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! :)

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.