Friday, October 30, 2015

October DNF

Title: Lair of Dreams (Diviners #2)
Author: Libba Bray
In nine weeks I got 400 pages in, which isn't bad. I am actually fairly likely to come back and finish this one at some point, just because I didn't get 400 pages in to give up now. (It had to go back to the library, so my finishing it has been postponed indefinitely).

I always have a hard time getting through Libba Bray's writing, and yet I keep on trying. There's just something about it that still sort of drags for me. When that is added to the juggled 
narration being more distracting that stimulating in this volume, I found myself constantly picking up other things instead. The plot is slow, and the storytelling doesn't carry it well. It probably doesn't help that I kind of hate the 1920's. A lot. Overall, this just probably isn't a very "Kelly" series. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Accident Season

Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Narrator: Colby Minfie
Genre: Magical Realism

A Quick Introduction: October is the Accident Season, and every year Kara's whole family brace for the cuts, the bruises, the broken bones, and the tragedies as everything that can go wrong does.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: A surreal, intense novel full of real-world trauma under a veneer of magic.

Review: I can, objectively, say that it is a good book. Objectively the writing is artful, the story progresses well. But I can't honestly say that I really enjoyed it, per say. I don't know how to talk about this book without spoiling it.

I listened to this as an audiobook. Its really quite well done, the narrator carries the story quite skillfully. Colby Minfie doesn't overdramatise, while still making it interesting to listen to. The novel is set in Ireland, and the narrator is Irish, so that worked, (unfortunately, this isn't the case with all audiobooks, so I've learned not to take it for granted).

This is not the kind of book with an action plot. This is barely the kind of book that really has a plot, or, at least, not a notable, overarching one. In that way it feels like realistic fiction, which, in a lot of way, it is. A lot of what the characters deal with is very much traumatic, real-world stuff. There's just the one magical element (hence, you know, the "magical realism" genre). Those real world issues made it an intense listening experience for me, and meant that I couldn't really enjoy it so much as appreciate the storytelling. 

The characters are all interesting... there's something about them that does feel almost unreal, but, in this novel, it seems like more of an intended effect than a flaw in writing. These are all characters who've handled things that have happened to them in a slightly strange way that makes them a little strange, and they do all tend to wear masks and keep secrets. While, objectively, I get that there are good reasons for this, there's something about them that's slightly off-putting to me. The nature of the characters also contributes to the slightly surreal nature of the overall experience. The writing itself is rather lovely. It meanders, filling in the world as the story goes on. 

Basically, while I can tell that this is a good book- well written, well planned- it really isn't a Kelly book. There was something about it that didn't quite hit the notes that I look for as a reader. While I could appreciate it, I didn't like it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

10 Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

1. Quicker library availability: I'm being a bit of a spoiled brat with this one, but I would love for new releases to be available from my library within a few weeks of the release.

2. More author tours stopping in Canada: mostly because I can't exactly jet off to the states whenever. Doesn't everyone want this, though?

3. Built-in shelving: which is something I could probably achieve without magic if I would only learn how to use power tools. Also, if my living area weren't so transient... I migrate throughout the house.

4. The complete History of Middle-earth: As I ask myself what I'm doing with my life. The thing is, when I read Tolkien, I almost want to annotate, and you can't do that with a library book.

5. More sticky notes: this could just as easily be achieved through a trip to a business supply store, though.

6. A reading nook: again, Kelly, just learn to use power tools.

7. 10th edition Airborn trilogy: I still can't quite justify buying them for myself, because I already have perfectly functional copies.

8. New Harry Potter books: The old ones are semi-falling-apart, but they still work, so I haven't replaced them yet.

9. The ability to comfortably read e-books: I'm still not an e-book person. There's just something about them that doesn't work for me the way paper books do.

10. All of the wonderful audiobooks: I love audiobooks, but I'm kind of picky about my narrators. I suppose I just kind of want audiobooks whose narrators I like.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Top Ten (okay, Eight) Author Duos I'd LOVE To See Write A Book Together

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

This is such a weird thing to think about for me. Because you never really know what you'll get, I suppose. Especially because most of the books I've read with multiple authors recently are textbooks.

1. Y. S. Lee and Sarah Biggs Waller: They showed very different sides of London (and slightly different time periods), and I'd love to see what they would create if they combined forces.

2. Maria Dahvanna Headley and Marie Rutkoski: They've both got beautiful writing styles. Though I think it would probably be better if they wrote two different points of view?

3. Michael Scott and Sarah Rees Brennan: *shrugs* This didn't really seem intuitive at first glance, but I think they favour different aspects of my sense of humour, and I think it would be fun.

4. Kenneth Oppel and Kat Falls: I think this is because I enjoyed Airborn and Dark Life in the same way?

5. Eoin Colfer and Cristin Terrill: I thought of this one mostly because time travel shenanigans, but the more I consider it, the more I want it.

6. Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo: They're already a similar kind of storyteller, I think? And I quite enjoy that kind of storyteller.

7. Erin Bow and Sarah Beth Durst: Probably just because they've both written fantasy-quest novels that I've really liked.

8. Marie Lu and Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Because I think they'd write a pretty amazing post-apocalyptic and/or cyberpunk heist novel. Is that a shallow reason?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ten (Okay, Six) Bookish Things I Have Quit or am in the Process of Quitting

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

1. Dog-Earring Pages: I stopped doing this when I really got into library books. It's weird, actually, because it isn't due to my not wanting my books to look used, I've talked at length about how I do not always treat my books gently. It's the the dog-earring that bothers me. I especially don't love it on library books, for no reason that I can fathom. It's just one of those inexplicable tings.

2. James Patterson: Does this count? After the absoloute trainwreck that was Maximum Ride, I resolved not do put myself through his writing again. The way he tells stories really doesn't work for me, and just leaves me frustrated. I actually spend time ignoring Amazon's suggestions that I purchase James Patterson books.

3. Forced love triangles: Well, kind of. It depends on the book, but I've just started dropping books that have weird controlling love triangles in them. I just give up.

4. Trying to force myself through books I'm not enjoying. I'm still working on this one... I'll always inevitably read some, but I'm trying to recognize when something just isn't working for me.

5. I used to try to read more contemporary novels, but I think I'll change up how I do them.

6. Buying books I don't actually know that I'll like. I was a little weird with my book buying in the past six months, but it is now back to only buying books that I'm really interested in.

Monday, October 5, 2015

September DNF

Not sure if it was my mood this month, but SO MANY DNFs. Anyway. The point of the DNF post is to give a little blurb of a review to be taken with a grain of salt, because these were books I couldn't finish. My criteria is that I have to be at least 50 pages in before I can really consider DNFing the book. If I've read less than that, I generally won't even mention it.

Title: The Cage
Author: Megan Shepherd
This was the second Megan Shepherd book I've attempted and failed to finish. I did know that I might not love this one going in- I dropped The Madman's Daughter when I was partway though as well. I found a disliked this one as well. The characters felt formulaic and I really didn't care for the narrator. There was a lot of telling and not a lot of showing in both the characters and the setting, which really only gave a shallow impression of these crucial aspects of the story. I didn't care about the plot. At all. Eventually I just found myself to bored to continue.

Title: The Creeping
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
This was mostly a case of the main character not working for me. I'm someone who has to, if not love the main character, then at least find some element of them that I understand. That just didn't happen here. The way Stella saw the world was so far from anything that I could understand. She seemed to hate her friends, though we're told she likes them. She's dating someone she doesn't seem to like. While I was interested in the thriller aspect of the story, the way it was told just didn't hold my interest, especially when the other aspects of the plot didn't seem all that cohesive with it.
Title: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
I don't even know how to express what I thought of what little I managed to read of this book. I rarely find myself wondering what on Earth people saw in a book, but I did with this one. The characters fall flat, the writing doesn't paint a picture of the world- instead it bangs you over the head with descriptions that would be at home in a poorly written geography textbook. There is no subtly to the storytelling, and overall, this book really didn't capture my interest. I was less bored and more actively irritated when I tried to read it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Reread Challenge: Harry Potter

WHEN I First Read
It was sixty million years ago, unfamiliar creatures roamed the Earth... and... Okay, all joking aside, I had the first book read to me by my parents when I was eight or nine.

WHAT I Remember
Okay, so I remember almost everything because these books are ones that I reread often.

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read
I reread them a while every year or so for a bit, though my interest in doing that is cooling. I still really love the books, though.

HOW I Felt After Re-Reading
I have done this over the course the past few months, but I figured that it would be more fun to post about the whole series. I'm still working my way though Deathly Hallows, actually, but now this post is hanging over my head.

I am still amazed by how intricately structured the foreshadowing and world of Harry Potter are. I think the way J. K. Rowling created her characters was amazing, because they are both fantastical characters and incredibly real people. Their vividness is breathtaking, and I found myself adoring the world more in all of its complexities.

I'm also just realising how incredibly screwed up the wizarding world is. It has all of the flaws that our world does, and it a  post-war society. They've got so many things that are terrible from the outside, but normalized within the world to such and extent that the reader accepts them, or almost does. 

Umbridge is terrible. I find that every time I read these books. There are plenty of wonderful analyses of the reason that people have such a repulsed response to her, and I think that they're spot on in saying that everyone has had an experience with someone like Umbridge. Voldemort is incredibly evil, of course, but most of us haven't met someone who commits mass genocide. But we've all met someone who condescends, someone in authority who will tell you that you're wrong about something you know to be true, someone with that special kind of malicousness that we see in Umbridge. Everyone has had an experience like that.

Also, I'm at the point now of "they're all so young!" Lily and James were so young- I have friends the same age as they were when they died. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were all so young to be going through what they did. It just really hit me. 

So these books are still a really fun, interesting read! It's always going to be a part of my life, and I really enjoy revisiting it.

WOULD I Re-Read Again
Definitely. I've reread it before, I will reread it again. It is inevitable.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Reading Habits: Rereading

I am a perpetual and incurable rereader. I reread as often as I read something new, though, and right now I'm in a loop of rereading.

I don't always reread a whole book- sometimes its a favourite passage, or chapters, or the last half, or any combination thereof. Sometimes its an audiobook of a book that I read. I'm on my sixth listen-through of The Raven Boys- this is what happens when I own audiobooks. (Well- sometimes. I still haven't finished Jane Eyre, but that's mostly because I have a low tolerance for Rochester and his antics and his entire personality.)

I like it just as much as I like reading a book for the first time, though the experience is different. I love uncovering something new when I go back and read it again. I love noticing the foreshadowing (I see what you did there!) and seeing how a story's structure comes together. I guess it comes down to the fact that one of the things I like about books is the storytelling? Its what makes me enjoy reading a book to which I already know the ending.

Rereading is why the idea of being in a reading slump is pretty unfamiliar to me- I have phases (like right now) where I just reread random things, sometimes for weeks on end, but I don't ever really have a time where I'm not reading anything at all. And that sometimes leaves my Goodreads challenge in disarray. (Dear Goodreads, please do something about a reread feature. Sincerely, Kelly.) What I call a reading slump is more of a "why can't I find anything new to interest me? Why I am I reading Eragon again?" slump.

Thoughts on rereading? Does anyone else go through phases where all they'll do is reread?