Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Fictional Heroines

Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice): My favorite Austen heroine, and definitely one of my favorite heroines. I love her wittiness, her sarcasm, and the fact that she makes mistakes when judging people. ;) I also like how she tries to take care of her family despite their various idiocies/eccentricities. Plus she eventually has the good sense to fall in love with Mr. Darcy, who is just awesome!
Jo March (Little Women): I just read Little Women this last year and REALLY identified with Jo. I know a LOT of girls do, but...yeah! That's why she's classic and timeless! So many of her specific little problems are things I have struggled with or am struggling with.
Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre): She does what she believes to be right, sticks to her guns, puts her foot down, whatever expression you want to use. I think she's amazing.
Flora Post (Cold Comfort Farm): This girl makes me laugh out loud. She knows what she wants, by thunder, and she WILL make it happen, no matter what obstacles fall in her path. But I also love that she learns to adjust her goals (not too much, just a little) if things don't go completely the way she wants them. But in general, her plans go through.
Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings): She's kickack, loves horses, marries Faramir, kills a Nazgul, fights for her loved ones, and learns that gentleness is as pwnsome as awesome sword skills.
Leia Organa (Star Wars): Childhood hero, WHAT CAN I SAY? I love her snark and her good looks and her diplomacy and her "Someone has to save our skins!"
Lucy Pevensie (Chronicles of Narnia): She's innocent, brave, faithful, kind, and faith-full. Possibly the Mary Sue of children's lit, but I love her.
Sophie Hatter (Howl's Moving Castle): I have to include her. I love her gung-ho attitude but that she "lacks method." I love her snark, her grouchiness, her stubborness, and her hardcore loyalty and love. When I am an old lady, I will attempt to attain her awesomeness.
Mary Russell (Laurie R King's Holmes and Russel series): She's such a girl of the twenties. Snarky (I sense a theme), courageous, incredibly intelligent, and doesn't take no shill from anyone.
Harriet the Spy (Harriet the Spy): One of my favorite kids books and kid heroines. :) Harriet is curious about everything and doesn't worry what people think of her. She can be rude, but she can also be kind, and is very observant and intelligent for her age.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

From Dusk Till Dawn Read-a-thon: Wrap-up

Books read:
The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip (5/5)
Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn (5/5)
And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander (4/5)
partway through: Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony

Pages read:

TCS: I'm in love with Lyo.
DAT: Draycos has a dumb name but I am in love with him. Or rather I really want to be friends with him. ;)
I'm pleased that I finished AOTD because seriously, my dad kept stealing it from me. He loves it. I don't know what to say about this. OH but I forgot to mention before there's a lot of stuff about ancient Greek history, culture, and art in it that I love as well.
RH: I like the as-yet-nameless young man, but I trust no one. Also, I am in love with Jewels.

Future plans:
I want to read more in the Dragonback and Lady Emily series. *nods*

Saturday, August 28, 2010

From Dusk Till Dawn: Update 4

So after finishing Dragon And Thief I was kinda thinking that was my ROCK-AWESOME book for this readathon. WRONG. I'm almost halfway through And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander and it is delicious. Victorian England, mystery, witty and courageous FMC, romance, feminists (yes I enjoy these in fiction...they can be scarier IRL) and hot guys.
This book is kinda random because I read a review of it last week, the review made me want to read it REAL bad, and so I got it from the library ASAP and am now reading it. Why can't I do this for the books on my TBR pile? Which I AM excited about and yet never seem to read? Gah.
Random fact: My dad saw me devouring AOTD so he picked it up, read the jacket flap, said it sounded "fascinating" and is currently stealing it. :( So I might not get more read tonight. This is serious business, dad!
Also, here's the review I read that made me want to read it: The Allure of Books

Page count for this readathon so far:
475 pages (2 3/4 books)
2 manga
4 bags of popcorn
many gummi bears
3 root beers
2 cups of coffee

Friday, August 27, 2010

From Dusk Till Dawn: Update 3

I'm currently stealing some poor sod's Internet. My family and I are vacationing at a beach house this weekend, only our free wifi turned out to be a lie so I have turned to desperate measures.

Anyway, I'm not going to lie, I'm really loving this "Only read 8 PM to 8 AM" thing. It FORCES me to do other things with my day, and then when it's finally 8 PM I'm like WHEEEE FUN TIEMZ. I'm still really not productive cuz I can't manage to stay up past midnight, but oh well!

Last night I read about half of Dragon And Thief and also five more chapters of Restoring Harmony. I am enjoying the latter much more, but I'm still just kinda meh about it. It's not a bad book; it's well-written. I think it's just not my cup of tea. Dragon and Thief, however, is EXACTLY my cup of tea. I finished that tonight (and am totally not craving the rest of the series, noooo, not at all!). I also read Hikaru no go vol 19-20. I wasn't able to read THAT much cuz my family was all, you know, "BE SOCIAL." Also, we watched Robots (I guffawed. Those who have heard my laugh....yeah you know how it gets REALLY loud sometimes? More than the normal loud? It was the super-loud-guffaw the entire movie. "You can bunk with me! We'll ignore the gossip." Yes I am such a choild.) Also, this beach house is awesome in a book-nerd sort of way. I'll post pictures tomorrow?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Conquerors Trilogy by Timothy Zahn

Googletalk conversation:
Me: "Wow I love Kolchin....*getting a quote for my review* When he made the slingshot out of the bed, I was just like W.T.F."
Snazel: "What the hell are you reading"

These books are good, solid sci-fi, and classic Zahn.
A human task force is attacked by an unknown alien contact, and all of the escape pods are systematically destroyed. The Cavanagh family are at first devastated at the death of their son and brother, Pheylan Cavanagh, captain of a task force ship, but are then given reason to believe Pheylan may be alive. The humans race to protect their worlds, and hope their ultimate weapon, CIRCE, will soon be re-assembled to help fight the aliens, called "Conquerors" from another alien species' folklore. But the Conquerors may not be as bloodthirsty and war-mongery (yes, war-mongery) as they seem.
First of all, I should say I love the way Zahn uses science in his books. He makes all of his tech and stuff seem completely realistic and believable and easy to understand while still being, well, complicated. I also love his wide array of characters, which usually includes soldiers, scientists, and diplomats, and this trilogy was no exception. It centers around Lord Stewart Cavanagh (ex-politician) and his children Aric (desk-jockey), Melinda (doctor), and Pheylan (ship captain), but there are plenty of alien majors and human/alien minors to flesh out the cast.
I mostly loved the way the trilogy is organized. The first book is completely from the humans' POV, the second book is completely from the aliens' POV, and the third is a combination of both. This was VERY cool, especially how well Zahn makes us empathize with both sides. But in the third book, a lot of cool minor human characters get shuffled off to the side, since there just isn't space (like Holloway, a human commander on a Conqueror-invaded world; I REALLY wanted to see more of him. Pout.). We mostly get the Cavanaghs and a lottttt of aliens. I liked the aliens, but in the third book it seemed like we got too much of them, and they were a little lacking in plot in the second book.
My other major complaint is the un-alienness of the aliens. In the first book, we didn't understand them at all. But once we get in their POV, they act EXACTLY like humans. That was part of the point, I guess, but still kind of odd; it seemed like they should differ from the humans in more than the odd gesture or word (eg "fullarc" for "day"). But then an author could go the other extreme and keep us from understanding or empathizing with the aliens at all, so there you go. Additionally, the fact that some aliens get humanized and others demonized (or at least we are made to show that they are Major Jerkfaces) was a little odd. Only SOME aliens are, underneath, just like us? Is that what we're saying here?
But even with those issues, WOW, these books are good! Battles, diplomacy, intrigue, plots, battles, dogfights, science research (am I the only one who likes scientific researchers as characters??? is that nerdy????), and OH EM GEE DID I MENTION THE COPPERHEADS?
The Copperheads are a branch of the human airforce (spaceforce???), where the pilots have "Mindjacks" surgically emplanted in their brains so they can literally link up with their fighter ships. I loved every single scene with these guys. The moral issues they raised, the chatter, the DOGFIGHTS....I love space dogfights.
There's a lot more plot stuff, especially alien-related, that I can't talk about without spoilering. But choices are a big deal in these books, and LOTS of ethical issues are raised.
Also, I have to gush a little bit about one character that I love. Kolchin is an ex-commando who works for the Cavanagh family. Every time Lord Cavanagh is in a tight spot, Kolchin gets him out. Every single thing he does in these books is awesome (often ridiculously). No jokes here, folks. Have a quote:

Cavanagh shook his head helplessly. Charades had never been his strong point, even within his own family. Trying to figure out the gestures and body language of a totally alien being was going to be well-nigh impossible.
"He's miming strangulation," Kolchin said suddenly. "Or else neck-breaking."

By the time he made the bed into a sling-shot, I was 100% certain he was bat-shit crazy.

From Dusk Till Dawn: Update 2

So after I finished The Changeling Sea last night, I read a little bit of Restoring Harmony. I only read about 5 chapters (they're short) before putting it down, annoyed. I'm going to try again tonight but honestly, the narrator is driving me crazy. Her voice is just annoyingly naive. Like not a normal naive. Annoyingly naive. I can't really explain it, and I'm betting the book gets better (like when it gets a plot).

I also have some additions/alternates for my list:
Hikaru No Go vol 19-20
And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander (I read a review for this a couple days ago, and it sounded so wonderful I immediately put a library hold on it, which just came today)
How To Ride A Dragon's Storm by Cressida Cowell

What's left of my original list:
Finish Restoring Harmony
Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn

NBG Giveaway!

Norwegian Book Girl has a pro giveaway going on at her blog. Also, her blog is cool anyways so you should follow her! And she likes Victorian lit! :D Giveaways include By Midnight and Clockwork Angel, both of which I'm really interested in reading.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From Dusk Till Dawn: Update 1

I finished my first book already!!! Wow! So amazing! Such speed! Such power! Such-

Oh right, it was only 137 pages. XD

The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip
137 pages
137 pages for readathon so far

I'll review this book later, but for now I will say that I loved it 100%, 5/5 stars (which I don't actually give that often) and I can't think of anything I disliked about it. NO BIG DEAL BUT THIS BOOK IS EXCELLENT.

From Dusk Till Dawn: 1st Challenge

Jamie at YA Addict challenges us to share our first read for the readathon (with a copy of The Replacement at stake!)

I'm reading The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip first. It's short and really good so far!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dusk Till Dawn

I have no idea why I'm signing up for ANOTHER Readathon.....but I am delusional, exhausted, and possibly crazy right now. ;) Also, it's SUMMER and once school starts I won't have any time for fun bookses. :( Also, I'm going to be really busy the next five days....soooo.....
I'm just going to aim for reading these:
The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip
Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn

The BIG NEW RULE of this Readathon is that you can only read between 8 PM and 8 AM. Eesh!

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Your Choice" giveaway

This is happening at A Fanatic's Book Blog. Two Amazon prizes! Sweet. Go join in!

Mockingjay Countdown Event Challenges

The Event over at Smitten With Books is quite jolly fun! I thought I would post the challenges I've entered so far here, along with my answers.

Since there is some news for a The Hunger Games movie-I want you to tell me what actress you would cast for the part of Katniss. And then you need to explain why.
Teresa Palmer. She has a spark that I think Katniss needs, and physically is similar to Katniss except for her hair, which could be changed. She also doesn't fall into the extremely boring personality pitfall, which several young actresses seem to have had problems with (like Kristen Stewart and Alexandra Daddario), but could still pull off Katniss more serious' moods and more girly on-tv moods.

For this third mini challenge, I want you to comment and tell me below if you are either: Team Peeta or Team Gale. And then I want you to explain why.
Team Peeta! I think he is way better for Katniss, as he's calm and big-picture oriented to her more fiery and "what's in front of me" personality. Gale is too much like Katniss, and has too much of a temper to really work well with her, I think. Plus, I just love Peeta to death. ^_^ The way he works the media to his advantage is delicious, as are his baked goods.

For this fourth mini challenge, I want you to tell me which of the The Hunger Games or Catching Fire characters you are most like. They can either be main characters or characters that are rarely in the book. And then I want you to explain why they are like you.
I think I'm a lot like Gale (female!Gale, lol), actually, when I think about it. Practical, but I can also be very impulsive and I definitely have a temper, and I take care of my family.

For this fifth and last mini challenge of the day, I want you guys to pick one song that most sums up, either The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Make sure you tell me the name of the song, the singer or band, and which book it sums up below in a comment.
"We Are" by Ana Johnsson
I think it could sum up either book, but probably Catching Fire more so.
It's kinda from the POV of the contestants, like Katniss and the older ones who are making an alliance to get out of the Quell, and also from the POV of the rebels, telling the Capitol how evil and despotic and bloody they are.

For this first challenge of the day, I want you to pick one actor who you think would be perfect for the role of Gale if there is to be a movie of The Hunger Games book. And then I want you to explain why.
Garrett Hedlund. I've seen him be fiery, charming, hilarious, and achingly sad, plus he's gorgeous and looks like Gale to me.

For this second challenge, I want you guys to chose one animal that would best represent Katniss and explain why you chose that animal for her.
Horse: strong, brave, loyal, and can be helpful in battle or in domestic life. ;)

There are always book covers that are similar to another books, or remind you of another book. So for this challenge, I want you guys to choose a book that has a cover that is either very similar to or reminds you of one of these three books: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, or Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. You need to list the name of the book, the author, which book cover it looks like or reminds you of (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, or Mockingjay), and why it reminds you or looks like the books.
The cover of "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner. W/o reading the book it reminded me of Hunger Games, because the arenas for the hunger games are very like mazes that you have to figure out to survive, and also the image of trees is like the two arenas we've mostly seen, in Hunger Games and Catching Fire.

Since you have already chosen which actor/actress would be played for Katniss, and Gale, I want you to tell me which actor you would like to play Peeta in The Hunger Games movie and then you need to explain why you chose that actor.
Max Thieriot. He looks physically like how I picture Peeta, and he has the wide-eyed, innocent "Why don't you love me" look down pat. ;)

For the fifth and last challenge of the day (Day 2)-I would like you to tell me if you like the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer or The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins better. This is one of those questions that people have different opinions on, so it will be interesting to see which one you like better. I also want you to explain why you like one series better than the other.
The Hunger Games! I don't like the Twilight series at all; I don't find the romance believable and I hate Bella Swann as a character. I have issues with Katness but I still like her way better, and the love triangle is also more believable considering the dystopian world. I also like Hunger Games better because of the world difference, period. I'm way more interested in dystopias than vampires and werewolves, sparkly or not.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mockingjay Countdown!

There is a really awesome Mockingjay Countdown event going on over at Smitten With Books right now! There are five mini-challenges each day from today through Tuesday, I think, and completing challenges gives you entries to win awesome Hunger Games prizes! The challenges have been super fun so far. Soooo yeah you should go participate!

(sooooo excited for Mockingjay!)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Beauty by Robin McKinley

I read this book in one sitting, in about 4 hours (which includes a couple of potty breaks). If you look up the page count you can see what a slow reader I am. ;) But the important thing to note here, is that I almost never do one-sittings. Nevah! Even if I'm really into a book I will read it over a couple days, especially if it's longer than 200 pages. I can't really explain why I read this all at once, except to say that it's SNUGGLY.

As far as plot goes, it's a pretty straight-up rendition of the Beauty and Beast fairy tale (legend? myth? I don't know what this goes under), at least as far as I could tell. And no, I do not mean the Disney movie. Get out. This one has Beauty's sisters and non-crazy!father and wonderful brother-in-laws and invisible servants and the whole, "Oh yeah, Beauty likes roses" thing. ^_^ Seriously, Ger, I love you. Greatheart, the horse, did remind me a lot of the Disney!horse, Filippe, but I don't know what the source on that is.
The tone of the book is also very fairy-tale-ish, which could get a little too snooty at times, but I still liked it and thought it worked well since she was going straight with the story. It was funny because I had totally wrong preconceptions about the book; somehow I figured it was a newer rendition and by that I mean has a big twist on the original story. So I kept expecting something that never came. Kinda like when I wait for trains. Or the bus.
I really loved Beauty as well as her Beast. ^_^ He was completely adorkable. However, I think that lessened a lot of the tension in the story. I mean, the Beast is just a SUPER NICE GUY. After his initial "K GIVE ME YER DAUGHTER AND DIE WITH GUILT" temper tantrum, he's a complete gentleman to everyone, and was completely not-scary, despite the fact he's enormous and has giant, if retractable, claws. I like the Disney version in that the Beast has a temper and is not the best person until Belle gets to work on him. This Beast seems to have all his problems worked out (whatever they were in the first place, that was unclear) except for his emo tendencies.
I also thought the ending was wayyyy too happy, but again, that's kinda a trope of the fairy tale business unless you're doing one of those twisted versions that I kept expecting, so this might be a casualty of my own preconceptions again.
But besides those two things, yeah, this book was VERY entertaining and enjoyable and cute and all that rot. I loved ALL the characters, they were just too cute and/or jolly. Yes, jolly. So I guess I would recommend this book to people who don't mind a lot of happy fluff and not many surprises-unless you grew up in a cave and don't know the story at all. 4/5.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Carol's Prints is doing a HUGE ARC giveaway, including Paranormalcy by Kiersten White and Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, plus MANY OTHERS. Go! Be free! Sign up!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

55 Quirky Questions for Readers

Meme from the Literary Lollipop! I love that name.

1. Favourite childhood book: The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, I guess. I have a lot! Little House on the Prairie, Big Bear's Book, Moog, Harriet the Spy.

2. What are you reading right now? The Book That Changed My Life ed. Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen

3. What books do you have on request at the library? Many debut novels. I'm most excited about Hex Hall, probably.

4. Bad book habit: Buying too many, too fast, and reading them too slow. :P

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? The Book That Changed My Life, The Changeling Sea, and Beauty (read Beauty straight through last night).

6. Do you have an e-reader? Nope. I may get a Kindle someday.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? Depends. If I start one and am bored with it, I will start another one. Also, if I'm in school, there is really no limit.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? Not really. My reading habits have changed from READING other people's blogs. ;)

9.Least favourite book you read this year: Hm. Blu's Hanging. Made me feel icky.

10. Favourite book I’ve read this year: YOU IMPOSSIBLE QUESTIONER. I'll just throw out The Blue Castle by LMM because I read it twice in a row. ;)

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? 30-40%, because of school and YA recs.

12. What is your reading comfort zone? sci-fi, fantasy, children's, and old classics. I'm pretty PG-rated too.

13. Can you read on the bus? Yes.

14. Favourite place to read: A couch or a deck-chair.

15. What’s your policy on book lending? I rarely do it and only to close friends, unless I have duplicates for some reason.

16. Do you dogear your books? No. O.o

17. Do you write notes in the margins of your books? Sometimes for school. I do underline, if I'm in the mood.

18. Do you break/crack the spine of your books? I TRY NOT TO???? But actually, I usually read paperbacks, and it's pretty impossible to read a thick paperback without CREASING the spine.

19. What is your favourite language to read? English. I can only read Latin besides that. :P And that takes me 10 times as long.

20. What makes you love a book? The characters and/or the writing style/language.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? If it is amazing in every way and overlaps in several genres, or is ungenreable, OR if I know someone well enough that I know they will love it.

22. Favourite genre: Probably children's fantasy.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did): historical

24. Favourite Biography: OOO HARD GAME. I haven't read many. I liked Tom Shippey's Tolkien bio, but it wasn't really a bio...yeah fail. Fanny Crosby by Bonnie C. Harvey was good.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? (And, was it actually helpful?) I've read a lot of writing self-help books. No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty is a fave. 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens (or something) was pretty good but I didn't actually end up USING it to help myself. lol.

26. Favourite Cookbook: I've never spent enough time with one to have a fave. :P

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction): Little Women, strangely. I really identified with Jo (I know, how original of me! But that's what makes it classic, I guess).

28. Favourite reading snack: Reese's pieces. :P

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience: Hunger Games almost....I had such high expectations that it was just difficult to be objective. I also wasn't a huge fan of Wicked Lovely, but I don't think I would have loved it even if there wasn't hype. So I dunno.

30. How often do you agree with the critics about about a book? I don't really read book critics, so I don't know. And book bloggers all have different opinions, so if they ALL love a book, it's usually something special.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? lol I'm fine with it. I'm not really a "professional" book blogger reviewer person though.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? Latin? I want to be fluent, really I do!

33. Most intimidating book I’ve read: The Historian. 900 pages of travel and art and research and a little bit of thrill.

34. Most intimidating book I’m too nervous to begin: Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

35. Favourite Poet: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, maybe. Or Robert Frost?

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at any given time? 1-3, or 1-8 if we include manga.

37. How often do you return books to the library unread? 1/3?

38. Favourite fictional character: Faramir? Elizabeth Bennet? Howl Jenkins? TOO HARD.

39. Favourite fictional villain: Darth Vader. We've been like this & ever since I was 5 or so.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation: Something lengthy, fictional, and what I hope to be an engaging read.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading: No idea. I had issues last year, before the summer.

42. Name a book you could/would not finish: I can't think of one just now.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? Sometimes music. TV/movies.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel: The Fellowship of the Ring, probably.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation: Eragon, because at the time I loved the books way more than I do now.

46. Most money I’ve ever spent in a bookstore at one time: $50

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? If it's for school, probably.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through? If the writing is sloppy, and/or if I don't care about ANY of the characters.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? Yes, plz! Especially now that they all fit on my shelves.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they’ve been read? Keep them, unless I hated it or don't plan on reading it again.

51. Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding? Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell, and The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan. They're super long.

52. Name a book that made you angry: Liar

53. A book I didn’t expect to like but did: Albatross by Josie Bloss

54. A book I expected to like but didn’t: Gifts by Ursula K Leguin

55. Favourite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading: Manga and Star Wars novels.