WWW Wednesday 3/4/2015

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What are you currently reading?

Selected Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Divergent by Veronica Roth

 

 

What did you just finish reading?

The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Dubliners & A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

 

 

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Cecilia by Fanny Burney

Cress by Marissa Meyer

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

Last Book I Read

In my latest book haul, I picked up a gorgeous series by Marissa Meyer. If you saw my latest post, I gushed about the first two books, so I won’t do much of a review here.

Suffice it to say, I’m loving them.

And…guys, these books are GORGEOUS.

LOOK LOOK LOOK!

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I couldn’t NOT have these on my shelves. And, lucky for me, they are right in my vision line when I sit at my desk.

Oooooh the pretties!

 

What was the last book you read?

Scarlet

There are a lot of series out there who suffer from “Second Book Syndrome.” That sophomore part of the set just always seems to be mundane, usually because it’s a means to the end. The scene was set and characters introduced in the first book, and all the major drama and climaxes will happen in the third book. But in the second, all of the details are given. This is where all the real meat of the plot happens, and often a lot of the dialogue. Unfortunately, though, this can often make the second book very dull.

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When I started hearing about Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, the most common theme was:  “The second book is better than the first!” “The series just keeps getting better!” “The first book was just ok, but the second book is going to blow you away!”

And then I read Cinder, and loved it. I mean, hello, futuristic badass cyborg Cinderella? Yes, please. So how was Meyer going to top that?!

Oh, only with a gardening pilot Red Riding Hood who falls in love with a secret agent Wolfman. That’s one way of doing it.

If you haven’t read these souped up fairy tales yet, what are you waiting for? I just ordered the whole series (or what I could…the last book hasn’t been published yet), and I am going to gobble them up like breakfast.

 

Fulfills PopSugar #35:  A book set in the future

Dubliners & The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Well, I’ve finally done it. I can finally FINALLY say I have read James Joyce.

Or…at least skimmed James Joyce.

Good God Almighty how I HATE James Joyce.

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I know, I KNOW. That’s somewhat of an unpopular opinion in the literary field, but I just really really hate James Joyce. I’ve had this book forever. And I’ve tried to read it at least half a dozen times. This is the first time I’ve gotten through the whole thing to completion. And it’ll probably be the last. I might burn it. Honestly.

It was that bad. (No…I’m not REALLY going to burn it. Put down your axes.)

First–Dubliners. I don’t have much to say about this section of Joyce’s work. A bunch of short stories where nothing ever happens in any of them. Meh. Some people like that sort of thing. I don’t. It’s why I find short stories to be dull most of the time. Every once in awhile I’ll find a really brilliant one, but they just aren’t for me usually. *shrug*

The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a whole other ball game of loathing. As I swore to myself I would–I read a chapter a day once I got to this section. Every day I fought against the urge to give up.

There are two major notations I had while reading this, make of them what you will. I couldn’t make heads nor tales of the actual story. I know it’s about an Irish coming of age story in a boarding school. That’s about all I’ve got.

1. Joyce is an author trying to write YA fiction, but he doesn’t understand teenagers at all. The voice sounds more like a kindergartner than a middle or high schooler, so I can’t figure out how old the boy is, except for the title I would think he were a toddler. (This note was written in the earlier chapters, I did figure out later he was in his later teens based on some of the sexual references and his desire to become a priest. I still found Joyce’s writing method very patronizing.)

2. While I find Catholic history/lore intriguing, I do not so much love to read lectures–and maybe that’s why I find Joyce so utterly impossible read. His writing is just one long sermon. When I read a book I do not want to be preached at.

My last thought about Joyce before I stop my rant is how much I hated his formatting. I think that is the #1 thing that made this book so hard for me to read. My brain could absolutely not comprehend that I was reading dialogue, when all of his paragraphs were cut up into dashes at the beginning of his indentations. Nope nope nope. My brain reads those as bullet points and lists, not speech, and what do I do with lists? I scan!

Ok, I’m done here. Moving on!

 

Fulfills Boxall #76

Fulfills PopSugar #20:  A book at the bottom of your to-read list

Seeker

Somewhere between the old world and the new, there’s a powerful magic that allows people who are wiser than most to travel beyond the normal world. These people are known as the Seekers, and they have been around for centuries, descending from the Druids. The magic is guarded by a strange triad known as The Dreads. The laws they hold are sacred…or at least they used to be.

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Unfortunately, in Arwen Elys Dayton’s new book, Seeker, modern selfishness has caught up to the remaining clan of Seekers, and things aren’t as they used to be. The legends are still there, much like our tales of chivalry in King Arthur’s Round Table. But what has happened to those sacred laws to make things go so awry?

This book is going to be immensely popular when it releases in February, I can tell you that right now. I’ve already heard people talking about the ARC, and every review I’ve seen has been a positive one.

Mine is also positive–though I did think the story lost a bit of strength in the middle. I think that’s just a mental block of mine though, because I always struggle a bit with the mixture of old world magic and guns. Add a cell phone in there and I just get really confused. I feel like this story should take place in 1315…not 2015 (or later).

But, other than that, I loved it. I shipped Quin and Shinobu from the very beginning. Get out of here John. No one wants you. And can I please have a whipsword for my birthday? Please please please?

Make sure you pick this up next month. I am not going to be surprised at all to see all of Booklr posting about it soon.

 

Received ARC for free from NetGalley

Fulfills PopSugar #11:  A book with a one-word title

The Darkest Minds

Staying true to the norm, once again I am way behind on another very popular YA trilogy. Everyone started OOING and AAHing over In the Afterlight  by Alexandra Bracken when it came out this year, and when I looked it up–what? It’s the last book?!?!?!

Lucky for me, the release of the final book meant that Hey! The first ebook was free on Amazon. Woot! So, I’m catching up.

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The Darkest Minds can be described, basically, as another one of those love triangle dystopian YA trilogies, but there’s quite a bit going on–and from what I can tell, at least, the love triangle only seems to last for this book. At least the third branch of it. *shudder*

But let’s back up. The story begins with a sickness that rages through the children of the United States, hitting around age 10. It seems to have no effect on adults, as it is linked to the onset of puberty. Most of the children die instantly, but those that aren’t killed take on 5 different styles of superpowers. And the adults are absolutely terrified, so they send them all off to internment camps. Great parenting, huh?

This book is basically Lord of the Flies in modern times, except the adults are still around, and absolutely pissed off. The setting is very zombie-movieish, without any zombies. Everything is complete and utter destruction, everyone lives in camps outside the city because the economy has completely tanked. It’s madness.

The concept is pretty brilliant, really, and terrifying. I will say that the book is a little confusing at first, but once you start to understand Ruby, everything falls into place and the action picks up. This is a trilogy I’ll be continuing, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a movie come out of this one either. It wouldn’t be a hard world to design since it is based on reality, and it’s quite a different concept from what is already out there.

 

Fulfills PopSugar #34:  A book with a love triangle

WWW Wednesday 1/14/2015

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What are you currently reading?

The Iliad by Homer

King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild

 

What did you just finish reading?

Sins of the Father by Thelonious Legend

Since You’ve Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne

A Little Princess by Frances Hodges Burnett

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Pearl Harbor by Steven Gillon

Sins of the Father

It’s funny, I just read a comment the other day, that someone needed to write a story about people getting unwanted super powers, and not knowing what to do with them. Then, I came across a request for book bloggers to join the Diverse Book Tour for Thelonious Legend’s first book:  Sins of the Father, and that is exactly what his book is about.

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Aside from being the granddaughters of a very famous, very rich civil rights leader, the Parker sisters are three pretty average teenagers. They are athletic, smart, and have all the same sibling rivalries that I had with my sisters. Except suddenly, they don’t feel like themselves. Things start to happen…weird things. Eva gets faster, Gwen gets stronger, and Ana suddenly knows EVERYTHING. There’s a catch though, as most things do, and they have to figure out how to deal with their new powers, and stop the timebomb that is ticking away.

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Ok. Here’s where I have to level with you.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the super hero stuff in this book. I felt it was a little implausible, and so it was a little distracting from the rest of the girls’ lives.

HOWEVER! And this is a big HOWEVER, guys!

Thelonious Legend does not need to grasp at sci-fi to make his voice heard. Without the awkward superhero, but not superhero stuff going on, Sins of the Father is a fantastically written teen story, AND it is written from a black family’s perspective, which you see exactly NEVER in mainstream young adult fiction. The characters, the teen ones especially, are extremely well developed, and have very independent personalities. I loved Ana–I think she was my favorite–but her friend Stacy, with her speedy run on hyperactive commentary made me laugh hysterically.

I think the author definitely has the capability to do amazing, excuse me…LEGENDARY…things with his fiction, if he were to focus on his strong POC characters and their individuality, rather than forcing the sci-fi aspect. The strength of this book were the challenges the girls faced with their friends and those they interacted with on a daily basis, not so much the evil janitors.

Like I said…A big however! I loved the Parker family. They reminded me of myself and my two sisters. I think a lot of kids (and plenty of adults like me) are going to relate to this book, and are going to be begging for sequels.

Thelonious, I wish you luck, and I hope to see more from you.

 

Disclaimer:  I received this book for free as part of the Diverse Book Tour.

 

 

This checks off #36 on my PopSugar list:  A book set in high school.

Since You’ve Been Gone

My last post was a happy, fluffy, feel good favorite…and now I’ve got to be a bit of a Debbie Downer. Sorry about that. They can’t all be warm ones.

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Mary Jennifer Payne is coming out with her first YA novel in February. Since You’ve Been Gone is the story about a Canadian teen on the run with her mom. They land in London–new school, new flat, new troubles. Right off the bat, even though she doesn’t tell us until later, we get the feeling why they are running. Him. Someone tore Mom up at some point. We find out later exactly what happened…

Since You’ve Been Gone took me about 2 hours to read. I’m reading an ARC on my Kindle, and if Goodreads hadn’t told me it was 224 pages, I would have considered this more of a novella. While the subject matter is pretty intense, the reading itself is fairly simple. I’m not going to say this is the best book I’ve ever read as far as quality…but it definitely hit me somewhere. Would I buy it? Probably not. But, I expect this is going to resonate well with the teen crowd.

 

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from NetGalley.

This fulfills PopSugar #4:  A book published this year.

Book to Movie And Back Again

For the longest time, I never let myself reread a book. Once I was done with it, I’d trade it in, move down the list, and never look back.

Why would I waste time reading something that I’ve already read? There are so many other books on my list, and that list is constantly growing.

But then…I started branching out from the Nora Roberts’ romance novel pattern, and read Jane Austen for the first time. I had read The Thorn Birds before, but I READ IT AGAIN. *gasp* I got my hands on a copy of The Secret Garden, which was my favorite book growing up. Other wonderful books started jumping out at me that I had to read more than once because once was just not enough.

Now, my shelves are full. I buy books because I want to keep them, not for trade in value. I am constantly staring at them, loving them, making lists of what I want to read next.


The Hubs got me The Hunger Games Trilogy for my birthday, and shortly after we saw the third movie in theaters. If you saw the movie, you know exactly why I was so anxious to reread the books. THAT MOVIE WAS…WHOA.

I just finished Mockingjay last night. And I know I was keeping R awake because I was breathing so hard. Even though I had seen the movies, there’s so much in the books that I didn’t remember reading. They were just so incredibly powerful.

And I find that happens often when I reread books, especially books that have been translated into screen. I always try to read the book first–because the books are so detailed, there are often pieces of the puzzle I’d miss if I didn’t read the book first. And then I watch the movie, and see the story put together in such a strong visual way. I get to see the characters cast (sometimes great, sometimes not, and sometimes…inconsistent…*cough Daario Naharis cough*), I get to see settings like the arenas from the Hunger Games and the Pit from Divergent.

And almost always, after watching the show or movie, I immediately want to reread the book it is based on. When I do, I find a million things I’ve missed or forgotten, or in the case of The Hunger Games, I start to wonder if I even read the books at all!

It’s what I’m wondering about The Divergent Trilogy now too. But I don’t think I’m alone there. These new Insurgent trailers are so weird. The end of the last movie had us all wondering where they were going with it, and obviously the new trailer is just so different from the book. I have no idea where they are going with this series but I’m going to have to reread the books soon, I think.

Where do you stand on rereading books? Any favorites?