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Archive for February, 2012

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Posted by Caitie F on February 28, 2012

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Hardcover: 485 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon and Schuster imprint)
Pub Date: March 27,2007
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Review

This is another series that has been on my to-read list for a pretty long time. When a colleague was cleaning off her desk and asked if I wanted to have the first three books, I said yes. One day during my lunch break, I forgot to bring my current book so I picked this up. Two days later I was done.

It was good. Almost great. But it was not quite great for a couple of reasons. There were points when I could tell reveals were supposed to be shocking and crazy…but I had figured it out a chapter or two before. Or one of them I figured out ⅓ of the way through and it wasn’t revealed until there were less than 100 pages left. So that was disappointing.

There was also a lot of exposition…which is only a half bad thing. When learning about a new world, I get that the reader has to be told the backstory. And at least the main character was learning right along with us. And it was interesting and exciting exposition…but it still slowed the book down a little. I honestly don’t know how it could have been done any other way, but the amount was very noticeable.

But enough about the bad. Let’s talk about the good. It isn’t about vampires…but there are vampires! It isn’t about werewolves, but there are amazing werewolves! There are fairies, demons, and most importantly, Shadowhunters. And for the most part, they live in relative harmony (except for the demons who the Shadowhunters are killing). But there is this really bad and evil guy. I mean REALLY evil. Like Voldemort levels of evil. He wants to commit genocide on all Underworld creatures. And kill human children while trying to see if they can be made Shadowhunters.

So he is really bad and makes a completely amazing villain! He also has secrets! That I didn’t completely figure out!

There is also a totally cute potential romance that made me all kinds of happy and sad. Also, one that is unintentionally icky. When it is going on it is fun and awesome, but by the end of the book…not so much. I look forward to seeing how they deal with it!

So, the long story short, check out this book if you haven’t yet. It is fantastic and fun. Clare is a really great writer and I can’t wait to start the next one…right now.

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Posted by Caitie F on February 26, 2012

Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Softcover: 372 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date: July 3, 2002
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say?

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

There is a heaven that’s calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive — and then some. But Susie isn’t ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part

Review:

This book has literally been on my shelf for years. I have wanted to read it since I bought it, but for some reason I was never in the mood. I found the sudden urge to read it and I wish I had done it sooner.

There was so much hype around this book and it seemed like it could never live up to it. But somehow it did. The writing is absolutely beautiful. There were sentences that I would read more than once since they were so moving and perfectly written.

The story broke my heart, which I knew it would. Yet it was so well formulated and told with such great pacing that i never felt the sadness of it all, I felt the suspense and the beauty instead of the grief.

Though at the same time, the grief was also one of the most realistic portrayals I have seen. I know some people that have lost a child and they went through similar emotions and situations. It is not something that you can ever get over and Sebold showed that completely and in a way unlike any I have seen.

It is a great book to get lost in. I kept trying to read just one more chapter and 50 pages later, finally put it down to do other things. It was so easy to be invested in the characters and their needs and wants that it was hard to come back to my own.

This may be one of those perfect books. There was nothing to dislike. Nothing that bugged me or felt like it wasn’t good enough. It was just amazing and my own words can’t describe the beauty of this book.

Did you read it way back when every one else read it? What did you think? I look forward to bumping the movie to the top of my Netflix queue!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Posted by Caitie F on February 15, 2012

Title: The Invention of Hugo Cabret  
Author: Brian Selznick
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub Date: March 1, 2007
Rating:  ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery

Review;
After seeing the wonderful movie, I had to read the book.

And the book did not disappoint. Getting to see the visuals in the graphic novel portion was really amazing. The art is wonderful and is a great addition to the story and enhances it so well. I don’t think this could usually work, but it did here.

The writing is great and it is a really enjoyable story. The characters are adorable and so much fun!

I have to say, I think the movie made have been better. Isabella was more likable and being able to see the movies really enhanced the entire story.

It is a fun book and a great movie, so you should go read and see it! I usually don’t really see why something gets the Caldecott, but this book it just made sense. It was a beautiful, creative book that can be enjoyed by all!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

TSS: Changing Reading Habits

Posted by Caitie F on February 12, 2012

I hope everyone has had a nice weekend. On Thursday I left work early because my eye was bothering. Went to eye doctor and I have a cornea infection. I have been doing drops and have only worn my contact two hours all weekend (right now in fact). So there has been a lot of sitting around and stitching and “watching” TV I don’t need to see (aka Star Trek Next Generation). Not much reading I can see close up, but the bright lights I need hurt my eye. My main test for if I could work tomorrow was when I could put the contact in tonight if I could handle the light sensitivity. I went only 25 minutes on my computer and then it hurt. Add in the fluorescent lights at work and I would be useless. Staying home tomorrow for one more day of healing and seeing doctor. If it doesn’t get better, I will be contact-less at work on Tuesday.

But that is not how my reading habits have changed. I have only read two books for pleasure this year. The other 6 books I read were all for work. I am not complaining, I get to read books for work and get to read books that are very different from what I normally read. But it has taken away from my pleasure reading and I miss it. I am trying to increase my reading in general.

That does means changes to this blog. I schedule a lot of posts months in advance  since I am reading for work (I have a review scheduled for September already!). I am reviewing many different types of books and more literary books. So posts will be much more sporadic.

There will also be more non-books or editorial posts.

I will get used to it and I hope my reading picks up…my to-read list is so long and I want to get to it!

How do you deal with having to change your habits? Any tips?

Posted in Misc | 2 Comments »

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Posted by Caitie F on February 5, 2012

Title: A Clash of Kings
Author: George R. R. Martin
Mass Market Paperback:  969 pages (actual story)
Publisher: Bamtam Books (Random House)
Year Published: 1996
Rating: ++++

Don’t read past here if you don’t want spoilers from the first book!

Summary from goodreads:

A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night.

Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

Review:

Well I loved A Game of Thrones and was very excited to read this before season two of the TV show starts. This book did not disappoint at all. In fact, I think it was even better than the first.

My opinions of characters are changing already and I have heard that this will continue. Sansa grew up. She was so much stronger and smarter than before. Her innocence is still there, but she is seeing the world as it is, not as the songs made her believe. She was my least favorite character in the first book. She is no where near my favorite now, but she has moved up quite a bit.

Daenerys was actually a disappointment this book. I looked forward to her chapters in the first, but (except for once chapter) I was bored and didn’t really care when her story was told. It didn’t have the strength and wonder of the first book. I am hoping this will change in the future since she was such a strong character in the first book.

My favorites are still Jon and Arya though. They still rocked and I love how they are developing. Actually, I love how everyone is developing. I never felt like certain characters were getting shortchanged in this book. I odn’t know how Martin does it, but it is brilliant.

There wasn’t quite as much over-describing in this book (though there was still some). Even more, I still had no idea what was happening in the huge battle scenes. I read them a couple times, then just figured I would figure it all out when the battle was over.

This was still fantastic. I am going to take an Ice and Fire break though because I would like to read more than one book not for work this month! I look forward to watching the first season when it comes out on DVD in March then watching Season Two in April.

Scene from Clash of Kings I am most excited to see: How they do the huge battle. It was massively awesome. I worry that they won’t show it because it seems like it would also be massively expensive. Yet I want to see that  chain!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

The Worst Idea for BEA…

Posted by Caitie F on February 4, 2012

Yesterday I was busy and work and got Pulishers Lunch in my email. I read it daily and usually there is nothing I see as important enough to share. Except yesterday there was a possibility for BEA 2013 that had our entire office talking.

First, they are thinking about making it run Thursday to Saturday. So, first bad idea. Everyone would have to work the weekend. But many people couldn’t.wouldn’t want to which would mean that all the industry types would need to hold all their meetings and do all their work in two days.

They claim it would be easier for booksellers and librarians to make it on a Saturday. What? Really? Last I checked, both bookstore and libraries are not only open on Saturday, but tend to have even more events and traffic on the weekends. So how does this help them?

Which comes to the bigger and worse part of what they are looking at. They are considering making that last day open to the public.

Take time and rad that last sentence again. Open to anyone. Their thought is that the can make it like Comic Con and let everyone see what their favorite authors are up to, hold more events, and see how publishing works!

This is a bad idea for so many reasons.

First, the difference between Thursday/Friday and Saturday would be so colossal that everyone would spend Friday transferring their booths to be public-friendly. The difference between what you want to show people who understand the business (booksellers, librarians, and even bloggers) and how you publicize and push things to the public are not the same at all.

Second, if you think bloggers (and librarians too) can be grabby, how do you think the public will act when offered free books? I got hit with a bag last year over a book…and regular people would be so much work. As bloggers know, ARCs are illegal to sell. From what I have seen, bloggers do not sell them. The public will, especially any medium to large name. That isn’t good.

Also, there is a reason the public doesn’t get to see them. Industry-types understand that it is uncorrected. They don’t review or criticize based on the issues that will be fixed. The public may not get this and that kind of thing will hurt authors.

The more author events may be interesting, but during BEA there are events open to the public all around New York City. The bookstores all have many events, the libraries host things, and authors are everywhere. If they want to hold more events, they can, but events in BEA and outside are also different because there are different audiences.

Finally, BEA is nothing like Comic Con. At all. BEA is for the industry to make it easier to promote books to the people who work with publishers to increase sales. Promoting to the public is completely f=different. If they want to have a convention for that, great. But it needs to be completely separate.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in BEA, Editorial | Tagged: | 3 Comments »