Friday, September 30, 2011

Under the Dome Group Read

Hey, everyone! For The R.I.P Challenge   Suey and I are hosting a group read of Under the Dome by Stephen King for the Peril of the Group Read Challenge. 
Yeah, it's a big one and we needed group support. ;) Here's the schedule we're going to try to stick to.

Oct. 1:  Begin reading
Oct. 7:  Discuss first ten sections (up to "This is not as bad as it gets" page 213) 
Oct. 14: Discuss next six sections (up to "In the Jug")        page 497
Oct. 21: Discuss next four sections (up to "Busted" page 757
Oct. 28: Discuss last five sections (the end!)

Each Friday we'll be having some fun discussion posts. So if there's any last interested parties you're welcome to join us. Just let me know in the comments and I'll email you with the details. I started reading it last night and have already been sucked in!

But I love you anyway

Due to a few books I've been reading lately I started thinking about books that are sooo bad they're good. The writing isn't great, the plot's a little shaky, the characters either aren't your favorite or fall flat and inexplicably like it. Am I the only one who finds this to be true? I doubt it but I'd like that confirmation so I don't feel like I'm losing it, you know?

So, just in case you wondered what books specifically inspired me as of late I'll tell you.

Desire's of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

All three of The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare. Here, here and here.

The Power of Six by Pitacus Lore

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Possession by Elaina Johnson

The Vampire Stalker by Allison Van Deipen

So, what is it about a book that really has nothing going for it that makes you love it anyway? For me I think it's the suspense and adventure, (The Mortal Instruments) but sometimes I think it's the desire to have an answer to a question answered that keeps me reading. (Desires of the Dead) What about you? What books have you loved despite not really liking?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: City of Glass

Title City of Glass (Mortal Instruments 3)
By Cassandra Clare
For Fun
Source I own it

First Sentence The cold snap of the previous week was over; the sun was shining brightly as Clary hurried across Luke's dusty front yard, the hood of her jacket up to keep her hair from blowing across her face.

With Valentine planning  his final attack on the Clave and Clary's mom still in a magic induced coma, the third book in the Mortal Instruments series has our characters traveling to Idris.

General thoughts
Well, I enjoyed the adventure in theses books and in this one too but I was ripping my hair out in frusteration at the obvious, staring you straight in the face, predictability in this one. Come on, I wanted more of a surprise but either I'm just THAT good at figuring things out, or the style of writing was just not clever enough, and I'm not that great at figuring out things so I'm afraid it was the latter. ***Spoilers ahead***I knew from the get go that Clary and Jace were not really brother and sister. I knew that Sebastian was her real brother the minute he was introduced. I knew Simon was a "daylighter" because he drank Jace's blood, though, I'm not sure that was really all that secret. I knew that Jace and Clary had angel blood in them. I knew that Jocelyn was going to admit she loved Luke. And I knew that Sebastian\Jonathan was going to get away in the end. I did not know exactly what Valentine had planned but obviously it was to kill everyone off. I did not know that Simon would get the mark of Cain and that was disturbing. And I did not know that Jace was Stephen's son. So I guess there were a few surprises amidst all the obviousness.***End of Spoilers*** Despite the bad writing and the predictability and the lack of fondness for anyone but two of the characters I still thought this one was OK but I thought it wrapped up nicely enough that I have no desire to read anymore of the series.  I'm calling it good.

Clary: In the end I just couldn't stand her!
Jace: I'm sorry but I just don't see what was so freaking special about him, talk about martyr complex! Can you say issues? Oh the therapy this kid will need.
Simon: By far, my favorite character in the books.
Alec and Isabelle: I ended up liking both of them better in this one and that sort of surprised me.
Luke: Still like him.
Jocelyn: Did she actually apologize to Clary when what she should have done was slap her across the face?!
Maia: She cracked me up but I still wanted a little more depth to her.
Sebastian: *spoilery* Not as good a villain as Valentine.

Would I recommend it?
Yeah, I guess but the bottom line is: I did not LOVE this series, it was OK at best.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today  The Broke and the Bookish asks the question: What ten books do you want to re-read?

Re-reading is so hard when you feel overwhelmed by all the new or new to you books you want to get to, but I've always thought books that we love deserve more than a smile and a nice review; they deserve a to be enjoyed again and again. I can definitely think of more than ten but I'll follow the rules.

1 Avalon High by Meg Cabot
I still think about this book and just shake my head at its awesomeness!

2 White Cat and Red Glove by Holly Black
I know I'll have to revisit Cassel and his crazy family over and over and over and...

3 The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
I was laughing on page one and laughing on the last page, as well. I'd love to do that all over again.And guess what? I get to, cause my book club is reading it.

4 Just One Wish by Janette Rallison 
This was the first JR book I read and I absolutely adored its mix of funny and sad.

5 Harry Potter 1-7 by J.K Rowling
I'm sure these will be on everyone's list. Come on, people, they were THAT good.

6 The Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini
I'm actually going to re-read these in anticipation of the fourth.

7 The Urban Magic series (aka Matthew Swift books ) by Kate Griffin
With how much I gush about these did you honestly think I'd leave them off a re-read list? Really?!

8 The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman
I love, love, love Antsy and I would love to read all about him again.

9 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
It's my favorite book of all time! I have to re-read it...a lot!

10 Anything by Markus Zusak
I love his books and not only have I read them each more than once I plan on reading them again and again. Don't try to stop me!

So, I guess I'll stop but I certainly could go on. Have you read any of these? Do you find any worthy of a re-read?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review The Underdog

Title The Underdog
By Markus Zusak
For Fun
Source I own it

First sentence We were watching the telly when we decided to rob the dentist.

The Underdog, the first book in the Wolfe brother series, introduces us to Cameron and Ruben Wolfe.  

General thoughts
I've been waiting a long time to get my hands on Zusak's first book. Thank goodness it was finally published in the US so I could read it. This being his first book, and the fact that Suey, another huge fan, wasn't as impressed with his writing in this one, had me leerily going into it. But still, this is Zusak we're talking about and while, yes, I love his entirely unique writing style, I adore his beautifully honest stories with their sweet messages even more. This little story doesn't have some huge event or a climactic ending, it doesn't have some whirling plot that keeps us turning pages but will be forgotten not long after the last page is read. It's about life, and the lessons we can glean from it. Sure, Cameron couldn't talk to girls and Ruben and he were pretty useless criminals. Sure Cameron doesn't get the girl and Ruben can't win at soccer; Steve gets hurt and Sarah loses her boyfriend, but the sweet lesson of Cameron's "underdog dream" seemed, to me, to be the whole point. Life is going to keep shoving you down, but you have to keep getting up and fighting back.  I found myself just as touched and comforted reading this one as any of his others and I consider myself very lucky to have finally had the pleasure. Plus it had this little gem:

" don't learn anything unless you can find the patience to read."  page 22

Cameron: I'm actually only going to mention Cameron because he is one of my top three favorite literary characters ever. I've never related with a character as much as I do with Cameron in all three of these Wolfe Brothers books. Love him!

Would I recommend it? 
Of course.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Disclaimer: How I Really Feel About Sad Endings

I don't know how or why it happened but apparently I've come off in some of my reviews and in some of the things I say as someone who hates books that are sad and offer no happy ending. If you knew me, really knew me, you would hysterically laugh at this.

I'm the girl who got reamed for laughing maliciously at the end of Titanic when old Leo slips away into the water. Heck, I was anxiously awaiting it. I'm the girl who's favorite Shakespeare is Hamlet. Can you say depress-fest? I'm the girl who actually liked the end of The Hunger Games series. I'm the girl who roots for characters to die in the end of books and movies just for the sad ending! So, please, let's not assume anymore that I don't like sad books. I LOVE them! Why, you ask? Because sad endings, "good" sad endings, are either bittersweet. (And who doesn't love a bittersweet ending?) Or a result of the characters actions, thus, teaching us an important lesson about are own actions. 

However, I do not like books that use sadness as a selling tactic. I wasn't fond of The Help because there just wasn't quite enough hope offered. (come on, people, what really changed at the end of that book?!)  I wasn't tricked into liking The Kite Runner because of the so called selfless MC. And I wasn't touched to tears by the self sacrificing in Daughter of the Forest.  I guess my like or dislike of sad books has more to do with the realness of the stories than the, let's-make-people-cry-and-then-they'll-think-they-were-moved-by-this-bull-crap.

Phew! Now that I have that off my chest...I'll go ahead and open up this discussion. Do you love tragic endings? Or do you prefer bittersweet? Or...are you against any sad endings and only like warm fuzzy books? That's OK if you do; I'm not saying it's a bad thing; I just don't want people having false perceptions of me anymore. ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Desires of the Dead

Title Desires of the Dead (Body Finder 2)
By Kimberly Derting
For Fun
Source I own it

First sentence Violet leaned forward on her hands and knees over the frozen landscape.

Violet senses the echos of those who have been murdered but when she anonymously call the police to tell them where to find a body her whole life turns upside down. It seems she wasn't as anonymous as she thought and now a profiler who works for the FBI is questioning her and seems to know about her ability. And then there's Rafe, the strange, cute boy who works with the profiler who may have abilities of his own.

A review in letter form
Dear, Desires of the Dead, I want you to sit down and shut up while I air some grievances with you. First of all, I only read you because I'd already bought you; after the first disappointing book I had no desire to continue, but I owned you so I felt obligated to read you.

How dare you introduce a new character who would intrigue me! How dare you bring in the tiniest of plot twists to wrap me up in your over telling-not-showing pages! With all that telling there was absolutely no way I could judge Violet's ridiculous, childish actions; not when I was "told" so clearly why she was doing them. Dang you for making me relate and understand. I still am disgusted with Jay and his possessiveness, his unrealistic perfect boyfriend actions but now you've gone and given me hope that maybe, just maybe, Violet won't end up with him.

You and your next book in the series better not disappoint! Now go, your brainwashing has done its damage.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If Soccer Players Were Vampires

Don't ask, I just though I'd share some more of those thoughts that probably would be better left unsaid.

This is Arbeloa...

...and of all the soccer players out there I've always thought he could pass as a vampire. Blame it on all the vampire books I've read but for some reason I see him and I think: vampire.

I like to blame it on his pale skin and those dark circles under his eyes but, truthfully, I think his malicious style of play is what really scares me.

Arbeloa is the one in white...just in case you didn't recognize those vampire qualities. The "incident"  takes place 24 seconds in to about 28 seconds.

Oh sure, he looks innocent enough but he totally meant to do that. Pretty freaky huh? I love him but I've seen him pull this kind of stuff too many times to ever want to go up against him in a game.

However, he could nibble on me anytime. ;)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today  The Broke and the Bookish asks the question: What are the Top Ten books you feel like everyone else has read but you?

Ha ha ha, guys, very funny. I'm so behind in books that are out there right now it's sad. So here's "just" ten. Sorry, no links to the Goodreads Synopsis today, but since you've all probably read  these you won't need to do that. ;) Right?

To be honest, I could put every book on my TBR list on here because I always feel woefully behind in my reading.  So what about you? Do you feel like everyone's read everything but you? Cause I sure do.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: City of Ashes

Title City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments 2)
By Cassandra Clare
For Fun
Source I own it

First sentence "Are you still mad?"

The adventures continue as Clary and Jace try to deal with their feelings and Valentine's plans for power take a dangerous turn.

General thoughts
I'm sorry this is going to be a horribly boring review. Which pretty much reflect my opinion of the book. I had a little harder time getting into this one. Usually, unlike most people, I'm a huge fan of the second book in a series, the "filler\bridge" book, but this one just didn't do it for me. I think it was more of a mood thing than a dislike of the book, though. This time around I was a little more bothered by all the adverbs. I was irritated with Clary's wimpyness and I was bored with the "relationship" between Clary and Jace. Still, at the end things picked up and some new twists intrigued me enough to want to continue the story.

Clary: Argh! The truth is I would be just as wimpy in her place but come on! Learn to fight or something now! Sheesh!
Jace: The only thing worse than an arrogant guy is an arrogant guy who uses said arrogance as a defense mechanism.
Simon: I still like him but not as a love interest for Clary; he deserves better than her.
Alec: I liked him, but I still feel like he and Isabelle are just sidekicks with no real depth of their own. Maybe I'm missing something
Isabelle: I actually decided I don't like her, she's too whiny and girly.
Luke: Still liking him and his loyalty.
Magnus: Um, there's something about him being no old but old, going after a teenager that disturbs me, but, that aside, I like him.
Maia: Now here's a girl I want to get to know better.
Valentine: I have to mention him because he rightfully pisses me off just like a bad guy should. Every time he opens his mouth I want to step into the book and punch him!

Would I recommend it? 
I'm actually using this little part of my review to recommend this book to all those who gave up because of the Jace Clary thing. I don't know how it will end but I can predict their little relationship won't be an issue. These books are pretty predictable.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Salon

And now a bunch of useless information you never wanted to know about me. ;-)

Outside my window: It's getting nice and cold...well cooler and I'm loving it, but I'm sure I'll start whining about it soon. ;)

I am listening to: Yeah, I'm following the crowds. I'm loving Coldplay's Paradise.

I am watching:  Two new shows premiered this week and a couple of old favorites. It's TV watchin' time again. 
I am thinking: Why oh why do I get migraines?! 

I am grateful for: Hope (shhh, don't tell my sister)

I am reading: I just finished City of Ashes and am debating whether to get started on the third or take a break. I'm also working on The Road To Rome. 

I am photographing: My cute nephew. 

I am listing: Grocery lists and to do lists, nothing exciting.  

Around the house: If I religiously spray every day...I seem to be keeping the spiders out! 

From the kitchen: I have a zucchini that needs used and I'm trying to adapt my zucchini bread recipe to use whole wheat flour and honey rather than all that sugar and white flour.

One of my favorite things: A good night's sleep!

The children this week: No kids just my cat Buns and she's becoming even more of a scaredy cat if that's possible.

Plans for the week: I get to go see CindaWilliams Chima at a local library on Tuesday. She's the author of the Seven Realms series and The Heir Chronicles  in case you didn't know.  

Thanks to Ibeeeg of Polishing Mud Balls for the inspiration for this post's layout.