Tagged: books

I’ve gone over to the dark side.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 -- 11:45 pm

Well no, that's not really true.  It's not so much as the "dark" side as the "less tangibly pleasing, however much more convenient at times" side, and by that what I really mean to say is that I got a Kobo Glo e-reader for Christmas from Husband and I sort of. . . really quite like it.  :x

Come to the dark side, we have cookies! (And "Seraphina" for only $3.99!)

True, the process of equiping the e-reader to borrow library books is frustrating and overly complicated, and the selection of books actually offered through the library due to either publisher availability or ridiculous lending restrictions is depressingly limited.  I miss holding up a book up after every reading session and comparing the satisfying thicknesses of paper on either side to see how far I've read.  And I will always prefer the tactile experience of a paper book and love the look of them all lined up on my bookshelf with their differently colored and sizes of spines.

On the other hand. . . my Kobo freaking glows.  The built-in adjustable booklight is possibly the most awesome thing to happen to my reading experience since Harry Potter (or perhaps those rad moving hologram bookmarks we all had as kids.  Those are wild.)  I love being able to read in bed again late at night~  There is also the undeniable perk of being able to tote around the content of a giant hardcover novel in nothing more than the size of a small paperback that easily slips into my purse and doesn't dislocate my shoulder, not to mention the concept of going on vacation without reserving half of my luggage space just for books.

I hemmed and hawed for a long time about whether I wanted an e-reader or not, and to satisfy both of the obnoxious little bookworm-ish angels on my shoulders now that I have one I've decided to compromise and continue reading both print and e-books depending on library availability and physical size/practicality.  When it comes to purchasing must-have books for my personal collection though, print is still a must, even if it means buying secondary copies.  *Puts foot down.  FOOT IS DOWN, ARMS ARE CROSSED, STERN FACE ENGAGED.*

Oh, and on a slightly unrelated note, for Christmas I also got this:

I don't think I've ever held 10 lbs of chocolate in my hands before.  It weighs more than our dog.  I've been driving it around to all of our assorted holiday get-togethers to share, and between two family dinners, one UFC fight night, and one New Years Eve gathering, I think we've only been able to finish off three pieces.  I have so much glorious chocolate in my house right now from the past week that it might very well last me until 2014.  Maybe.

March: In like a lamb, out like… uh, a different lamb.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 -- 7:54 pm

Poor March, no blog post for you.

Sorry for the long absence.  I'm not what really happened to March, it sort of just slipped in and then slipped right back out again like very sneaky, early spring ninja with nothing much of note to show for it other than my SHINY NEW iMAC OMG!  Yes, for anyone who has some how missed my fangirlish squeeing last month, I finally bit the bullet and retired my faithful old 2006 computer and its perpetual spinny beach ball of doom for the newest sleek model, complete with OS X Lion *rawr*.  It's fantastic to once again be able to run more than one program at the same time without my computer sputtering and coughing and wheezing like a 102-year-old man with asthma.

*Pats computer adoringly and spoils it with treats when no one is looking -- which really consists of force feeding Ghirardelli chocolates into its super drive while making disgusting cooing noises at it, and then a month later looking perplexed and distraught when her new computer dies on her without warning and only the curious, smoking smell of burning chocolate trailing from the CD slot.*

So April is here and with it promises a month full of exciting shinies~  Not only does it herald:

  1. the end of my first year of school (huzzuh!  Rejoice!  I get my life back!  ...Or at least I do for a couple of weeks before I start my two online spring classes... =_=;)
  2. my birthday (once again I am at a complete loss with remembering how old I'm turning unless I take the time to actually do the math, so I'm just going to refer to it as my 20-something birthday)

but it also marks...

  1. the start of the second season of Game of Thrones!  *Squee squee squee!*  I MUST FIND A TEAM TYRION SHIRT.
  2. the premiere of the new Avatar series, Legend of Korra!  *Even more fangirly squee-age!*
  3. the official (and long-awaited) Guild Wars 2 pre-order event (which just happens to fall on the same day as my birthday.  You can bet that the avid gamers in my life are far more excited for April 10th to arrive for this reason alone than they are for my birthday.)

And oh, I'm also going on a fabulous road trip this month to the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo!  Oh yeah, and did I mention that James Marsters and Patrick Stewart are going to be there?  And Stan Lee?  And Adam West?  And Wil Wheaton?  And hey, the rest of the entire Star Trek: Generations main cast (which conveniently is also half of the cast from Disney's Gargoyles, which I'm an even bigger fan of than Star Trek.)  This is going to be fabulously NERD-TACULAR.  :B

While we're down there we're going to visit the Calgary Zoo too, which I'm also excited about because I've heard it's awesome and I've never had the chance to go.  It seems like every time anyone I know plans a Calgary Zoo day trip, I'm always left behind.  (This makes Brenna a sad panda. A sad, adorable RED PANDA which I will see AT THE ZOO.)

*Glee!*

Also, for anyone who's the least bit interested, I've added a new Twitter account (in addition to my personal one) that will be mostly centered around library and book/reading-related stuff that I find around the web and think is interesting.  I've set up an adjoining Tumblr account along the same theme.  FOLLOW ME AND LEARN LIBRARY-RELATED THINGS.  Or just laugh at amusing items like this.  That's cool too.

In which I shamelessly fangasm all over the “Song of Ice and Fire” series.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 -- 10:39 pm

It's been months since I last did a book recap, and in that time, many books have been read!  I haven't finished writing them all up yet, so I figured I'd pull the ol' "post some now and finish the rest later when you're not so lazy" deal.  God, I suck at this.

  • Taliesin (The Pendragon Cycle, #1) by Stephen R. Lawhead
    A retelling of the Arthur Pendragon and Merlin legend, this first book in the series is the first I've read that delves deep into Merlin's parents, their lineage, and the events that unfold to bring about the conception of the great wizard.  It was interesting in the sense that this version weaves the mythos of the lost city of Atlantis and its mysterious destruction in with the famous Arthurian saga, but if you're only in it for the Arthurian side of things then it's a rather disappointing start to the series; don't expect Merlin or Arthur to be popping up in any significant way here yet.  I struggled to connect with the characters and plot in this book, and while the story was decent, I found myself wishing I could just skip over it and get to the good stuff later on in the series with characters I actually recognized and cared about.  3/5
  • Be Ready When the Shit Goes Down by Forrest Griffin
    Sometimes you just need a completely ridiculous, nonsensical read, and that's where UFC light heavyweight champion, Forrest Griffin, comes in with his apocalypse survival manual.  Occasionally laugh-out-loud hilarious, often offensive, and even a bit genuinely informative at times, this book is a good in-between book reader, as long as you're not immediately turned off by Griffin's blunt, crude humor and can take the shit he says for a grain of salt and recognize most of it as the satire it really is.  My suggestion is to avoid trying to read this book in one sitting; take breaks, read something else, and come back to it now and then -- because a third of the way through, the poop and sex jokes, the macho man preaching, and the general buffoonery will begin to get old.  3/5
  • The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2) by Patrick Rothfuss
    The second highly-anticipated book in the Kingkiller Chronicle fantasy trilogy, continuing Kvothe's story both in and out of the University.  It was a great follow-up to The Name of the Wind; the characters are great, the story is fantastic.  Similar to its predecessor, there are a few lulls here and there (I personally could have done with about 50% less Fae-filled sexcipades,) but nothing unforgivable.  I eagerly await Rothfuss' completion of book three, where Kvothe will hopefully come into his prime and unleash his utter awesomeness and badassness to the world at large. 4/5
  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
    Can't help but enjoy anything Gaiman writes, even if it is usually a bit of a crackfest half the time.  Similar to American Gods, Gaiman introduces a pinch of fantasy-filled, supernatural hijinks into the mundane life of Joe Shmoe -- in this case, good-intentioned Fat Charlie discovers both that he's the son of a god, and that he has a brother he's never met who's coming home to make his life considerably stranger.  The title alone of this book was enough to catch my eye.  My limited knowledge of various God mythology consists of a rickety foundation of what I learned in elementary school and from watching Disney's Gargoyles; however, coincidentally, one of the episodes of Gargoyles just happened to be based around the spider and trickster god, Anansi.  (See?!  Cartoons were always teaching me something.)  Gaiman spins a web that is high entertaining and engaging.  (See the pun there?  Yeah, sometimes I do that.  *Flicks her shirt collar up in a "too cool for school" move*)  4/5
  • A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2) by George R.R. Martin
    Okay, so even after my lacklustre review of book one, A Game of Thrones, I decided what the hell, and plunged into the second book -- and a good thing too, because holy crap, the story starts getting amazing!  *Wild and violent flailing of the fangirlish variety*  Seriously.  Book one was tedious at times, but by book two, I was hooked.  Tyrion, Jon, and Dany are still my favorite characters, but the Arya and Sansa chapters even started getting interesting; Theon I could take or leave, and Joffrey is still a rotten little maggot that I want to punch in the face, but overall this sequel was vastly more entertaining than the first (even despite disturbing scenes depicting shadow demons clawing forth from bloody wombes which may or may not have damaged me permanently on some psychological level.)  D:}  I think it helped this time around that I had recently finished watching the HBO Game of Thrones series, so all of the plot stuff and countless characters that overwhelmed me from book one was conveniently condensed and solidified down for my poor brain.  Next time I get all snotty and turn my nose up at a series like this, I give you permission to smack me upside the head with something hard and heavy.  4/5
  • Merlin (The Pendragon Cycle, #2) by Stephen R. Lawhead
    The sequel to Taliesin, this book picks up where the first left off, and tells the story of young Merlin's years growing up.  I don't have much to say about this one since I didn't actually finish it...  *Shame clouds rain down shamey-filled rain*  I couldn't help it.  I had just finished reading A Clash of Kings, and I found myself in withdrawl; faced with the decision between the exciting prospect of plunging into the third Song of Ice and Fire novel or continuing to plod through a somewhat lacklustre retelling of Merlin's pubescence, I broke down and abandoned it for more epic fantasy, George R.R. Martin style.  While I don't regret my decision one bit (OMG THE THIRD SoIaF WAS SO AWESOME!), it was a little disappointing to leave Lawhead's series hanging like that.  Let's be honest though, the book wasn't really holding my attention.  This is probably due in no little part to both the fact that Lawhead's writing so far is pretty dry, as well as the simple truth that after reading Mary Stewart's Arthurian Saga a while back, other versions just can't hold a candle to it.  2/5

All your books are belong to us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 -- 11:46 pm

Man, I really suck at this whole book reviewing thing.  (When was my last one...?  June?)  Good thing I don't actually do this for a living, because I'd have fired my lazy ass months ago.  To be honest it's been so long that I don't actually remember most, if not any, of the salient details I wanted to touch upon from the following books, so some of these recaps are going to be composed of very half-assed "I think I may remember this book possibly being awesome!"  Let's face it though, how many people actually read through my rambly thoughts anyway?  Right?  All set?  Let's go.

  • The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
    Book one of a very promising looking fantasy trilogy chronicling the life story of a young boy who grows to become an extremely badass wizard.  This was a really fantastic read.  The story, the characters, the writing -- all very engaging.  There were a few lulls, but not many.  As we speak, newly published book 2 is waiting on hold for me at the library and I'm pretty damn excited about it.  Also, the somewhat slashfesty-at-times relationship between Kvothe and Bast cracks me up.  4/5
  • The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children, #2) by Jean M. Auel
    Sequel to Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear, this book picks the story of clanwoman Ayla up where the first novel ended -- banished from the Clan with a death curse on her head, Ayla must survive entirely on her own while she searches out her own people.  Includes some new animal sidekicks and a very Edward Cullen-like male lead who is apparently so brazingly beautiful and talented and perfect that it really just makes you want to gouge someone's eyes out with a spoon.  I really hated this character, which is unfortunate since he appears to continue to be a central figure through out the rest of the series.  Aside from the introduction of the annoying Gary Sue character, both the dialogue and plot this time around were not as strong as its predecessor, though the story did still have its moments, giving it a 3/5.
  • Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
    A mother gives birth to a daughter in a remote village in India, and the only way to save her child's life is to give her away.  The book follows the story of both families -- the one who gave the little girl up, and the one who took her in half a world away.  Have to be honest, I don't remember much about this one.  *Fail*  I like reading about different cultures, so the half of the novel set in India appealed to me more than the half with the adoptive family in America.  I remember the story itself being... good?  *So much reviewing fail*  3/5
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
    Muh ha ha, I'm really starting to become an Atwood fan.  Her books always find a way to grab me.  Set in a post-apocalyptic world where mankind has been veritably wiped out by plague, our protagonist tells the story the past, his best friend, the end of the world, and of a new breed of humans.  Very creepy and disturbing at some parts, Atwood seems to have a talent for weaving versions of the non-to-distant future that are compelling, horrifying, and unsettlingly possible.  4/5
  • Throne of Jade (Temeraire, #2) by Naomi Novik
    Book 2 in the series where dragons fight alongside British soldiers against Napoleon Boneparte's French forces, only this time Laurence and  Temeraire find themselves shipped back off to China!  Oh noes!  I still greatly enjoy the concept of this series, but unfortunately the characters aren't as endearing this second time around as much as they were the first.  (The relationship between Laurence and Temeraire starts to get a little sap-happy for me personally, and Laurence drives me a little crazy -- for god's sake, just drop the prim and proper stick-up-your-ass act and punch someone in the face!  You are the most boring protagonist personality-wise ever.)   More than half the book is spent sailing to China, and while it does include some awesome sea monster ass kicking, at times you have to wade through some pretty dull chapters to get there.  It's a toss up on whether I'll continue on with the Temeraire series or not.  Goodreads doesn't allow ratings of 2.5 so I upped it to a  3/5.
  • When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
    The book summary says this is a book about a brother and sister, but to be honest for most of the novel the brother seemed to be much more side plot to the sister-centered story and her eccentric childhood best friend.  Basically a coming-of-age story with a bit of everything: family, friends, tragedy, overcoming said tragedy, and lots of growing up.  It was okay, I can't remember many details from it aside from some well-written scenes centered around Elly and her pet rabbit; the symbolism and metaphor surrounding the rabbit were great.  3/5

  • The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant
    A non-fiction account of the true events surrounding a series of man-eating tiger attacks in Russia's far east in the winter of 1997.  I'm a sucker for any kind of man vs. nature story, I think because much like the concept of coming across a bear in the woods frightens the living bejeezes out of me, I'm also oddly riveted by those horrible true-life tales of bear-attack survivors they always have in Reader's Digest.  Why?  Because I'm crazy, and apparently love to torture myself with terrifying bear nightmares.  The just grab me, I can't help it.  In any event, this book could have been truely amazing if they'd just stuck with the tiger-centered story and facts and didn't waste half the book with history on the Sobolonye region and Russian government.  :P  3/5
  • Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
    Picoult's new novel, the theme this time centered around same-sex couples and the desire to have children, and what it really means to be a family.  I don't have to say by now how much I enjoy Jodi Picoult's books and the way her writing always touches me on a very emotional level, and this one was no different.  She has an amazing talent for exploring all of the messy gray areas and making you relate to all of the different characters in some way (even when you really, really don't want to.)  I wouldn't say it was as good as some of her other ones (Nineteen Minutes, or My Sister's Keeper,) but it still earns a ranking of 4/5.
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
    OMG it's dinosaurs!  And Alan Grant!  And people running for their lives from T-Rex's and freaking Velociraptors!  And loads of super confusing fractal geometry...!  Okay, and there's also that really annoying little girl that acts as the convenient plot device to get the protagonists constantly into life-threatening danger...  But did I mention freaking DINOSAURS and how they're AWESOME?  That's all that really matters.  This is probably my third or fourth time reading the books and they're still wildly entertaining.  5/5
  • The Lost World by Michael Crichton
    Ditto.  Repeat everything I said above, only replace Alan Grant with Ian Malcolm and the fact the sequel doesn't in fact resemble the second movie in any significant way.  BUT IS STILL AWESOME.  5/5
  • Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker
    At this point I was still deep in the throes of fangirly dinosaur obsession, so I broke out this little gem I originally came across years ago telling the story of a family of Utahraptors through the eyes of one of their own.  I hadn't read this book in ages, and I still thoroughly enjoyed it; except for the bits now and then that focused more on the herbivore species'... which were boring... because, hello, freaking raptors waiting over here.  (It's that whole horrible fascination with animals that could brutally maul me to death that I was talking about earlier.  I'm weird.)  4/5
  • I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
    He's an emotionally unavailable, tragically abused, divorcee with an anger problem and an identical twin brother who happens to be a paranoid schizophrenic.  Life can only get better at this point, right?  Wrong.  The story follows a man who's already pretty messed up life starts to unravel even further as he confronts the issues of far too many people in his life on top of his own personal dysfunctionality.  Wally Lamb's writing seems to be wildly popular with many readers, and while I think it was a bit overhyped (and not worth the whopping 900+ pages), I didn't not enjoy it.  My biggest beef with this novel was the protagonist himself -- he's not a very likable character -- one minute he's a well-intentioned guy trying to do the right thing, and then the next minute you think "wow, what an asshole."  (On that note, ironically enough the character I found most interesting was the stepfather... which is a little crazy since in a lot of ways both characters are mirrors of one another.)  In short, lots of messed up characters here.  Another 3/5.
  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    La la la la, I adore this book, I really do~  The first time I read The Time Traveler's Wife I immediately loved it and awarded it a spot on my favorites list, so much so that I was itching to read it a second time.  It's a story about a man named Henry (who's a librarian!  Sexy!), born with a genetic "disease" that causes him to sporadically travel back and forth through time, and he has absolutely no control over when it happens or where he goes.  It's much more love story-esque than the sci-fi premise makes it sound, which is strange for me since I've never been a big romance reader.  Gasp!  It's like a romancey Doctor Who!  :B  Only Henry doesn't fight aliens... or fly around in a blue police box...  and unlike Rose, Clare never gets to tag along and has to sit alone at home watching The Price is Right until Ten Henry returns.  :c  But anyway, yes, the book is splendid.  (NOT the movie, the movie was HORRIBLE.)  I love the characters, I love the writing, I love the premise.  Next year, I'll probably read it again.  5/5

And now obviously I have no choice but to end off with a sexy David Tennant avatar.

A perfect, geektastic Sunday.

Sunday, July 3, 2011 -- 3:29 pm

A friend on Facebook posted this morning that Sunday mornings should always consist of tea and video games; in my case, however, I prefer to take my lazy Sunday mornings with a good helping of chocolate and a giant stack of Batman comics.

I just finished reading Batman: Long Shadows, and while I haven't actually gotten the chance to read the precursor events that lead up to it after R.I.P. and during Final Crisis (still trying to get my hands on a copy of these ones!), I've patched together a somewhat muddled grasp of the whole Batman-is-all-dead plot and what went down.  Even not having read the material leading up to Long Shadows, it was still so good!  And sad!

For the love of god, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ALFRED A HUG?  D:}  Watching Alfred Pennyworth mourn for the loss of Bruce Wayne is like having all of the happiness in the world shrivel up, blacken, and die.  *Sobs hysterically*  For anyone who is a West Wing fan, you know how your heart feels like it's been ripped out of your chest when you watch Donna get the news that Josh has been shot?  That gut wrenching feeling when Jed hears that Mrs. Landingham has died?  Or when you watch Buffy, how your heart flutters all sad and painful any time you see Willow crying?  It's like that.


He's so sad!  I just want to reach into the pages and hug the stuffing out of him until there's no more bad to possibly squeeze out anymore!  ;_;

As for another of the Batman graphic novels I've read this week, Lovers and Madmen is also a fantastic Batman story, though less in the heart wrenching, soul crushing sort of way and much more in the insane sociopath with a gun way.  L&M is another different take on the Joker's origin story, and it's awesome.  The writing is top notch and the art style fits the story perfectly.  I personally sort of like my Joker background-story-less because the ambiguity is part of what makes him interesting, but canon or not, this version of things fits him to a T.

Two five-star Batman tales in one week!  EPIC GEEK WIN.

Picking up where we left off.

Saturday, June 25, 2011 -- 11:11 pm

Oh dear, so behind on everything blog-related!  D:  Not enough time in my few free evening hours any more!  Here's the rest of the book spam I never finished from a post or two ago:

  • Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
    The story opens with the conviction of Shay Bourne, a carpenter, for the murder of a little girl and her stepfather, a police officer -- given the serverity of his crime, Bourne is sentenced to death.  Eleven years later, as Shay's execution date looms, he's desperate to find redemption and salvation when he dies by donating his heart to a terminally ill child, whose mother just happens to be the same woman whose husband and daughter he killed.  Drama!  Angst!  Did I mention that while this is all going on, strange and miraculous events are unfolding in Shay Bourne's little prison cell, leading thousands of people to think he's the messiah? 

    This was a bit of a different twist compared to what Picoult usually writes, still with the courtroom drama but alongside elements very reminiscent of The Green Mile and with just a hint of Bridget Jones' Diary thrown in here and there.  It sounds weird but I enjoyed this book.  Admittedly, there were some holes in the storytelling which I found jarring and uncommon for Jodi Picoult.  Also, Shay's character was a little all over the place; at times he seemed to completely change personalities from one chapter to the next which made it really hard to relate to him (maybe this was intentional?  I don't know.)  Religion is a big theme in this story, and to that end what it means to be religious and what exactly faith is.  I consider myself spiritual by nature, though never strictly religious, so some of the arguments in this book really rang true for me.  Overall the plot was very engaging and I liked it.  (And BTW, totally called the surprise twist early on.  \o/ )  4/5

  • Alphabet by Kathy Page
    Highly intelligent but illiterate and with a childhood of care homes and fostering behind him, Simon Austen is sent down for life for murdering his girlfriend.  While in prison, he teaches himself to read and write and initiates a series of illicit correspondences with several women, and with it language suddenly takes on a new significance and Simon begins on a journey exploring his identity, his crime, and his redemption.  To be honest, I didn't finish this book.  To be even more honest, I don't think I even made it a third of the way through.  *Sheepish*  I'm not sure whether it was the lure of other books on my list I was itching to read, or if I truly just couldn't get into Alphabet's story that made me give it up.  Part of me feels like I should give it another try, but the other part of me has already doomed it to the donation bin to move on to bigger and better novels sitting on my shelf screaming to be read.  Baaaaa.  1/5 

  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
    I love this book!  One of my all time faves.  Piscine Molitor Patel (known as Pi) is a boy from Pondicherry, India, whose family owns a large zoo; when they decide to emigrate to Canada, the cargo ship carrying them and all of their zoo animals sinks in the middle of the Pacific.  Pi is the only survivor, or so he thinks, when he struggles aboard a lifeboat and finds himself unexpectedly sharing it with an injured zebra, a spotted hyena, an orangutan, and Richard Parker -- an immense Bengal tiger.  While most of the animals succumb to their respective fates, Pi and Richard Parker cling to life in this amazing, believable, and absorbing tale. 

    Okay, so here's the thing.  There's really no way to summarize this book without it sounding ridiculous, but trust me, it's not.  It's so good. This is probably my third or fourth time reading it and I enjoy it just as much now as I did the first time.  I love Martel's storytelling, his heart, his humor, and the way he manages to have this kid survive on this lifeboat with an fully grown adult tiger for several months without becoming kitty kibble and he makes you believe it. Just a warning -- you need to make it through the first hundred pages or so of the book before the ship actually sinks and hijinks start to ensue, but even those hundred pages of Pi's backstory and his unusual practice of three vastly different religions simultaneously are well done, if you ask me.  So if you haven't already read Life of Pi, go read it now and love it.  LOVE IT.  *Shakes fist*  5/5

  • Room by Emma Donoghue
    Five-year-old Jack and his mother live in an 11'x11' room, and for Jack, who has never stepped a foot outside, it is the only world he has ever known and loved.  He's innocent to the reality that Room is in fact a prison where he and his Ma have been held against their will for the last seven years, and when his mother devises a desperate escape plan, Jack's world is turned upside down. 

    The narrative is told completely from Jack's point of view which gives a unique, innocent impression of the events and truth as they unfold as only a five-year-old child who's never known anything else in his life could possibly deliver.  This was a really great read with some interesting exploration of concepts like adaptation and how normalcy is only relative.  4/5

  • A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R.R. Martin
    Martin's renown epic fantasy saga.  *Trumpets sound*  After hearing raves from so many people, I finally broke down and used a gift card I had to purchase the first four books of the Song of Ice and Fire series to see what all the hullabaloo was about.  If you're a book lover you've probably read it by now, and I'm too lazy to write up a summary so I'm stealing one from Goodreads: "Martin's Seven Kingdoms resemble England during the Wars of the Roses, with the Stark and Lannister families standing in for the Yorks and Lancasters. The story of these two families and their struggle to control the Iron Throne dominates the foreground; in the background is a huge, ancient wall marking the northern border, beyond which barbarians, ice vampires, and direwolves menace the south as years-long winter advances. Abroad, a dragon princess lives among horse nomads and dreams of fiery reconquest." 

    Verdict?  It was... okay.  Here's the thing about this book -- like many epic fantasies, it's a lengthy read.  And, again just like many epic fantasies, there were waaaay too many characters and families and places that I just couldn't keep straight.  Trying to keep track of who that is and who this is and who's fighting who and what army is invading where and who's up to what insidious scheme is just... exhausting.  It didn't help that half of the time I found myself having to force myself to finish a chapter.  Don't get me wrong, over all Martin has an engaging plot going here -- and when the story was good, it was really good (in a everyone-go-away-I'm-reading-so-you-don't-exist sort of way); but when it was bad it was really bad.  There are certain chapters and character story lines in this book where I was bored to tears.  Robb, Catelyn, Arya... omg so dull, I wanted to just skip every chapter with them in it.  On the other hand, characters like Tyrion, Eddard, and Daenerys -- thoroughly enjoyable.  (Sansa was another character I spent most of the book disliking, but was happily surprised when she finally started getting interesting toward the end.)  Did I think Game of Thrones fantastic?  No.  Then again I'm one of those people who has tried in vain multiple times to slog through LotR without success.  Was it worth the read?  Well, parts of it were.  I'm tempted to read the second book if only to follow the subplots of my favorite characters.  3/5

  • About a Boy by Nick Hornby
    The book that inspired the movie of the same title starring the deliciously smarmy Hugh Grant~  Shamelessly pilfered book summary: "Will is thirty-six, comfortable and child-free. And he's discovered a brilliant new way of meeting women -- through single-parent groups. Marcus is twelve and a little bit nerdish: he's got the kind of mother who made him listen to Joni Mitchell rather than Nirvana. Perhaps they can help each other out a little bit, and both can start to act their age." 

    I remember enjoying the movie back when I first watched it, so when I came across it in the library I couldn't help but snatch it up (if only for visions of surly Hugh Grant staring all smoldery and sexy in my head.)  It's a sweet and entertaining read, and most of the time Will's character is completely hilarious and obnoxiously arrogant at the same time, and Marcus is also often hilarious but in an entirely different way.  I don't remember the movie details particularly well, but I believe the book goes into further detail regarding Marcus' mother's depression as well as his friendship with Ellie.  A little slow in some parts, but Will and Marcus' whole awkward male bonding thing is very adorable.  3/5

  • Annabel by Kathleen Winter
    Set in Labrador in the 1960's, a child neither entirely male or female, but both, is born.  With only the parents and the attending midwife privy to the secret, the child's father makes the decision to raise the baby as a boy named Wayne.  As Wayne matures into adulthood, the physical, emotional, and mental female attributes that have been repressed for so long begin to surface and he must make the decision for himself about who he truely is. 

    I was instantly intrigued when I read the book jacket of this one on the new releases shelf.  Very interesting premise, however I found the story lagging in places, especially nearer the end.  It didn't really delve as much into the physical and emotional aspects of the character being born a hermaphrodite as I thought it would; it's much more a coming-of-age story then anything.  I guess I sort of went in looking for more of a documentary-like account, to learn something, and that's not really what this book focuses on.  Still a nice enough read though.  3/5

Some of those got overly rambly, I apologize.  =_=;

And HEY, in between the smorgasbord of novels lately I've also been stuffing my face with Batman and Buffy comics!  I polished off three more big Batman title story arcs and compilations: Batman and SonBatman R.I.P.; and Serious House on Serious Earth, all three of which I made the mistake of reading in the complete reverse order that I really should have, and if I'd done so would have saved myself a significant amount of confusion.  As for BtVS, I finally caught up to the seventh volume of the Buffy: Season Eight graphic novel, and FYI, season eight has become a little... weird... *Gives Joss Whedon a hesitant sidelong look that clearly says that she's a loyal fan but is becoming increasingly concerned about his most recent foray into crazy.*  Magic world-creating cosmic space sex, indeed.