February 27th, 2011

amy poehler

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9. Uglies by Scott Westerfield - Just decided to randomly pick up a YA book at my library and this one wasn't bad. I actually look forward to reading the others in the series. Very different, adventurous, and sci-fyish, but with a cool plot. I really like YA books that aren't dripping with romance (coughtwilightcough) and have original plots like this. Almost like the Hunger Games in a way.
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Books 6 and 7

#6: The Magicians - Lev Gross (2010, 287 pages)

You know a book is good when you're already excited to read the sequel and you're only one-third of the way through the first in the series.

Lev Grossman's The Magicians takes readers on a realistic journey through the fantastic. Imagine a grown-up version of Harry Potter and Narnia where the characters drink, have sex, swear and act like...well, the young adults they are. And through it all you're following Quentin Coldwater, a young man who dreams of finding something like the magical land of Fillory.

Quentin goes through life thinking there's something more. Even after he learns he has magical powers and is sent to a private school for burgeoning magicians, he can't help but wish for more. That desire leads him to ruin...until he discovers that Fillory is real. He and his friends set off on a journey that will help define the rest of their lives.

I truly enjoyed this book. Yes, it's magical, and you share Quentin's sense of wonderment regarding it all. Quentin is flawed but believable - who doesn't wish there was more to the world he/she already knows? Grossman's writing is realistic, drawing in readers and leaving them inspired, which is why I give this five out of five wishes come true.


#7: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Hostile Hospital - Lemony Snicket (2001, 255 pages)

A little less than a decade ago I picked up the first in a series of books that would entertain my Baudelairean tendencies. What followed was an enjoyment that would leave me 31 years old and still curious to see how the series ends. So naturally, I borrowed the book from my 11-year-old niece.

In the eighth book in the series, the Baudelaire siblings - Violet, Klaus and Sunny - are on the run from the inhabitants of the Vile Village. The children find themselves in the company of the VFD, Volunteers Fighting Disease, only to learn it's not the VFD they're looking for. But the group takes them to a place that could help them: The Hostile Hospital. 

As always, the siblings find themselves at the mercy of gullible people and the evil Count Olaf and his henchmen. And as always, their adventures leave you excited to see where the next book takes you. Thank goodness my niece owns the ninth book as well. I love this series for how dark, yet educating, it is - that through the siblings' adventures readers can improve their language skills and work on solving mysteries. That's why I give this book a fun four out of five seriously sinister situations.


Total Books Read:
7 / 50 (14 percent)
Total Pages Read: 2,580 / 15,000 (17 percent)
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Book 13 for 2011

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. 412 pages

I'd seen this series highly recommended by a lot of SF readers and quite enjoyed the Russell Crowe film about the same characters, so I thought it was worth giving this book a try. I'm sorry to say that I wasn't terribly impressed.

Obviously, in a book about the navy at the time of the Napoleonic wars, you'd expect a certain amount of seagoing jargon, but I felt it was rather overdone here, such that it felt as though the author was showing off how much research he'd done. And yet at other times I felt quite confused as to who was supposed to be at war with whom.

The characters were moderately interesting, but the plot, such as it was, seemed to me to be rather disjointed at times - I know I've complained previously about a book that wanted to account for every second of passing time, but this one seemed to have the opposite problem, cutting off scenes before they'd reached their conclusion, or so it seemed to me.

The protagonist was having an affair with a married woman, which didn't help - having a supposedly sympathetic character engage in infidelity is a fast way to lose most of my sympathy for them.

I don't think I'll be bothering with any more of this series.
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Book 18: The Day of the Jack Russell by Bateman

Book 18: The Day of the Jack Russell (Mystery Man 02).
Author: (Colin) Bateman, 2009.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Satire. Black Comedy.
Other Details: Paperback. 448 pages

Subtitled: Spooks, Crooks & a Puppy Dog's Tale, this is the follow-up to Bateman's highly successful Mystery Man. In it the Small Shopkeeper with No Name, who has accidentally gained a reputation as a private investigator, is hired by a thuggish aspiring airline magnate to discover the identity of the vandals responsible for spraying obscene graffiti on his advertising hoarding. Mystery Man and his on-again/off-again girlfriend soon find themselves up to their eyebrows in various intrigues including murder, some MI5 agents, political corruption and the hunt for a missing Jack Russell. Can he solve the case and keep No Alibis, his crime fiction bookstore, afloat in the current economic climate?

I only realised recently the passing resemblance between this series and the wonderful Black Books. Both the Mystery Man and Bernard Black are misanthropic and dysfunctional booksellers who sell almost nothing and abuse their customers, frequently raging at the philistinism of the masses. I have to wonder if Bateman was a fan of Dylan Moran's creation when he came up with this idea.

This is a very funny and sharply observed satire on crime fiction and book selling. I enjoyed it immensely and immediately requested the most recent book in the series, Dr. Yes, from the library.
Eric in Robe

No. 15 for 2011

Title: Spin
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Rating: 5/5
Book: 15/50 (30% completed)
Pages: 419 pgs
Total Pages: 5,856/15,000 pages (39.04% completed)
Version: Book
Next up: Not sure

This book is easily one of my favourite books. I stumbled upon this book by browsing the shelving cart at the library and I'm so happy that I picked it up.

This is a story about Kate, a woman who really knows how to party it up, who shows up drunk to an interview to her dream job. Needless to say, she didn't get the job. She does, however, get offered an alternate job with the promise of scoring her dream job upon successful delivery of an article about a celebrity's stay in rehab. All Kate has to do is attend rehab for thirty days and get the dirt on this celebrity. Sounds easy right?

Well, I'll leave it up to you to read the book and find out for yourself.

Why I liked this book: I loved this book! The main character, Kate Stanford, is easily relatable. The book is narrated by her and you do feel like you are apart of her journey. I had a hard time putting this book down and I will be recommending this one to everyone.

xposted to 50bookchallenge, 15000pages and bookworm84

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