Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Reading Wrap-up

Books Read: 13
Difference from previous month: - 2
Avg Rating: 2.92 Stars
Difference from previous month: - 0.35 stars
Pages Read: 4,563
Difference from previous month: + 967 pages

I didn't have any 5 star books this month! :( That makes me kind of sad. Oh well... nothing to do about it now. Here's the wrap up, sans all the formatting and pictures this time, because I'm feeling kind of bleh at the moment.

The Great:
Tie: The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe & Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.
Both of these were great in their own way. I didn't really expect to like The Hum and the Shiver, so the fact that I was drawn into the world and the writing as much as I was made for a very pleasant surprise. I had issues with the book, but maybe, just maybe, if this is the start to a series, or if there's a sequel, those will go away. ;)

Flowers for Algernon was great, and definitely made me think, but it was not nearly as emotional as I would've liked, and that's the main reason I couldn't give the book 5 stars. It was a bit detached... I wanted more humanity. I really did enjoy it though.

The Good:
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
I was pleasantly surprised to like this one as much as I did! Very funny, sweet and very readable!

The Bad:
Tie again: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness & Genesis by Bernard Beckett.
Ugh... Sorry, fans...I really, really, really wanted to love this book, especially after loving A Monster Calls... but there was just a lot that I did not like about it at all. Very disappointing.

Genesis was interesting... in the way that advanced placement school history lessons are interesting to non-AP students. Which is to say, not very. That's how the story read, felt, and was presented. Original? Sure. Fun? Not so much. And then the twist at the end made the whole thing moot for me, and I was left wondering what the hell the whole point was in the first place. Bah. No good.

The DNF:
Coupla these, too: World Without End by Ken Follett & Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
World Without End was just too, too long... Soooooooooo long. And so similar to Pillars of the Earth that it was practically the same story. I quit about 80% through that one. So much time wasted that could have been spent doing something else.

Guilty Pleasures just didn't do anything for me at all. The writing didn't work, the story didn't interest me... Just nothing happening for me. That's pretty much all there is to say.
Soooo... How was your reading month? Anything good? Want to vent about a total wall-banger that you wish had never come into your life? Leave me comments! :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

I'm currently reading two books, so here are teasers for both. :)

"During times of stress or elation it would return, an infallible signal to those who knew him well that he was experiencing intense emotion, no matter how he might try to hide the fact. It was also an inescapable reminder -- because all of Al-Rassan was soon to learn this story -- of a blood-soaked summer afternoon in Ferzena."

Pg. 30-31 (e-pub edition), The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

"There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending her in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature."

Pg. 17 (MMPB edition), The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin in Women & Fiction edited by Susan Cahill

Monday, February 27, 2012

Musing: Series Books, FTW!

Musing Mondays are hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading.

I haven't done one of these before, but I saw it on MizB's blog and I liked the question for today, so I thought I'd give it a try. :) So, here are this week's musing questions:

- Do you read books that are part of a series?

- Do you collect all the books in the series before starting? What if the series is brand new, and the only book that’s been published so far is Book one? As subsequent books in the series are published, do you go back and re-read the preceding books?

To answer the first part: Yes, absolutely! I love series books. I love being able to fully submerge myself in the story, and usually one book isn't enough to do that... or it is, but it leaves me wanting more!

Regarding the second part: It really depends on the series.

There are some, like the Dark Tower series, that I didn't read until all of the books were out. That makes it really nice, because I can just fall into that world and see it through all the way to the end. I just let myself get caught up in the story and the characters and everything and enjoy the ride without interruptions. It's a wonderful thing to be able to read an amazing series from start to finish.

But others, like Harry Potter, I found while new books were still being released, and that was frustrating. It was great, in a way, because I was able to think about the story and theorize about the direction it would take and what would happen to the characters I love (and the characters I hate) and how things would play out. But the waiting to see what the official story will be was torturous. And for Harry Potter, I only had to wait for 2 book releases after I was hooked. Waiting for 5 or 6 of them would have been awful! I did re-read the previous books in the series with each release. I adored revisiting Harry's world, and then at the end seeing more of it was a treat that I anticipated highly.

I will read series books before the rest of them are released, but it's always a tough decision to make that commitment. George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series is a big commitment, but one I'm glad I made, because the books are fantastic. But there's no telling when books 6 & 7 will be released. Another example is Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings. It was A-MAZ-ING. I absolutely loved it... but now I have to wait for the next book. And the next. And the next... and so on. For another NINE books.O_O

But I can't really complain, because the stories are already so fantastic that reading them again is no chore... it's a labor of love.

Well, actually I CAN complain... WHY AREN'T THEY OUT YET???! *whine* ;)

Good series books make me a happy, happy girl. ♥!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Reading Plan: Week of February 27th, 2012

Goal: Read 3 books a week to meet my goal of 160 books for 2012.

Pretty good progress this week, I finished my 3 books!

Last week, I finished:
  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe
Coming up:

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
Promise Me Eternity by Ian Fox (For Review)
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia

What is on the agenda for your reading list this week?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thrift Store Score 2

Today I found a book that I have been trying to find for ages... The original 1978 version of The Stand by Stephen King! 

It's not in pristine condition, but for being older than I am, it's in pretty good shape! I've wanted this book for a LONG time, so I can read it and compare to the revised edition, which I love. It's been really hard to find a copy without taking a huge risk on condition ("good" and "acceptable" mean very different things to some people, I've noticed!), so this is like Christmas has come again for me. :D

So here's everything I got:

Yeah, so... kinda random, 3 horror books and a feminist short story collection, but there ya go! :P

IMM is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Flashback Review: Where She Went (If I Stay #2) ★★

Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)Friday Flashback is hosted by Jen @ The Introverted Reader.

Originally Reviewed: March 6, 2011

I loved "If I Stay". LOVED IT. It was one of those books that made my heart and soul ache. It moved me and surprised me and lingered... So much so that I kept mentally comparing the way I felt reading the two books, and I admit to being a bit disappointed by this follow-up.

This is Adam's story. I loved Adam in "If I Stay". He was this incredibly supportive and sensitive and wonderful guy who loved a girl so much that he would do anything for her, who accepted and honored her for being the unique and oddball opposite to him, rather than wanting her to be something she wasn't, who loved her family so much that their deaths were as painful to him as his own family's deaths would be. I liked Adam so much, that I didn't even talk about him in my "If I Stay" review, because nothing would have really done justice to how perfect I thought he was. I don't mean literally perfect, he had flaws, but just perfect in the situations he was in.

Unfortunately, I barely even liked Adam in "Where She Went". I get that Mia leaving him left him heartbroken. I get that. Even taking into account the unusual aspect of the end of their relationship (meaning him supporting her through the accident and the recovery), I just find being heartbroken, anxiety-ridden, depressed and self-destructive for 3 years (with no end in sight) a bit... tiresome. That's longer than they were even together. And yet, after three years, a meteoric musical career, fame and fortune and success, all Adam can do is blame Mia for walking out on him and leaving him cold, and take that bitterness and anger out on others.

I don't mean to sound insensitive. I know that many, many people will find just this thing I found so tiresome to be rather romantic. We all want to be the center of someone's world. Someone's soul mate. I understand what she meant to him, and what their potential meant to him. But with every outburst and cynical thought, I just got more and more tired of it.

I also missed the music that was so much a part of what brought "If I Stay" to life. I know that there was a lot of musical references in "Where She Went", but it wasn't the same. I have no interest in where each of Shooting Star's songs debuted on the charts, or other details of their rise. It's enough to know they made it, for me. What I missed was the way that music mattered, the way they LIVED through music, not just lived by it, or with it, if that makes sense.

All of this is not to say that I disliked the book. I didn't. I liked it, overall. Some parts quite a bit more than others. The writing is still fantastically emotive and brutal in a way. It pulls no punches and makes sure that the reader feels everything (to a fault - see above). I WAS sad and hurt for Adam's loss, and I did want him to find a measure of happiness again... and if not happiness, then closure and acceptance. It's hard to lose those we love. It's even harder to lose those we love after we've helped them through their own lost loved ones. Who's there to help pick up those kind of pieces? I grieved for him for that.

I liked the way that the story came kind of full circle, and Adam did get his closure, even though it came through finding out things that certainly hurt. I liked that he was able to understand and appreciate the decision that Mia made in leaving, even though he was shattered by it. I liked the way he found new reserves of self-respect in himself because of this revelation.

This book didn't live up to "If I Stay" for me, but it is by no means a bad book. I like themes of lasting love, and I think that many people will love this book for that reason, but I just didn't think that this one had the same heart that "If I Stay" had, and for that, I can only give it 2 stars.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bookclub Review: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes ★★★★

Flowers for AlgernonI have three confessions to make:
1) I never read this book in school.
2) For some reason, this book is associated with the A-bomb in my mind. No idea why.
3) There was beer at my bookclub meeting, and I drank a goodish amount of it, so this review may ramble.

Needless to say, Flowers for Algernon was very, very different than I had always thought. I honestly cannot tell you why I thought that... just that I did. It's just one of those weird association things that people have. Or maybe it's just me. Unsure which.

So, after I read the book description and realized that I was way, way, off, I was actually really looking forward to reading it. I love overcoming adversity type books, I love books that make me feel something, and I love books that make me think. This is definitely one of those, but still I feel like there was something off about it. I liked it, a lot, but I wanted more perspective, I guess.

Quick run-down: Mentally handicapped Charlie is undergoes an experimental operation to increase his capacity for learning and intelligence. The book examines his journey, and what it means, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and morally. Very interesting stuff.

I liked Charlie, more so the less intelligent he was. It was easier for me to sympathize and identify with him then, rather than at the height of his intelligence, when everything and everyone seemed beneath him. I can identify with aspirations and dreams, but I find it hard to understand intelligence so massive that it's alienating. I did like that the more that Charlie learned, the more was able to understand about the world around him, but it was often heartbreaking to see his revelations. Heartbreaking to me, anyway. One of the things that I felt was off about the book was that Charlie seemed distant from his own experiences and memories. He often saw his "handicapped" self in memories as a different person, and his discoveries of memory and experience were like watching something happening to someone else, rather than to himself.

I also wanted more of the history, and more perspective on the story. We see everything through Charlie's eyes, and while this works for most of the story, because we're in his head and we can almost experience his changes directly, some parts just lacked perspective, to me. Particularly the parts dealing with Charlie's incubator mother.There were a lot of parts where Charlie remembered her behavior and her actions and reactions and attitudes, but he couldn't identify with them, or understand them at all. And the reader, seeing through Charlie's eyes, sees the cruelty and the intolerance and impatience, but there isn't anything to give perspective to these memories. We don't see how hard it would be to deal with a young mentally handicapped boy, while caring for a newborn, and constantly worrying that one lapse in vigilance could result in disaster. We don't see how hard day to day life would be with a mentally handicapped 17 year old... we see only the extremes.

Am I condoning her horrific behavior? Absolutely not. Never. But I can put myself in her shoes and imagine just how hard it would be. And knowing myself, and how patience is NOT one of my best qualities, I can understand her frustration and fear and anger. I hope that I would never, ever, ever act on them like she did, that I would have the insight and compassion to accept the hand I'm dealt, should I be put in that position, but I can sympathize... to a point. Past that point and I don't think there's a punishment severe enough to make up for the way she treated her son. Not in a hundred lifetimes. Charlie had every chance to be happy, despite his handicap, and she ruined him.

Forgiveness isn't one of my virtues, either.

I did like the themes in the book, of second chances, at taking a risk, at wanting to better oneself and understand who we are and who we are in the world and what it means to be who we are. I liked the theme of one person being able to make such a difference, such an impact on the world, and it gives me hope that there is a point to it all. I liked the theme of learning to accept the life we have, and that sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and it definitely was a hit with the bookclub. Very glad that I read this one. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I will carry you through the hurricane waters...

Last September, the area I live in was severely flooded. I was evacuated, but I got lucky and my apartment was undamaged. Some of my friends were not so fortunate, and lost their homes, businesses, and everything they had in the flood waters. The rebuilding and recovery is still going on, and will be for some time. So this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is one that I've thought about, but am very glad I didn't have to act upon.

Search "NEPA Flood 2011" for more images. :(
I'd save...
  • My adult UK edition Harry Potter boxed set
  • My signed copies of the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  • My signed ARC copy of Horns by Joe Hill
  • My signed copy of A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
  • My Collector's Edition copy of Under The Dome by Stephen King
  • Both of my copies of The Bachman Books (HC and ratty old PB -- what? It's special to me!)
  • My Dark Tower graphic novel collection (they're expensive, what?)
  • My ancient copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare
  • My leatherbound copies of The Complete Works of Poe & Douglas Adams
  • My Nook, Shadow. (What? You thought I'd forget him? Pfft!)
I know that's a lot more than 10 books, but it was hard enough narrowing it down to this many! Painful, even! All the Kings I left behind... *shudder*

So, leave me a comment and let me know what is too precious to you to lose... I'll try to leave some room in the boat. ;)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Reading Plan: Week of February 20, 2012

Goal: Read 3 books a week to meet my goal of 160 books for 2012.

Pretty good progress this week, I finished 5 books! Yay! (Ok... it's kind of cheating, since some of them have been currently reading for a while... but who's counting? >_> )

Last week, I finished:
  • The Ghosts Beneath Our Feet by Betty Ren Wright (off-list read)
  • World Without End by Ken Follett
  • Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic (off-list read)
  • Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick
  • Fool Moon (Dresden Files #2) by Jim Butcher
Coming up:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe
Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

What is on the agenda for your reading list this week?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thrift Store Scores

New books I've gotten recently at my local thrift stores. I really love the cover on Water Marked, and I'm looking really forward to Audrey's Door!

What did you pick up recently?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway: 3 Book Prize Pack!

My random act of kindness: I'm giving away three great books!

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Read For Your Future.

These books were purchased from Better World Books, so this giveaway will benefit literacy programs, donate books to those in need, and one lucky winner will be getting some amazing books.

So what's up for grabs, you ask?

You can win a 3-book Prize Pack containing...

- Shine by Lauren Myracle (PB)
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (PB)
- Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic (PB)

- Entries must be submitted via Rafflecopter widget below. Entries submitted by blog comment or any other means without using the Rafflecopter widget will not be counted.
- This giveaway is only open to US mailing addresses.
- The winner will be announced on February 23rd, and an email will be sent to the winner. If I do not receive a response from the winner within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
- The books will be mailed within 2 weeks to ensure delivery to me from Better World Books. If there is a delay, I will email the winner to let them know.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And to continue on your hoppy way, head back on over to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer or Read For Your Future for the linky for the next giveaway hotspot! Good luck!

Review: World Without End by Ken Follett ★★

Let me preface this review by saying that I loved Pillars of the Earth. A lot. I thought it was almost perfect, in fact, except for one minor issue that I had with the dialogue sounding too modern for the time period (an issue I had with World Without End, too). After being engrossed in that book, loving, hating, caring about the characters in it, after feeling like I was living in Kingsbridge for 900 pages, I was excited for this follow up. I wanted more, I wanted to be back in that world, experiencing life right along with the people I was reading about, the people I cared about. So I picked this audiobook up and started it.

And all was good... for a while. It didn't take me long to start feeling that something was wrong. It didn't take me long to start feeling like Follett had ripped off his own book.

Maybe if I'd had 20 years to forget the details of Pillars before reading Book World Without End, maybe I wouldn't have felt the similarities as much, and I'd have liked it more. It isn't a BAD story, but I lost patience with it really quickly and then I stuck with it far longer than I should have hoping that it would come around. I made it 80%, and by the end, I couldn't tell you what happened, because I stopped listening. It was playing in the background while I worked, and I could hear it, but it wasn't holding my attention at all.

I wanted more of Follett's Kingsbridge world, yes, but I didn't expect Pillars of the Earth: Now With New Character Names! I wanted a different story. Instead, I got a rehash of Pillars, and so I kept comparing them in my head. "Oh, There's the devious, overbearing mother-plotter..." "Here's the Lord-Who-Thinks-He's-God..." "Another brilliantly talented at a really young age master craftsman... who woulda thunk it?" and so on and so on...

Did I like the characters? Yeah. Sure. I didn't care about them nearly as much as I cared about the Pillars characters though. Did I like the story? I guess.

I did love the performance though. John Lee read this audio, and he was great. But still... I just endured this one, rather than enjoyed it, and couldn't bring myself to keep going another twelve hours to finish.

Enough is enough.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (3): Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5) by Gail Carriger

5Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine.

Yeah, yeah... I know. Everyone and their brother's dad's aunt's cousin's girlfriend's ex-neighbor's dog has posted some sort of "WANT IT NOW!!!" post on their blog about this book. And now I'm doing one...

I'm not a follower... I'm just taking my rightful place in the "In Crowd". That's all.

That being said... I WANT!!! Luckily my wait isn't very long. :D

PS. As much as I love these books, I am not loving the brown, orange, yellow, and sepia combo on this cover, and "Alexia" looks like she's taken a page out of Scarlett O'Hara's book and put on some curtains.

I'll still buy it. Who am I kidding? *sigh* Addiction is turrible. ....More please.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Blog Makeover

You might have noticed the new look 'round these parts. I have redecorated the place a bit! Got rid of some things, added some other things, simplified the look and whatnot. 

Let me know what you think! :)

I ♥ Heartbreakers...

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme is "Books that broke your heart a little." Awesome. I love heartbreaking, gut wrenching books. Here's my list... and oh, it was hard to narrow this down to just ten!

This week I've decided to split my Top Ten into Adult and Young Adult lists.

Adult Heartbreakers:

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
I listened to this book on Thanksgiving Day, and I was in tears by the end. The struggles of the Joad family, and of all the other sharecroppers needing work, food, shelter, everything, just broke my heart. I didn't expect to, but I loved this story and I fell a little in love with John Steinbeck because of it.

Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley
If you're not familiar with the story, get thee to thy bookstore or library to get a copy! This is the story of Kunta Kinte, stolen from his home and family in Africa and sold into slavery. This is the story of his life, his family, his heritage and legacy, and it is a powerful and emotional and heartbreaking one.

Tim by Colleen McCullough
This is a story of an unlikely relationship between an innocent 25 year old mentally retarded man and a 43 year old straight-laced and emotionally distant spinster. They each have something to learn, and something to teach. This is a beautiful story that surprised me with how deeply I loved it. I highly recommend it.

Losing Julia by Jonathan Hull
This is Patrick Delaney's life story, centered around two people that he loved and lost. We see through his eyes, his insights and memories at different stages of his life. Each was represented with truth and grace and clarity and felt so intimate that toward the end, I felt as if I was losing a little bit of myself in Patrick's loss.

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
One of my all time favorite books. This is the story of two very, very different twin brothers struggling with identity and mental illness, as one of the twins is a paranoid schizophrenic. It's about the ties that bind twins together, even when everything about them is different. I highly recommend this one. It's not an easy book, but it's worth it.

Young Adult Heartbreakers:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
This was my favorite Harry Potter book for a long, long time, mainly because of the gut-punch that it delivers at the end. The rawness, the realness, the awful loss and emptiness of those last few chapters was palpable, as my tear-stained book will attest.
But you already knew that, being Harry Potter fans... right?!

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This was a brilliant and heart-breaking story about love, and loss, and fear of loss. These are things that affect everyone, and though this story has a touch of the fantastic going for it, I think it's a realistic portrayal of how people learn to cope with the often unfair hand that life deals.

Shine by Lauren Myracle
This book touched on a lot of things. Poverty, addiction, class division, alcoholism, abuse, homosexuality and homophobia, fear and hatred, small-town politics, friendship and loyalty, etc. If it hadn't been written with such grace and honesty, and a light touch and sense of innocence, it could have gone very wrong, but it was perfect. This book is gorgeous and amazing from cover to cover.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I really loved this book. I loved the family dynamic, the love they shared, the individuality and trust. This one definitely makes me think of the choices that we make in life, and how, despite being so powerless, we still have the choice of whether to give up or struggle on.

Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby
Hurt Go Happy was one of those books that affected me so deeply that to this day just thinking about the book brings tears to my eyes. It was an amazing story of finding strength to overcome adversity, as well as bringing awareness to animal cruelty. I can't recommend this book highly enough, but make sure you have tissues handy. You'll need them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness ★★

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)I've heard so many great things about this series, and about Patrick Ness in general, that I was very excited to read this series. After reading the prequel, The New World, and his standalone novel A Monster Calls (and adoring it), I was really looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, I find myself disappointed.

Todd lives on New World, which is a relatively new (20 year old) colonization full of people from Earth. In Prentisstown, the settlement where Todd lives, there are no women, and the men hear all the other 164 mens' thoughts, called Noise, constantly. There's no escaping it. He has been taught that the Spackle released a germ that caused the deaths of all the women, and that the same germ caused the Noise, and also allowed animals to talk.

So when Todd finds a quiet patch out near the swamp, everything in his life changes and he's ushered out into the greater, supposedly empty, world with only his dog Manchee to accompany him. Of course he then begins to find out that things aren't exactly the way he'd been told.

Sounds intriguing... but it just didn't work for me...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Reading Plan: Week of February 13, 2012

Goal: Read 3 books a week to meet my goal of 160 books for 2012.

So I didn't get nearly as much reading done on my week off as I'd planned to. Isn't that always the way? *sigh*

I did finish 3 books though, so I'll count it as a success! I'm currently reading Kirinyaga and World Without End, and I'm taking them both slowly. Kirinyaga is different and I'm not sure how I feel about it at this point, but we'll see where it goes. Unfortunately, World Without End is basically Pillars of the Earth recycled with different character names. I'm not liking it nearly as much as I'd hoped. =\

Last week, I finished:
  • Bet Me - I loved it. Very funny and immensely enjoyable to read!
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go - This one was disappointing to me, unfortunately. Full review to be posted on Monday, or you can view it on Goodreads here.
  • Genesis - This again was a bit disappointing. The beginning was great, but rest, the readability, characterization and point, was not. It was very, very dry reading.
Coming up this week:

Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick
World Without End by Ken Follett
Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

What is on the agenda for your reading list this week?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Name My Nook Contest Winner!

The "Name My Nook" winner is: 

Her suggested the name was "Shadow," after her dog. 

I love this suggestion. Not only is my Nook a dark color, like a shadow, but the name also reminds me of one of my favorite characters, Shadow from Neil Gaiman's "American Gods", as well as indicating that my Nook would be with me everywhere. And it is. :)

Great name, Hanna! Thank you! Your $10 B&N Gift Card is on the way!

Some runner ups were: 
- Jen from The Introverted Reader with "Eddie" (a nod to Eddie Dean from the Dark Tower series, which I love!)
- Allison from The Allure of Books with "Lola"
- Ems with "Chewbacca" (because Chewie is a great sidekick.) 

Thank you to everyone who suggested names!

Friday Flashback Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ★★★★

OutlanderFriday Flashback is hosted by Jen @ The Introverted Reader.

Originally reviewed on September 15, 2009.

I have to admit that for a large chunk of this book, I was hovering right around 3-3 1/2 stars. It was very good, but not amazing.

Gabaldon really knows how to tell a story and suck you in. I felt like I was there, in 1743 with Claire and the clans and the Redcoats. I  could smell the trees and feel the clear air, and could hear, or not hear, the silence that is the absence of 20th century noise pollution. I even dreamt about the book, which is a sure indicator of my being absorbed.

But that being said, I did find her writing a bit distracting at the same time. Certain conversations and situations would be incredibly vague to me, but would have Claire jumping to a conclusion or answering in a way that made no sense to me. I'd have to read it several times and I still wouldn't know what was going on. And then later, when the resolution or explanation came, I would be confused as to how the previous thing led to it. Around the third time, I just went with it, but it annoyed me.

I do like to have a little mystery, or suspense, or whatever in my stories. I don't expect everything to be handed to me on a silver platter- that would be boring. But, I do want to be able to follow the action or dialogue without feeling like I'm watching a one-sided conversation in Spanish, which I don't speak. Ideally, I would read the passage and come to the same conclusion as the character does. This was a small thing, but it happened a couple times, and frustrated me.

Anyway, let's move on to what everyone is dying to know: How much I loved Jamie...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Character Connection (5): Min Dobbs

Character Connection is hosted by Jen @ The Introverted Reader.

It's been a while since I last did a Character Connection post, I finished Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie last night, and I loved the characters so much that I wanted to talk about them some more.

So... Min Dobbs. Min, short for Minerva, is a 33 year old actuary (a business professional who deals with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty and provide expert assessments of financial security) at her father's insurance firm. She's overweight, has low self-confidence, and is on her way to being the old spinster living in the attic with twelve cats. She just needs the twelve cats.

Despite the low self-confidence thing, she isn't willing to throw herself at any guy who makes a pass, a fact that her current boyfriend, David, comes to realize pretty quickly when she refuses to sleep with him. So he breaks up with her, at a bar, in front of everyone. The jerk.

But Min has friends to push her right back onto that horse, and they push her into a situation where she meets Cal Morrissey, handsome, successful, charming... womanizer. When Min overhears someone (see above jerk) bet Cal as to whether or not he can get Min into bed in a month, things start getting interesting. Min, needing a date to her sister's wedding in three weeks and feeling like she has the upper hand, agrees to go out to dinner with him. Where she channels the mantra: Take No Prisoners: Dating Edition. It is a sight to see.

But Cal surprises her. She feels different with him and he begins to make her feel more comfortable with herself and her body, even sexy. She challenges him, busts his chops and keeps him on his toes so he can avoid being eviscerated by her. But she soon realizes that she doesn't want to take advantage of him for her wedding date needs, and they agree not to see each other anymore. An idea which fate, or chaos theory, doesn't agree with. They keep running into each other, keep being drawn back to each other despite their intentions to stay away... He foils her diet with Krispy Kreme donuts, too, a fact which might just give her mother a coronary.

Mama Overlord, as I call her, ordered Min's bridesmaid dress two sizes too small in the extremely optimistic hope that Min would be able to lose the weight to fit into it. She bans Min from eating carbs, butter, sugar, food... Min rebels in small ways, but mostly allows Mama Overlord to dictate her diet because Min loves her sister and doesn't want to disappoint her on her wedding day.

Despite being pulled in 50 different directions by her family, friends, ex-boyfriend (who now wants her back after seeing her with someone else... the jerk), Cal, and HIS family, Min is determined to do what is right for her for once, even if that means getting a cat and becoming a spinster. Chaos theory just might have a different plan. The jerk.

I loved Min. She is witty, smart, and funny, and she has much better taste in shoes than I do. She's wary about her heart, but willing to take the risk for a man who encourages her to eat donuts. Hell, I would too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (2): The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine.

I don't do very many of these, because I don't usually keep up with new release books... so when I do post one, it's a book that I am REALLY looking forward to.

I am practically frothing at the mouth over this one. O_O

I am a huge Dark Tower fan. I'm a mega-huge Stephen King fan. In fact, the only other Waiting on Wednesday post I've done was for another Stephen King book. I don't wait for a lot of books... but I'll wait for Stephen King. Oh yes.

So this is a big freakin' deal to me. Another Dark Tower book. Another chance to be with some of my favorite characters of all time. More Mid-World, more everything. MORE AWESOME. I just feel it in my bones. SQUEE!

And just when I thought it couldn't possibly get any more exciting, a friend pointed me toward this amazingly gorgeous set of DT books being released in a few days:

(Now I know what my tax refund is being spent on!)