Why Are There All These Blank Spaces?

You may notice that in some of my posts there are blank spaces in the reviews. These are spoilers that I've written so I can remember important details of the books when I want to read the sequel. I've made the text a beige color to blend in with the background so you won't accidentally see something you don't want to. If you want to read it, just highlight the section to make the text appear - although you should really just read the book yourself! :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008


by Neal Shusterman

I found this book at a used book store in California over Thanksgiving vacation. I've read a number of summaries of Neal Shusterman's books and I've been wanting to read something of his for a while. So when I came across a slightly-battered copy of Downsiders, I decided it would be my first Shusterman.

The book was interesting, and while it reminded me of other novels I've read, it was unique enough that the similarities were fun to ponder instead of annoying. The Downsiders was about two kids - Talon and Lindsay who come from very different worlds. Talon is a Downsider - that is, he lives beneath the streets and subways of New York City in a secret underground civilization. One day, he meets Lindsay, a girl from the "Topside". The two form a friendship that is against the rules of the Downside, and threatens to destroy their civilization - possibly forever.

It was almost like reading a mash-up of Tunnels (by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams) and The City of Ember (by Jeanne DuPrau), although it is older than both of these books - I just happened to read them first.

Hmmm....let's see how it would rate on Dani's rating system!

1st star (butt-kicking) - alas, not much butt-kicking...more scheming and plotting and such...perhaps it can have half a star for that +.5

2nd star (romantic touch) - ah yes, romantic touch it does have that +1

3rd star (some wacky fantasy) - I think an underground society qualifies +1

4th star (love triangle) - kinda, yes, there is something of the sort - I'll give it a star for that +1

5th star -(delectable male co-protagonist) - I don't think I'd use the word "delectable" but he was charming so another half star for this one! +.5

6th star - (scene that is truly tear-jerking) - the end was kinda bittersweet, but that does not earn it a star in my opinion! +0

7th star (expertise with a bow and arrow) - the most difficult 7th star, unfortunately, this book does not earn +0

So we're up to 4 stars! And I think I'm going to tack on an extra .5 for the funny socks, feather hat, chain mail made of pop can tabs, and watches worn on ankles! Because that's just funny!

So 4.5 stars - funny, but it seems that Dani's rating system does give a fairly good rating! I should not have mocked it! In short, this book was good, entertaining, not the awesomest thing I've ever read, but I liked it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Nixie's Song

by Toni DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Earlier this year I read the Spiderwick Chronicles series, which is made up of 5 cute little hardback books with shiny bright covers. And yes, while it is totally true you can't judge a book by its cover, I still do just covers against other covers! Some books that I love have really lame covers, and some books that I've hated have had pretty covers. They don't always give an indication of how the book will be, but they are fun to look at nonetheless.

Anyways, this book is the start to a new series, entitled, "Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles". It basically is about some kids who read the original Spiderwick Chronicles books and go out looking for fairies and such and find them and then get into some trouble of their own. And like the original Spiderwick Chronicles, each book reads more like a long chapter. The end of this book just leaves you hanging right in the middle of the story so you really have to read the whole series to get the whole story. This series is supposed to be three parts, which I suppose is good - it was an okay start, but in my opinion, not as fun as the original series.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

by J. K. Rowling

So I finally got to read J.K. Rowling's new book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I don't have much to say about it really. It was a fun little tome, with cool pictures and commentary by Dumbledore. That Dumbledore has some funny things to say too.

I think the Tale of the Three Brothers was my favorite. I find that I've forgotten many details from the Harry Potter books though! I'm going to have to re-read those sometime soon...preferably before the next movie.

It was fun little book, but not nearly as satisfying as a full-length novel. I'm still holding out hope that someday J.K. Rowling will treat us to a whole new world and a whole new story!

The King of Attolia

by Megan Whalen Turner

After finishing the previous book of this series, The Queen of Attolia, I just HAD to start the next one! Breaking all bans on book-buying before Christmas established by friend and fellow book lover, Dani - I went to the store and bought it anyway, incurring the wrath of said rule-maker. Oops.

But scoldings aside, it was well worth it!

The King of Attolia was equal parts confusion, frustration (at being confused), delight, gooeyness, and awe! Yes, gooeyness...all great books need a little gooeyness! Definition of gooeyness: charming little romantic sequences that make your brain feel the slightest bit "gooey" and which cause you to want to read all the more faster with the hope that the gooey feeling will return shortly. :)

I though I was going to be upset at the beginning of the book when a new character appears. And while Costis appears in nearly every scene, the book is not told entirely from his point of view. And happily, his story did not take us away from the story of Gen and Atollia. I liked hearing how Costis's opinion of his new ruler gradually changed from outright hatred, to grudging respect, to a geniune approval.

And once again, at the end of the book I was eager for the next installment! However, there is no such animal....at least not yet! I do hope that Turner will continue the series. She did seem to leave herself open for another by not revealing the final outcome with Sophos. I do hope though, that if there is another book, it will not be all about Sophos, because half of the charm of the series is the cunning antics of Gen and Attolia! More please Ms. Turner!

Update: The forth part to this series, A Conspiracy of Kings is set to drop March 10th, 2010!

The Queen of Attolia

by Megan Whalen Turner

This book was, without question, maddening! (In that oh, so fabulous way that makes you want to throw it across the room and then read all night until you reach the end sort of way!)

Gen! I will never figure the guy out! Just when I think what's going on - I so don't! Twists and turns and it was all just lovely, lovely, lovely!!

**Sort of spoilerish** First off, many kudos to Megan Whalen Turner for creating a character, making us HATE her, and then... a mere 200 or so pages later, making us love her completly! How she does this, I still do not know! Ohhhh I hated the Queen of Attolia so much. First, for just being a meany...and for what she does to Gen, and then for fraternizing with the sleazy Mede character. But by the end I though she was the coolest, sneakiest, cleaverest, (are these even words?) most sympathetic character of the book. You feel bad for her. And you really WANT her to be happy and loved.

And Gen. I still don't get him. But I don't care, he's great and unpredictable, and FUNNY!

Okay, spoilers for sure now - sometimes I try to avoid them, but well, I'm not going to anymore. So the part I most loved what the part near the end when Attolia and Eddis agree that the gods betrated Gen. And then Gen goes along to a room and makes an alter and questions the gods as to why they did this to him. And they tell him not to question why and he just yells that he demands to know, and he has a right to know. And then one of the goddesses comes to him and says basically, "What would you give to have your hand back?" She says she can't do it, but if she could, would he give up Attolia, or have her lost to the Mede? And Gen is forced to say that no, he wouldn't. Seriously, I got chills at this part. I just thought it was really powerful to think about how this completly horrible thing happened to Gen, but in the end, it is this horrible thing that eventually plays a part in him gaining something even better. And the fact that this finds its way into a kids book just makes me even more impressed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Thief

by Megan Whalen Turner

I've finally read The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner! Dani has been recommending this book to me for quite a long time, and I have kept forgetting about it. This week though, I have been stuck inside because of ice and snow and I needed a new book to read. After debating for a while book I would pick, I noticed my copy of The Thief sitting on the shelf just waiting to be read. And so I finally picked it up.

I had a little bit of a hard time with the character named Pol. You see, in The Thief, Pol is a guy, but I've also read a series of books where one of the main characters - a female - is named Polgara, and goes by the nickname Pol. So in The Thief I was constantly having to remind myself that this was NOT Aunt Pol! But that's my problem, not the book's.

I found the story of The Thief to be engrossing, and surprising. I have to admit, that I never even suspected Gen's true identity, nor the connections between other character that were revealed at the end. About 2/3rds of the way through the book I was actually starting to wonder where the story was going. Gen surprised everyone in the story as well as me! I thought it was interesting to have the story from his point of view most of the time, but not to reveal all of what he's thinking or doing to the reader. The reader is then left to try to figure out what's going on on their own along with the other characters - something I was terrible at, but I enjoyed, nonetheless!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


by Angie Sage

I had really high hopes for this book when I picked it up. I'd seen it in the book store many times, and had been wanting to read it for a while. It's been described as combining the magic of Harry Potter with the cunning characters of Artemis Fowl. I love both of these series and was hoping that this book truely would have a slight flavor of both.

However, I really didn't like it! It started out kind of interesting - with the seventh son of a seventh son pronounced dead soon after birth (but it's always pretty obvious that he's not really dead, but kidnapped) and his parents taken in a baby girl found in the woods. The book then zips forward ten years and we find out who the girl child really is - the princess. Characters are popping in and out (still have no idea what most of the sons' names are), and before you know it they are all on the run to escape the Hunter and the evil wizard. The Hunter is supposed to be this big scary guy with a silver bullet that's going to hunt down the princess until he kills her. But somehow the gang manages to out run him (in a slower boat), and deceive them (with a spell), and reach the fens where they are all of a sudden safe?? The Hunter just goes back in defeat! And then the book comes to a screeching halt. I was left for 100+ pages wondering what the point was now. There was no immenent threat and the characters just seemed to be killing time. I was bored of the book by this point and almost quit reading it. But I have a really hard time stopping a book without finishing it. So I pressed on. It actually did get a little better. But the threats to the kids' safety seemed to come out of nowhere, and the keys to their salvation were even more out of the blue! I realize this is a kids book, but really - couldn't the author think of something a little more inventive than a magical boat appearing out of nowhere in an underground temple, oh, and the boat just happens to be a dragon too! Don't even get me started on the magic ring Boy 412 finds in a dark tunnel! I was just waiting for Golem to come around the corner!

The end of the book redeemed it a little. There was an interesting twist, and we finally found out what happened to Septimus. Still, I'm not sure if it redeemed it enough for me to bother reading the rest of this series.

Breaking Dawn

by Stephenie Meyer

I wrote this review after I read Breaking Dawn for the first time, but my thoughts are pretty much the same after my second reading, so I'm just going to paste it in!

So many people hated this book, but I have to admit - I adored it! Sure it may not be "realistic" but there's a reason the genre is called fantasy. I've read lots of books where people die. And yes, I can understand why an author would choose to do this - to add realism, to point out that victory is not without sacrifice, etc. But it was kinda nice to read a book - a series none the less - where you get to the end and all the characters you love are still kicking! After all, we all know real life can suck enough - I prefer it if the books I read for pleasure didn't have downers for an ending. Bella has to make a lot of difficult choices in the previous books and in Breaking Dawn we see the consequences for these choices. We were all wondering what would happen to Jacob, how Charlie would react to Bella's mysterious disappearance, what Bella would be like as a vampire, if Edward could avoid killing her on their honeymoon, if the Volturi would come for her, etc. I was hoping that Bella would not be like all the other newborn vampires. All along, Stephenie Meyer has made it pretty clear in her books that Bella was not like everyone else - from the very onset when Bella is the only person whose thoughts were hidden from Edward. I was hoping that she would end up not being a crazed newborn like they all assumed she would be, so I was thrilled that that was the way SM wrote it. Not only does Bella come into her new life with her wits about her, but she develops into this really strong character who not only takes charge, but totally saves the day! Yes, the name Renesmee struck me as totally weird when I first read it, but after a while I got used to it. The worst thing about Renesmee was that she was so hard to picture in my head! A baby that looks like a baby but doesn't act like one....it'll be interesting what they do with that if they ever try to make this book into a movie. And then there's Jacob and Charlie. After thinking that surely these two would be cut out of Bella's life, SM finds a way to bring them back in. I was shocked when I read the part where Jacob imprints on Renesmee - I remember running upstairs to where my friend Dani was (she was about 100 pages ahead of me) and yelling out something like "He imprints on the BABY?!?!" - but I wasn't really grossed out by this - SM had gone to some lengths to explain in Eclipse that it wasn't a romantic kind of love when the girl was so young, just a need to see that she is safe and happy. And I was doubly relieved that Charlie could still see Bella, and that he was finally able to know just enough so he could know his granddaughter. So yes, Breaking Dawn does wrap everything up at the end in a nice pretty bow, but I liked it that way. Bella gets everything she wanted, and everything she thought she couldn't have anymore. Lots of readers have said that this makes it too fake or cheapens it, but if we were Bella, wouldn't that be exactly how we'd want things to turn out? Real life isn't always so peachy - but books can be, so I'm thankful to Stephenie Meyer for giving us a better happy ending then I thought was possible. I enjoyed it.


by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse, Eclipse, what to say about Eclipse?

So many great things happen in Eclipse - Bella's and Edward's compromise, Victoria's final apperance, Bella finally thinks about what it will mean if she becomes a vampire, we hear the stories of Rosalie and Jasper, Edward has a jealous moment but is smart enough to stop telling Bella what to do, the werewolves and vampires work together, etc.

Favorite parts: Edward's reaction when Bella agrees to marry him, when Edward talks to Jacob in the tent, and anything with Alice!

First time I read thisI was dying to get my hands on Breaking Dawn and I only had to wait a few months. Second time, I jumped right from it into Breaking Dawn. I believe both times I read it in about 24 hours. Which is quite something when you consider it's 600+ pages. Completely absorbing, every time! Stephenie Meyer knows how to suck you in!

New Moon

by Stephenie Meyer

Ack, I am seven books behind on this blog!

So after re-reading Twilight, I immediately started my second time through New Moon. Now while I still believe that there is just something magical about the first time you read a book that can only be experience that one time - the suspense, the wondering, the tension as you hope that the author you've put your trust in will finish their story in the way you hope - some books are better even better the second time. New Moon is one of those. The first time I read New Moon I spent most of the book wondering when in the world Edward was coming back! I remember stopping and flipping page after page looking for Edward's name, and despairing at how far I had to flip to find it! The pages in between I read as fast as I could.

This time, I was much more calm. I knew what was going to happen, and when Edward was going to come back (and even, the eventual end to the whole saga) so I was able to chill out. I enjoyed Jacob's part of the story more, as well as pay closer attention to the specifics of the werewolf pack that I'd missed the first time.

I was also careful to read the Italy parts more carefully this time around. I had forgotten the names, positions and talents of many of the Volturi - which was frustrating while reading Breaking Dawn the first time and not remembering them!

Still my least favorite of the Twilight series, but considerably better the second time. Now, onto Eclipse!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


by Stephenie Meyer

A couple weekends ago I was pretty excited to go see the Twilight movie in the theater. For those who have been hiding under a rock, Twilight the movie is based on Twilight the book by Stephenie Meyer. It's the first entry in a wildly popular 4-book series. I read the series for the first time this summer - the first 3 in June (each in less than 24 hours), and the fourth on August 2nd (the day of it's release) after getting it at a midnight release party at around 1am and reading without stopping or sleeping for pretty much the entire day. So needless to say these books are engrossing! But this post is about Twilight - both the book and the movie, because after seeing the movie (twice) I felt compelled to re-read the book. This time I even allowed myself 2 days to finish it! I'm actually in the middle of another book, but I found that the movie of Twilight does have some familiar side effects - something Dani and I refer to as "Twilight stupor" - basically you find yourself walking about through your day not really focusing on real-life, but instead day-dreaming about vampires, werewolves, and soggy forests. It is most troublesome! Previously I have tried to cure myself of this disorder by shelving my Twilight books and not letting myself look at them again for at least a week. However, that just did not seem like fun at all, and since I have this entire week off from work for Thanksgiving, I decided to try to cure myself by simply allowing the stupor to spread and re-read all the books! And now I begin my blog:

Twilight remains on my list of all time favorite books. However, whenever I try to explain the plot and it's appeal to someone, it always comes out sounding really hokey. And I guess you could say it is, in a way. But there is something about the way that it's written that grabs your attention and won't let you go until the final page is turned (and by final page, I mean the final page of the 4th book!) We love Bella because she's caring, selfless, and just a little bit feisty. And we love Edward because he fights for the people he loves, he always knows what to say, and he struggles to do what's right. Edward's vampire family is diverse and interesting, and the romance that runs through the books is sweet and endearing.

Now we come to the movie. You can probably figure out that I liked the movie simply by the fact that I saw it twice on opening weekend. Is it as good as the book? No. I don't think that any movie can be as good as the book. The book is always better. Always. I can think of no exception. But I did think the movie was very, very good and that they stayed very true to the book. They didn't add anything completely out there, or take anything away that was essential to the book. That said, however, there were a few items from the book that were not in the movie that I missed. Maybe some will show up in deleted or extended scenes when the DVD comes out.

Let's see...first thing was Bella cooking for her dad - instead they ate at a diner. Not a terrible change, but I did missing seeing that nurturing aspect of Bella's character played out on screen.

Second, the blood typing scene. I suppose again, that this wasn't essential to the plot, but I missed seeing the interaction between a smitten Edward, a jealous Mike, and at whoozy Bella! (dare I hope for a deleted scene?!)

Third, no where in the movie did they mention Jasper's gift! I'm hoping for this in the sequels.

Fourth, the Cullen's weren't at prom! This was one of the bigger disappointments - I was so looking forward to seeing Alice's and Rosalie's outrageous dresses!

There were also a few other minor things I missed, such as Edward staying with Bella after the car accident, there was no mention of Edward "dazzling" people, and there was no racing heart monitor in the hospital.

However, there were some changes or additions found in the movie that I DID like. Such as, Bella talking to her mom more on the phone, Bella's friends having slightly more filled-out personalities, the fight scene in the end being all flashy and such, and that they had the prom at a pretty location instead of just in the high school gym.

Biggest gripe: Edward seeming so creepy weird when he had to save Bella at the ballet studio. In the book he seemed very calm and in control of himself, but in the movie he was a little crazed. Didn't like that much, but that was my biggest complaint. All in all, a pretty decent effort!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Seeing Redd

by Frank Beddor

This book took me a long time to finish! After getting to the end of The Hunger Games I started a whole bunch of projects and Seeing Redd progressed slowly. It also went slowly because it just wasn't as interesting as I'd hoped!

This is the second book in Frank Beddor's The Looking Glass Wars trilogy. I liked the first book - thought it was unique and interesting. I was looking forward to the second one and seeing what happened with Redd and the The Cat as well as the relationship between Dodge and Alyss. I was disappointed on both accounts.

First off, Redd and The Cat appear on Earth in a very odd way. I found myself more perplexed by it than interested. And the situation with Dodge and Alyss was just FRUSTRATING! Yes, I know, this isn't a romance book, but still, authors should not tease me so! Do not drop such heavy-handed hints in the first book for a romance between two characters and then not deliver! I was about half-way through the book before Dodge and Alyss so much as have a conversation. And then there's one chapter where I finally think the author's going to let us know that yes, they still like each other, and right when things are starting to get good a bunch of other characters barge into the room and interrupt!

I felt that the whole book was bogged down by too many plot lines running at once and narrative's constant hopping between them, as well as much too much detail on AD-52s, razor cards, glass eyes, chessmen, card soldiers and various other weapons and fighters. The novelty of these started to wear off and I found myself thinking, "Oh my gosh, I don't CARE about what kind of weapon he's using and who he's battling! Get to the point!" Then, things are finally starting to get going in one direction with the stories converging on each other and all that good stuff, and I turned the page - and that's the end!! The end?! I mean, I knew there would be one more book but it was just so abrupt!

That being said, I really didn't hate it as much as it sounds, I just didn't love it. And I will read the next book simply because I MUST find out what happens!

I think perhaps this book suffered in my opinion of it partially because it had to follow The Hunger Games. Poor thing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

Today's book of discussion is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I found this book while looking at Stephenie Meyer's website. Meyer is the author of the Twilight series - which I love. Come to think of it, I need to write a blog about those books! Anyways, on her site she mentions how much she loved this book, so I decided I needed to read it. I put it on hold at the library and waited patiently. Meanwhile, I told Dani about it. She says she showed it to me once at a bookstore and I barely looked at it and said it sounded weird. I still have no memory of this at all, but I probably said it. The book does sound sort of weird when you just read the basic plot. But Twilight sounds totally dorky too when you describe it to some one and they are some of the most absorbing books I've ever read. Anyways, back to Hunger Games again. Dani got the book, read it, and told me how awesome it was. I'm still waiting for my turn at the library. Well, Saturday I finished the book I was reading and I was impatient for this one, so I gave up and went to Borders Sunday after church and just bought the dang thing! I read about 2 chapters that day because I was busy with other projects. However, the next day I spent all day reading the silly thing! And this morning I got up at 6am just so I could finish it! It was amazing, as I was told!

First off, I was intrigued by the grim future world the book is set in. It's outrageous and yet almost believable at the same time. The main character, Katniss volunteers herself to take her sister's place in a yearly event called "The Hunger Games". The games are staged in a giant outdoor area. Twenty-four kids between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen by lottery to compete - one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts that surround The Capital. The "tributes" are left there to fight to the death. The last one standing wins fame and fortune. The whole games reminded me off "Survivor" in ways - except in this reality show, your fellow competitors really will stab you in the back. The citizens of The Capital watch the games for entertainment, eagerly betting on who will come out on top. The Gamemakers like to see gruesome, bloody deaths, because they know this will entertain the viewers more. At first I'm thinking, how could there ever be so many people who would enjoy watching 23 teenagers die every year? And then I'm reminded of the prevalence of gory horror movies of our current time and how it seems that no matter how many they make, people still flock to see them. Perhaps it's not as far-fetched as it seems.

The characters are endearing, the plot is fast paced, and as Dani and I would say - "It has everything!!" - action, danger, suspense, mystery, romance, etc. I also think it has a powerful message about what we view as entertainment - but it doesn't get bogged down in trying to preach to it's readers. Love it. Love it! Love it!! Now go read it people.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Artemis Fowl

by Eoin Colfer

Just finished the 6th book in the Artemis Fowl series: The Time Paradox. I can't say if this is my favorite of the series though, because it's been so long since I've read the others.

That was actually one of my biggest problems while reading the book: it has been almost a year since I read book 5, so I had a lot of trouble remembering what had happened in that book as well as the details on some of the characters. Thankfully, the author gives enough hints in this book to people like me who've read the others but just don't have that great of a memory. After a few chapters I was reminded of some of the key points of the previous books - enough so that I wasn't feeling confused throughout the whole thing. However, I would not recommend reading this book if you haven't read the previous 5 - too much important stuff happens in those books that contribute a lot to the overall plot and character development.

In this book Artemis has to travel back in time to find a cure for a mysterious disease his mother has contracted. The cure lies in the brain fluid of a specific type of lemur that is now extinct. In fact, Artemis himself was indirectly responsible for causing the extinction of this animal 5 years ago. In order to save the animal Artemis must outsmart his younger and more devious self.

The time travel topic itself makes for an interesting book. If Artemis goes back in time and does something, does this change the future; or is the future the way that it is because he's already gone back? Fun mind boggling stuff!

The way the book ends sort of seems like it could be the end of the series, but also, there are a lot of themes and stories left open, so I'm hoping that there will be more to Artemis's story. Still loving Artemis, and while some of the chapters were too long for my taste, it's a relatively quick read with good amounts of action, humor, surprise endings, and just a hint of potential romances to come! Dani - get to work on these already!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven is awesome! All 3 of them are awesome. They are by Brandon Mull and he is awesome! (haHA! Could I use the word "awesome" anymore? I bet I can!)

The books are about a brother and sister team - Seth and Kendra - who go stay with the grandparents one summer only to discover they live on a magical creature preserve. Years ago the magical creatures of myths and fairy tales used to live out in nature among humans. But as the human population grew these creatures needed a refuge. Many preserves were created for them around the world and each preserves is watched over by a caretaker. Seth's and Kendra's grandparents have this job. As they spend time on the preserve Kendra and Seth learn more about the different kinds of magical creatures and the histories of the preserves - they also get into quite a bit of trouble!

I will not compare it to Harry Potter because I just don't think that's fair to any book. But they do have a lot of the same fun and adventure as the early Harry Potters did.

It's got magical creatures and funny dialog and adventure and peril and butt-kicking and funny names and all things great!

Only think it's missing is a bit of romance. But there are supposed to be a least 2 more books coming and the last one hinted at a little romance so I'm hoping that problem will be alleviated soon!

In short, they are really fun books, great for kids and adults and I bet they're gonna get really popular soon - so when they do, remember I told you about them first! :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Summoning

by Kelley Armstrong

This book comes to me courtesy of Dani - both her recommendation and her gracious loan of the actual book!

I finished the book on Saturday in the Rose Garden at about 8:45am! What an odd place to be reading a book you say? Well, yes, it was slightly odd. I was at Women of Faith and I brought it with me to read while we waited.

I liked this book, even though it takes it a while to really get going. The first 2/3rds of the book is sort of shrouded in mystery. You and the main character think you know what's going, but then everything starts to seem slightly off. Well, either I'm dumb, or was just too tired to be reading, but it took me forever to figure out what was really going on. For example, I didn't deduce what was truly wrong with Derek until about 1 page before the author explained it!

At the end, the pace of the novel really picked up and there was a really cool twist thrown in to boot!! (Another thing I did not see coming AT ALL. haha)

Now I am faced with the greatest problem of book reading: I've finished the first book of a series, it ended with a great cliff-hanger, and the second book isn't slated to be released until the end of April! Now begins the arduous wait.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Diamond of Darkhold

by Jeanne DuPrau

Before reading Graceling I read the forth (and final?) book of Ember: The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau.

I was apprehensive when starting the book because the previous book in the series was so un-fun! The series begins with the book The City of Ember, continues with The People of Sparks and then with The Prophet of Yonwood. Ember was refreshingly fun and mysterious and a quick read. Sparks began were Ember left off, but did lose a little of the magic of the first. The third book was a prequel to the first two, but the story seemed irrelevant and forced. I didn't like the characters and thought the whole story was a bit hokey. So when I heard there was to be a forth book that returned to the original story I was hopeful the series would be redeemed, but also worried that it might ruin it.

Thankfully, this book captures much of the flavor of the original. It starts up right where Sparks left off, and there is a much more interesting adventure than in the previous two.

One thing missing (as is missing in all the books) is a romance. I can forgive this since the books are for younger readers, but I was still hoping that in this book we would find the characters grown up a few years and perhaps our main two would be paired up. No such luck though, they are only about 6 months older than at the start of the series, and an eventual romance is only hinted at at the end.

Speaking of the end: the last 6 paragraphs are unnecessary. It felt like the author was trying too hard to wrap everything up and make is sound very lyrical or poetic. It also referenced the third book in a rather corny way. So I just went back a few pages and re-read, and then stopped at what I determined the "proper" point. Much better that way. I'd recommend it to all who read it. Other than that a quick and entertaining read. Not quite as good as Ember, but worthy to sit on the shelf beside it.


by Kristin Cashore

Yesterday I finished reading Graceling, Kristin Cashore's debut novel. I found this book while looking up a different book on Amazon. A reader mentioned Graceling in his or her review, so I looked it up and immediately put in on hold at my library.

The beginning of the book was a little confusing, and I found myself having to think carefully about who was who, where the different kingdoms were located, and who was doing what and why. However, after a short while enough background story was revealed to allow me to put the pieces together.

The story takes place in a land where some people are born with an special skill called a "grace". If a baby has a grace, shortly after its birth its eyes will "settle" in two different colors. Their grace however, may not obvious until years later. Katsa's eyes are blue and green, and at the age of 8, she discovered that her grace is killing. Ten years later we find her serving as a "hit man" for her king. However, she also participates in a group she created, known simply as "the Council" which travels throughout the seven kingdoms to right the wrongs of the various kings.

Later we meet another graceling, Prince Po, whose eyes are silver and gold, and who possesses the grace of combat skills.

I find it interesting that the back flap of the dust jacket on this book mentions that the author first imagined this story as one where a girl with extraordinary powers "forms a friendship with a boy with whom she is insurmountably incompatible". Funny, because it seemed to me that these two were actually distinctly compatible. They share common views, both are gifted fighters, and through the entire book we learn more and more about the two that makes them seem even more like they were made for each other. So what makes them "insurmountably incompatible"?

I really enjoyed this book and found myself talking about it to anyone who'd listen. It was well paced, there were some surprises in the later half that I was pleased with.

However, I have a few reservations about it. First, Katsa has an extremely negative view toward marriage. She believes that if she marries, she loses her freedom, and even if her husband were to give her all the freedom she wanted, it would not be her freedom, it would be his to give or take and therefore it wouldn't be the same. It's hard to understand where this view comes from. Katsa's parents died before she could even remember. She has not observed anyone's marriage to get this perception from. Secondly, because of this belief, Katsa and Po make a decision to be together as lovers and yet not marry.

So because of that I would not recommend this book to just anyone. It's a great story, and a fun read - just not so great for people that would be too easily influenced or offended by Katsa's bizarre views.

There's already a prequel in the works called Fire, and then there should be a sequel. Looking forward to both, but I wish the sequel would be first! And I'm hoping that maybe Katsa will change her mind and marry him!


"If I read a book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly in hand before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer."
-Anne Frank

"Books are a finer world within the world."
-Alexander Smith

"Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends."

"A room without books is like a body without a soul."
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

"I would rather be poor in a cottage full of books than a king without the desire to read."
-Thomas Babington Macaulay

"The one thing I regret is that I will never have time to read all the books I want to read."
-F. Sagan

"A book is a gift you can open again and again."
-Garrison Keillor

"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you've lost a friend."
-Paul Sweeney

"Books are a uniquely portable magic."
-Stephen King

"Books are a narcotic."
-Franz Kafka

"Book lovers will understand me, and they will know too that part of the pleasure of a library lies in its very existence."
-Jan Morris

"Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them!  How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them."
-Arnold Lobel


Anyone who knows me knows that I have an addiction to books. I never go subbing without a book, I never leave town without a book, I hardly ever leave a room without taking my book with me!

About 3 years ago I was blessed to meet my dear friend Dani who shares this obsession with me. While many girls get together and spend a good part of their time discussing boys, Dani and I typically find ourselves discussing books. And pretty much every time we get together we make our way into a bookstore - our perennial favorite being Powell's "City of Books" in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Sometimes however, talking about a book once (or twice) just does not satisfy me completely! So this blog will be the site of all my bookish rantings and ravings on things most recently read (and some old favorites that will need to be included in the conversation). I hope to convince Dani to join me in this venture and add her thoughts to the mix. We may be the only ones who care to read it, but it shall be fun regardless.