Friday, August 20, 2010

White Cat, Holly Black

I'll give you the run-down I gave my younger siblings, because it was apperantly so effective that now my 11 year old sister declared her interest in reading it. *edges away from angry parents* (I said no, t'wasn't age appropriate, if you MUST know.)

Cassel is running a betting operation out of his dorm room in boarding school. Everyone in the school is laying odds on everything from if the mouse in the common room is going to die, (and if so how,) to what the next pop quiz is going to be on, to LONG odds on shrewish teachers hooking up.

Oddly enough, this is Cassel's version of going clean. Because, you see, his family is in the mob. His Dad's dead, his mom is currently in jail for entrapping rich men with the intention of separating them from their savings, and both his older brothers are working as enforcers for a major crime lord. Though you can't really blame them for following the dark side. His whole family is and has been Workers, which mean they can work magic. The only issue with that is that magic has been illegal since the 1920's, so workers tend to end up in Organized Crime, whether they intend to or not.

Cassel's not a Worker, which one of the reasons he knows his family lets him make nice plans for a peaceful civilian life. He's a bit of the family disappointment, and now he's just trying to move on and get over his past. His personal past. Because his family might be in the mob, and he might be the only one who isn't a Worker, but he also killed his best friend when he was 14. He doesn't even know why, he just remembers standing over her bloody body with a maniac grin on his face.

So yes, running a tiny little betting operation that involves the whole school is Cassel's version of toeing the straight and narrow. And he's TRYING. Only he keeps sleepwalking, and having freaky dreams which seem to imply he's going insane. And believe me, the issues I've just mentioned to you are only the tip of the iceberg that are his troubles.

I have difficulties expressing the awesomeness that is this book without spoilering it. Curses. (heh.) I would just like to take this moment to say a few words. One, the characters are delightful, and are all three-dimentional to the point that I am sure even the dead ones have nefarious plots they're enforcing from beyond the grave. I love his entire family with a stark, unholy and deeply unsafe love. Unsafe because, well, this is CASSEL'S family we're talking of. (Barron, I can always count on you to make my heart soar. Right before you set it on fire and roast marshmallows on it.) The plot is twisted in the manner of a bent corkscrew, so just when you think you can tell where things are going, they curve off in another truly awesome/disconcerting manner.

You know how you try to dissect songs sometimes, and you're left going- wow, there are NO wasted words? Every single syllable is doing double duty towards the general awesome! This book is like that. (And what, you say only strange Jasmines and their fathers do that, therefore I am strange? I say Psh, you know not of what you talk. Get with the program. Dissecting songs is awesome.)

I gave it five stars out of Five, because to my way of thinking of how a story should be told, this one is up at the top of the curriculum. (Wow, let's see how unclear I can make a sentence, eh? LET'S ADD MORE 'OFs" AND SEE IF THAT MAKES IT BETTER.)

P.S. *cough* Sorry, this is not the most clear of all book rants I've ever ranted for you. But I know only inane people read this blog anyways, so I figure you can deal. ^_&

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Read Your Own Books Read-a-thon: After Action

So I started into A Love Story, but it's about grief, at least at the beginning. And I don't really deal that well with the dark side of life right now, in my reading. I can delve into self-hatred and impotent fury and futility quite well WITHOUT written assistance, thank you very much. So I'm still planning on finishing it, as honour demands, but it won't be in one sitting. I'm reading it in small bites, with time to detox afterwards.

And overall? I really liked the read-a-thon. :D I liked working through my list, and seeing all the other people chip away at their respective lists, and the general atmosphere of pro-reading. Yay, reading is fun! However, I didn't like that I had to work and be social when I could be READING. Which yes, is my default state of mind, but the added kick of the OBLIGATION to read made me more twitchy than normal. So I'd like to participate in one where I have to do nothing but read all weekend. Read and review, and be awesome, you know? ^_____^ I'll just keep alternate books in case I run up against HARD ISSUES again.

Final Stats

  • Pages Read: 1,256
  • Books Read: 4
  • Blog posts: 9
  • Books Reviewed: 4
  • Cups of Ice Cream: 1
  • Mugs of Tea: 4
  • Cups of Coffee: 6

Mistwood, Leah Cypess
Restoring Harmony, Joelle Anthony
A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, Emily Horner in progress
Brightly Woven, Alexandra Bracken
Nice And Mean, Jessica Leader

P.S. Have an awesome picture.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mistwood, Leah Cypess

She has no memory of who she is, or what she is. They say she is the Shifter. They say her name is Isabel. This seems reasonable. They say she is immortal, and has protected the kings of the realm for centuries. Which she knows to be true.

They say she is to protect the King, who is named Rokan. His sister is Clarisse. They say she served the King until twenty years ago, when she left suddenly- no one knows why. This seems reasonable. They say the new king is in danger from an unknown foe, and she is the only one who can protect him. That's why they sought her out. Which she knows to not all be true.

They're lying. Everyone has their lies they are busily weaving- it is a royal court after all. But only some of the lies concern her, and no one trusts her. And when you can't remember the truth, how can you tell the minor lies from the ones that will split your loyalties along with your heart?

The plot on this book is TWISTED. It's one of those where you have to keep track of all the double POVs so you can remember who is lying to who about what, and who knows what about how much the other ones know. A lot like George R R Martin, or one of those POLITICAL INTRIGUE books. Because of that, some people will say that it's about choosing kings, or the rights of monarchy, or even feminism. I really DON'T think so. I thought it was more about family, and vengeance, and divided loyalties, and who you should trust. And how love will really twist you over. :P

Oh, and the twist at the end actually make me say- OUT LOUD- "Oh, that's brutal." I very rarely say that. But when you get to the twist, that's how very effectively twisted it is. I can't say that I loved it, because I like happy lots-of-hot-chocolate-and-a- big-turkey-dinner endings. But it was very well done. I gave it three stars out of five.

Restoring Harmony, Joelle Anthony

Molly McClure is a 16 year old farm girl, on her way to the big city for the first time. The local doctor diagnosed her mother's pregnancy as high-risk just before he died in an accident, but now Mrs. McClure isn't going to listen to ANYONE except a(nother) doctor about taking it easy. She's too busy fretting about her Father, left alone in the city since his wife has just died. Without Molly's grandmother to take care of him, he'll soon be wearing clothes with no buttons, and starving to death when he runs out of food that doesn't need to be prepared. He also happens to be a doctor.

Mr. McClure looks at his wife, in need of a doctor and fretting about her father the doctor, and then he looks at resourceful, stubborn, hardworking, never-say-die Molly.

So Molly is on the way to the big city for the first time, to fetch her grandfather and bring him back to their island. As soon as she leaves home she finds out that the trip isn't going to be as smooth as everyone had thought- and once she finally arrives at her destination she finds out that getting there was the easy part. Soon she's up to her eyebrows in making money, summer canning, the hazards of busking in areas with organized crime, a cute boy who might just be involved in that organized crime, orphan children, and transportation in a time when the train lines aren't exactly reliable, and it might be faster to go by foot. Also, stubbornness seems to run in the family.

Oh, and it's set in 2041. ^_________^

I loved this book. I loved the futuristic setting, I loved that the heroine was Canadian, I loved the organized crime element, I loved the romance, and I loved the political climate. Yes, the politics. Usually in SF books everything dissolves into anarchy after the Great Crash, but this one kept things in a recognizable setting- just twisted. I delighted in that. :D Oh, and the romance! I believed in this one! I could rant about it all, but I won't. It's just sweet, and redemptive, and lovely. *happy*

Okay, this is rapidly sliding into true incoherence, but I just had to mention one more thing that I liked. You know how when people are from the country in books, usually it's a bad thing? They have to "get over it," and learn to function in "real life." Not in this book. Molly is a farm girl, thank you very much, and she can handle herself. Better than YOU can, probable. :)

AND THE MISSIONARY IS WIN OF ALL WIN. That's all I'm gonna say there, cause you just have to meet, and see for yourself, the wonder and joy of those scenes.

I gave it four stars out of five. I will recommend it to any of my siblings who are able to handle a guy getting beaten.

Brightly Woven, Alexandra Bracken

A drought has held Sydelle's village in a strangle-hold since she was seven. They've survived by selling sand to glass-makers, but sand will only buy so much water for a whole community. The government sent wizards to try and fix the drought- but nothing worked, so yeah, maybe they'll try again later. Maybe. One sand-producing village isn't of THAT much strategic importance. So when a wizard appears out of the hills and makes the heavens open, her family and neighbours are almost delirious with thanks. They promise him anything he wants in payment.

The wizard, whose name is North, wants Sydelle.

Understandably, the community is creeped out by this. But they don't have too much time to be creeped out, because North wasn't causing rain to help them. He was trying to bog down the army that's coming over that hill. Which is- y'know- of strategic importance to the kingdom. Panicing as the enemy approaches the town, her parents throw Sydelle's belongings into a pack and agree that she can go with North, as his assistant, as he heads for the capital to tell IMPORTANT PEOPLE that the surrounding kingdoms are occupying little towns and filling them with soldiers, ready for the big push for the capital.

And, before you start going WHAT IS THIS BOOK DOING IN THE YA SECTION, know that the Wizard/assistant relationship is a lot like the Dr/Companion relationship. (Yay for Dr. Who references!) At least that's how it starts. But this book at heart is a romance, and about two pretty messed up people too boot. One of the people is messed up BEFORE, and one GETS more messed up as situations progress.

However, as I think I've mentioned before, I'm picky about romances. I don't believe in all of them, and this was one where I just wasn't tracking the relationship progression. We were going along, working on stopping a war, and then all the sudden everything was VITALLY IMPORTANT and ROMANTIC and SERIOUS, and we're all but kissing each other's feet. Meanwhile, I'm still stuck up on the poisoner and rouge magicians, and the IMMINENT WAR. Um, over here? Shiny swords heading over the border? *points at army threatening to burn civilian villages*

So for me, the book was slightly lackluster. I couldn't really figure out the religious element, the romance gave me whiplash, and I was eternally confused by the lack of urgency on part of the MCs. I also was in a mood to argue theology when I read it, I am romantically impaired, and I both come from a military family and was raised on tales of spies sneaking information vital to the war effort into the capital. So I am guessing that all the things that made me go huh? wouldn't bother most people. And despite the wait, what moments, I did quite like it. I gave it three stars out of five. I would pass it to my sisters who were over the age of 12, if asked.

I'm back in the land of internets!

CELEBRATE with nerd chocolates!

I also read two books in the car.


  • Pages Read: 1,226
  • Books Read: 4
  • Blog posts: 5
  • Books Reviewed: 1
  • Cups of Ice Cream: 1
  • Mugs of Tea: 1
  • Cups of Coffee: 6

Mistwood, Leah Cypess
Restoring Harmony, Joelle Anthony
A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, Emily Horner
Brightly Woven, Alexandra Bracken
Nice And Mean, Jessica Leader

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"She's created very few disasters. A drought, a quake, a storm, and a landslide, and that's it!"

I read TWO books.

CELEBRATE by releasing the raven hordes!


  • Pages Read: 615
  • Books Read: 2
  • Blog posts: 4
  • Books Reviewed: 1
  • Cups of Ice Cream: 1
  • Mugs of Tea: 1

Mistwood, Leah Cypess
Restoring Harmony, Joelle Anthony
A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, Emily Horner
Brightly Woven, Alexandra Bracken
Nice And Mean, Jessica Leader

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nice And Mean, Jessica Leader

Marina just HAS to get into Video. She just HAS to. Why? Because her friends are ALL in the school play, and she has to have something ELSE to talk about, or they'll take the attention away from her, onto THEMSELVES. And that's just not acceptable. She's going to get IN, and she's going to make an AWESOME video, and she'll keep the attention and adoration on HER, where it BELONGS. Only problem is, she got paired with a total nerd girl, named Sachi. Ew?

Sachi absolotelytotallymust get into video. Because she has to. That's just it. she must get in, so she can make videos. Only her family says she has to be in Test Prep so that she can get into a good high school, so she's resorted to copying her mother's signature off of a credit card and blackmailing her sister to get in. She WANTS this. And then- she's paired with Marina. Who is popular, and- not exactly unused to getting her own way. If she's not careful, she's going to have betrayed her family honour for the right to be Marina's gopher for several weeks. Darn it.

Two very different girls, with very different motivations, and families, and problems, and ideas of what makes a good video.

Prepare for some DRAMA.

I started this book very dubiously. Because it's about 12 year old girls, and to my memory, I was never 12 years old. I have been an adult since I was five. Granted, sometimes I had height issues, but once I explained to people what was REALLY going on, they were fine with it, and they understood that I was really an adult. So I approached this book dubiously, as I said. I am FAR more familiar with and at home in fantasy worlds than I am public schooled girls at age 12.

But I'm in a read-a-thon, so I grimly started in. And my grim mood lasted about ten minutes. This is a fun and funny read, which does a marvellous job of actually showing you two points of view. AND without preaching about it. It just shows two circles of friends, who happen to overlap sometimes, and how they react to TEH DRAMA that is going on all around them. I enjoyed it, and I gave it three stars out of five. :P

"You buy your clothes on the street?" "Shut up, man, it's cool!"

I read a book.

CELEBRATE by playing a stringed instrument!


Pages Read: 261
Books Read: 1
Blog posts: 2

Mistwood, Leah Cypess
Restoring Harmony, Joelle Anthony
A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, Emily Horner
Brightly Woven, Alexandra Bracken
Nice And Mean, Jessica Leader


I just got off work and then Bahnree pops up in my g-chat and goes. "So how much have you read for the read-a-thon?"

And my intelligent response was "wait, that started already?"

She said to check the times. So that's when I found out that this started 9:00 AM this morning, not 5:00 EDT as I thought. So- I'm late. But I was working and eating for almost all that time! I swear!

Here are the books I'm hoping to get through, you know, if the fates smile on me.

Mistwood, Leah Cypess
Restoring Harmony, Joelle Anthony
A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, Emily Horner
Brightly Woven, Alexandra Bracken
Nice And Mean, Jessica Leader

So here is my official starting line. ReadyGO.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I said I'd participate in the next read-a-thon. And then Bhanree ups and joins one for next weekend. AUGH.

Particularly since I'm going to be out of internet range for most of the weekend. Including 9+ hours in a car. But I can read on the road? Or something? I will TRY.

*throws down a glove*

Read-a-thon, let's fight.

I hearby announce my intention to participate in Bibliophilic Book Blog's Read-A-Thon. I intend to get though as many of my 2010 Debuts as possible.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Astonishing X-Men Vol. 4: Unstoppable, Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

This is a terrible cover picture, for an awesome book. Sorry.

I couldn't find a larger english version!

Ahem. Let's continue with the story. The art is beautiful and amazing, but it was through the entire last three books, so I don't think it hardly even needs to be mentioned. (I made a desperately complicated sentence with lots of negatives! Go me!) Though I did tell my younger brothers they HAD to read it, and then realized only later that there are some incidences of *cough* minimal clothing on girls. One girl, really, but yeah. Little to no clothing. ^_^ Oops? I'll add that to the list of things I'll atone for in purgatory.

And then we get to the story. I'm gonna talk in spoilers, so if'n your the delicate sort you might want to stay away. Ahem. In the previous books we met Ord, and saw his freakishnes-ness, and then found out that he kinda maybe had a reason to hate mutants, given that there's a prophecy by some precogs that a Mutant is going to destroy his world. Colossus, specifically, is going to destroy his entire planet, the Breakworld. Any minute now. So of course S.H.I.E.L.D and S.P.E.A.R. (or whatever the heck weapons they're named for,) immediately send Colossus, his GF, his buddies, Ord and the killer A.I. wired to kill them all- to the Breakworld. What could go wrong!

Heh. Heh. Heh. Heh.

Well actually I'm getting ahead of myself, because we start with a nice look at the Breakworld from the inside, so to speak. We follow a person in a red cape around, as she talks about how brutish, nasty and short life is here. Of course, later we find out that she's not exactly what you'd call a "reliable narrator," but w/e. Look at the pretty explosions! Yes, those fireballs you see are the X-men, landing in a controlled and delicate fashion. Or as Logan puts it. "I'm gonna be another half hour regrowing my skin. You can cry into my bubbling shoulder if you want." (There were other parts of that quote, but WHO NEEDS THEM. That's right, no one.)

So after doing a very subtle night insertion into the Breakworld, the X-men tiptoe about researching and making tea for the inhabitants. Also, Scott and Emma have a touching and very sweet make-out session underwater, and Kitty and Logan decide to make a baby.

You may care to know that one or more of those statements in the above paragraph was a lie! I just thought you should know.

And the ending? In the words of my 15 year old brother who I beat around the head with a shoe until he agreed to read it, (before you worry, he didn't take TOO much beating;) "That sucks!"

I gave it five stars out of five. *huggles book*

Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3: Torn, Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (Artist)

Dude. This volume gave me the warm-fuzzies. I heart Emma Frost. *hearts her* Especially when she's physiologically torturing everyone! It's so awesome! ^_^

In this volume, basically Emma goes all "I'm the White Queen, I'm going to hand you your mind in a nice jar, wench," while everyone else runs around doing her bidding. Thinking they're being rebellious. It's so CUTE! *beams* And then thanks to everyone in the world pulling together, and also some help from a teleporter, they leave the world, for the BIG plot.


This just makes me smile. I was thumbing through it, there, to find my fave parts, and it's ALL my fave parts!

 But Scott with a gun has to be up there in the laugh-out-loud-every-time category. Along with Young!Logan in the tree, and Young!Logan discovering beer. :D In terms of sheer awesome, Emma and Scott having their little heart to heart to open each other's eyes is FLAT OUT MARVELLOUS. And Kitty is just lovely. :D She's not as flashily amazing as Emma, but in this series, she's lovely. I'd want her on my side in a fight. I just really don't want to be fighting AGAINST Emma. Or on the same side, if she does this to all her co-workers.

I gave it five stars out of five, and dove head-first into the next book.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Astonishing X-Men Vol. 2: Dangerous, Joss Whedon and John Cassaday









Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1: Gifted, Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

So a little while ago I got to talking about comics on the internet to my friends, as one does. I mentioned that I hadn't actually read any.

Cue horror and staring from all corners of the internet.

But you see, I live in a small town, and I am not from a practicing nerd family, and my library believes in vampire books and contemporary romances. I had an excuse! I'M SORRY I'M SORRY FORGIVE ME WORLD!

Time passed, as it has a habit of doing. I went to visit some friends! And then, out of the blue, when I was at a shakespeare rehearsal, they presented me with a lovely sign, and the Whedon/Cassaday arc of Astonishing X-Men! I no longer had an excuse. I must bite the bullet and read comics.

And so I did.

And I was DELIGHTED. ^_^ They almost made the trip home enjoyable! Um, the plot. There are aliens, and a cure for mutation, and people coming back from the dead. But I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the plot is not the MAIN reason people (like me- specifically me,) like comics. We (that is to say I) like it for the characters, and the dialogue, and something I didn't even realize until reading this, which is the art. The art is SO AMAZING. I didn't know you could do that, before!

I'm just gonna skip through my incoherent talking about art, because no one needs to see that. Or read it. Because it is incoherent. (Unlike this explanation, which is SO LOGICAL I could use it as a philosophy thesis.) I'm just gonna mention some parts in this volume which I REALLY liked. :D

Anything with Emma Frost. Or Kitty Pryce. Oh, and any time Hank McCoy and Wolverine are talking. Oh, and I loved Cyclops whenever he was around too. ^_^ So that leaves out- Ord, and the researcher, and the nightmare girl- oh, and I loved Brand and Nick Fury too! The rest of it was just lovely, not DELIGHTFUL.

And yeah, I gave it four stars out of five.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Rise of Renegade X, Chelsea Campbell

Villainy runs in Damien's family. His mom is a very respected (and feared) mad scientist (dad isn't mentioned, perhaps a lab accident?) and he's quite happy with his family heritage. He's ready to embrace his evil destiny, in fact! He's going to go to the local university for super villains- with early enrolment- take something tasteful, like mad science, and then take over the world. He just has to wait till his thumbprint turns to a V on his sixteenth birthday, and then he's on his way.

Only on his birthday, in front of hundreds of paying guests eager to see an actual villain embrace his heritage, things go wrong.

Because his thumbprint just changed- only not into a V. Damien is now the proud owner of an X on his thumb. The rare and almost mythical progeny of a villain- and a hero.

Damien now is less ready to believe that his dad met with an unfortunate lab accident, or was a turkey baster, as he'd always believed. Now for a spot of non-consentual DNA testing! Yay! That's always good for a laugh...

And then before you know it, we're dealing with mind-control rays, public schools, GIRL ISSUES, flying (omg omg omg omg and not in a good way) SCIENCE, the future, Zombiesand BIG DECISIONS. I'm saying that in a very vague and probably annoying way because I don't want to spoil it for you. ^_^ I'll just say I liked the kissing scenes. And the torture. And the kissing torture. ^_^

Oh, and I think this is the first love triangle I've read that I both enjoyed, thought was believable, and knew right away who I was cheering for. (Now come on, he's caught between a heroine and a villainess. Who do YOU think he should go for? :D) I was IMPRESSED how it seemed entirely believable to me. I mean- granted- everyone involved is insane and has truly twisted ideas of how relationships should work, but I'm cool with that. I can understand that MORE than oh dear pretty fluffy angels you're so pretty and I've never seen you before plz have my babies plz plz plz??? Which is my reading of most relationships, and ESPECIALLY love triangles. *cough* Not that I'm thinking of the classic triangle of our generation *coughJacobBellaEdwardCoughCough* or anything. *cough* Nope *cough cough* I need to go get a drink of water...

*returns, triumphantly hydrated* So yes. The plot just makes me happy to outline, much less read, the love triangle gives me the warm fuzzies, the characters are win- did I mention that? Yes, they are win. Especially when you're moving from first impressions to how people change (or are proven to be exactly the person you thought they were.) They're all LOVELY.

I think at this point you might be getting a vague idea that I liked this book. If you were thinking that, you would be CORRECT. In fact, I gave it five stars out of five. I know there are some technical issues, but I just love it so much. :D You should all read it.

Oh, and Ms. Campbell is writing a book set in ROME next. Ancient Rome. I hope her book after that will be a sequel to renegade. :D
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