Monday, May 28, 2012

Reading Plan: Week of May 28

Goal: Read 3 books a week to meet my goal of 160 books for 2012.
Whoops - forgot to do this yesterday. I blame So You Think You Can Dance. I have been marathoning seasons online this weekend... and it is sooooo addictive. Love that show. Anyway, while the next episode loads, I thought I would do something semi-productive with my time and do some bloggin'.

Here's what I read since finishing the Read-A-Thon:
  • We Need To Talk About Kevin
Yeah, that's it. One book. It was my bookclub book, and it totally invaded my head and ruined me for all other reading. And then SYTYCD... and now I think I've forgotten how to read. Seriously though... I started Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse FOUR DAYS AGO and I've read 3 stories. That's like... 40 pages.

40 pages... IN. FOUR. DAYS.

So, yeah. Reading. Will definitely try to do some of that this week...

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

Review: Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle ★★★★

Planet of the ApesOriginally Reviewed: August 1, 2009

Caution: Vague Spoilers Ahead

I don't really think that I can do this book justice in my review. I thought that it was brilliant. I know that I have seen the movie long ago, and remember the big reveal at the end and Charlton yelling about damning everyone all to hell, but I don't remember much more than that. I'll have to watch the movie again.

I really loved the subtle cautionary tale running throughout the story. Maybe it's just my feminist liberal bleeding heart whispering to me, but I feel that Boulle just plain hated live-animal experiments and was determined to show people that the tables could be turned one day. Easily. But more than that, the book cautions us not to be complacent and lazy about our place in life and in the food chain and to keep striving and learning and bettering ourselves, but NOT at the cost of other life-forms. We're on top now, but only time will tell if we stay there.

And do we actually deserve to be? We, the "Lords of Creation," seem to think that we can do anything and everything we want to do. We're so filled with pride that we never think that OUR civilization could fall. Those kind of things are for history books, not real life. Yet we consume resources like they're going out of style, and pollute the earth like we have a spare, and just generally act like there's a "Reset" button somewhere that we can just press when we've reached the point of no return. Why shouldn't another species give running things a try? If they can do it better...

But that's the thing. They imitate us, so WOULD they do it better? At one point in the story, when Merou was being shown the experiments, I thought to myself, "They are proud of the fact that they are keeping the "animals" down... Taking any vestiges of humanity or rational thought away as soon as it is displayed in order to protect themselves. They are so fearful of the possibility of human uprising that they commit atrocities to prevent them." And then I thought to myself, "Oh, snap! So do we." We can justify anything. And so can Apes, who apparently learned from the best. In examining the Apes, we're looking at ourselves. Can we really pass judgment?

But, I was happy to see that the three "races" of Apes could cohabitate and cooperate in peace, which is more than we've accomplished so far. Our differences divide us, but the Apes recognize and relish their differences and use them well. But Apes still seem to rival Man in the fear department: the unknown is scary, so just destroy it and move on.

I do have to say that I was kind of annoyed with Merou's assumption that life forms in a far, far away galaxy would automatically be human to be intelligent. It just goes to show that our pride will be our downfall. But it reminded me of a quote from another science-fiction book that I enjoyed, Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (which you should remember if you keep up with my reviews):
"...We take off into the cosmos, ready for anything: for solitude, for hardship, for exhaustion, death. Modesty forbids us to say so, but there are times when we think pretty well of ourselves. And yet, if we examine it more closely, our enthusiasm turns out to be all sham. We don't want to conquer the cosmos, we simply want to extend the boundaries of Earth to the frontiers of the cosmos. For us, such and such a planet is as arid as the Sahara, another as frozen as the North Pole, yet another as lush as the Amazon basin. We are humanitarian and chivalrous; we don't want to enslave other races, we simply want to bequeath them our values and take over their heritage in exchange. We think of ourselves as the Knights of the Holy Contact. This is another lie. We are only seeking Man. We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. We don't know what to do with other worlds. [...] We arrive here as we are in reality, and when the page is turned and that reality is revealed to us--that part of our reality which we would prefer to pass over in silence--then we don't like it anymore."
Oh, it's so apt. We inherently assume that anyone of any worth or intelligence will be just like us. Even the "Little Green Men" type aliens that pop up in the Weekly World News magazines are still modeled after humans, and hell, they are nicknamed "men"! I just hope that one day we'll be able to see the bigger picture.

I do want to mention two things that I wish were clarified a little more in the book. I'd been told that the twist in the book was different than the twist in the movie. I had had a theory that somehow during the journey from Earth, something got mixed up and the planet they landed on WAS Earth, only far in the future. Since it seems that was not correct, I'm confused as to how two planets so distant actually would be so very similar. The two main races (Apes and humans) are the same genetically (or so it seems as Merou was able to successfully mate with an "alien" human), and there are several other animals that are similar. Not to mention the society and transportation etc. It just seems so unlikely that Soror would be so similar to Earth without knowing of its existence.

And speaking of which, that brings me to the second thing. Merou named the planet Soror prior to meeting any sentient beings. Didn't they have their own name for the planet? I cannot believe that throughout ANY of the discussions they had regarding the origins of their species, or space travel, or anything, that they did not once say, "Oh, and by the way, we call our planet Apex." (Haha, get it?) But really, that point bothered me in the story.

Anyway, Aside from those two points, I thought that this was a really great book. I hope that everyone gets a chance to read it one day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bout of Books Final Update: Mission Accomplished!

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
Yay! I did it! :D I read my 5 books and reached my goal. Awesome. This was a great read-a-thon and definitely helped to keep me motivated! 

Books Completed During Read-A-Thon: 5

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen
The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson
Blood Rites (Dresden Files #6) by Jim Butcher
The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bout of Books Day 6 Update: 5/19 Progress

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
Book #4 complete! Yay! One left to go. I can do it! :D

Currently Reading:
Just starting... hope it's good! :D 

Books Completed During Read-A-Thon: 4

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen
The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson
Blood Rites (Dresden Files #6) by Jim Butcher

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bout of Books Day 5 Update: 5/18 Progress

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
Woohoo! I finished The Alloy of Law (as you can surely tell by the fact that I posted my review for it already.) Starting book #4 for the Read-A-Thon and I'm still hoping to hit my goal of 5! Wish me luck!

Currently Reading:
This is different, and so far I'm just kinda hanging in there, waiting to see where it will go. I really loved the last book, so I'm hoping this one ends up being as good, at least. 

Books Completed During Read-A-Thon: 3

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen
The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson ★★★★

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4)The Mistborn trilogy was the first experience I had with Brandon Sanderson, and I loved it. I loved the world, the magic system, the characters, the concept, everything. Loved it.

Now, revisiting the world after 300 in-story years and about 3 real-life years, during which time I read The Way of Kings (fantastic) and Elantris (pretty good), I find myself having something like mixed feelings about Alloy.

First, a little about the world itself. I was surprised how much I missed this system of magic! It took a little bit to get used to the rules again, but it was like riding a bike. I loved the kind of Gunslingeresque feel to this book as well, and thought that the technological advancement to the age of guns, newfound electricity, trains, and motorcars was well handled and fit perfectly. The old gang are legends, the Church of the Survivor is still around, and surely parents threaten naughty children with Ironeyes when they misbehave. I would.

It was a little hard coming back to this world but not coming back to the characters that I loved so much from the original trilogy. It made me nostalgic seeing them referred to as legends. But the characters here were great, so that eased the sting of missing Vin and Elend and Spook and the rest some. I loved Wayne. He's funny, intriguing and my imagination of him fighting was incredibly sexy. (What? I can do that!) I also really liked Wax, although at times I feel like he was a little too good, too perfect, too predictable. But that's something that I can live with. He is a great character, and he Wayne together kept making me giggle - they should go on tour. Wax and Wayne. Geddit?

I also really liked the dichotomy between Wax and Miles. Miles especially was intriguing to me, but both he and Wax had me thinking WWKD? I thought Miles was a very understandable position, and while I don't really agree with him regarding the way he's helping, I can see why he feels that is the best path to achieve his goals.

But then, and here comes the mixedish feelings, when it comes to the female characters, I just felt that they were too familiar. Maybe this is due to the fact that the last BSands book I read was Elantris, but I kept thinking of Sarene as I read this. Her traits seem to be split up between Steris (I had to stop to think about her name just then) and Marasi. Also, in Marasi, there were shades of Shallan from The Way of Kings.

These aren't BAD things, because, aside from Steris, who was kind of blahsome, I really liked all of the characters I just mentioned. I just kind of want more individuality between them. I like that BSands writes intelligent, independent women into his books, and that they aren't the standard "Whore With A Heart Of Gold" or "Well Connected Madame" or "Naive Maiden/Damsel In Distress" tropes, they are better than that. But they seem to all be intelligent and independent in too similar ways to each other between books. And truly honest, this recycling tendency isn't limited to the ladies. The menfolk are similar to each other as well... but it's just the women that really stood out to me here.

Still, that's a small nitpick. I DID enjoy these characters, and I would be more than happy to read quite a bit more about them. And I hope I do, because the ending was definitely left open for some sort of follow up. I really loved the concept of "Twinborn" Allomancer Feruchemists. The way it was handled was impressive, while still leaving a lot of room to grow. I know that this is not the start of a new trilogy, but it's also not quite a standalone either. We'll see where BSands is going with this, and what the official start to the next Mistborn trilogy brings.

I am excited just thinking about it. :D

Review: The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson ★

The Amityville HorrorSpoiler Warning: If you actually do intend to read this book at some point, you may want to skip this. 

No? OK then. :)

This "true" story is about as scary as a Ke$ha/Charlie Sheen lovechild. It's terrifying... but it's not the baby's fault. It was created out of a union of glitter-vomit and Tiger Blood. Mama SLutz is an attention whore just in it for the money and notoriety, and Daddy  is a talentless hack who just spouts random words emphatically and claims they make sense. It's like it was written by a 12 year old with ADD and then edited by someone who speaks English as a 2nd language... and started taking the classes just yesterday! Exclamation point! But hey, they did something right, because I just read this pile of steaming poo! Exclamation point!

So let me tell you about the book, m'kay? There's this family called the sLutzes. They moved into this house on the 18th of December - no the 23rd of December - no the 18th of December because when they moved out on January 14th that was 28 days and Jay Anson can count, yayyyy! Exclamation point!

So the Putzes SLutzes - Wait. Did we meet Father Frank yet? Father Frank has a BAD FEELING. And then he gets sick with the flu a lot and that makes him feel bad! So then the SLutzes move in on the 18th-23rd-18th of December and then weird stuff starts happening in their house like the windows opening and it being cold. They have money problems and can't afford their boat or their wardrobe but never go to work. Also Officer Gionfriddo is the most badass ninja policeman! Exclamation point! He can drive down the street and totally not see that guy going into the WITCHES' BREW until 50 feet after he passes him, and then recognize his beard, the way he walks, and the shape of his body! Crouching Gionfriddo, Hidden Ninja! Multiple Exclamation Points!! HIGH SCORE!

Father Frank had blisters on his hands.

Then there was a lion.

Then George was all like "LET MY PEOPLE GO!" and then Gionfriddo sat quietly in his police car with the lights off watching in a non-creeper way while George acted all "like a lunatic" but later Gionfriddo said it was OK because they were closing the windows so he drove away with his lights off... totally not like a creeper, I said!


Jodie says he's an angel but he's really a BEAST! RUN! Then there is a storm and they are TRAPPED IN THE HOUSE except for when they got in the car to go to the doctor's office for some band-aids and baby tylenol. Also, call Father Frank.

Then they moved out and then the story was over except when they levitated some more and then moved to California where levitation is illegal.

Congratulations. You've now read The Amityville Horror.

I'm sorry.

Bout of Books Day 4 Update: 5/17 Progress

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
Well then. I finished Amity... Stayed strong right to the end, that one did. *snort* Who am I kidding? That book was awful. My review is kinda meangirl style... but it makes me giggle. 

Currently Reading:

Alloy: Not really anything new here. I mostly focused on Amityville so I could get it out of the way. Looking forward to finishing Alloy today though! :D

Books Completed During Read-A-Thon: YAY 2!!

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen
The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bout of Books Day 3 Update: 5/16 Progress

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
Not much to report here... Nook charged, I picked back up where I left off with The Alloy of Law... but still didn't get very much reading done. I got about 100 pages of Alloy, and another 50 of Amityville. 

Currently Reading:
Amityville: Exclamation points! Exclamation points EVERYWHERE! 

Alloy: Stop me if you've heard this one... "Wax and Wayne walk into a bar..." Hehe... Come on... Wax and Wayne? That had to be intentional. ;)

I'm really enjoying this one, although I feel like it's not QUITE living up to the trilogy. I think the conclusion that was just reached where I am in the book (no spoiler) was a bit obvious, but I'm curious to see where it goes. I love Wayne. He is hilarious and awesome. I miss Spook. I also miss the Steel Inquisitors. Yeah. Really. 

Finally, I love how Sanderson gives us intelligent and independent female characters, but I'll be honest and say that I wish that they were better defined individuals. 

I mean this in the leg-humpingest way possible, BSands (you know I love you) but your female characters all kind of remind me of each other... with the exception of Vin, who stands apart in my mind. 

Books Completed During Read-A-Thon: 1 (still...)

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bout Of Books Day 2 Update: 5/15 Progress

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
So, I started The Alloy of Law... and then my Nook battery died. :( 
*Note to self: The glowlight uses more juice... check charge more often. O_o

So anyway, I picked up The Amityville Horror, and probably would have read more than the 133 pages I got in if the book wasn't so atrociously bad that I had to keep quoting it on Goodreads. I mean... REALLY. This book seems to have been written by a 4th grader and edited by someone in a coma. It's that bad. Scary? Only the fact that I must finish.

Because of that... I have no real progress to update here. I went to bed early last night with a migraine, cutting my reading time short. I hope today is better!

Number of books read on 5/15: 0.5
The only thing worse than having to read this last night was the pain of not being able to read The Alloy of Law. :(

I will share with you some of my Goodreads comments on this book:
"Haha... it's like a cheesy melodrama!

Father Mancuso turned sadly away from the doctor, his eyes staring out the window at the snow. "I think so. Something...". The priest brought his gaze back to the doctor "...or somebody."

"As he rode by, Gionfriddo didn't really notice the figure going into The Witches' Brew. The detective was a good fifty feet beyond before he swerved his police car and braked to a stop. He looked back, but the man was gone. The shape of the body, the beard, and the swaggering walk were the same as Ronnie DeFeo's!"

Ugh... First, I hate exclamation points in the narrative! Secondly... did he "not really notice" or did he "notice enough for positive identification"?Yeah... can't say I recommend this one - but it was chosen for a group read so I'm reading it. 

Books Completed During Read-A-Thon: 1

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bout of Books Day 2 Mini-Challenge: Book Confessions

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
I like Cosmo quizzes too, what? ;)

Book Lover Confession hosted by Nyx Book Reviews

Physical book or eBook? - Yikes... Both, honestly, but Ebooks win for convenience and portability. ♥ my Nook. :D
Paperback or Hardcover? - Paperback most definitely! Hardcovers are tooooooo bulky and cumbersome.
Reality or Make-believe? - Usually make-believe... but I do love a nice dose of tear-jerker reality every once in a while too.
Adult or Young-Adult? - More adult now... I think YA trends recently are irritating, to be honest. *Shakes fist at persistent effing instalove*
Dog ears or Bookmarks? - Bookmarks. I like them. I hate folded pages in books. *twitch*
Breaking the spine or Barely open the book? - Umm... well... I don't fold pages... but I do break spines. I'm a terrible person.
Tea or Coffee? - COFFEEEEEEE. And I need some right now. :(
Reading in bed or On the couch? - Comfy couch is preferable. Unfortunately I don't have one of those. Stupid narrow doorways and hall in my apartment! >:(
Series or Standalone? - Depends on the story, really... but I do think that far too many books which should be standalones are being published as series now. Annoying.
Original or TV Adaptation? - This is a trick question right? O_o Original.
Defy motion sickness or Audiobooks? - I don't get motion sickness, but I still love audio.
Author crushes or Who-was-that-guy-again? - Total author crushes. You know who you are, gentlemen. ;)
Interview or Guest post? - Hmm... I've only ever done interviews on my blog so far. I'd like to try a Guest post, though. :D

There you have it... all my dirty little secrets.

Don't judge me. ;)

Bout Of Books Day 1 Update: 5/14 Progress

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
I finished off Death Masks (Dresden #5) by Jim Butcher today (which was fantastic!), and then read my first full Read-A-Thon book (which was good, but not fantastic). Looking forward to book number 2! 

Number of books read as of 5/14: 1
I can't say that this is one of my favorites of Austen's. It was very quick, and very short, and funny in an over-the-top way, but I find that I much prefer her subtlety. Considering how young she was when writing this though, it's pretty damn impressive.

"Run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint--"

Words to live by. ;)

Books Read During Read-A-Thon: 1

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bout Of Books Read-A-Thon Goal / Reading Plan 5/14-5/20

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
Instead of doing my usual Reading Plan, at the last minute (as is usually my style) I've decided to join up for the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon!

I'm sure we're all used to my usual goal by now (Read 3 books a week to total 160 books in 2012), right? I rarely tend to meet it, but since I have a read-a-thon lending me its willpower, maybe I'll get there this week. Maybe.

The goal for the Read-A-Thon is to read at least 5 of the books below.


The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Love and Freindship by Jane Austen
Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Glory In Death by J.D. Robb
Among Others by Jo Walton
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
M Is For Magic by Neil Gaiman

This week might not be my most productive reading-wise, despite my grandiose plans to read-a-thon it up, because work is sure to be crazy. I'm the "Unofficial Official" trainer for my team at work, and we have a new person starting on Monday for the 2nd week in a row, meaning that I'll need to train and keep up with my usual workload. But... that's the way it goes sometimes, and all the more reason to escape into bookworlds when I get home, right?

Right. :D

Anyone else participating in the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon? Let me know! I probably won't have much time to socialize between work and trying to get my goal finished, but if you comment here, I'll reciprocate! :D

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Quotes I Love...

The Broke and The Bookish's Top 10 Tuesday theme: Favorite Quotes.

I love quotes, but I don't have the memory for them. I should probably start a notebook, or maybe record them here... but I get lazy. So I just roll around in the meaning or imagery of the words for a while, bask in them for a bit, and move on.

Too many books, too little time. (I think Frank Zappa said that. :P)

Anyway, here are some quotes from some books I love. I can't really say that these are my "favorite" quotes (though these are favorite books), but these are ones that could be, if I could know for certain that I wasn't overlooking others even more awesome. :)

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them -- words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”
 - Different Seasons by Stephen King
“If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter. ”
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“Death and disaster are at our shoulders every second of our lives, trying to get at us. Missing, a lot of the time. A lot of miles on the motorway without a front wheel blow-out. A lot of viruses that slither through our bodies without snagging. A lot of pianos that fall a minute after we've passed. Or a month, it makes no difference. So unless were going to get down on our knees and give thanks every time disaster misses, it makes no sense to moan when it strikes.”
- The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie

“People believe, thought Shadow. It's what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief that makes things happen.”
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman

“I wish, as well as every body else, to be perfectly happy; but like every body else, it must be in my own way.”
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

“It bewildered Ig, the idea that a person could not be interested in music. It was like not being interested in happiness.”
- Horns by Joe Hill

“The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.”
- The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

“He must have known I'd want to leave you."
"No, he must have known you would always want to come back.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Man... some of these are so representative of everything I love about the book they came from that it gives me goosebumps and makes me ache to read these books again. All of them.  So great. :D

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reading Plan May 7th & New Booksies

Two part post today... Because I'm efficient like that. ;)

Part 1: The Reading Plan - Week of May 7th

Goal: Read 3 books a week to total 160 books in 2012.

So I angrily quit reading Ghost Story. It had taken me almost an entire month to read less than 300 pages (which was about half the book). It makes me mad when books are boring! >:(
I am still struggling to get my 3 books in per week, and I'm starting to fall behind on my goal. I really just need to read more and fiddle around on the internet less. LOL

Here's what I read since the last post:
  • Ghost Story (Did Not Finish)
  • Summer Knight
I'm currently working on:
  • Roadwork (Audio - and I'm not really feeling the reader, so this is also taking FOREVER)
  • Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Coming up:

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) by Brandon Sanderson
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
Death Masks by Jim Butcher

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

Part 2: New Book Acquisitions

Two books purchased...

The Gathering by Anne Enright
Blinded by Stephen White

...And two books received from friends. I'm a lucky girl! :)

He Is Legend: Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson
(Gifted to me by Chris.)
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
(Gifted to me by Ala)