Quick Update

So, I’ve been a very bad blogger for the last week or so.  I started a new job last Monday (yay!), and so with all of the inevitable adjusting, getting used to a new schedule, and being overall worn out that comes with it, I’ve barely had time to read (gasp!) never mind blog!  To sum it up, just letting you know I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, and hopefully I’ll be back this week 🙂


Library Loot

Hooray for this week’s Library Loot!

Library Loot is hosted by Marg at Reading Adventures, and Eva at A Striped Armchair.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

I’ve heard a lot of great things about this series, so begin it I shall!  Really looking forward to this one!

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Love the movie, decided to (finally) read the book!

Also, not really library loot, but loot nonetheless:

Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor

I won this from LibraryThing Early Reviewers last year, and my copy finally came!  Mysteries aren’t usually my thing, but I’ll give it a try and let you know how it goes.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Um, wow.  This book was just awesome.  I mean, there is a lot of great YA out there, but this is some of the best I’ve read in a while.

In a future where the Gulf Coast is characterized by its drowned cities, the divide between rich and poor is wider than ever, and a few powerful trade families control it all, Nailer is at the bottom of the totem pole.  Nailer works as a ship breaker on “light crew,” stripping grounded oil tankers for copper wiring and brass fittings, anything that will help them fill quota.  When he isn’t risking his life at work, Nailer must constantly try to keep his abusive, drug-addicted, and very dangerous father happy – not an easy task.  He knows when his dad is “sliding high,” and knows well enough to avoid him when he can.

When Nailer’s beach is pounded by a terribly powerful hurricane – what has become known as a “city killer”  – he and his friend Pima come across a grounded clipper ship, full of more wealth than they thought possible.    It’s their ticket to a better life, if only they can keep it a secret for long enough to strip the scavenge from it and claim it as their own.  But when they find it has a survivor, the wealthy and beautiful Nita, Nailer has a choice to make.  The gold rings on her fingers alone are worth more than any scavenge they could get from the ship – Pima insists that the smart thing to do would be to kill her, and Nailer knows she’s right.  Yet having had a close brush with death himself only days before, Nailer can’t bring himself to let Pima do it.  To let her live would be to risk everything – not only the scavenge, but his life as he knows it – and it’s the most important choice Nailer will ever make.

I just couldn’t put this one down.  Fast-paced and full of action, it also manages to ponder some serious issues.  To make the leap from today’s reality to the dystopian society in Ship Breaker isn’t all that difficult – in fact, it’s probably not that far off from the way thousands live in third-world countries.  To see places so familiar to us with those economic and social conditions is what makes it scary.  One thing I really liked about the world he’s created is that the scope is revealed to us bit by bit, rather than all at once.  From revealing the fate of New Orleans to showing just how disparate the distribution of wealth is, the world that Nailer inhabits is always gaining another layer.

Speaking of Nailer, he’s a great character – over the course of the book, he grapples with the meanings of family, wealth, and humanity itself, adding some real meat to the story.  It’s a bit dark, but very well written – Bacigalupi has a style that’s almost stark, and it worked very well for the book as a whole.  I enjoyed every page of this book from the time I was sucked in on the first page, and it’s one you should definitely keep on your radar!

*FTC disclosure – review copy received from the publisher.

My First Meme – Library Loot!

Apparently, this is the week for firsts!  I came across Library Loot last week, and made a mental note to join in this week.  So here it is!  A small haul for me – but I knew I’d be busy, so I held back this week 🙂

Library Loot is hosted by Marg at Reading Adventures, and Eva at A Striped Armchair.

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

I adore Fforde’s Thursday Next series, and I’ve heard great things about this book – so naturally, I’m excited to start it!

The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray

I heard a lot about this book around Christmas, with plenty of people saying what a great gift book this is.  I’ve only flipped through it briefly, but I can tell they were right – the images are gorgeous, and some of them are just down-right awesome.  Looking forward to taking a closer look!

Other than some professional reading, that’s it for my library loot.  Also on my coffee table, though:

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

I’ve actually been working my through this one for about a month – it’s not that I’m not enjoying it, because I absolutely am.  It’s just taking me some time to get through, and I’ve been reading it bit by bit in between other books.  The goal this week is to finish it – not too much left!

My First Challenge!

OATES ChallengeI’ve been eyeing challenges for a while, unsure of whether I want to join one or just read whatever comes my way.  When I saw the O.A.T.E.S Challenge over at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? I decided to go for it and join my first challenge.  It aligns well with some stuff I really want to read this year, so I’ll give it a shot!  Joyce Carol Oates being the inspiration for the challenge, the point is to read a literary author for every letter – Oates being the O, of course!  As of now, I’ll go for the “Rolled OATES” level – Oates, Atwood, and Eliot.  If I come across a T or S that fit the bill, add them I shall 🙂

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I stumbled across this book!  I was in the mood to go searching for some new Victorian historical fiction, and came across it.  I was aware that there was a paranormal element to it, which was ok with me.  When I started reading, I was a little surprised by just how prominent the paranormal/fantasy aspect was – and with a stack of library books due back shortly, I briefly considered putting it down in favor of something else.  Boy, am I glad I stuck with it instead.

Percy Parker is a young girl in Victorian London, and very unique.  Brought up in a convent, shy and timid Percy is an albino with the ability to see and communicate with ghosts.  Add in her extraordinary language abilities and the visions that come to her a night, and Percy knows she is anything but normal.

When she enrolls at Athens Academy in London, she meets the brooding and mysterious Professor Rychman.  Although she finds him intimidating, she is very much drawn to him – but he has  a secret of his own.  Since childhood, Alexi Rychman and five others have made up The Guard, a group of six who protect London from the spirits that inhabit it.  With a Prophecy that they will soon find a seventh, and Alexi’s belief that she will also be the woman he is meant to love, tensions in The Guard are high.  Percy is a great new character, and I found her very easy to relate to – maybe having always been a bit shy myself helped with that.

I loved Hieber’s style, and while cross-genre novels like this may not work for everybody, this one combined all of my favorites and it absolutely worked for me!  Victorian historical fiction with a Gothic edge, fantasy, and a romance with great characters (who also have great chemistry!) made such a great combination.  The first half was a little on the slow side, but once I hit around page 150, I was hooked and didn’t want to put it down!  I’m very much looking forward to the sequel due out in May, and I’ll be on the lookout for more from Hieber in the future.

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Yeah, I totally read this one for the cover.  I mean, look at it.  Gorgeous!

The book itself though, not so much.  It was a relatively entertaining, quick read, but on the whole it didn’t do too much for me.  I really like the concept of fallen angels, but I feel like so much more could have been done with it.

I suppose the biggest problem I have is the characters.  The only ones who have any personality are Arriane and Penn.  None of the other characters – Luce and Daniel included – seemed remotely real.  Luce doesn’t do much besides feel sorry for herself and moan about how misunderstood she is, how she doesn’t belong in a place like Sword & Cross, etc.  She wasn’t all the bright either – I mean, you figure out that this guy you’ve been seeing is essentially a violent control freak, so when he leaves you a note telling you to get in the car and the driver will take you to him god-knows-where, you actually go?  Really? I’m pretty sure this is the type of situation my parents were referring to when they told me “Don’t get in the car – if you do, you’ll probably never be seen again.”

Ok, enough ranting about Luce.  It got better towards the end, with some surprising twists and others you saw coming – and once Luce finally figures out what’s going on, some of the fallen angel stuff gets pretty cool.  There’s enough romance in this with the same sense of mystery that Twilight has that I think it will do well – especially with all the hype, upcoming sequel, and a movie on the way already!