Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Is it OK?

Is it OK that I'm really annoyed that Suffolk Libraries only have book 3 of the new translations of Sailor Moon?  I could get them only having book 1, but to just have book 3 is a bit odd, no?
I should mention that we have a set of the previous versions in the house, but try getting them out of the black hole that is Sarah's room!  Plus, from scanning a couple of the new books in Waterstones, it appears that the later volumes of the new editions include different stories than that of our set. 
I really love this series, and it would have been really handy if the library had them all in stock, as that way I could see which books to purchase and those of which we would have doubles of. 
Oh well, maybe if I'm patient, the rest of them will appear magically on the shelves someday!

Monday, 29 July 2013

The Lost Girl

Eva's life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination--an echo. She was made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her "other," if she ever died. Eva spends every day studying that girl from far away, learning what Amarra does, what she eats, what it's like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But sixteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything and everyone she's ever known--the guardians who raised her, the boy she's forbidden to love--to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.
With echoes (no pun intended) of the brilliant Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Lost Girl was completely captivating.  I loved, loved, loved this engaging debut novel from Sangu Mandanna.  While it wasn't my original intention, I read The Lost Girl in a day devouring each new page as quickly as I could.

The opening section, introducing the reader to Eva, was pitch perfect.  Showing her relationship with each of her caretakers and examples of how she feels like a prisoner.  By the end of part one I was on Eva's side no matter what, and this allegiance carried on throughout the book.

Then there is the sinister Loom where the Echoes are created. The name makes the process sound like a fairy tale, yet it is anything but.  There are three scientists who work at the Loom, and through their story Mandanna presents the old idea that brilliance corrupts.  How far does the science push you until you're not you any more?  Is there a point where what you've created becomes more human than you? 

When I finally finished it got me wondering: Is The Lost Girl classed as YA because the narrator is a teen? Because what I had just read was a diverse and adult exploration of the grieving process.  There were so many discussion points that I found myself still thinking about The Lost Girl long after I had finished reading.

As a side note: If not for a review link on twitter, I would have never of found/read The Lost Girl.  I know for a fact that I wouldn't have picked it up in a bookshop; the cover doesn't grab me, and neither did the blurb on my copy.  Just goes to show you that the old adage is true...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

M is for Magic

M is for Magic is a fun book of short stories that are a good introduction to Neil Gaiman's unique writing style. 

While the collection didn't contain any stories that I found completely dull, which is often the case in anthologies, there were two standouts that have stayed with me long after I had finished M is for Magic.

The first short The Case of Four and Twenty Blackbirds, is a brilliant fairy-tale character crime noir that induced plenty of laughs and Gaiman had perfectly captured the voice of a 1920's detective narrative.

Another standout for me was the short, somewhat ambiguous, yet nonetheless creepy Don't Ask Jack.  In fact, quite a few of Gaiman's stories benefit from withheld information.  For example, just where did those girls come from in How To Talk to Girls At Parties?

Another thing I liked about M is for Magic is that it was the right size! With 11 stories that vary in length, although none reaching novella proportions, I found that I could fit in reading a short before getting back to other errands that I had to complete.  It was perfect "just in case I finish all the other books I have with me" while I was round Matthew's a couple of weeks ago, and provided a momentary distraction from job applications!

So give it a go, there's a one in eleven chance that you'll find a story you like!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

I Love The Library

It would appear that my library addiction is back in full swing.  However, I'm justifying this massive pile by one simple rule: manga/graphic novels don't count.  Flimsy I know, but if it makes me feel better, then who cares?

Friday, 26 July 2013

It's Not You, It's Me: Soon I Will Be Invincible

If I had started reading Soon I Will Be Invincible at any other time, then maybe, just maybe, I would have an actual review to share.  Instead, I started reading Austin Grossman's spin on superheroes just as some big life decisions were in the process of being made - which may have a negative effect upon this blog, but that's for another post -  resulting in my head being all over the place at the moment (no it hasn't detached itself from my body a la J.D's floating head, more just a lot of thinking and circles).

I know it sounds weird, but I just couldn't latch onto the story.  For a week I was forcing myself to try and read Soon I...and at the most I would only manage about 10 pages at a time, not really taking in what was happening.

So I did something that I haven't done in a while.  I decided to return Soon the library unfinished.  I feel guilty that I haven't stuck it out to the bitter end, but right now I need a book that will let me escape from the current madness; a narrative that will anchor me into the story and not let my mind go until the last word.  Here's hoping my next book choice will do that for me.  

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Cool Covers of The Future

Spotted this today over at Strange Chemistry!  Find the blurb here, sounds like good stuff! 

Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make You NOT pick up a book

Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by the folks over at The Broke and The Bookish.  This week is all about the words/topics that make a book a no-go for me.  Normally, I'm a never-say-never sort of girl when it comes to picking books, but there are some no go areas for me, such as words that scream chick-lit.  However, if anyone knows any good books that manage to subvert the words on my list, then please recommend them to me!

1. Shopping

2. Shoes 
3. Love Triangle
4. Wedding
5. Honeymoon
6. Pink
7. Steamy
8. Nails
9. Brooding
10. Poodles

What words/topics are no-goes for you?  Do we share any?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

I Love the Library

I think it's safe to say I went on a bit of spree in the library yesterday...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations (you could pick best or worst OR split it in half)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week is all about movie adaptations.  I thought that I'd have a lot more movies in the worst category this week, but hey, turns out I'm okay with quite a few book to movie adaptations! I decided on excluding the Harry Potter films from my list because it's a given that they're the worst adaptations of books ever.......*

The Best:
We Need to Talk About Kevin
 Let The Right One In
 The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

 10 Things I Hate About You
The Great Gatsby

Never Let Me Go
Warm Bodies
Anna Karenina

 Life of Pi

 And the WORST:

The Time Traveller's Wife 
Matt knew that The Time Traveller's Wife was my favourite book.  Thus, he assumed that I'd want to go see the movie.  My gut was telling me that I did not want see the movie, but my curiosity got the better of me.  I kept telling myself it can't be that bad...yet it can.  Horribly miscast and clunky; avoid this movie at all costs and read the book instead!
Northern Lights/The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass does not even come close to conveying the greatness of Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights.  And that ending.  Just URGH!  Why aren't you dead?!
Agree/Disagree with any of my choices?  Tell me why!  What made it onto your lists this week?

Thursday, 4 July 2013

A Great And Terrible Beauty

It's 1895 and, after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England.  Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma finds her reception a chilly one.  She's not completely alone, though...she's being followed by a mysterious young man, sent to warn her to close her mind against the visions.

It's at Spence that Gemma's powers to attract the supernatural unfolds, as she becomes entangled with the school's most powerful girls and discovers her mother's connection to a shadowy, timeless group called The Order.  Her destiny awaits...if only Gemma can believe it.

I'll admit that I expected more from Libba Bray, perhaps a little too much.  I loved her most recent book, The Diviners, because it had a sense of place, and this was down to Bray's inclusion of many a minor detail of the period in which her book was set.  Although A Great and Terrible Beauty revolves around a Victorian boarding school in England, I couldn't find much that signalled this and thus never felt fully immersed in the story. 

While the plot was okay, it was nothing surprising or different.  This goes for Bray's characters, too.  Generic personalities from cookie cutter boarding school fiction are all here: The uptight headmistress, the queen bee who's family neglects her, her beautiful sidekick and the plain orphan outcast.  Gemma is about the only one who momentarily breaks her cliché of new-girl outcast narrator, often with some astute observations of what it was to be a girl in Victorian times. 

Overall, it's not that there isn't potential for the series to grow and change into something better, it's just A Great and Terrible Beauty doesn't exactly entice me to read the next book in the trilogy.  The best way I can recommend this book is as light holiday read. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

I Love The Library

The new Joe Hill book NOS4R2 was waiting for me when I came home on Tuesday. 
Is it okay to abandon all other the books in my TBR queue and read it right away?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Top Ten Most Intimidating Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this week the topic is about books that I find intimidating.  I find that it's not always size of a book that's intimidating, (although in most instances that is the main reason I defer reading certain books!) but genre, language or complex themes covered.  
Books That Intimidate Me
1. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
The ultimate intimidator!

2. Outlander Series - Diana G
 I've seen so much love for this series I'm scared to start it! 
3. Ulysses - James Joyce
I attempted to read Ulysses at Uni but then I had to abandon my quest once I started my dissertation.  Since then I can't seem to put aside enough time to be able to even attempt another go at reading this massive stream of consciousness.
4.The Stand - Stephen King
Have you seen the size of The Stand?!  I'm sure my upper body strength would improve after reading Stephen King's hefty tome...
5. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
 I've seen a lot of negative reviews since I purchased American Gods, and this has somewhat put me off reading it.

Books That Once Intimidated Me

6. Life of Pi - Yann Mattel
I had no interest in reading Life Of Pi at all when I was younger, as I used to think that all Booker Prize winners were just for the literati.  Then I saw the movie and I just knew that I had to read the book.   
7. The Passage - Justin Cronin
There was so much hype surrounding The Passage when it was first release.  Too much for me in fact, as I backed away from reading Justin Cronin's epic vampire tale for over a year.  Not a small book by any means, it took me a while to be convinced that this was worth sticking with for 600+ pages.  Trust me, it is.
8. Zoo City - Lauren Beukes
I get it in my head that I'm too stupid for SF.  Then when I actually read it, I'm all like, hey I understood that and enjoyed it too!
9. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
Again, I always felt that I'm too much of an idiot to read classic Russian literature.  I may not have understood all of the farming chapters and some of the political parts, but I still enjoyed reading Anna Karenina very much.
10. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Reading Cloud Atlas was hard work, but very rewarding.

What books intimidate you?