Posts Tagged: 2012

End of Year Book Survey

December 31, 2012 Books 13

I knew, oh, probably about July or so, that my end of year round up was going to be hard. And it just continued to get harder as the year progressed. I had such a great reading year. I’ve read 106 books. Thank God for The Perpetual Page Turner and her end of year questionnaire!

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1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

Adult fiction: The Stand by Stephen King
Historical YA: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Contemporary YA: The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater, Every Day by David Levithan
I-Don’t-Know-What-To-Call-It YA: The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
Dystopian YA: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Sci-fi/supernatural/paranormal-ish: The Stand by Stephen King
Fantasy: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

 The Stand by Stephen King

 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein or Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I did a lot of recommending of both.

 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

The Ender series by Orson Scott Card

 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Eowyn Ivey, Rachel Joyce, Audrey Couloumbis, Kendare Blake, David Levithan

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

The Stand by Stephen King

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Anna Dressed in Blood/Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

 9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
13101889 and 11250053
11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Ender Wiggin from Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I discovered I CAN read Margaret Atwood! And enjoy the experience! And also The Stand, because I discovered I do have the discipline to read such an extremely long novel!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 

No human being, when you understand his desires, is worthless. No one’s life is nothing. Even the most evil of men and women, if you understand their hearts, had some generous act that redeems them, at least a little, from their sins. – Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

But when it comes to human beings, the only type of cause that matters is final cause, the purpose. What a person had in mind. Once you understand what people really want, you can’t hate them anymore. You can fear them, but you can’t hate them, because you can always find the same desires in your own heart. – Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

I’ve seen most of what there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth, the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the light. The things that your eyes see plainly and can’t forget are worse than huddled black figures left to the imagination. Imagination has a poor memory; it slinks away and goes blurry. Eyes remember for much longer. – Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

During the time I lived in the sea, nothing happened in the sense that humans know happening. Seals do not sit about and tell, the way people do, and their lives are not eventful in the way that people’s are, lines of story combed out again and again, in the hope that they will yield more sense with every stroke. Seal life already makes perfect sense, and needs no explanation. At the approach of my man-mind, my seal life slips apart into glimpses and half memories: sunlight shafts into the green; the mirror roof crinkles above; the mams race ahead through the halls and cathedrals and along the high roads of the sea; boat bellies rock against the light, and men mumble and splash at their business above; the seal-men spin their big bodies by their delicate tails as lightly as land-lads spin wooden tops, shooting forward, upward, outward. Movement in the sea is very much like flying, through a green air flocking with tiny lives, and massier ones more slowly coasting by. – The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

People have wanted to narrate since first we banged rocks together & wondered about fire. There’ll be tellings as long as there are any of us here, until the stars disappear one by one like turned-out lights. – Railsea by China Miéville

Oh, I could go on and on, but those are the ones that jumped out at me when I flipped through.

 16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 

Shortest: 63. The Bearskinner: A Tale of the Brothers Grimm by Laura Amy Schlitz (40 pages)

Longest: 55. The Stand by Stephen King (1,163 pages)

 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!

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Andi knows what I’m talking about, cause I emailed her immediately!)

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

The boys in The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Rhiannon and A in Every Day by David Levithan

Verity and Maddie – Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Geez, just typing that made me tear up. Damn.)

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

The Stand by Stephen King

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

The Stand by Stephen King

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Keep up better! This was my year to let things slide a bit. 2013 will, hopefully, bring more focus.

My Top Twelve Reads

1. The Stand by Stephen King
2. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
4. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
6. The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
7. Every Day by David Levithan
8. The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
9. Railsea by China Miéville
10. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
11. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
12. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Stats:

106 books total
76 books read – 19,265 pages
30 audiobooks listened to – 343 hours, 36 minutes

24 Rereads

57 Books by Females
49 Books by Males

Goals met:

I read a Margaret Atwood!
I read Madame Bovary!
I freaking read The Stand!
I read more classics!

And HERE’S what I read (and this shows just how embarrassingly little I reviewed this year) (*sigh*) (I see some short reviews in my future…):

106. Bridge to Teribithia by Katherine Paterson
105. Pantomime by Laura Lam
104. The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity by Mike Carey, et. al.
103. Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas
102. Visions in White (Bride Quartet #1) by Nora Roberts
101. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
100. Dodger by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs
99. Matchless: A Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire
98. Fairest: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham
97. Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin, read by Ilyana Kadushin
96. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, adapted by Nancy Butler
95. Around the World by Matt Phelan
94. Owly: Volume 5 – Tiny Tales by Andy Runton
93. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
92. Enclave by Ann Aguirre, read by Emily Bauer
91. Outlander: The Exile by Diana Gabaldon, illustrated by Hoang Nguyen
90. The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Guay
89. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, read by Steven Crossley
88. Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland by Bill Willingham
87. Click-Clack the Rattlebag written and read by Neil Gaiman
86. Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis
85. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
84. Diary of a Submissive by Sophie Morgan
83: Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy, read by the author
82. The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
81. The Good Neighbors #3: Kind by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh
80. The Good Neighbors #2: Kith by Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
79. The Good Neighbors #1: Kin by Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
78. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
77. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, read by Stefan Rudinicki (leads off site)
76. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
75. Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale by Zach Whedon
74. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, read by Joanna David
73. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
72. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
71. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, read by Simon Vance
70. The Wrath of Mulgarath (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #5) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
69. The Ironwood Tree (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #4) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
68. Lucinda’s Secret (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #3) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
67. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
66. The Seeing Stone (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #2) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
65. The Field Guile (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #1) by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
64. The Bookseller by Roald Dahl, read by David Ian Davies
63. The Bearskinner: A Tale of the Brothers Grimm by Laura Amy Schlitz
62. The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman
61. Every Day by David Levithan
60. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, read by Juliet Stevenson
59. The Sandman, Vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
58. The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
57. Ida B…and her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan
56. City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5) by Cassandra Clare
55. The Stand by Stephen King
54. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, read by Elizabeth McGovern
53. The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty
52. Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) by Deborah Harkness, read by Jennifer Ikeda
51. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
50. A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
49. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) by Deborah Harkness, read by Jennifer Ikeda
48. Burning for Revenge (Tomorrow, #5) by John Madden, read by Suzi Doughtery
47. Owly, Vol 4: A Time to be Brave by Andy Runton
46. Dust Girl (The American Fairy Trilgoy, #1) by Sarah Zettel
45. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, read by Tamara Lovatt-Smith
44. Owly, Vol 3: Flying Lessons b y Andy Runton
43. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
42. Railsea by China Mieville
41. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green
40. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
39. Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham, read by Wil Wheaton
38. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
37. Where She Went (If I Stay, #2) by Gayle Forman
36. Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Larson, read by the author
35. Fables Vol 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham
34. If I Stay by Gayle Forman, read by Kirsten Potter
33. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, read by Nick Podehl, Angela Dawe, and MacLeod Andrews
32. The Fairy-Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, #1) by Michael Buckley
31. Fables Vol 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham
30. Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
29. Fables Vol 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
28. Fables Vol 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
27. Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) by Kristin Cashore
26. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, read by Nick Podehl and Angela Dawe
25. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
24. Mercury by Hope Larson
23. Lost and Found: One Woman’s Story of Loosing Her Money and Finding Her Life by Geneen Roth
22. The Knife of Never Letting Go (The Chaos Walking Trilogy, #1) by Patrick Ness, read by Nick Podehl
21. Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
20. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins, read by Catherine McCormick
19. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
18. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins, read by Catherine McCormick
17. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
16. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins, read by Catherine McCormick
15. The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicles, #2) by Patrick Rothfuss
14. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton
13. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs
12. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
10. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, read by the author
9. Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga, #1) by Orson Scott Card
8. Darkness Be My Friend (Tomorrow, #4) by John Marsden, read by Suzi Doughtery
7. Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1) by Maggie Steifvater
6. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
5. Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
4. The Frost (Tomorrow, #3) by John Marsden, read by Suzi Doughtery
3. The Doctor’s Wife by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
2. RASL: The Drift by Jeff Smith
1. Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan, read by the author

So long 2012. Reading wise, you were a fantastic year! Here’s hoping 2013 is the same.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!

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Just Read It: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

May 29, 2012 Books 12

I am in a predicament. It appears I am in a similar predicament to Margarie Ingall, who reviewed Code Name Verity for the New York Times.

I’m in a bit of a predicament. Oh, it’s not the predicament of a girl pilot who has crash-landed in occupied France during World War II, or of a girl spy who has been captured by the Gestapo, but it’s still problematic. I have to review a book in which even the hint of plot summary could ruin everything. – Code Name Verity review, New York Times

Yes, that is it exactly. How do you review such an intricately written and plotted novel without giving something away? The wrong word, the wrong sentence could GIVE SOMETHING AWAY. And that I could never forgive myself for. Code Name Verity is like a game of cat and mouse. Elizabeth Wein leads you through so many twists and turns… see, I feel like I’ve said too much already. Yet I feel like I have to say SOMETHING about what this book is about.

Okay. There are these two young women. I was never completely sure of their ages, but I’m pretty sure they were in their late teens. One is Jewish, British, raised by her grandparents, and incredibly mechanically gifted. The other is Scottish, privileged, extremely educated (she can speak, what? 4 languages?), and incredibly brazen and brave. The war effort and their part in the fight bring these two unlikely girls together and create fast, lifelong, best friends forever of the two. And their friendship, and journey, becomes nothing less than extraordinary.

It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.

And as they say, they “make a sensational team.”

Rather than go anymore into the plot, I’m just going to tell you how this book made me feel and what I admire so much about it. Ganz gut? That means okay in German. And one of the things I love most about this book is the friendship between these girls. Normally I don’t read others reviews until I write my own, but I just had to know what others thought of this book, so I read a couple. And I see that they agree with me. We all love the depiction of such a loving, close-without-being-romantic, relationship between Maddie and Julie. It’s something I would love to see more of it literature. Too often, girls are depicted as being treacherous, back-stabbing, and just plain hateful to their own sex. It is so refreshing to see this relationship of friendship, sharing, caring, loving, and supporting of each other that these two share. I wish (hope?) to see more relationships like this in the future.

These two girls. You guys. These. Two. Girls. I have lived and breathed with them in the Gestapo headquarters. I was there, freezing, in the loft of an old French barn. I flew planes over the English channel. I learned who I was, what my strengths were, and used them in new, unexpected, and remarkable ways. I became BEST FRIENDS with these two and oh, my heart hurts to have left them. Seriously, I left a bit of my heart back there in WWII with these two. Elizabeth Wein has created two unique and completely unforgettable characters. I’m reminded of how I felt after reading the Diary of Anne Frank. Not that the stories have any similarities other than taking place during WWII, but they both left me with a feeling of experience. That in some small measure (very, very small), I experienced what life was like during WWII. The fear. The confusion. The fierce protection one feels for one’s country and one’s people. The feeling of wanting to do something, no matter how insignificant to make things better, to help one’s country, to help one’s people, to help the WORLD and being told that you’re a woman, you can’t do that. The frustration of it. The power of it, when you DO IT ANYWAY. I LOVE THESE GIRLS.

Okay, can I just go back to page one and start all over again?

Parts I loved:

The Northumbrian coast is the most beautiful length of the whole trip. The sun still sets quite late in the north of England in August, and Maddie on fabric wings flew low over the long sands of Holy Island and saw seals gathered there. She flew over the great castle crags on Lindisfarne and Bamburgh to the north and south, and over the ruins of the twelfth century priory, and over all the fields stretching yellow and green toward the low Cheviot Hills of Scotland. Maddie flew bak following the 70-mile 2,000-year-old dragon’s back of Hadrian’s Wall, to Carlisle and then south through the Lakeland fells, along Lake Windermere. The soaring mountains rose around her, and the poets’ waters glittered beneath her in the valley of memory-hosts of golden daffodils, Swallows and Amazons, Peter Rabbit. She came home by way of Blackstone Edge above the old Roman road to avoid the smoke haze over Manchester, and landed back at Oakway, sobbing with anguish and love; love, for her island home that she’d seen whole and fragile from the air in the space of an afternoon, from coast to coast, holding its breath in a glass lends of summer and sunlight. All about to be swallowed in nights of flame and blackout. Madded landed at Oakway before sunset and shut down the engine, then sat in the cockpit weeping.

SEE?

The glens were full of frost and fog. Fog lay in pillows in the folds of the hills; the distant mountaintops shone dazzling pink and white beneath rays of low sunshine that didn’t touch the Spitfire’s wings. The haar, the North Sea coastal fog, was closing in. It was so cold that the moist air crystallized inside the Plexiglas hood, so that it seemed to be lightly snowing in the cockpit.

I am purposefully giving the lovely bits that don’t give anything away. I haven’t highlighted a book so much since college. Unfortunately, I can’t share any more with you. I can only hope I have done enough to make you desperate to read this book. Go forth my love, and get this book. You can thank me later.

Also, watching the book trailer. This is one of my most favorite book trailers ever

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Readathon 2012

April 21, 2012 Books 5

Is it weird that I’ve had this weird “Cesar Flickerman” type voice in my head all morning, booming that it is “Dewey’s Read-a-Thon Today?” I don’t know what year readathon this is, so I can’t go it’s the 74th Annual Read-a-Thon!!!! *sigh* Wouldn’t it be something if people are doing this 60-some years from now?

I am such a nerd.

And, not for the first time, I’m wishing it started at 6:00 here instead of 8. I’m ready to go! What can I do with two hours? Huh? Huh? Bueller?

Forgive me, I’m a little weirder than usual this early in the morning.

Okay, so yeah, I’m ready to go this party started. I have my humogeous pile of books, I have snacks, I have music to play, I have no kids – for the time being, I’ll be reading with them later – the hubby is asleep for a few more hours…. Only thing I have to deal with is this whiny cat and the stupid dog who got out of his pen last night and ran in the stupid road and made my really really bad headache MUCH MUCH WORSE because I had to run my ass off to catch him.

*huff*

See, I told you I’m weirder in the morning.

Okay, so, I got an email from my service provider last night. Apparently MY SERVER is getting an update in the next 48 hours (how’s that for specific?), so it is entirely possible my blog will disappear for awhile. *grumble* WHY THIS WEEKEND? I know, right? At least I’ll have Twitter and Facebook.

I could have sworn I signed up to be a cheerleader, but, alas, I never got any emails about it, so I guess I didn’t. So I’ll be haphazardly cheering on my own. Watch out. Hopefully I’ll be fully awake soon.

At 8:00 (or so), I’ll be picking up Graceling by Kristin Cashore, as it is the only book I’ve been able to make stick the last few days. Isn’t that the best? Going into the Read-A-Thon with a slump hanging over your head? It may be a day of rereading. I shall, at least, see, and maybe you will too, if my blog behaves.

What are you reading today? What snacks are you eating? I need snack ideas.

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Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

February 7, 2012 Books 14

Preconceived notions.

I had them.

About Madame Bovary.

They were wrong.

This is good. And this is bad.

Firstly, a little bit of a plot summary, as only my twisted brain can put it. Girl grows up, without a mother and a rather indulgent father. She goes to a convent for her schooling, where she learns to read, write, all that lovely stuff. She comes home to her father’s rather large farm and is indulged in her reading of books. HER preconceived notions of love, marriage, and life are formed. A young doctor comes to fix her father’s broken leg. He falls in love with her, Emma, and marriage soon follows. Emma’s preconceived notions do not help her in the love and marriage department. Affairs ensue. Many trysts are arranged (my favorite remains the arbor scene!) (or maybe the carriage ride!). Money is copiously spent. Tragedy, Oh Glorious Tragedy! completes the tableau.

Now, MY preconceived notions. I thought this would be a hard book to read. A realist novel, written in French, translated by Karl Marx’s daughter over 100 years ago, and well, you know, it has a reputation. It caused quite the scandal, even leading to the publisher and it’s author being tried in court “for having offended the Church and public morals. The prosecution argued that the novel challenged public mores, blasphemed against the Church by trying to justify the mortal sin of adultery, and included provocative images intermingled with religious affairs, therefore promoting the concept of a fictional utopia devoid of decency and moral values.” (from MadameBovary.com) And also, many readers had told me just how much a bitch Emma is.

So, can you see where I expected something rather, well, lascivious?

Did I get it?

Well yes, and no.

Andi and I read this together and, as she noted in her review, it is rather “lacking in loins.” No heaving bosoms. Just a woman whom every man seemed to wwaanntt *wink wink*. I quickly found that the scandal itself was much more interesting than what caused the scandal. I understand why it was scandalous, of course, but the story of it, the trial, the success of the book when it was finally released, and how Flaubert based Emma on one of his former lovers (who did NOT appreciate it one bit) was infinitely more interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I really really liked the book, just not the absolute love I was kinda hoping for. The numerous affairs came off as slightly silly to me, especially the carriage ride (side note: wonder if Flaubert based THAT on anything! *snigger*) and Emma beyond silly. She bordered on ridiculous. I could, at least a little bit, understand why she did what she did. The poor girl had nothing to do! The wife of a doctor, with a servant of her own, she had little to do but sit and home all day and mend his shirts, see that dinner was ready, and, what? Read? (I know, I’m slightly jealous too.) At one point, her mother-in-law mentions the girl needs manual labor! I was left wanting to smack her around a little bit, she was so annoying. Yet, somehow, I did enjoy the novel. The writing was just so… readable. Being a translation, of  a book written in the 1800s, and a realist classic, I (preconceived notion here!) expected it to be more difficult. The pages flew, however, and, in that tradition of watching a train-wreck, I couldn’t wait to see what mischief Emma got into next. Of course, reading with my Andi-bug made it so much fun. Our near daily check ins were like a daily gossip fest! I’m so glad I finally gave Madame Bovary a chance.

I’m also really glad I read this after The Doctor’s Wife by M.E. Braddon (my review), seeing as how The Doctor’s Wife is a re-imagining of Madame Bovary’s story. Comparing the two “heroine’s, Isabel from TDW is infinitely easier to take. She is just as silly as Emma, but her silliness comes off as being more air-headed than anything. I got the feeling she didn’t really know what she was doing and was genuinely sorry for all the trouble she wrought. Emma knew EXACTLY what she was doing. She just didn’t care. And she, perhaps, paid a higher price. I’m really glad I read the two together for comparisons.

And yes, that is the cover of the edition I read. Horrible, isn’t it?

Favorite quotes:

At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her life, seeking afar off some white sail in the mists of the horizon. She did not know what this chance would be, what wind would bring it her, towards what shore it would drive her, if it would be a shallop or a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to the portholes. But each morning, as she awoke, she hoped it would come that day; she listened to every sound, sprang up with a start, wondered that it did not come; then at sunset, always more saddened, she longed for the morrow.

Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings,–a hurricane of the skies, which falls upon life, revolutionises it, roots up the will like a leaf, and sweeps the whole heart into the abyss.

An infinity of passion can be contained in one minute, like a crowd in a small space.

She was not happy–she never had been. Whence came this insufficiency in life–this instantaneous turning to decay of everything on which she leaned? But if there were somewhere a being strong and beautiful, a valiant nature, full at once of exaltation and refinement, a poet’s heart in an angel’s form, a lyre with sounding chords ringing out elegiac epithalamia to heaven, why, perchance, should she not find him? Ah! How impossible! Besides, nothing was worth the trouble of seeking it; everything was a lie. Every smile hid a yawn of boredom, every joy a curse, all pleasure satiety, and the sweetest kisses left upon your lips only the unattainable desire for a greater delight.

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RASL: The Drift by Jeff Smith

January 18, 2012 Books 5

So, as I was putting together my rather limited post on my favorite graphic novels of last year, I did two things. First, I realized that I needed to read more graphic novels this year and second, that I should look and see if Jeff Smith had written anything else. You know, since I loved

And lo, he had. There is another series, one that currently has 3 books in it (a 4th is on the way!) and is about, and I quote,

a stark, sci-fi series about a dimension-jumping art thief, a man unplugged from the world who races through space and time searching for his next big score – and trying to escape his past.

Sold!

RASL, or Rasl, as in the main character’s name, is an art thief, as the above says, who travels through different dimensions, stealing alternate dimension art work by famous artists. In this book in particular, he steals a Picasso. When he tries to return to his dimension, he misses it, or Drifts and lands in yet another dimension (we are up to three at this point). He only realizes it is the wrong dimension when looking at a jukebox and discovers that Bob Dylan is not actually named Bob Dylan.  Just as he makes this realization, he is attacked by a rather strange, frog like man who tries to kill him.

Why?

Don’t really know. I kinda figure I’m not supposed to know, yet.

RASL is completely different from Bone is tone, scope, and execution. The art is stark, the images gritty and harsh, and, well… it isn’t cute like Bone. If there is one thing I learned about Jeff Smith from Bone, is that he has a fully realized world going on and I am going to have to trust him. The first volume of Rasl feels like he’s world-building.This is a world where time can be bent, artists produce different works in different dimensions, musicians have different names, and people who are dead in this world, are most definitely alive in other ones. Like Maya. Who is Maya? Do you really expect me to tell you that?

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is what it seems in this new world of Smith’s.

If you can’t tell, I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series and hope the rest comes out quickly. I’m not good with waiting, especially when I’m this intrigued. Fast paced, new, and exciting; I love this new side to Jeff Smith! The hard lines, the sharp story…I can’t wait to see where he takes me.

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RASL: The Drift
By Jeff Smith

ISBN-13: 9781888963205
Publisher: Cartoon Books
Publication date: 1/7/2009
Pages: 112
Age range: 16 – 18 Years
Series: Rasl Series, #1
I bought this for myself, with my own money. If you should buy it through my links, I’ll make a tiny bit of money and you will earn my undying love and devotion for those pennies.

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Cinder by Melissa Meyer – Thoughts

January 6, 2012 Books 13

Beautiful young girl.

Loved by no one.

Forced to work for those who hate her.

Father dead. Stepmother evil. Stepsister torture.

Handsome prince. Fairy godmother.

Do you recognize the fairy tale?

What about the cyborg part? And the fact that the cyborg is a gifted mechanic. Yes, our beautiful Cinderella can fix just about anything mechanical and has a computer in her head. Melissa Meyer has taken our beloved Cinderella and well, ripped her apart a little bit. And put her back together brilliantly.

From the publisher:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Cinder is more than just a re-imagining of the classic fairy tale Cinderella. It’s a look at caste systems, government, disease, slavery, abuse, and oh, so much more. Cinder was everything I hoped it would be, and more. I have long loved fairy tales, fairy tale mashups, fairy tale retellings…basically anything to do with fairy tales. And this scifi reimagining was so much fun for me. Being the first in a series, of course there is a great deal of world building, something I (at times) don’t care for, especially when it drags on and on. Luckily, it doesn’t drag in Cinder. I’ve found that I typically don’t mind it in dystopian novels, particularly because I love seeing what the author chose to change, kill off, or do away with, and Meyer made all of that interesting in her novel. Meyer also had to build her characters and I think she’s built quite a good one with Cinder. She’s strong. She’s smart. She’s the same kind, sweet girl from the fairy tale, but she’s also not afraid to talk back, particularly to her stepmother. Meyer also threw in a wicked queen. I mean, what’s a fairy tale without a wicked queen? And you guys, she is hella evil. Dude. She gives my shivers the goosebumps, she’s so freaky. Of course, I ate. it. up.

Like most first novels, there were a few hiccups, some things that made me groan a bit. Thankfully, Meyer did not succumb (well, not too badly) to that favorite YA trope; the beautiful male protagonist. While I got the idea that Prince Kai, Cinder’s Prince Charming, was pretty hot, Meyer did not wax poetic about it. Thank you Melissa Meyer. I’m looking forward to the next in this series and seeing how Meyer grows as a writer. I think she has great potential.

The wonderful guys at Macmillon Audio sent me a clip from the audiobook to share with you all. Rebecca Stoler reads the audiobook and, while I am unfamiliar with her, I will definitely be listening to this audiobook at some point before the next book in the series comes out. Click the audiobook cover to have a listen:

 

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