Sunday, March 25, 2012

Game of Thrones!

Yesterday, I finally finished Game of Thrones, so that can finally be crossed off the list of books lingering from last year. I really enjoyed it, so I have no particularly good excuse for why I kept putting it down. The motivation that finally got me to finish was that season 2 of the show starts next week; now that I've finished the book, I've started watching season 1, and I'm hoping to read the second book this week.

I've also decided to take The Warden off the list, because it's been so long since I made real progress on it that my memory is getting hazy and I'll probably just start it over some point. So, new goal: Finish those other two in April.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

REVIEW: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

I heard people rave about The Thief for years, and I kept meaning to read it, really. But I got it out of the library once or twice, read the first few pages, and just wasn't feeling it. I finally decided that that was ridiculous, that this time I was pushing through no matter what - it's just over 200 pages! - and let me tell you, I am so glad I did. Its slightly slow beginning notwithstanding, this is an astounding novel. It's about a thief named Gen who is taken out of prison to go on an Epic Quest with the king's magus to steal something on behalf of the king . . . and actually, I'm going to stop there. I thought the book had slightly less of an impact than it otherwise might have just because of some things I'd read in reviews, so I don't want to risk ruining that for anyone else. Let me just say that the writing was lovely, the plot was impressively well-constructed, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

First Thoughts: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

As is my usual practice, I will be waiting until closer to Unspoken's release date in September to post my full review, but I read the ARC from NetGalley this week, so I thought I'd mention. This book was completely delightful. I laughed, I cried, I sent the author irrational emails in the middle of the night calling her horrible names . . . but in a good way! Because she created these characters and made me care about them so much and then messed up their lives in such deviously brilliant, awful, perfect ways . . .

Well, let me back up. In case you have not heard, Unspoken is the first in the Lynburn Legacy series about an awesome girl reporter, her imaginary friend who just might be a real boy, and their friends(...ish), banding together to figure out what they heck is happening in their sleepy little British village and how they and their families are involved in it. There's mystery and suspense and magic and romance and family secrets and friendship and a Gothic manor and creepy woods and a no-nonsense heroine and a hero with All The Feelings and basically everything you could want in a book. September 11! Order it now! Or, really, don't worry, I will remind you!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Still alive! Still reading!

Hello! Sorry for the radio silence. Here's what happened...

I was concentrating almost exclusively on The Game of Thrones, because the second season starts soon and I need to catch up. And I'm really enjoying it, and making slow but steady progress.

But then it looked like someone might have a hold on Why We Broke Up that wouldn't let me renew it, so I decided to read that first. But then renewing it worked. So I'm reading both.

But then I needed something to read on the train, and both of those were way too heavy to carry around the city all day, so I started Robin McKinley's Sunshine. And now I'm kind of more into that than the others, at least for the moment.

And I still have bookmarks in the books listed in the sidebar, too.

I will finish at least two of these books by this weekend. I promise.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

REVIEW: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

When you hear that Jennifer Castle's The Beginning of After is about a girl whose parents and little brother die in a car crash, you might think that it sounds a lot like If I Stay. But let me clear that up - though a few very basic facts of the premise are similar, this is a completely different book, both in tone and content. This one is focused on how Laurel starts to pick up the pieces and figure out what she can and should do with her life once her family is gone, and how her relationships change with the people who are left, including her best friend, her grandmother, her crush, and the bad-boy neighbor whose family is also involved in the tragedy. Castle also does a great job of showing how people's attitudes toward Laurel change, both individually and as a community, as she becomes instantly notorious as The Girl Whose Family Died. There was a little less romance than I expected based on some reviews I'd read, but that was actually completely fine, as it made sense for that to be on a back burner for Laurel given the circumstances. And the ending was satisfying and hopeful without being too sentimental or pat. This was an absorbing, haunting read. Highly recommended.

Monday, February 13, 2012

REVIEW: Tris and Izzie

I picked up Mette Ivie Harrison's Tris and Izzie because I'm a sucker for anything Arthurian, but honestly, this one didn't really do it for me. As the title implies, it's a retelling of Tristan and Isolde, which has never really been one of my favorites, I guess. But in this version, I didn't like EITHER of the main characters - Izzie was pretty obnoxious, and Tristan just didn't have any discernible personality. So it made it hard to be particularly invested in their story. The descriptions were good, and there was a lot of action, but the dialogue was stilted and didn't sound like any teenager I've ever met. And I wasn't wild about how drastically the ending was changed, but I guess, as Harrison mentions in her afterword, today's market demanded it. All in all, if you're looking for an Arthurian story set at a modern American high school, I'd go with Meg Cabot's Avalon High instead.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Book of Blood & Shadow

Robin Wasserman's The Book of Blood and Shadow isn't out in the States yet, so I'm saving my full review for release week, but in the interest of recording each book I finish this year, let me just say: Oh my gosh I loved this book. And I loved it even aside from the fact that translating Latin played a big role in the plot, and really, I'm the sort of person who would happily read a novel that was just about translating Latin. But this also had mystery (which I always want more of in YA) and romance and centuries-old secrets and an extremely good portrayal of grief. I can't wait for you all to read it.