Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best Books in 2012



Book Survey 2012

Best In Books 2012


1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
I think I might have broken the rules here...
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I don't know if I was super-excited about anything. But I grabbed a lot of books of the shelf and didn't enjoy them though. I didn't finish Daughter of Smoke and Bone, for example. I expected the last Maximum Ride to be dreadful (at least I can say I called it). This is the year I give up on James Patterson for good (New Years resolution #1: No more James Patterson.).
 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 
Legend by Marie Lu... I pulled it off the shelf because I liked the cover, and ended up reading in twice and then buying it.
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I'm on the third re-read. I really should just buy the book.
Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange, #1) 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Lesley Livingston's Wondrous Strange trilogy. I had to lend them out to people and worry over whether or not they would get eaten... I do that sometimes (do I have control issues? maybe...)
 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
Can it be a trilogy? If so, then Legend by Marie Lu and the Razorland trilogy by Ann Agguire.
If not: the Agency by Y.S. Lee
 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Y.S. Lee (author of the Agency). Marie Lu (I've already mentioned her debut, Legend). 
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (I think it was this year, though I have a feeling it might have been last year). I don'r typically read realistic fiction, but I really loved it. I managed to get the old cover when I bought it too (I really don't like the new printing cover).
 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl, #8)I'm going to have to say Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian. I threw my self into reading this one with a desperate, desperate need to finish. I was in Belize with almost no Internet (I had a long battle getting the book to download), and while everyone else was sightseeing I was locked in a hotel room frantically trying to reach the end. I'm just a little in love with the series. That, and Enclave by Ann Agguire.
 9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
A lot of them. I often almost obsessively re-read.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
The Time Travelers (The Gideon Trilogy, #1)Go figure. It's a kid's book. 
11. Most memorable character in 2012? 
I don't know. There were a lot this year... a lot. Right now the ones that come to mind most are most of the Artemis Fowl cast (like I said, I love the series), Kelley Winslow from Wondrous Strange (I don't even know why, I just find her fun to read, though I can only visit her in re-reads now), and for some bizarre reason, William Herondale from Infernal Devices (probably because I just finished Clockwork Prince, though, and the boy got rather brutal treatment in the last fifty pages-or more like 150 pages... even if he kind of got on my nerves a lot).
 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Hmm... I loved Michael Scott's story telling in the Enchantress.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 
None that come to mind. I didn't read anything that was really profound this year. Though I did re-read Fat Cat by Robin Brande, which always makes me think. And go off of chocolate. And make my own pasta.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 
Fine. I'll say it. Infernal Devices. There, I said it (I hope you're happy K.B.). In spite of how much I complained and ranted and bashed the books (and disliked the covers), I actually kind of liked them a lot. 
 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 
Are you sure you want to ask me this? I have a habit of quoting that makes some people want to kill me...
 16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 
Heart of Darkness was both the longest and shortest book I read. It was painful to read (says the girl who read Lord of the Rings before she turned 16), but was an incredibly small book. If you're talking length, Heart of Darkness was the shortest. And Inheritance was the longest.
 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The end of The Mark of Athena. I think the entire fandom has decided that Rick Riordan is trolling us.
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
...*is stuck*...
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
You've got to be getting tired of this by now, but Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian, and Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Enchantress. Also, the Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Dash and Lily's book of Dares. It's the only book I read solely on somebody else's recombination, without even reading the blurb (does Goodread's book club count?).


Looking Ahead…


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
Prodigy (Legend, #2)Just one? I'm going to have to cheat here. For non-fiction: Your Inner Fish. For fiction I'd love to try Jane Eyre (good luck, self), since I feel like I need to give classics another chance. 
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
Prodigy by Marie Lu, Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, and book 4 of the Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan.
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?
Consistency! And the whole reviewing thing. I need to work on that, don't I?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Top Ten Books I Keep Saying I'll Read

...but may secretly be lying. Alternately: In Which Kelly Needs To Toughen Up and Read These Books


Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I know people love them. I know they have excellent reviews. They're recommended for people who've read what I have. And I have no idea why I'm having such a hard time thinking about reading them. It's very strange. I think it may have something to do with the concept.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
A friend of mine sings praise for this book (so I keep saying that I will read it at some point), and again, it has excellent reviews. But I read the blurb and think "great, another love triangle in which I am not liable to care in the slightest about the participants". Also, I'm not crazy about assassins.







The Maze Runner Trilogy and the Scorch Trials by James Dashner. 
These I really do believe I'll read at some point. I don't know why I haven't yet, I just keep putting it off for some mysterious reason.


The City of Dreaming Books (Zamonien, #4)The Cite of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers
A friend really wants me to read this. I keep saying I will, once I finish the pile of books I'm reading now. The issue is that I keep adding to that pile, so it never gets read. It also happens to be part of a series, though she doesn't know that (I've done my research).









Reached (Matched, #3)
Reached by Ally Condie
I've made the executive decision that this counts. Because I keep saying I'll finish it, but am still trying (and failing) to do so. I think it might be because I realized I don't much care for any of the characters.







Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green
 This is another I truly believe I will one day soon get around to reading. I'm just a procrastinater.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Micro-reviews

Because I'm too lazy to do actual reviews... though maybe I'll do full length for a couple at some point... maybe...

Crewel (Crewel World, #1)Crewel by Gennifer Aldin
This book was read while I was kind of overwrought- I was stealing moments in order to read anything at all, and, while this was a book I had decided I would read immediately, I kept drifting away to others. I just wasn't captivated. I actually forgot the heroine's name one time- I couldn't connect with her, and I don't really know why. The concept is interesting: there are girls who can weave the fabric of the world, and control destiny (crewel is actually a kind of wool thread). But my mind just wandered.There were moments I felt I should be sympathetic to the female lead, but I just wasn't (and I can get very into my characters- the last Artemis Fowl pretty much put me through a condensed version of all of the stages of grief... and then brought me back), but I was unflinching at this one, even when she was forced to mutilate her own fingers weaving razor-sharp thread. I just couldn't attach myself to any of the characters.


Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
I don't know how I feel about this book. I think I wouldn't like it, but I kind of do anyway (does that make sense? no, I don't think it does). It's a lot of things I don't like in a book- steampunk just to be steampunk, a budding love triangle, French vampires named Camille (seriously, what is with people naming French vampires Camille, is there no other available name?) but now I'm nitpicking. But I don't hate it- actually, I kind of liked it. This isn't my first foray into Cassandra Clare's work, I gave Mortal Instruments a go but didn't get into it (please don't kill me with pitchforks). I get the sense that the characters will grow on me in spite of myself, and as soon as I finished Angel I rushed out to get Prince. The banter I found highly amusing (I do so enjoy banter), and I am curious about the plotline. No opinion on the love triangle except this: if Tessa is a warlock, she's immortal right? and both of the boys aren't (and Jem is kind of dying), so how would a relationship work anyway (unless she's not a warlock... or not a normal one... or something... I'm just confusing myself more here... (she talks to Magnus Bane at some point in City of Glass, and apparently Church the cat is in Mortal Instruments too)... I really should just read Mortal Instruments... and my habit of the overuse of  the ellipsis rears it's ugly head ). Anywho, I'm partway through Clockwork Prince now, and forseeing much angst in the future. And I know I'm totally going to get attached.



Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
I read this one a while ago... while babysitting (not out loud). It was hard to put down... though it had do get put down a lot, weing as there were children to be babysat (whose idea was the term "babysitting" anyway?) I remember that I was really glad when I finally got the kids to sleep so I could read in peace for a couple minutes. And even a while after (it has been a while... I read it in February... though there was a re-read), I still remember the most of the characters and some random things (Aria smells like violets, and Perry is short of Peregrine), which I don't always do. Through the Ever Night comes out in January if I'm not mistaken (I do that sometimes).


And that's all for now. I'm off to go read more of Clockwork Prince.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top Ten Books I Read In 2012

In no particular order...and I've kind of lost track of when I read some of these, so we'll say late 2011 to 2012.

Legend (Legend, #1)Legend by Marie Lu
I pulled this one off the library shelf when it was brand-new and shiny. I was on a bit of a dystopian kick at the time, so it fit the bill. Its one of those books I was surprised I liked as much as I did- so much that I bought a copy, and am counting down to the rest of the trilogy. Prodigy (book 2) comes out in January.








The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl, #8)Artemis Fowl: The Last Gaurdian by Eoin Colfer
I'm completely smitten with this series (I don't usually do smitten, believe me). There's just something about it that I adore.This is the last one in the series, and it came out on July 10th. I remember the release because I was travelling (in Belize), and had to buy the e-book (though I now own the hardcover as well). I was a bit of a homesick mess when I read it, but I think it helped to keep me sane (while causing me a lot of stress, simultaneously). Thank you, Eoin Colfer, for an awesome series. I will love it forever.
My Review is here.





The Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #6)The Enchantress by Michael Scott
One of my top fantasy books of the year, hands down. This is another series that I love, and it's a really wonderful world he creates. A bit on the confusing side (in one of the plot lines), but it really is a great story.
Full review here.








The Time Travelers (The Gideon Trilogy, #1) The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer
Even though I'm technically close to exceeding the age-range for teenage literature, I'm still a little in love with childrens' fiction. Seriously. There's just so much imagination in them, which I wish I found more in teen literature more often (it can be kind of formulaic sometimes). This was a birthday present, and I ended up buying the other two books in the trilogy on faith (and because I'm OCD about having a full series). I know some people didn't like it-it almost seems as if you loved it or you hated it. I liked it.
P.S. Look at the cover in full size. I adore the cover so much it's probably a little strange (all the covers in the trilogy are lovely, actually).




 Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
I'm going to be straight with you- before this series, I didn't really like Scott Westerfeld's writing. I read Uglies, Pretties and Specials, and I couldn't make it through Extras. There was just something I couldn't get through. But the Leviathan trilogy blew me away (not literally). It's such a wonderful steampunk trilogy. It isn't steampunk for the sake of being steampunk, the gears and the beasties (only makes sense if you've read the books) are truly an important part of the story. The story wouldn't exist without them.


The Traitor in the Tunnel (The Agency, #3)Traitor in the Tunnel by L.S. Lee
It was going to be the end of the trilogy, but apparently the author is working on a fourth- she says that she's not quite done with Mary and James quite yet. I would love to get my hands on an ARC of book four whenever it gets released. It's a great book... Its one of the best portrayals of Victorian London that I've ever come across- very raw. And I loved it. It's actually on my Christmas list.







Outpost (Razorland, #2)Enclave (Razorland, #1)Enclave and Outpost by Ann Aguirre
Like I said, I'm on a dystopia kick. It's a wonderfully fast paced (in Enclave), and more character driven in Outpost. I'm looking forward to Horde, which is set for release in 2013. It's a good contrast for Legend, much grittier and more dangerous- there's not much politics here. It isn't a zombie book (I haven't found any that appeal to me), but there are carnivorous creatures rather like monsters.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Top Ten Tuesdays


Top Ten Books on my Birthday Wishlist
MindblindMindblind by Jennifer Roy: This is one that I've taken out of the library several times. It's a neat little book, one of those books you can't quite figure out why you enjoyed so much. 












Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: I don't usually like classics. But this one came free with the Kindle app that I got for my laptop when I was travelling, and, because I had a very poor internet connection and no books, I started reading in and some how loved it. But it must be this cover, because I'm picky that way: I can't stand most of the covers -no paintings may be on the covers. Ever. At all.









The Agency: A Spy in the HouseThe Agency by Y.S. Lee: All three (and the forth, but it isn't due for release for a while, so it doesn't really count). I love the concept of these novels. A Victorian, all women's detective agency.











Enclave and Outpost by Ann Aguirre: Because I do love my dystopic fiction. Yes, very much so.












Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore. They've been growing on me a lot recently, thought I didn't initially love them.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book Talk: Mark of Athena- Spoiler Alert


 Sorry for the delayed posting on Mark of Athena. I got it on Wednesday and finished it on Thursday, but I hadn't gotten around to doing a review.
Title: Mark of Athena
Series: Heroes of Olympus (Sequel Series to Percy Jackson and the Olympians)
Author: Rick Riordan
Volume: 3
Rating: 9.5/10

Summary (be warned of minor spoilers): These books are actually kind of hard to summarize, as there are a lot of smaller adventures on the way, but bear with me.
The Greek and Roman demigods meet in this book. The giant, flying trireme with Festus's head lands over the Roman city (it is not allowed to actually land, because that would break the rules). We get Annabeth and Percy's reunion, which was wonderful (it involves a judo throw). Then everything goes downhill. The boat fires on New Rome, and the Greek demigods and Roman demigods plunge quickly into all-out fighting. The seven: Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Leo, Frank and Hazel, make it to the trireme and depart in rather a hurry from the battle below. In quick sucession, we find out that there are some not-nice spirits taking over people's bodies- Leo, Percy and Jason for a short while until Piper charmspeaks them out, and undergo several, smaller adventures on their journey- much like the heroes on the original Argo. The rest can be summed up as a race-against-the-clock flight to Rome. Nico's been imprisoned by giants, putting himself into a coma that will allow him to last a week sealed in an airtight container. So they are now racing to Rome to save Nico, oh-and the world.

Annabeth has something to deal with on her own, as well, something that may heal the huge, hostile rift between her mother and Rome. Unfortunately, every child of Athena to try has failed. She must face one of her greatest fears to right an ancient wrong. She must find the statue of Athena that formerly stood in the Parthenon, which was stolen by the Romans to break Athenian spirit.

Response (in which the spoilers are more extreme): Look, I'm getting better at not spoiling everything in my summaries! When I finished my response was "Fall of 2013?! So Long!". Talk about a cliffhanger ending (or rather a they-stopped-hanging-off-the-ledge-and-are-now-plunging-toward-the-most-evil-place-ever-what-is-going-to-happen-now ending). I think everyone on Argo 2 is feeling some sort of guilt and a truckload of fear. The next book might be a little darker- I mean, if we see inside Tartatus, which almost drove Nico insane, and he's the son of the ruler of the Underworld.

This book was a overall really good. It only lost 0.5 because I missed reading in Percy's first-person point of view. There were a lot of little split-off-into-teams tasks, which we grasped a mix of dynamics with the characters. Neither Percy nor Jason really feel comfortable in a leadership capacity, Leo feels like a seventh wheel, Annabeth is really worried about her mothers quest/curse, there's the whole Frank-Hazel-Leo thing and meanwhile everything seems to be trying to kill our heros (and capture two as sacrifices).

I'm kind of anxious for the next book. A lot. The original 7 has been separated and now we've got Nico in a role we've not seen him in before-leader, and Percy and Annabeth have quite the battle of their own to look forward to.

This review is awful. I'll come back and edit it later.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Devastatingly Handsome-A Teen Literature Rant

I read a lot of teen literature. I mean A LOT. Reading is my hobby- no more than that, its my passion. And I do enjoy teen lit. It's geared toward my age demographic and there are some real gems out there. However. There are some phrases that are... well- melodramatic. Which brings me to my question.

"Devastatingly Handsome" Seriously? I mean, I cannot think of one time in my life that I have met someone "devastatingly handsome". And what kind of bothers me is that he always the love interest, even of heroines whom I really like as characters.

Lets look at the word devastating. In every other context it refers to sadness, misery, grief and occasional madness. As in "the loss was devastating". This word is not a happy word. In fact, it is depressing. Why on Earth would I be attracted to a guy that devastates me? That pretty much means that looking at the guy is depressing. Looking at someone and finding that they are somehow good looking- and that somehow makes me sad (actually, no, more like miserable) is, well, just strange to me. I mean, can you imagine looking at your love interest and thinking, "Wow. He's depressingly attractive." all the time? Why would I find that attractive? 

Scenarios like this:
  1. Devastating could, I guess, theoretically mean the other "devastating", which has the slightly different connotation- that being destructive. Which, doesn't seem that much better, someone being so handsome that they make the world crumble and cause natural disasters and explosions.
  2. Typically, the "devastatingly handsome" comment is followed by our heroine contemplating how massively unworthy she is. Hello? If you're thinking that, and you're self aware, you're probably right. There's something you don't know, either about him or you. Probably both. He wants something from you. You're probably the key to some sort of power and are now being manipulated. That's just how the world works. Otherwise, the heroine is typically a Mary Sue who is unaware of her own charms, and is shallow enough to focus merely on how depressingly good-looking this guy is.
  3. This is always noted at the most inopportune times. Like when you're both in a very dangerous situation and all you can think is how misery-inducing-ly beautiful the person next to you is. Not their personality. Not their sense of humour or their bravery. Not how to escape the cliched and dramatic dangerous situation. But something as superficial as beauty. Frankly, if that's what you're thinking in what may be your last moments alive on this Earth, then I can't see a relationship would work at that point. Either: a) because you don't seem to know the person well enough to see beyond their looks, b) because there really is nothing else redeeming about the person, so a relationship wouldn't work or c) all thoughts of a relationship would be null because you (either one or both of you) is actually killed by this event, and therefore wouldn't be doing much relating with anybody. I suppose it is slightly justified in the near-death sort of situation, because adrenaline and shock do weird things to the brain.
And that has been my rant. There are some ways of describing someone's looks that just don't work for me. I can't ever imagine being so -delusional? hormonal?- that thinking of someone as "devastatingly handsome" would work for me in basically any context. Feel free to go off and find me and exception. I would love to see one. Until them, devastated/ing is good. Handsome is fine. Just the two don't work together.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A mention of The Last Guardian


I was looking at Artemis Fowl fanart, when I came across a bunch of people arguing about how Opal killing her younger self would have worked at all. Really, it is actually the embodiment of the grandfather paradox mentioned in Time Paradox. Her past self dies, and so therefore doesn't live to the point where she kills her past self, so her past self lives... and so-on and so forth in a loop, so nothing would change. Gosh darn all these Time Paradoxes. The Grandfather paradox is the one I agree with, and it seems to be the one that this series follows, so it, to an extent works. Why Opal goes nuclear... well, quantum doesn't like being messed with. I get confused every time I think about it.

And Artemis's memories. People's opinions vary as to whether he gets them back. I think he does. Outside of "because I said so", the fairy spirits are shown to retain they're memories after the loss of their bodies, and while possessing those at Fowl manner, so I don't really see a reason why Artemis shouldn't do the same, after all, he is basically possessing his clone's body, though it doesn't have a soul to push out of the way. Also, there is the matter of magic. At one point (during the Lost Colony), he "wraps a memory in magic" to preserve it. So magic seems to help prevent memory corrosion under extreme circumstances (like entering a time tunnel, or losing one's body), and of course there's Artemis's own willpower, and how stubborn he is about getting what he wants and keeping it (see book 1). He's the only human to avoid being destroyed by a timestream, almost entirely due to willpower. And, if all else fails, I did say so, didn't I?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Talk: Starling-Spoiler Alert

Starling #1Title: Starling
Series: Starling (companion to Wondrous Strange trilogy)
Author: Lesley Livingston
Volume: 1
Rating: 7.5/10

Summary (minor spoilers): This book begins some time after the end of Tempestuous, the last in the Wondrous Strange Trilogy. There are allusions made to the events of the trilogy in the book, and so there will be spoilers in the summary. Off you go to read those books first.*shoos away*. All-new heroine Mason Starling is a fencer, preparing for national team qualifying matches (sorry, bouts). She's pretty handy with a sword, but not quite prepared to fight against the terrifying creatures that attack her and a group of her fellow students during a freak storm and power outage. In crashes a stranger (literally crashes, destroying a rainbow glass window in the process) who pretty much single handedly saves the day, herding them all underground and beheading the monsters left and right. Trapped underground until sunrise, they learn that the stranger remembers nothing about himself, save his name: the Fennrys Wolf (there ensues and argument about the use of the in a name).

Mason and Fenn embark on a quest to figure out who Fennrys is, why his memories were taken, why strange monsters seem to be attacking them left and right (whether they're actually after Fennrys of Mason is unclear, as the attacks happen while there together), and how Mason's supposed to win a bunch of fencing bouts while all this craziness is happening.

Response:
This book. I honestly don't know how to describe my reaction. It yanked me in. It really did. So it gets points for that. It's definitely a teen book, probably more toward the younger set... but that didn't stop me liking it. I can get past the intsa-love, and manage to get pulled in... somehow, its one of those books that shouldn't work together, but somehow does. It has a certain charm.

There's something about Lesley Livingston's writing that just clicks for me, and has since I read Wondrous Strange years ago. She has a knack for mixing humor with action with romance with magic(k) that I really enjoy.

I really like Lesley Livingston's heroines. Especially Kelley from Wondrous Strange and now Mason from Starling. I think they'd get along pretty well if the ever met (they both seem to use Fenn as the personal punching bag a little bit). It would actually love for them to meet. Though that would be a little awkward. And it was nice to see Fenn again. Re-alive. Heather reminds me of Tyff from Wondrous Strange, and I hope she gets to continue playing a role in this series.

And a little bit of a cliffhanger, much? In quick succession the real reason for Mason's extreme claustrophobia, and a super cliffhanger ending. Off Fenn goes on (another) merry quest of impossibility. Really wondering if he'll have to pass through the Otherworld to get to Helhiem. And hoping for more character cameos (just little ones, I kind of miss them a lot, and the whole impending to caused by the damage to the Gate has got to be everyone's problem right?). In one of here blog posts the author mentioned that she had penned a short story about Maddox and Chloe, but due to issues with the publisher it didn't end up in print. I hope it makes it to print some time, (maybe as a bonus feature or something? or an ebook?).

This Book Was Read: In Chapters, in the car on the way home from Chapters, at the table during lunch (carefully), and as I wandered the house. It, like Ms. Livingston's other books, is  really hard to put down, and, for me, was one that I finished in under twelve hours.

P.S. A quote, because I'm actually I really like this quote
"I had to tell Toby [fencing teacher] that you were at math tutorial, the math tutor that you were at fencing practice, your brother that you were at the bowling alley, and your other brother that you were at the library." -Heather
And this is why Heather reminds me of Tyff, and I love her for it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Talk: East


EastTitle: East
Author: Edith Pattou

Rating: 8/10

Summary:Violet eyed and willful, Northborn Rose doesn t fit perfectly with her family, and doesn t behave as her mother would have her behave. When an enormous white bear comes to the door of her family s home, with the promise that he will heal her sister and help see her family through the hard times that have fallen on them, Rose readily agrees. She sets off to live in a castle with all of her needs accommodated for and secrets hidden by the pitch-black night. When she discovers a very important secrets, she must journey pretty much literally to the ends of the Earth to right a wrong and save the one she cares about.


Response:

I loved East. It is a wonderful fairytale retelling, a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon. The characters are three-dimensional and engaging, and there is no simple evil. The heroine, Rose, is a strong and diverse female lead. Told in several viewpoints, it is a book I would recommend to anyone who likes fantasy and fairytales, and isn' t afraid of a slightly large page count (the hardcover copy comes in at over 490 pages). It was excellent, and I personally read it all in a day or so, without putting it down much at all. It is fantastic read if you like fantasy fiction. I read it in the summer, though I consider it more of a winter read, something to cozy up with after spending time out shoveling.

This Book Was Read: As I wandered around the house, trying to do everything one-handed. It took a surprisingly short time to read, given the page count.

Book Talk: Nevermore-Spoiler Alert

Nevermore: The Final Maximum Ride Adventure
Title: Nevermore
Series: Maximum Ride
Volume: 8 (the final one)
Author: James Patterson
Rating: 5/10



Summary (SPOILERS):
We begin with the end. Our precognitive, mind-reading and generally terrifying seven year old bird girl has been captured by the baddies (again). This time all of the original Flock, plus Dylan and Fang's grouping, think she is dead. But Angel isn't dead. She is alive and being tortured in a lab. Tortured by others, and tortured by her terrifying visions of the oncoming apocalypse. The Flock is dead. The humans are dead. The world is burning. Angel is alone.

The first part of the book focuses on Max and Fang both beginning to try to move on. Max is getting closer to Dylan and Fang to Maya. This ends quickly when Maya is killed by Ari (the, what, 6th?), and Fang disbands his group following the betrayal that caused Maya's death, only to be told by the Voice that he must return to Max's side. And that's when things get really interesting.

There's a message that appears on Fang's blog that Angel is still alive, and so begins another Angel rescue mission. There's another group trying to destroy humanity, and a bunch of people trying to kill Fang because of his ultra-special DNA. Oh, and did I mention the end of the world?

Response:
All in all, the plot still had the frantic, disjointed feel of the last two books, which was not something I am personally fond of. Actually, it felt like there were a bunch of short, unrelated stories tossed in a blender. Max shows some signs of her old self, especially after Fang returns to the group, but I wish she stood a little tougher. I would still advise anyone who is in the earlier series to stop at book five, which seems to be the logical conclusion, and pretend the following three didn't happen.

There are some strange and random additions to the plot at various points, which I wasn't all that fond of, and I don't like the direction some of the characters went. I mean, if there is a group planning to rid the world of humans and make way for the mutants, shouldn't someone, you know, try to stop them. Overall, a lot of the characters lost some of their heroism (though Max does try to go back to the mainland and stop it, she is hindered by the whole asteroid episode).

The love triangle is (finally, thank goodness) resolved. (Spoiler) Max ends up with Fang. Which I think in the end works better for me than Dylan. I didn't really like Dylan from the beginning, but I think it is more my attachment to the original Flock. And the fact that there is something wrong with the fact that his age is measured in months, not years. I really hope Max and Fang can revert back to the way they were in the earlier books. I miss the tough survivors so much. And poor Maya. Her death was depressing, though it seemed too rushed and was... well it just felt off somehow.

And the asteroid thing. I'm really worried about Ratchet and Holden. We never find out if they made it out alive, or if the flu did destroy pretty much all of humanity. I would have liked some sort of epilogue, but seeing as how Max speaks in past tense to a human reader at the end, it is safe to assume some survived.

All in all, the constant apocalypses of the last few books failed to serve as fulfilling, though was left with an overall feeling that everything would be okay- for the Flock, at least. For some reason everything ending in all of that destruction didn't really ring true, and I'm kind of imaging the Flock living like they did in the earlier books. I'm not quite sure about what message James Patterson was sending, except with the "Max's Last Words" shpiel. I don't know, but I just picture the human world recovering, in spite of everything, maybe with mutants helping it along. Or something. It can't just be, the humans all died and we lived happily ever after, that just doesn't work. I still felt like we had lost the characters a little bit, but I think I am (sad as it is) used to that after three books of it.

Anyway. Eight books, some major downhill spiralage and a frantic attempt to create a crash-landing that lands all of the passengers relatively safe. Basically, an extended plane crash metaphor, though I think everyone survived aforementioned metaphor. I'm still not sure how successful it was, so I'm giving it five out of ten, though I might come back and change it later. It could have been a lot worse, all things considered. Overall, it has been quite the ride.

This Book Was Read: Again. In a hotel room, this time in Costa Rica. At three in the morning (viva la study break), and finished the next day.

Book Talk: The Last Gaurdian-Spoiler Alert


Artemis Fowl The Last Guardian
Title: The Last Guardian
Series: Artemis Fowl
Author: Eoin Colfer
Volume: 8 (the final one)
Rating: 10/10

This is one book that I waited ages for, and, even in Belize with terrible internet, I managed to get the eBook. I read it every minute I could get. And it was AWESOME.

Summary (minor spoilers): Basically, the souls of fairies who fought humans for the earth all those years ago have risen from their slumber on the Fowl manor grounds (apparently, the Fowls are more likely to believe in magic because it permeates the soil around them). These souls take over the bodies of many animals, as well as the bodies of Juliet, Miles and Beckett (though not so well to the last two, as they are both about as mentally determined as Artemis is and keep bursting out at random times). The one who awoke the souls was Opal, who escapes from prison by murdering her younger self and going pretty much nuclear as a result. She gets a whole lot of dark magic. There are two gates, one to release the souls into the world, and one that give the opener a choice of freeing the souls to depart or killing all humanity. Opal is obviously in it for option B. Meanwhile, the fairy and human world are both in chaos, as anything that Opal invented in the years between her current and her younger sell exploded, including many human devices with pirate Koboi technology. And so, as Foaly tries to save Haven and his wife, Artemis, Holly and Butler journey to the surface in an attempt to rescue Artemis's family and save the world (again). And it is time for a true ending. If you don't want to be spoiled even more, stop reading now.

This book focuses a lot on Artemis's growth as a person. We first meet a cold, selfish 11 year old who will do just about anything to get what he wants. In this book, Arty, though recovered from his Atlantis Complex, is much more moral, and cares a lot for both his family and friends. Enough to pretty much make the ultimate sacrifice (the one who opens the gate is pretty much bound to the fate of the souls, body dead, and soul gaurding the gate unless they should choose for their soul to move on) for them in order to free the fairy souls from the gate and save humanity. *cue serious emotional breakdown*.  And now it gets spoilerific. Be warned, ye who venture onward. Of course, Artemis being Artemis, he still has a plan. It involves cloning and is highly illegal (Artemis will be Artemis). He believes that his clone, which is a body without a soul, and his soul will be able to mesh, and he can pretty much come back from the dead. Of course, living as pure soul isn't easy, which he will need to do for six months, and there are no guarantees. He makes it, and at the end he is being filled in on his memories, since he's a little fuzzy. "It all started in Ho Chi Minh City one summer. It was sweltering by anyone's standards..."

Response: I thought it was really good. It was a bit darker, but still wonderful. It was told in the same witty manner that pulled me at the beginning. I have chosen to believe that Artemis didn't actually forget everything, just needed help to remember. In the end, humans are more aware of fairies but mostly chalk it up to hallucinations caused by mass trauma (what with all of the pirate fairy tech in cars and stuff exploding). The world is safe. I truly did not expect it to end the way it did, and I don't typically like Armageddon-ish endings, but the world came back together a bit. The fairies and humans might even be able to live more comfortably together, since human are going back to nature to survive. Thank you Eoin Colfer. You are a one saviour of my sanity on this trip. Thank you. I'm upset that the series is over, but it is so wonderful I can read it over and over and still fall in love with it every time. And I wouldn't say no to a couple short stories either (maybe Miles and Beckett, with Arty as a side character, though I would really miss him).

This book was read: In a hotel room in Belize, mostly. Every chance I could get. On my computer. And totally worth it.


Book Talk: Enchantress-Spoiler Alert


The Enchantress {The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel}
Title: The Enchantress
Series: Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
Author: Michael Scott
Volume/Book: 6 (the finale!)
Rating: 8/10


Summary (Where We Begin, minor spoilers):
San Francisco: Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, both with only one day left to live must fight off the monsters that have been kept on Alcatraz. They are joined by Niten, Prometheus (modern day), Mars, Hel, Odin and (somewhat belatedly) Tsagaglalal/Aunt Anges. Also, surprisingly, by Billy the Kid, Machiavelli and Black Hawk, all of whom have chosen to fight on the side of humanity.
Danu Talis: Scathach, Joan of Arc, St. Germain, Prometheus (past), Palamedes and William Shakespeare are all preparing to destroy Danu Talis so that their civilization can rise. Also, Sophie, Josh, Virginia Dare and John Dee have all crashed through into the past as well. They will be instrumental in the saving or destruction of the world.

"The Two That Are One must become the One That Is All. One to save the World, One to destroy it."

Reaction: SPOILERS don't even bother reading if you don't want the book ruined for you

My  Rating: 7/8

This book triggered lots of happiness and lots of sadness. (But I'm not going to talk all that much about emotions). It really impressed me.It has a really good ending, not too happy, not too sad, but hopeful. The author did a really good job of managing his enormous cast of characters, while making them all engaging. There was action, magic, some really funny comments, some really sad scenes (Tsagaglalal's choice, Josh's letter), lots of surprises and a little bit of romance (actually, there is a wedding mentioned...).  I felt like the whole Osiris and Isis thing was a little quick, but then, it wasn't really the main plot. The main plot was good. There were a couple of loose ends left un-tied, but that to was good (we can make our own stories, which keeps the book alive). I found that the part on Alcatraz and the defense of San Francisco were more engaging for me than what took place on Danu Talis, though I was really fond of Virginia in this book.

This was a really good concluding novel, and definitely a re-read book, since I feel like I rushed through to the end. The world kept getting in my way.

This Book Was Read: Into the early hours of the morning (on a school night), the next morning at the breakfast table, in the car on the way to school (I don't drive, just so you know), under the table during class, during D.E.A.R., at lunch, on the car ride home and finally at home. It took me about 24 hours to finish (interruptions of the world included).