Monday, December 30, 2013

Quote-Tastic 30/12/13

"Quote-Tastic" is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup . To participate you have to post a favorite quote from a current or past read.
This week's quote is from "Discount Armageddon" by Seanan McGuire, which is a really fun read. The best thing by far about the book were the Aesir Mice, a breed of talking mice who live with the main character and always have a reason to celebrate. 
“Didn't we talk about this?"
"That isn't an answer." I planted my hands on my hips. "Was there a reason for shoving the gummy bears off the counter? Did they tell you they were suicidal? On second thought," I raised a hand, palm out, "don't answer that. If the candy is talking, I don't want to know.”
"The container blocked the Sacred Route of Celebration!" announced one of the junior priests. 
So, what's your favorite quote this week? Let me know in the comments! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jemie's End of the Year Survey 2013

This lovely end of the year survey is hosted by Jamie on her blog The Perpetual Page Turner.

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
That's an impossible question!
I'll break it down by genre, I don't see any other way around it, since I have three favorite books this year. 
Contemporary YA: "Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell
Fantasy/Children's books: "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman
Fantasy YA: "Clockwork Princess" by Cassandra Clare

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
"Allegiant", by Veronica Roth. I couldn't wait to read this book, since it was the final book in a series I loved. I have been trying to get my friends to read it for years. Sadly, "Allegiant" wasn't nearly as well-written as the other two books in the series. 

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 
"The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman.
I honestly had no idea how brilliant a writer Gaiman is before I read this novel. 

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
 "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman.
I'll never get tired of saying this: the writing is gorgeous and the story and characters are amazing, too.
If you haven't read it yet, read it. Read it right now.
You won't be disappointed, I swear. 

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
I didn't start that many series this year, and I didn't like most of them.
One series I found out about in 2013 and I loved was William Joyce's "The Guardians" series. The writing and the art were gorgeous. 

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
Rainbow Rowell. I had never heard of her before this September. Since then I have read both her YA contemporary books and adored them.  

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
"Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald" by Therese Anne Fowler is a novelized biography, which is not a genre I thought I would like, but I loved this novel.
I'm glad I decided to step outside my comfort zone this time around. 

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Judging by how long it took me to read it, I'll say "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman.
I mean, it's more than 300 pages long and I read it in one afternoon, if that's not unputdownable I don't know what is.  

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
"The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman. Like I said before, the writing is gorgeous, I don't think I'll get tired of rereading this book anytime soon. 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
"Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell. It has such a pretty cover, behold!

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 
Wow, that's a really hard question. 
I'm going to say Silas, from "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman, because he was a really cool and somewhat tragic character. 

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
"The Graveyard Book", without a doubt. I'm sure you're all sick and tired of hearing me rant about the sheer beauty of the prose in this novel, but I just can't help it.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 
"Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell, because it is the book that reminded me why I love writing. 

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 
"The Graveyard Book", again. I kept seeing it everywhere and was convinced I wouldn't like it.
I have never been more wrong in all my life. 

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
I have a lot of those, but if I had to choose, I think I'd take this quote "Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell.
When I'm writing
 my own stuff, it's like swimming 
Or… falling down a cliff and grabbing at branches,
trying to invent the branches as I

Cath is actually talking about fanfiction writing versus writing original stories, but it's actually pretty spot on on how writing feels like, period. And it's one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
"The Red and the Black" by Stendhal wins with 607 pages, since it's nine pages longer than "House of Hades" by Rick Riordan, which came in as a close second.
"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman is probably the shortest novel I've read, since it's just 108 pages long.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
"Clockwork Princess" by Cassandra Clare.
I couldn't wait to talk about about it with a friend of mine, who loves this books as much as I do.
Sadly, I had to wait, because she threatened me very creatively when I suggested spoiling her.  

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Romantic is probably the one between Levi and Cath in "Fangirl"
I actually have two favorite friendship relationship this year. Will and Jem from "Clockwork Princess" have a wonderful, epic bromance, which is probably my favorite relationship in the whole series.
Aziraphale and Crowley's friendship in "Good Omens" is very different than Will and Jem's, but I love it just as much, maybe even more. They ostensibly only hang out together because they are the only members of their species present on earth, but it's clear they care deeply for one other. 
The guardian-ward relationship Silas and Bod had going in "The Graveyard Book" was adorable, too. 

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
"Clockwork Princess" by Cassandra Clare and "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman. 
I loved both this books to pieces.  

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
My attempt to be spontaneous and read books based on recommendations alone didn't go over that well.
One book I've hated and the other was okay, so I'll go with the one I found okay, which is "Unearthly" by Cynthia Hand. 

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
You weren't expecting that, were you? 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Crowley from "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, otherwise known as "an angel who didn't so much fall as saunter vaguely downward."
Yeah, I just had to quote "Good Omens" in this post. I could't help myself.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?
"The Reece Malcolm List" by Amy Spalding. I loved this book and it had me thinking for a very long time, which is always a plus.  

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
"The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman. If I closed my eyes, I could see the graveyard perfectly in my mind, and I really loved the world-building in this book. For example  the way the society of the graveyard worked was very clever. 

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
"Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell, reading it put me in such a good mood.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
I usually don't cry about books. Get incredibly depressed, yes. Giggle like a maniac, yes. Cry, no. One book I did get emotional about this year was "Clockwork Princess" by Cassandra Clare. I have spent years obsessing about this series, I hardly can believe it's over. 

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
I have the impression that "The Reece Malcolm List" was overlooked by a lot of people.
It's a shame, because this novel actually was really good.  

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
"The Naturals" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. 
Honestly, I have no excuses as to why I haven't read this book yet, I just keep getting distracted by other books I want to read.  

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?
"City of Heavenly Fire" by Cassandra Clare. I have been obsessing over this books for two years.
Two years, people.
Honestly it's about time this book was released.
And if Alec and Magnus don't get back together, so help me...
Um, sorry, I got a bit carried away.

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
"Defy" by Sarah B. Larson, because it promises a badass female main character. 
And I need more of that in my life.

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?
"City of Heavenly Fire". 
I'm sure you don't want to got through the whole thing I did above once more.
So let's move on!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
I want to start reading the books that have been on my TBR list for ages, instead of being distracted by shiny new releases all the time.

So, what are your answers to this survey? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

W... W... W... Wednesday: 25/12/13

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading
where you answer the following questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently read?
What will you be reading next?

What are you currently reading? I'm halfway through"The Shadowhunter's Codex" by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis and I about forty percent into "Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald" by Therese Ann Fowler, which I bough on a whim and is actually really good.

What did you recently read? I actually haven't finished anything since last week (shame on me), since I spent most of my free time looking for Christmas presents. 

What will you be reading next? I got a book for Christmas, which I actually wasn't expecting, it's been such a long time since anyone has gotten me a book, so I'll read that one next. It's a volume with the first two books of "1Q84" by Haruki Murakami.  

So what's your WWW for this week? Let me know in the comments!
Merry Christmas, if you celebrate it, and if you don't, I wish you a lovely day!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I wouldn't mind Santa bringing me

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Brooke and the Bookish. This week's top ten was of books I wouldn't mind Santa bringing me, in no particular order. All these novels have all been on my TBR list for a while. 

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker 

The Sandman and the War of Dreams by William Joyce 

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 

Ink is Thicker than Water by Amy Spalding

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrel by Susanna Clarke

My Life, the Theater and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff

Underworld by Meg Cabot 

So, what books do you want Santa to bring you?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Quote-Tastic 23/12/2013

"Quote-Tastic" is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup . To participate you have to post a favorite quote from a current or past read.
This week's quote is from "the Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman, which is a new favorite novel of mine. 

Silas said, “Out there, the man who killed your family is, I believe, still looking for you, still intends to kill you.”

Bod shrugged. “So?” he said. “It’s only death. I mean, all of my best friends are dead.”

“Yes.” Silas hesitated. “They are. And they are, for the most part, done with the world. You are not. You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”
So, what's your favorite quote this week? Let me know in the comments! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I chose to read "Catching Fire" after seeing the movie. I had tried to before, but had never got past the first few chapters. 
Surprisingly enough, I liked the movie better than the book. Which is one of the things I'd never thought I'd say.
It's not that "Catching Fire" is bad, per se: it's fast-paced and quite well-written. I read it in a day, simply because after the admittedly slow start, I couldn't tear myself away. 
And yet, I didn't like it all that much. Why?
The cryptic short answer is: "Catching Fire" relies too heavily on this message.
Let me explain: Collins wants her reader to feel rage for the ways of the Capitol and in doing so, make them reflect on in which ways it's similar to how we live. 
Got it. Great message. Just one problem: if Collins simply wanted to write a critique of our society, she should have written an essay about it. What she did was write a novel to get her point across. And in a novel, the message always, always comes in second to the plot. There's no way around it. The reader won't care enough to absorb the message if they don't care about the characters. And in this novel, the characters are cardboard figures the reader cares nothing about.
I can think of one single emotional moment in the whole books that gave characters other than Katniss the possibility to become relatable. One. 
It isn't terrible if a bunch of faceless, emotionless beings that don't even exist and, thus that I have no inclination to care about, die of starvation, or in a war, or if they suffer under the rule of a despotic government. They aren't real people, so it's not a tragedy. The key is that they have to seem real. I have to find out what makes them tick, I need to see them happy, I need to feel their despair  Then I'll care, then I'll feel enraged. And not a moment sooner.  
And I didn't care in "Catching Fire". At all. The movie was a lot better in this angle; I was constantly fighting back tears through scenes that were glossed over in the book: the reaping, the interviews... The novel never takes the time to breathe and show most of the moments that are emotionally challenging for the characters. The moments that are designed to make me care. 
I'll still give this books three stars, for the writing and for the pacing, but it barely deserves them.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Blogger Hop 19/12/2013

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted on the site Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.
Its purpose it to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new blogs, 
befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to their own blog. 

Each week bloggers answer a different question. This week's question is: what books do you want for Christmas? 
Well, nobody gives me books for Christmas anymore (mostly because I usually don't ask for specific gifts and gifting me with books is hard) so it's not a question I have asked myself in a while. If I had to choose, I'd ask for these books: 

"The Chaos of Stars" by Kiersten White, because it has such a pretty cover, as well as "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman, because it has such gorgeous drawings (that aren't nearly as good in the kindle version, sadly) are two books whose physical copy I'd love to get for Christmas. 

So, what books do you want for Christmas this year? 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

W... W... W... Wednesday 18/12/2013

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading
where you answer the following questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently read?
What will you be reading next?

What are you currently reading? I'm reading "The Shadowhunter's Codex" by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis. It's so cool, I love it! Yea, I am a complete shadowhunters nerd and I have no shame!

What did you recently read? "Catching Fire", it was about time I read it, so in honor of the film release, I finally pushed past the first few chapters. I'll post a review in the next couple of days.  

What will you be reading next? "The Naturals" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes has been on my TBR list for ages, and I really want to read "Chaos of Stars" by Kieresten White. 

So what's you WWW for this week? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: new to me authors of 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Brooke and the Bookish. This week's top ten was of authors that are new to me and whose books I read this year. 

10. Ingrid Paulson: I have mixed feelings about her novel, "Valkyrie Rising", but there definitely were some interesting aspects. 

9. A.C. Kavich: Her novel "The Twilight Swimmer" was really good. I'll have to keep an eye on her. 

8. Leah Rae Miller : I read her debut novel, "The Summer I Became a Nerd", which was pure fluff, but it was a lot of fun. I'll keep an eye on her for when I'm in the mood for some fluffy bit of chick lit. 

7. Michelle Diener: Her novel "Emperor's conspiracy" was one of the first books I read in 2013. Historical romance isn't usually my cup of tea, but I really loved this one.  

6. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: I read Le Fanu's "Carmilla" this summer and, I've got to say, it's one of the best vampire books I've ever read. He has written a lot of horror works, I'll check out some of them soon. 

5. Tom Holt: His fantasy novel "Expecting Someone Taller" was really good and hilarious. I want to read "Earth, Air, Fire and Custard" next. 

4. William Joyce: Lewis was right: a good children story has to be enjoyable for adults, too, and Joyce's "Guardians" was exactly that. The story was good, not dumbed-down and the artwork was gorgeous.  

3. Amy Spalding: Her contemporary YA novel, "The Reece Malcolm List" was an amazing read. Her second work, "Ink is Thicker Than Water" came out a couple of weeks ago and it's on my TBR list. 

2. Rainbow Rowell: It's not a mystery that I loved "Fangirl" and that "Eleanor and Park" was really good, so it's no wonder that Rowell is so high on this list. I have to read her debut novel, "Attachments", soon. 

1. Neil Gaiman: All right, I'm cheating. I read some of Gaiman's books before 2013. But I never realized how brilliant he was. I considered him an ok writer. So he did end up being the biggest author revelation of 2013 for me. 

So, what new authors did you find out about in 2013? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Quote-Tastic 16/12/2013

"Quote-Tastic" is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup . To participate you have to post a favorite quote from a current or past read.
This week's quote is from "Divergent" by Veronica Roth, which is a favorite read of mine. I just love this bit. 

I walk slowly around him. On his back is more ink than skin. The symbols of each faction are drawn there—Dauntless at the top of his spine, Abnegation just below it, and the other three, smaller, beneath them. For a few seconds I look at the scales that represent Candor, the eye that stands for Erudite, and the tree that symbolizes Amity. It makes sense that he would tattoo himself with the symbol of Dauntless, his refuge, and even the symbol of Abnegation, his place of origin, like I did. But the other three?

“I think we’ve made a mistake,” he says softly. “We’ve all started to put down the virtues of the other factions in the process of bolstering our own. I don’t want to do that. I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest.” He clears his throat. “I continually struggle with kindness.”

So, what are your favorite quotes this week? Let me know in the comments! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Quote-Tastic 09/12/2013

"Quote-Tastic" is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup . To participate you have to post a favorite quote from a current or past read.
This week I chose to quotes from "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins, which I read this weekend. It was quite dark, but there were a few funny moments, like these. 

Really, the combination of the scabs and the ointment looks hideous. I can't help enjoying his distress."Poor Finnick. Is this the first time in your life you haven't looked pretty?" I say."It must be. The sensation's completely new. How have you managed it all these years?" he asks."Just avoid mirrors. You'll forget about it," I say."Not if I keep looking at you," he says.”
“I'm going to wake Peeta," I say."No, wait," says Finnick. "Let's do it together. Put our faces right in front of his."Well, there's so little opportunity for fun left in my life, I agree. We position ourselves on either side of Peeta, lean over until our faces are inches frim his nose, and give him a shake. "Peeta. Peeta, wake up," I say in a soft, singsong voice.His eyelids flutter open and then he jumps like we've stabbed him. "Aa!"Finnick and I fall back in the sand, laughing our heads off. Every time we try to stop, we look at Peeta's attempt to maintain a disdainful expression and it sets us off again.”

Friday, December 6, 2013

Review: The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

I have a lot to say about this book. I think it's the one I like best in this series, the one I had more fun reading, the one that has some of the best moments. Interestingly, it's also the one who has the most things I don't like.
It's because in "House of Hades", Riordan took more risks than he did in the last few books, which were, admittedly, kind of bland. And risks sometimes pay off and sometimes they don't, but at the end of the day, risks need to be taken for something to be memorable. 
First things first: the humor. In this book, it touched some of its highest and lowest points. What I hated the most was Gale the farting polecat. 
I mean... really? That was a new low. 
The part with Nyx was brilliant. I actually laughed out loud, which I don't do much while reading, I usually just sort of grin if the scene is funny enough. And it's incredible it's in the same book as Gale. 
On the character development angle, this book was great. I especially liked what Riordan did with Nico. I'm not going to spoil what it is, but I thought that was great, and I'm really glad it was included, both because I think it's an important theme and because it was very well-done. 
I also liked Jason's character. He wasn't that interesting in the last few books, but in this one, both his conflict and his actions worked to make him more likable and relatable.
Annabeth and Percy's romance was very sweet but not cheesy or over-the-top, which it could easily have been, given the predicament they were in. 
Another love story I liked was Leo's. He and his love interest work very well as a couple and though they met and fell for each other quite fast, it didn't feel forced or overly dramatic. I hope to see more of them in the last book. 
The part set in Tartarus was really interesting, both because the stakes are higher than usual for the main characters, because they don't know what will happen to them if they die in the Pit, and because it rises a series of interesting questions about destiny, wether or not monsters are able to choose their role - and if the demigods were really justified in killing them. 
That, as well as other situations in the book, proves to be morally challenging for the heroes. I liked that side a lot - you don't see that very often, especially in middle grade level books. 
"House of Hades" was great, and I can hardly wait for the sequel to come out. 


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

W... W... W... Wednesdays 04/12/13

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading
where you answer the following questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently read?
What will you be reading next?

What are you currently reading? I'm reading "The Shadowhunter's Codex" by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis.

What did you recently read? I finished "The House of Hades" by Rick Riordan yesterday. I think that out of Heroes of Olympus, this book is my favorite, and I'll post a review of it soon 

What will you be reading next? "The Naturals" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I want to check out "Adamant" by Kieran Wisser, mostly because I'm on a mythology withdrawal now that I'm done with "Heroes of Olympus", and this book sounded fun. 

So what's you WWW for this week? Post the link in the comments or, if you don't have a blog, answer directly in the comments!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Teaser Tuesday 03/12/13

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted on Should Be Reading.
If you want to join in, you have to:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This is my first week *waves awkwardly* and the teaser is from "The House of Hades" by Rick Riordan.

Oh, did you expect me to play fair? Cupid laughed. I am the god of love. I am never fair. 
(48% on Kindle) 
So, what are your teasers for this week? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Review: The Twilight Swimmer by A.C. Kavich

*I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion*

I really enjoyed this book. I have read so many paranormal romances, I didn't think one would be able to surprise me that much, but this one definitely did. 

I love how Kavich worked around the typical paranormal romance tropes, for example when the Swimmer watches Brandy at night and she finds out. She reacts like pretty much any human being would in that situation: she freaks out and she yells at him, even though he didn't know that something like that was socially unacceptable. 
Also, I loved the way their love story unfolds: it felt quite natural and there were some really sweet moments that didn't get too cheesy. 
I also enjoyed the way the love square was handled and resolved. I usually hate love squares - I mean, I can take love triangles, but love squares is just pushing it. This one didn't bother me because it wasn't presented as though three guys suddenly felt some great and tragic love for the same girl. The human boys just seemed to have the hots for her and were trying to get a date, which is a lot more realistic. The way it was resolved was also great, but I won't give anything more away on that front.  
There were some things I didn't like that much, though. First off, I would have liked the see a bit more of exploration on the mystery angle, so as to create a bit more tension on that side.
Then, I don't really like the way Brandy's mother was handled: she felt really one-dimensional, I would be interested in seeing some development on her and her relationship with her children.
Thirdly, Brandy's anorexia wasn't handled that well - or at all. Anorexia is an important issue and it's also important to handle it well. It's not resolved (or at least, it didn't feel like it was), it's never explored and Brandy does not suffer any consequences from it. If she really ate so little she should be physically very weak and unable to do the sort of stuff she keeps doing throughout the book.
That being said, the good aspects outweighed the bad and I definitely recommend it, especially if you're tired paranormal romance novels that are all basically the same. 

★★★ 1/2
Source for the cover image: Goodreads