Top Ten Tuesday: April 30

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature run over at The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten? The top ten words/topics that will make me pick up or buy a book. In no particular order:

– Historical Fiction
Ever since reading The Other Boelyn Girl, I have been loving the historical fiction genre. I do need a healthy dose of fiction with my historical fiction, though.
Favorites: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, The Other Boelyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

– Zombies
OK, I am totally and 100% guilty of being in love with the current horror craze, and seeing something with zombies will make me at least pick it up to check out the book blurb.
Favorites: Feed by Mira Grant

– Steampunk
Another trend I am very much on board with. I have found that I like a majority of the steampunk I have encountered.
Favorites: Soulless by Gail Carriger, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

– Books about books
If the book is about a book, be it a book of power, a bookstore, an author making their last foray into the literary world… I am pretty much all over that.
Favorites: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

– Dystopia/Post-apocalyptic
Nothing like the end of the world and how humans survive afterwards, right?
Favorites: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Partials by Dan Wells

– Fantasy
Generally speaking, if it is a fantasy book, it gets at least a cursory glance from me. For the longest time, fantasy was all I read.
Favorites: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

– A sale sticker
OK, so not technically a word or a topic. But I have a weakness for used book sales or the sale section at the book store.
Favorite Finds: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Everything that Louise Cooper has ever written

– Unique magic systems
I like all magic, but when a book goes above and beyond to think of something unique for the magic, it really makes me more inclined to buy the book.
Favorites: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, Spellwright by Blake Charlton

– Dogs
I generally bawl at the end of every single one, but I am a complete sucker for books about dogs.
Favorites: Marley and Me by John Grogan, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

– Paranormal
I don’t like the standard representation of vampires and werewolves, but I do like to dabble in urban fantasy and paranormal.
Favorites: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

OK, that was much harder than I thought it would be. What are your top 10?

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When I Get the Urge…

So lately reading has been a very strange endeavor for me. I will flip flop between having absolutely no idea what I want to read and being entirely fixated on a book, wanting to read it so very much.

Of course, the books I fixate on are generally not on my e-reader, so I find I finish a book on my e-reader, and then I have to find something else on it to read. That isn’t hard, I have a ton of books to read. But they aren’t the books I am longing to read.

So, coming up are the following…

Angelfall by Susan Ee (Book Club)
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Book Club)
Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Book Club)

And the books I have been feeling compelled to read…

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

What books have you just been drooling over lately?

The Difficulties of Book Reviewing

So, today I finished another book. This time it was a book for the book club I am a part of. It is a fairly well-known book, and until today I had been planning on writing a review of it for the blog.

And then I started thinking about it. Here we have a book that is read by high school students every year. It has been the subject of much debate. Then I come along, and I want to review it.

What if I didn’t notice the right things about the book? What if my views aren’t strongly framed enough? And I tend to forget the time at which books were written, and just take them as they are. Is that going to be a problem? Instead of putting forward a well-formed opinion, what if I start looking like a blithering idiot?

Do I have any right at all to review a book that is so well-known? And if I don’t like it, is it reprehensible to mention that I didn’t enjoy the book? I mean, classics are classics for a reason.

Is this post about confidence? I guess partially. But I sit here, looking at my copy of this book, thinking to myself that as much as I want to review it, I just can’t. It would seem presumptuous of me when better people than me have torn it apart and put it back together word for word.

So then, what makes the other books I review so much better? Is it not presumptuous of me to try to review them as well?

Ah, the intricacies and difficulties of book reviewing.

Library Haul – January 12

So, I have this habit.

Some people, when they are down, they shop. Being a lower-income person, I recognize that shopping is not a healthy habit to engage in when I don’t, you know, actually have money to spend. So when I am having a down or an off day, I will cruise the library website and request library books.

This is an awesome compromise, because I add things to what is effectively a “shopping cart”, and I know I will get them (rather than adding them to a shopping cart and then removing them)… and they are free. And they are books. It really is a win/win.

Until all of those requests come available at the same time. Then we have a little problem.

Library Haul 1

See… then I come home with fifteen books, and three weeks to read them.

Oops.

The books are (in no particular order):

Mr. Monster by Dan Wells
I Don’t Want To Kill You by Dan Wells
The Hollow City by Dan Wells
Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Infected by Scott Sigler
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Wide Open by Deborah Coates
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Castle In The Air by Diana Wynne Jones
House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Volume 1 by Joss Whedon
Phoenix Rising by Philippa Ballantine

I am really excited to read these… but good lord… who let me request so many?!

Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Every DayEvery Day by David Levithan
Read: January 1 – January 2, 2013
Format: E-book (library book), 219 pages
ISBN: 978-0-307-97563-8

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), 2012

Personal read.

Book Blurb: A has no friends. No parents. No family. No possessions. No home, even. Because every day, A wakes up in the body of a different person. Every morning, a different bed. A different room. A different house. A different life. A is able to access each person’s memory, enough to be able to get through the day without parents, friends, and teachers realizing this is not their child, not their friend, not their student. Because it isn’t. It’s A. Inhabiting each person’s body. Seeing the world through their eyes. Thinking with their brain. Speaking with their voice.

It’s a lonely existence–until, one day, it isn’t. A meets a girl named Rhiannon. And, in an instant, A falls for her, after a perfect day together. But when night falls, it’s over. Because A can never be the same person twice. But yet, A can’t stop thinking about her. She becomes A’s reason for existing. So each day, in different bodies–of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, walks of life–A tries to get back to her. And convince her of their love. But can their love transcend such an obstacle?

My Opinion: Every Day by David Levithan was nominated for the book club I am a part of, but it didn’t get enough votes to win. It looked interesting, so I decided to read it on my own.

It is a quick read, with a very light story. I feel like there isn’t actually much story to go with. It is two teenagers falling in love. Some would argue that that in itself is a story, but for me, it wasn’t quite enough. Thankfully, David Levithan does a decent job of writing so the book doesn’t get stagnant. I was quite pleased with that. I was disappointed that we didn’t learn more about A. But, at the same time it kind of worked because if there was too much about A, it might have gotten cheesy.

I think the biggest problem for me was A as a character. A is so sure of who they are, yet they have never lived a day truly as themselves. People live their whole lives as themselves, and don’t know who they are… so I found that aspect of A’s personality to be a little unbelievable. Especially since teenagers, by nature, are creatures of indecision and drama.

Every Day does have some really amazing messages, though. A doesn’t identify as male or female, as A can wake up as either. A has even been a male-gendered female. It really sheds light on a common occurrence among today’s youth, which will hopefully promote acceptance of people who are transgendered. The other awesome thing that the book shares with its readers is that love is love, regardless of who is feeling it. The book features gay and lesbian couples multiple times, and it is no big deal. I hope that one day we will have a world like the one in this book…

Every Day is also unafraid to look at some of the darker sides of being a teen. There is a small bit about teen depression, A inhabits the body of a girl who is mean just for the sake of it… For these things, I am grateful to David Levithan. It is not often that an author will explore all aspects of being a teen in today’s world.

Bottom Line: A quick read covering a range of human emotions, focusing mostly on love. Not without flaws, but definitely worth a read if you are a fan of young adult romance.

(Cover image and book blurb courtesy of Goodreads)

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all my followers, lurkers, and so on and so forth! It may be New Years Eve where you are, and it may be New Years Day… either way I wanted to share a Happy New Year before I forgot.

Do you have any resolutions this year?

Aside from my health/general life ones, I have a few literature specific ones I thought I would share. Some of these are more goals rather than resolutions, per se, but they are still kind of fun.

In no particular order, my reading and writing goals for 2013:
– Finish a manuscript.
– For every (1, 3, or 5, can’t decide) library books I read, read one book I already own.
– Finish the Wheel of Time series.
– Finish the Outlander series. (As much as I can, they haven’t all been published yet)
– Read every book I still need to read for a solicited review. This one I want to complete by the end of February.
– Review a higher number of the books I read.
– Write better, more thought-provoking reviews.
– Read a minimum of 40 books. I read 73 this year, so that should be easy. I don’t want to start with too high of a goal, because I plan to read a lot of longer books, and I don’t want to be too anxious about meeting my goal.

Phew. That is quite a bit, added onto my life goals. But I think it is all attainable.

Stay classy and have fun!

Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Spoiler Free)

Howl's Moving CastleHowl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Read: November 28 – December 3, 2012
Format: Paperback (owned book), 212 pages
ISBN: 0-7497-0903-0

Publisher: Mandarin Paperbacks, 1991

Personal read.

Book Blurb: Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in Ingary, a land in which anything could happen, and often did – especially when the Witch of the Waste got her dander up. Which was often.

As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes, Sophie stayed in her father’s hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which is why she turned Sophie into an old lady. Which was spiteful witchery.

Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with the lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle, taming a blue fire-demon, and meeting the Witch of the Waste head-on. Which was more than Sophie bargained for…

My Opinion:Unlike most people I have encountered, I did not see the movie before picking up the book of Howl’s Moving Castle. Though I had heard of it. So I had no preconceived notions of what the story would be. I like that better… I would rather go into a movie with the preconceived notions than a book, personally. But I digress.

This was a delightful book. If I didn’t have so much going on, I probably would have read it all in one sitting. The story flowed fairly well, though the writing style took some getting used to for me. Diana Wynne Jones has taken on a particular tone with her writing in this book that I have labeled as “detached third person”. While all third person is detached, I can just imagine this entire book being done as a voice-over, probably in a delightful British accent. It lacked warmth and familiarity with the characters. While I liked the characters and the setting, I never felt supremely attached to any of them.

The plot of Howl’s Moving Castle is really quite intriguing. I keep picking up these small books, expecting small stories. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Things kept happening, and yet, nothing really happened. Some of the twists I saw coming a mile away, and some I only got partially right. And some blind-sided me completely.

The characters in Howl’s Moving Castle were really interesting, and I wish the book had been longer so they could have been explored more. In a book of just over two hundred words, the author has to make a choice between characters and back story and the plot moving forward. Any author worth their salt (which Diana Wynne Jones clearly is) will make the choice to keep the plot moving and sacrifice a bit in the way of characters. I want to know more about The Witch of the Waste, and Howl, and Sophie. We get glimmers, but I want the whole damn light bulb!

I am interested to see how the rest of the series goes, because everything did tie up pretty nicely at the end. The big climactic moment was not all that climactic, thus earning it a lower star rating on Goodreads. But overall, enjoyable.

Bottom Line: Enjoyable fantasy book that will keep you engaged with its twisty plot. Be warned though, it is a short book, and the end will come all too soon.