty of darkness too.

I'd also like to address the thing most of the negative reviewers addressed: grammar and spelling. The grammar isn't perfect. There are fairly obvious spelling mistakes and extreme run on sentences. I'm usually one of the first people in the flaming-grammar-problems-party-- I'll bring the Sterno, you cook the s'mores. I don't take abuse of the English Language lightly, so when I say I loved this book, I mean errors included. Because this story is told from the POV of a teenage boy who hasn't had an education. In Prentisstown, knowledge is considered a dangerous thing; books were burned, a schoolhouse closed. Todd can't read, he can't write. So he rambles, he uses slang, he makes spelling and pronunciation mistakes. I would expect that from a kid who can't read or write. So the mistakes in this book are beautiful to me; to me it shows a well developed character and I'd never insult that. I live for the characters. The more depth the better. And if the people who insulted the writing style finished the book, or even made it halfway through, they must know Todd can't read...So why cause such a fuss?

All I can tell you is that there is emotionally wrought adventure to be had on another planet, with a teenage boy and his comical talking dog. And if you like young heroes facing long odds, lots of drama, and a bit of bloodshed, you aren't doing yourself any favors by avoiding this book. I can also tell you, I immediately downloaded Book 2 because the ending of Book 1 made my Top 3 list of cruel cliffhangers.If there's one reason to be irritated at Patrick Ness, it was that ending. Who ends a book like that?

Rating 5/5

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Rare Weekend Post

Taking a moment this Sunday morning to mention my plans for the week. Monday, I will be posting my review for The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, and though it isn't official yet, if The Ask and the Answer is half as fun as The Knife, I'll have that review for you by Wednesday. I'm also re-reading The Wicked series; I have my thoughts on the 4th book posted, but I never did a write up for the first 3 and that's something I want to do. Sometime, in between Monday and Wednesday, I've got a TTT List scheduled and since I've got plenty of reading to do this week, their should be no problem getting a Thursday Quotable to you...And then we're back to the weekend which will probably have me offline.