May 23, 2009

Rick Riordan: The Titan's Curse

I had been avoiding reading this one but with good intentions. It wasn't that I thought it would be a bad book. Contraire to that, I expected quite the reverse. I knew the arrival of book five was around the corner, and was fully aware that upon reading one book a reader wants to sweep up the rest of this series to read right away. I should know that especially well since I had already read books one and two. (Follow this link to read what I had to say about the previous book in this series, The Sea of Monsters.)

My waiting was all due to wanting to keep my books in the same edition, paperback. I was shopping one day, and not in a bookstore, when I was shocked to see book four. I had thought it wasn't published yet. I bought it. I still didn't read it, however, nor this book. Book five was released at last, and though in hardcover, a bunch of my friends were talking about the series as they read it and I had a moment of weakness. I bought it. I'd like to think that I was already reading The Titan's Curse by then but I can't be sure.

This book was action packed and had me laughing out loud. I haven't heard of anyone who doesn't enjoy this series and found myself to be the most critical of book one, The Lighting Thief. I know the true reason for it had just been that I hadn't had the time to really read so I became uninterested as I spent too long on the book. Now I really wish I had gone back and reread the beginning of the series, not for the matter of missing anything, but for the enjoyment.

The true audience age is for people younger than myself and so I wonder about people out there who might think it silly or an unenlightening read. Being completely honest, knowing the myths already is very entertaining and enjoyable in itself. There are still surprises and everything else a good book has. It just lets you be in on some little things the intended readers may not know about even after finishing the books, which are things that had me laughing myself as I said before.

May 22, 2009

Charlaine Harris: Dead Until Dark

I was in the midst of my previous read book when one of my sisters made me pinkie swear to read Dead Until Dark next. She has not discovered LibraryThing yet and the incredible feeling of finding a great amount of people who enjoy the very same books as you. This has made her eager to make fans of the series out friends and family. I remember those dreadful days hoping someone even liked the same genre as me, or read books at all. My sister has been quite happy since I picked up this book. I was halfway through it when she became happier, though.

She won. My sister did the happy dance. I am a new fan to this series, or at least for now the first book. I enjoyed it enough that I had to go out and buy the second one, Living Dead in Dallas, when I was just halfway into Dead Until Dark. I had been having trouble reading lately but put everything on hold to read this book. I have been exhausted and low on sleep even but I read until long past dark and closer to the morning hours one night until the very last page was read. Do not ask me what was said on the very last page. I was far too sleepy to be able to remember. I simply remember feeling this was a very good book and that I was glad to have a copy of book two on my shelves already.

I watch very little television, do not have cable, direct TV, or a sort of box for my tv set. This means I have not seen the "True Blood" tv series, either. One of my sister's and my summer plans is to watch it on dvd.

I had a discussion earlier in the week with yet another family member reading this book about what genre it belongs in. Because of the vampires one might want to place it in fantasy. The person I was discussing this with felt the genre well-suited for this book but as someone whose read fantasy and enjoys it, I disagreed. My reasoning was that it just didn't feel like fantasy. I explained to the person that I certainly wouldn't tag it as that on LibraryThing. I tagged it as fiction because it had more of a fiction ring to it. It was more mainstream. The best genre I could use to describe this book is mystery, an actual sub-division, but the best none the less. Opinions?

May 21, 2009

Joanne Harris: Chocolat

This book came with the recommendation of friends. Unfortunately I managed to get a hold of the dvd before the book. I watched the movie in February and read the book in May. Though there will always be differences between books and movies based on them, each was enjoyable.

I was busy when reading the book and so spent over a week reading it, not a good thing for me. I don't care to spend more than a week on a single book. Sometimes that sort of thing takes my attention and so partially my interest from even good books. However, upon finishing it I really wanted to read the book which follows Chocolat, titled Girl with No Shadow. Never mind that I had been busy, Chocolat (the book, not the sweet) held on and demanded to be read (ah, I told you it was the book). Now picture having the free time to read without end. I could see myself reading this book front to cover without stopping but for short reading breaks.

I oddly felt at times that I wished the book would follow the movie, strange of one addicted to books, but at other times wished the movie had followed the book. I did as predicted however, come to enjoy the book more.

As for those chocolate rumors, I think it's far easier to read this book without chocolate than to watch the movie without chocolate. Just don't read it on an empty stomach - nothing will satisfy your sweet tooth.

May 19, 2009

TBR Tuesday

I have not one but two books I would like to talk about in this post today. First, however, I must talk about another, or more like a series from an author not of either book.

My mother worked in a medical clinic through my late teens. Many books went by in that clinic but one stood out to her from the rest. It was Charles de Lint's The Onion Girl, and with an unforgettable cover like that, who could have blamed her. Such a vast amount of patients had the book and all had very good things to say about it. With me at the time whining that there weren't any good books to read since I didn't read books beyond my five top authors in those days, my mother decided she had a new author for me: Charles de Lint.

We were poor and not a single copy of The Onion Girl could be found in the only bookstore we could afford, a used bookstore. She had me look at other books from the author, we discovered many of them were in a series, and learned the order of the books. I grudgingly began reading the books in the best order a used book store could provide, planning to get to The Onion Girl when a copy could be found.

I found myself addicted to the Newford series and still have fond memories for the books. Years passed by while I still held in my head a quote from one of the first books which recommended two books, one of which I never could find, and the other title which went forgotten.

2009. Seven years later. I went book shopping with some friends in a different used book store and found a copy of the remembered title, John Crowley's Little, Big. I couldn't speak at first. I half thought I would never find a copy. I always wondered how good it must be that it's so hard to get a copy, or how poor was the book that enough requests weren't in for a new publication of it. I guess I'll find out! However, I'm thrilled to be able to read it.

With this blog post I had to drag out a copy of my book with that seven-year remembered quote recommending two fantasy books. (This book is called Dreams Underfoot, should anyone wonder.) I almost dropped the book when I saw the other title, then scrambled to another bookshelf to remove a book: Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale. I was with one of those very same friends the day I bought it, a recommendation by her. Of course, Little, Big has been strongly recommended by her as well. I know who my fantasy person is whenever I look for something new to read in the genre. Many thanks to her for helping me acquire copies of these two books!

Now for that quote taken from the back cover of Dreams Underfoot.

"Like Mark Helprin's A Winter's Tale and John Crowley's Little, Big, Dreams Underfoot is a must-read book not only for fans of urban myth but for all who seek magic in everyday life." (Source not provided.)

May 12, 2009

Daniel Klein: The History of Now

Without reading the inside jacket of this book I can see that one might wonder if this is a piece of fiction or nonfiction. Or at least, I had wondered. If we were book shopping when we first see it, that would immediately give it away because it would most likely be shelved by genre. However, for me it was not. I chose this book based on a friend's review and as a group read, and ordered it online.

I received the book a while before I got to it but avoided the inside jacket to not give a single detail away. Admittedly as I first began reading I was surprised how the past was gone through. With a cleverly crafted title such as A History Now there is difficulty in predicting where the story might settle. The author went on to give further interesting names of things but I dare not give them away.

As Klein twisted the past with the present as well as the lives of different people together I eagerly waited for it all to tie in. I found myself unwilling to set the book down but to read through the entire day. It had me glued to it's pages and I must say that I really enjoyed it.

Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan: The Strain

I have never seen Pan's Labyrinth so it is my thought that I could not fully appreciate receiving an advanced readers copy of a book co-written by Guillermo del Toro as well as others may. It's a movie which often caught my curiosity but has greatly more since my reading of this book.

The Strain is the first book in a trilogy which starts out as being set in New York. I loved this. Reading about a place I have been was amazing and though del Toro and Hogan describe the setting to a 'T' the story was further exciting to me throughout the book because of this. I knew all about, for example, those rats, which I could only nod along to as I read. Do not misjudge me and think I feel the subject of rats exciting. They terrify me. Perhaps having been to New York and seen the rats saved me from going over the edge in my reading of this book. The Strain was quite the frightening story.

It all began with a grandmother's rather chilling tale to her grandson. I could not believe what I was reading. I was impressed. I was also worried. The Strain could only after all become scarier. Scarier it much became and I found myself thinking of what had before my reading of this book been the scariest book I had ever read.

Stephen King's A Bag of Bones may not be that scary to some but it had been enough that aside from reading Different Seasons I had put a black pen to the author's name in a mental note to myself to never read his books again. The Strain went past that but unlike A Bag of Bones, I was glued and the book had me unable to stop reading. I was unable, even, to not wish I had not so very long to wait for the book that would follow this.

The Strain terrified me so that I could not sit in a lit room without an open door. I could not read without my cats jumping onto my lap or poking their heads up from where their bodies were hidden below making me scream. I could not sleep for fear of monsters. I finished reading this book feeling it was the ultimate scary book. Never have I read a vampire book as half as frightening as this one.

Bravo, del Toro and Hogan! I cannot wait for the next one. I passed along my copy of The Strain to a friend who enjoys scary books and movies like none other I know. I await their call and hearing of their trouble sleeping at night.

May 11, 2009

Stephenie Meyer: Breaking Dawn

This was my first reread of this book. Be warned for spoilers below! I encourage no more reading beyond this point if you have not read Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. Below is the review I wrote for Breaking Dawn on

Cinderella’s godmother was certainly very busy on the night of August 1st. There wasn’t a ball, but there were many parties and prom dresses. Even immortal creatures were in attendance. Some required chaperones and some did not. The strike of midnight meant something only a book lover could scream about. It wasn’t for the possibly hungry vampires on the loose, and there wasn’t a single angry young werewolf in sight. It was for the release of a new book.

I picked up the first book only a year ago as a gift from one of my friends. She crossed her fingers and I began to read. Hour after hour slipped by and there was no sleep. The book was a success, a brilliant suggestion which gave me the full dose of what causes the Twilight series addiction. Once infected, you can only keep reading the books to quench your thirst, each time wanting more. You quickly reach the point of which you are left with nothing but rereads of the series. There is always the option of searching for other books related to these, but the end result is always to have them turn out to be far less satisfying. It’s a cruel world, I know. We must thank Stephenie Meyer for not only having provided us with this dazzling and stunning series but for filling our thirsts again.

It all started with Twilight, a human girl and a vampire. We followed Bella Swan from Phoenix, AZ, to Forks, WA, trips of two sorts always occurring, always to return home to Forks again (where she still manages to have trips without even leaving her home). There are always forks. They diverge our veins just as they diverge our roads and paths. The new paths are set for whichever trails will be taken, though no others have been there before. At least, not this time.

The joyful sound of wedding bells had been in the works to be rung where we last left off. Edward had held a question, to bite or not to bite, and the answer came with a promise between him and Bella. They would become husband and wife. Bella would become a member of the Cullen family in not just the one way but in two. She would become a vampire.

Change is in the air. New things are thrown into the mixes that are thought never to have been an issue in the past. Meyer will surprise you as she did me with shocking and astonishing discoveries to be made. Many were the very last things I was expecting. Bella’s typical human forewarning dreams and Alice’s premonitions give warning to the future that comes but even they can’t quite tell you everything. There is a rearrangement of allies and friendships. New love lurks nearer, but also danger and stronger than ever before. A whole new level of it approaches with the arrival of something different and strange. Some will find it positively terrifying while others fear greater by what the arrival of it will bring forth. This is all caused by something that threatens each and every one of those who are dear to Bella, including herself. Do love and immortality last forever?

May 10, 2009

Catherine Hardwicke: Twilight Director's Notebook

The full title of this book is Twilight Director's Notebook: The Story of How We Made the Movie Based on the Novel by Stephenie Meyer. This is a book I had walked by those days or even weeks before the Twilight dvd release without much thought of getting it. What really sparked my interest in it was hearing about The Twilight Director's Notebook from, yes, a thirteen-year-old Twilight fan. I listened to them rave about their copy of this book and thought about the extra possibly two week wait I would face to receive my copy of the Borders exclusive Twilight dvd. I decided this would be how I would keep sane the night of the midnight dvd release: I would read this book in my empty house while stores everywhere would be flooded with teens and some not-really-teens-but-fans-all-the-same of the ever popular Twilight series. My very sister was one of those people, and 101 Things to Do in WalMart sheet in her hands, I bidded her well and secretly hoped she would be up to not much trouble.

A first thought on opening this book was of the battered shape the Twilight movie director's paperback copy of Twilight was in. I spent a while thinking about how her copy, which seemed to have even fallen apart in places, wasn't in bad or horrible shape at all. It was well digested. It had to have been read more times in places than any Twilight fan could claim to have read themselves, for the author of this book (and director of the Twilight movie) needed to have gone over many parts thinking of exactly how she would interpret scenes for the movie. Originally horrified, I admired the condition of Hardwicke's copy of Twilight before turning past the page she had a photo of her copy on.

I enjoyed reading the layout page titled "What's in her bag?" I also admired the paintings featured that were done by Hardwicke's sister. There was many a story board in this book and I really loved getting to see them. The artists as well as Hardwicke did amazing jobs. Best of all was of course learning those behind-the-scenes kind of thing that we couldn't really learn about until at least watching that part of the Twilight dvd. In fact, there was even much which this book taught me that sitting through all the special features and such did not teach me. Reading this book made the Twilight movie new to me in the sense that I was looking for all the things I hadn't known before that I had missed seeing the movie the one time I went to see it in theaters. It shows readers just how much went into the movie and leaves them further impressed.

May 9, 2009

The Disappearance of Books

I have missed a great many book posts, or so a part of me wishes it had been. The truth is that for the last - month in a half? - that I have not posted here, I have read a mere seven books. Sometimes life gets in the way and not simply from blogging but from reading as well. Hopefully that will be the only time this year. I neglected this blog longer than I would have liked to, but my neglection for my books felt to be far worse.

The good news is I have purchased very few books up until six days ago. I went on a book shopping trip with some friends and purchased two books for myself as well as one as a gift to one of my sisters. It seems to have made the book buying habit begin to go out of control once more. For example I have only read the first two books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series but bought book five at thirty percent off this week. Why did I buy book five if I have not read beyond book two? Because I already own copies of books three and four, and there was the sale, naturally. There was a good intention in mind, however, to speed through the series and give my copy of book five over to the first of my friends to request it. I prefer to keep the copies of my books in the same edition, and with this series in paperback, so my only intention in reading book five in hardcover was to not be out of the loop.

From where I left off on blogging last, these are my....

March reads:
Patricia Mccormick: Cut
Catherine Hardwicke: Twilight Director's Notebook: The Story of How We Made the Movie Based on the Novel.

April reads:
Stephenie Meyer: Breaking Dawn*
Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan: The Strain**
Daniel Klein: The History of Now

May reads:
Joanne Harris: Chocolat
Charlaine Harris: Dead Until Dark

(* = reread)
(** = Advanced Reader's Copy)

To many more books, and many more posts! I will post about each book through the week which I've missed posting about here.