2.26.2014

WWW Wednesdays #12

http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/www-wednesdays-nov-6/

It's time for this week's WWW Wednesdays, hosted by Should Be Reading blog (head over and check them out!).

This link up asks three questions
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you'll be reading next? 
Here are my WWW answers!

What am I currently reading?


I didn't really mean to start this. A colleague had talked to me about it and so when I saw it, I picked it up and started idly reading the first few pages. But then I needed to keep reading. I needed to find out why Hank couldn't remember anything, who he really was - and how he was going to deal with his situation. So far I'm totally into this book. I can't put it down. Well, I mean I can, I just really, really don't want to.






What did I recently finish reading?


Since the last WWW Wednesday I have finished two books, one of which I loved, the other of which I found a bit disappointing. Stay tuned for my reviews to find out which was which!

What do I think I'll be reading next?


This is another book I've had on my shelf for months and haven't read yet. Also one I've heard fans of TFIOS will enjoy. I've never read a Gayle Forman book, either! I keep meaning to give it a try, and I feel like now is the time. (I also have Where She Went hanging out on the shelf next to it, so....)
 





Now it's your turn! Share your recent reads in the comments - and don't forget to link up with the original post (and share a link in the comments) if you wrote your own WWW Wednesday!

2.25.2014

Top Ten Tuesday REWIND! - Books I Just HAD to Buy... But Are Still Sitting On My Bookshelf

This week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is a REWIND - so I get to pick my own topic from any I've missed! Oh, goody! It was tough to pick, but I finally settled on: Books I Just HAD To Buy... But Are Still Sitting On My Bookshelf. Oh, this is an easy one!


1. More Than This by Patrick Ness: I was intrigued by both the cover and the premise of this book. In case you haven't seen it in person, that window is actually a cutout. And the hardcover doesn't have a slip jacket - it's just printed right on the cardboard. Love it. There's no good reason I haven't gotten to this - I've heard good things, and nary a spoiler - but somehow I just haven't gotten to it.

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I've heard so much talk about this one. I kept meaning to buy it, and never getting around to it. Then one day I was in the bookstore, and I just grabbed it. On a total whim. Maybe that's why I haven't worked it into my reading list in any solid way - I keep forgetting I have it! 

3. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whalley: Well, just look at the awards! I think it was just bad timing - I got this around the same time as a bunch of other books (mostly by John Green) that eclipsed it. 

4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer: I've actually started this one. I've started and liked this one. But I think I'm having trouble both with getting comfortable in the familiar Cinderella plot and the unfamiliar futuristic setting. It's a bit jarring, and my mind feels like it's playing tug of war. 


 

5. Pivot Point by Kasie West: Well this is your fault, really. Y'all have been talking about it non-stop since it was released. Also: pretty cover!

6. Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine: This one was totally down to the cover. I read mediocre reviews of it and I still had to have it. But I think it's the mediocre reviews that have kept it from the very top of the reading list.

7. Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano: Again - amazing cover, mediocre reviews.


8. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: I honestly don't know why I haven't read this one yet. I've even picked it up and started to read it about 5 times, never getting past the first few pages. And I can't even tell you why I put it down and didn't pick it back up again right away. Maybe it's because I haven't read much about it and I'm not even entirely sure what it's about. Maybe it's because the cover isn't as bright and shiny as some of the others on my shelf. But whatever the reason, it's still sitting there.

9. Splintered by A. G. Howard: OMG just look at it. And the text inside is purple. And.... well, just look at it again. I think I'm worried (despite rave reviews) that the insides won't measure up to the outsides, which would make me sad.

10. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: I loved this movie. I mean, loved it. I really enjoyed the inner narrative of the main character, the humour in it and that it was the first time I'd encountered zombies as sentient beings - much less the romantic interest in a romcom. It intrigued me, and I wanted to know if the book was as good. I think I started reading it when I was on a plane or something, and it ended up in the post-vacation time suck vortex where you start a book when you're on holiday but then the process of getting back into your everyday routine sidetracks you and you lose track of where you were. I plan to revisit it next October.

...And pretty much all the classics ever.

Well, I think that's it for another Top Ten Tuesday! But I'd like to know: which books are languishing on your shelves? Which of these can you just not believe I haven't read yet? Share in the comments!  

2.23.2014

OUTPOST - Ann Aguirre


Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.

To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.
- Goodreads description


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***WARNING: CONTAINS ENCLAVE SPOILERS!!!***

Outpost picks up more or less where Enclave left off. Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan have found a new home in Salvation and are doing their best to fit in. But it isn't easy. Deuce chafes within the strict gender role forced on females and struggles to keep up in school. Stalker isn't shy about pressing Deuce for more than friendship. Tegan is learning to heal others and finding friends - but still struggling with the psychological wounds her time with the gang left. And Fade has shut Deuce out, turning cold and distant.

But, as always, the four friends find unity in adversity. As the Freak attacks on the town become more frequent and fearless and crops are destroyed, the town must create an outpost to guard the crops from attack. Deuce is able to reprise the more comfortable role of Huntress as she, Stalker and Fade battle for the safety of their new home against the Freaks and witness chilling portents of worse to come.

 Now is not the time for personal issues.

There were elements of this book that didn't work for me, of course. Some examples: Why were the fields outside the walls and exposed when the town depends on yearly crops for survival? Why didn't Aguirre provide more detailed descriptions of setting - in particular the size and population of the town and relative size and placement of said fields? Why aren't all (or at least all male, since that's their sexist thing) townsfolk taught to fight? And then there are some agricultural issues, like describing planting fields and leaving them until plants had begun to grow. This wouldn't work - you would need to set up an irrigation system or water them daily, they'd need fences to guard against deer and other herbivorous creatures and the plants would need regular weeding and tending. All unaccounted for given the distance and frequency of visits by growers as described.

But despite these minor issues, I loved this book. It had everything I look for in a YA suspense: excellent plot arc, engaging and believable characters, adventure and action, good writing - even some swoony romance. I had to force myself to go to sleep at night when all I really wanted to do was stay up and binge-read. And I love the character of Deuce. She's tough but learns to open up and love those around her. It's heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. And damn, that girl is a badass. Sort of like a cross between:

 She might be young, but don't underestimate her. 
She can kill you where you stand without even flinching.

And:
WHERE YOU STAND.

By the end of the book I was totally satisfied. (Though totally ready to pick up Horde and find out what happens next!) Still recommending this to anyone who's a fan of The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead, because it's pretty  much a cross between the two. And damn, is it good!


You should definitely check out this series. For my review of the first book in the Razorland trilogy, Enclave, go here.

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Book Title: Outpost
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland #2
Edition: Paperback
Published By: Square Fish
Released: October 29, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Dystopian, Adventure, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Date Read: February7-10, 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

2.22.2014

Stacking the Shelves #8


Time to look at the books I added to my shelves this week with Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews! Not necessarily books I bought - also includes books I borrowed, was given or otherwise ended up with. Weeks where I don't buy books I'll scramble around my shelves and find some books I haven't shared in a StS post yet!


Here are a few:





 What books did you pick up this week? Share in the comments! 

2.20.2014

WORST. PERSON. EVER. - Douglas Coupland


A razor-sharp portrait of a morally bankrupt and gleefully wicked modern man, Worst. Person. Ever. is Douglas Coupland's gloriously filthy, side-splittingly funny and unforgettable new novel. Meet Raymond Gunt. A decent chap who tries to do the right thing. Or, to put it another way, the worst person ever: a foul-mouthed, misanthropic cameraman, trailing creditors, ex-wives and unhappy homeless people in his wake. Men dislike him, women flee from him. Worst. Person. Ever. is a deeply unworthy book about a dreadful human being with absolutely no redeeming social value. Gunt, in the words of the author, "is a living, walking, talking, hot steaming pile of pure id." He's a B-unit cameraman who enters an amusing downward failure spiral that takes him from London to Los Angeles and then on to an obscure island in the Pacific where a major American TV network is shooting a Survivor-style reality show. Along the way, Gunt suffers multiple comas and unjust imprisonment, is forced to re-enact the 'Angry Dance' from the movie Billy Elliot and finds himself at the centre of a nuclear war. We also meet Raymond's upwardly failing sidekick, Neal, as well as Raymond's ex-wife, Fiona, herself 'an atomic bomb of pain'.Even though he really puts the 'anti' in anti-hero, you may find Raymond Gunt an oddly likeable character. - Goodreads description

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You will probably hate this book. Or you'll hate yourself for liking this book. It takes a particularly dark, twisted, politically (and morally) bankrupt sense of humour to enjoy a book about a character this loathsome and vile. Raymond Gunt, the protagonist of Coupland's latest work, starts out the book by saying that he's a pretty decent fellow. He tries to be nice to people, he doesn't dropkick puppies out the window or shove old ladies out of the way to get onto the bus. He thinks that, all things considered, he's in line for some pretty decent karmic payout.

He then proceeds to ridicule a fat man into having a heart attack, wish death upon a clingy girlfriend, steal the lunches from a plane full of TV contestants who are about to crash, verbally and physically attack a homeless man and completely objectify every woman he comes into contact with. Thus proving that he does not, in fact, deserve any type of karma - except the bad kind. 



Before I read this book, I read a lot of reviews about it. Most notably the Guardian Books review written by Lucy Ellmann. Her main complaints were that Coupland is "not a terribly careful writer," and that the book is "determined to gross you out, offering a barrage of sexism, homophobia, shit, vomit, sputum, and all the other stuff of adolescent humour." She goes on to tear Coupland a new one for the treatment of female characters at the hands of Gunt, for Gunt's profanity, lack of sensitivity, and being an all-around asshole. 

I get the sense that she, along with many readers, couldn't get past the character to see the humour with which his utter and complete horrendousness was written. Yeah, the guy's a dick. But THE BOOK IS CALLED WORST. PERSON. EVER. What did you expect? Someone who donates all his money to charity, goes to visit his mum on Sundays and sacrifices himself to save a stray kitten? Come on. The character was intended to be unpalatable. 

But for me, that's what made him funny. Had he just been a kinda sorta jerk some of the time, then I would have had a problem dealing with him. But the fact that he's a complete douche canoe all the time just makes it into a bit of a farce. Raymond Gunt is despicably hilarious. He embodies the thoughts we quickly banish from our minds and the actions we'd never allow ourselves to take for fear of embarrassing ourselves and/or ending up in prison. And honestly? He wasn't as bad as I expected based on the reviews. I actually felt sorry for him a lot of the time.


By taking him to the extreme, Coupland creates a study in absurdism - and another book that felt like an experiment. This book played with extreme characterization in a similar way to how All Families Are Psychotic played with extremes of plot. I loved that book because it was so incredibly unlikely. It wasn't very popular, and yet it remains one of my favourites. I admire Coupland's willingness to take risks in his work that will, more than likely, be taken offensively by many who read it. So if you're able to hang up your knee-jerk reactions to some pretty appalling behaviour and speech for awhile and promise not to take anything you read too seriously, give Worst. Person. Ever. a whirl. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Book Title: Worst. Person. Ever.
Author: Douglas Coupland
Edition: Hardcover
Published By: Random House Canada
Released: October 8, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Humour
Pages: 336
Date Read: January 29-February 2, 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

2.19.2014

WWW Wednesdays #11

http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/www-wednesdays-nov-6/

It's time for this week's WWW Wednesdays, hosted by Should Be Reading blog (head over and check them out!).

This link up asks three questions
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you'll be reading next? 
Here are my WWW answers!

What am I currently reading?



I've been hearing about this book all over the bookish blogosphere for MONTHS. And pretty much everyone has raved and swooned and shipped it to the max. So I have very high expectations. Jury's still out, because I'm only about halfway through it, but I gotta say - so far? Not as epic as I was expecting. I mean, it's entertaining, sure, but I'm not fully immersed in it and Lilac mostly annoys me. It's also way too Titanic in space, considering I wasn't a fan of Titanic. Not giving up on it, but it's going to have to wow me! (Also I think I know what's going to happen....)





What did I recently finish reading?
 



Man, what a series ending. I'm not going to spoil anything for you guys, but this is probably one of the best and most satisfying final books to a series I've read in a long time. I'll be posting a full review, but suffice it to say that if you are looking for a great action/adventure/post-apocalyptic/zombie series that not only has great plot arcs but also really relatable and well-developed characters, this is the one for you.






What do I think I'll be reading next?



You know what? I don't actually know what I'm going to read next! I've got a whole bunch of books that might be next up. But I just can't decide. A few possibilities include Ripper by Isabel Allende, Pivot Point by Kasie West, Born of Illusion by Teri Brown and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. If you really love one of these, share your enthusiasm in the comments and you might just convince me! Got another suggestion for an awesome book you think I need to try? Tell, tell! (Because obvs my TBR list is not long enough.)

 



Now it's your turn! Share your recent reads in the comments - and don't forget to link up with the original post (and share a link in the comments) if you wrote your own WWW Wednesday!

2.17.2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader


This week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is "Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader." Here goes!
Reasons I Love Being A Blogger:
  • First and foremost, obviously, is you guys. If you're reading this, then I'm talking to you. Since finishing university and starting a job at a small organization, I've become a bit socially isolated. It doesn't help that a lot of my friends tend to gallavant off into the wilds of the world at the drop of a hat. Meeting new people is difficult, and sometimes I need to share my thoughts. Blogging has given me a place to do that. It has also introduced me to a ton of great blogs where I get to share in your thoughts and observations - I try to visit the blog of anyone who comments and I've discovered some great ones.
  • The sense of community. This applies more to Twitter, but I follow the bloggers I enjoy reading there, and it's a great way to engage immediately and have a conversation. You guys are all so nice, smart and full of bookish enthusiasm that it makes my world a better place every single day.
  • I'm a talker. Seriously. Blogging reduces the quantity of words my poor husband has to deal with on a daily basis. I mean, not by a lot, because I've always got something to say, but it's better than nothing.
  • I love talking about books, but not everyone around me feels the same way. I get going and suddenly I notice the glazed, zoned out eyes of the person I'm talking to and realize that they really just want me to shut up about books already. So I bring all that enthusiasm here and I put it somewhere only people who search it out will find it. So I don't have to feel guilty or try to painfully switch the topic to sports. Which I know very little about. 
Reasons I Love Being A Reader:
  • It's something I can do quietly, by myself, pretty much anywhere.
  • I love the feeling of being totally immersed in and swept away by a story. The really good ones make reality dissipate and anything that's bothering me is temporarily forgotten. 
  • It inspires me.
  • It makes me a better person. Seriously. I am reminded of the reasons to keep going when times get tough and to choose kindness over insensitivity.
  • I get to be hundreds of different people. I don't know of any better way (except possibly acting) to step into someone else's shoes and experience how they see the world. It can be exhausting, scary, intense and grim, but it also gives me the opportunity to learn from experiences I will never have first-hand. 
  • It makes me smarter. Not only do I pick up lots of random trivia and useful tidbits of information, but I also learn new words and new ways of stringing together thoughts. 
  • It's FUN!

I'm sure there are HUNDREDS more things I love - for both of these categories - but that's probably enough to be going on with. Did I miss any really important ones? Share in the comments! :)

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