July 1st, 2012

plot bunny hunter

June 2012 Reading

June Reading:

17. Insurgent, by Veronica Roth (525 pages)
Wow, this was just amazing. Roth deals with a lot of the issues brought up in Divergent without sweeping anything under the table. Tris is not uneffected by the events she has witnessed and been a part of, and while dealing with the consequences, she must discover who she is. At the risk of everything.

18. Matched, by Ally Condie (369 pages)
Cassia's tale in a dystopic future of utter government control kept me reading. Definitely intend to read the next one. It reminds me in some ways of The Hunger Games, and of Divergent, though it is unique in its own right.

19. Red Unicorn, by Tanith Lee (191 pages)
Better than the first two, in that Tanaquil was more palatable a character. But I think that's in part because this adventure forced her to face her problems more directly than she had been, and really take stock of who she was and who she wanted to be. I definitely like the end to this series.

20. Hex: Ghosts, by Rhiannon Lassiter (280 pages)
In terms of cyberpunk and dystopian tales, I rather enjoyed this series. I read the first two ages ago, so it took a bit to remember what I'd read before. The mix of tech/web and dystopia, and the idea of the progression of human evolution is really interesting in this series. There were some things I would have liked to see drawn out more, or for more detail to be included in places, but overall this was a good read.

21. The Neruda Case, by Roberto Ampuero (141 pages)
I received an uncorrected proof of this book as a winner in a Goodreads First Reads drawing. The occasionally beautiful narration, the fact that I love the setting, and my love of Neruda's poetry kept me reading as long as I did. Regarding the setting, I am fascinated by Chile during the time of Salvador Allende, and I studied abroad in Cuba. I really wanted to read it, but I was unable to finish this book. It may have been a lost in translation issue or a personal style quibble on my part, or even just a first book in a series syndrome sufferer, but I wasn't drawn into the story. Often it was difficult to determine which character was speaking/doing something, and I wasn't interested in the characters. Additionally, the present-day scene at the beginning felt forced and the time shift to the past was jarring. Also, it's hard to write a historical figure as a character in a novel, and often awkward. I found myself uncertain about many of those scenes. As a reader, I was not able to suspend my disbelief with Neruda as a character. The history is amazing, and the writing is lovely in places. But I can't get into the story, and I don't know that I'll ever finish it.

22. Crossed, by Ally Condie (367 pages)
This is the sequel to Matched, and it definitely didn't disappoint. There were various threads started in this book that I hope to see continued in the next. Definitely an awesome utopia/dystopia series, with hints that it is also post-apocalyptic. My favorite genres with a great story to boot; how could I resist? Also, the basis for bits about the Society remind me of "Crito" in a lot of ways.

23. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury (268 pages)
It took me a long time to get around to reading this book. It's been on my reading list for years, and with Ray Bradbury's death I pushed it to the top, and I'm glad I did. In his forward, Bradbury mentions Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, and I could see tinges of that in this book, place-based as it were, and a collection of stories. But I also saw tinges of other things. Huxley told Bradbury he was a poet, and he was right; I can see Whitman in this book, and Twain, and so many other literary geniuses. I'm sorry I took so long to read this, but in some ways, I'm glad I waited until I had enough of a literary background to appreciate it more fully.

June book pages: 2,141

Total book pages: 6,181 pages

Progress: 23/50


97. Black Butler: Volume 9, by Yana Toboso (176 pages)
98. The Gentlemen's Alliance+: Volume 11, by Arina Tanemura (192 pages)
99. Chibi Vampire: Volume 13, by Yuna Kagesaki (192 pages)
100. Dance in the Vampire Bund: Volume 5, by Nozomu Tamaki (208 pages)
101. Boys Over Flowers: Volume 8, by Yoko Kamio (200 pages)
102. Fruits Basket: Volume 12, by Natsuki Takaya (216 pages)
103. Bride of the Water God: Volume 5, by Mi-Kyung Yun (192 pages)
104. Black Bird: Volume 6, by Kanoko Sakurakoji (192 pages)
105. A Certain Scientific Railgun: Volume 2, by Kazuma Kamachi (192 pages)
106. D.Gray-Man: Volume 10, by Katsura Hoshino (197 pages)
107. Black Cat: Volume 13, by Kentaro Yabuki (192 pages)
108. Bleach: Volume 10, by Tite Kubo (208 pages)
109. Solanin, by Inio Asano (432 pages)
110. Boys Over Flowers: Volume 9, by Yoko Kamio (200 pages)
111. A Bride's Story: Volume 3, by Kaoru Mori (208 pages)
112. The Story of Saiunkoku: Volume 1, by Kari Yura and Sai Yukino (176 pages)
113. Kimi Ni Todoke: Volume 5, by Karuho Shiina (192 pages)
114. Betrayal Knows My Name: Volume 2, by Hotaru Odagiri (352 pages)
115. Highschool of the Dead: Volume 6, by Daisuke and Shouji Sato (160 pages)
116. The Surrogates: Volume 1, by Robert Venditti (208 pages)
117. Yotsuba&!: Volume 7, by Kiyohiko Azuma (208 pages)
118. Amazing Agent Luna: Volume 1, by Nunzio DeFilippis (192 pages)
119. Chibi Vampire: Volume 14, by Yuna Kagesaki (208 pages)
120. Fruits Basket: Volume 13, by Natsuki Takaya (192 pages)
121. Bride of the Water God: Volume 6, by Mi-Kyung Yun (184 pages)
122. Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms, by Fumiyo Kouno (104 pages)
123. D.Gray-Man: Volume 11, by Katsura Hoshino (210 pages)
124. Kyo Kara MAOH!: Volume 6, by Temari Matsumoto (192 pages)
125. All My Darling Daughters, by Fumi Yoshinaga (208 pages)
126. Bride of the Water God: Volume 7, by Mi-Kyung Yun (192 pages)
127. Blood Alone: Omnibus 1, by Masayuki Takano (600 pages)
128. Fate/Stay Night: Volume 2, by Type Moon (212 pages)
129. Mushishi: Volume 1, by Yuki Urushibara (240 pages)
130. Kimi Ni Todoke: Volume 6, by Karuho Shiina (184 pages)
131. Kekkaishi: Volume 5, by Yellow Tanabe (208 pages)
132. Fairy Tail: Volume 6, by Hiro Mashima (208 pages)
133. A Certain Scientific Railgun: Volume 3, by Kazuma Kamachi (192 pages)
134. Bleach: Volume 11, by Tite Kubo (208 pages)
135. Black Cat: Volume 14, by Kentaro Yabuki (192 pages)
136. Spice and Wolf: Volume 2, by Keito Koume (192 pages)

June comic/manga pages: 8,611

Total comic/manga pages: 27,430

Progress: 136/75

#10 Christine Feehan: The Dark Prince (1999) 1/5

I am not an absolute fan of vampire fiction, but I do like Ann Rice. And until now have not really seen her equal. The book of Christine Feehan caught my eye in the shop because of the blurb, basically saying that she is as good as Ann Rice. Erm... No!

"The Dark Prince" is the first book in the series about Carpathians. Carpathians are a race with many supernatural abilities: immortality, telepathy, ability to heal while sleeping deep within the soil, and yes, they drink blood. However, they do not usually kill, although the desire is strong. Every man needs his lifemate, a woman, who "provides light to his darkness" and keeps him from going insane and becoming an actual vampire. And at the moment, there are so few Carpathian women, that the race is dying out. On the first pages of the book, the prince of the Carpathians, Mikhail is almost ready to commit suicide, when he hears thoughts of a human woman, and realises, she is his lifemate.

So far, so good, right? A nice set-up. Quite beautifully written. But... And there are so many buts!

Carpathians are supposed to be very patriarchal, well known to the villagers, and they live in the depths of Romania. Why none of them has a Romanian name? A couple has Russian names, then there is Jacques (French?) and finally Byron (erm...). The Carpathian language itself sounded to me suspiciously like Estonian. But these are admittedly minor problems.

The biggest problem is sex. Yes, you've heard me right. This is not a big book. And I think, the couple has managed to do it about 7 times in the first 5 chapters. And that is all they do. There is very little storyline, very little character development, very little anything. With such frequency, no wonder that the description of the scenes becomes extremely repetitive.

I have seen novels, specifically marked as erotica, with more plot and character development.

So, next time I get the urge to read about vampires, I will just reread the Chronicles.
turkey dance

Spring/Summer Reading

I bought a Kindle in April (yay) and needless to say I've caught up on TONS of reading, not to mention I've also checked out books from my local library and bought some at the Salvation Army. Here's my list so far for spring/summer reading:

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch and Lee Chadeayne
Every Last Kiss (The Bloodstone Saga) by Courtney Cole
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Joyful Momma's Guide to Shopping & Cooking Frugally by Kimberly Eddy
Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Obama Zombies by Jason Mattera
I Am A Conservative by Kurt Schlichter

Right now I'm working on reading Mockingjay, the last book in The Hunger Games series, then I plan to move on to the Fifty Shades of Grey books. I'm also reading The Elizabethans by A.N. Wilson and Shakespeare for Dummies (because there's a handful of his plays I still haven't read) along with another comprehensive guide to "the Bard". I'll probably post again after I've finished those books.


  • Current Mood
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Before crashing into a nap, yesterday afternoon, I finished two books:

Osprey Fortress #94: Spanish Colonial Fortifications in North America 1565 - 1822 wasn't quite as interesting as I'd hoped for.

While reading Osprey Campaign #191: Vienna 1681: Christian Europe Repels the Ottomans, I kept finding my mind wandering to the movie, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen...
book and cup

#67 The Trumpet Major - Thomas Hardy (1880)

This was the latest read for my online Hardy reading group – we are reading one book every two months chronologically. I’m a big Hardy fan – and I am so enjoying rediscovering the works I first fell in love with when I was between about eighteen and twenty. I do find though, that my memory of many of the actual plots has suffered greatly over the intervening years – that was certainly the case with The Trumpet Major. My one recollection was of military men in uniform, at the time of the Napoleonic wars. I had completely forgotten how it ended – which I was rather glad of really.
I think the Trumpet Major is generally considered to be a fairly minor work by Hardy. Of course it could be said that a minor work by Hardy is still a fairly great piece of literature – well I certainly think so. The Trumpet Major is beautifully written, and the characterisation is fabulous, many of the more minor characters beautifully comic. The English countryside and the natural world are always at their best in Hardy’s Wessex, and here the small rural communities that Hardy grew up in, are affectionately reproduced. In writing The Trumpet Major, Hardy was writing an historical novel – which he had been inspired to do after meeting with aged survivors of the conflict at Chelsea hospital in 1875. Although the story mainly concerns the three possible suitors for the hand of Anne Garland – Hardy also faithfully depicts both the fear and patriotism in small English communities at this time.

“Their excitement was merely of a piece with that of all men at this critical juncture. Everywhere expectation was at fever heat. For the last year or two only five-and-twenty miles of shallow water had divided quiet English homesteads from an enemy’s army of a hundred and fifty thousand men. We had taken the matter lightly enough, eating and drinking as in the days of Noe, and singing satires without end. We punned on Bonaparte and his gunboats, chalked his effigy on stage-coaches, and published the same in prints. Still, between these bursts of hilarity, it was sometimes recollected that England was the only European country which had not succumbed to the mighty little man who was less than human in feeling, and more than human in will; that our spirit for resistance was greater than our strength; and that the Channel was often calm.”

A thin partition wall divides the home of the Widow Garland and her daughter Anne, from that of the Miller Loveday. The two households get along well together, although Mrs Garland feels that she and her daughter are socially superior to the Lovedays. This does not prevent her from marrying the genial Miller Loveday – but she is less keen for her daughter to marry either of his sons. John the elder is the eponymous Trumpet Major – a good honourable man in the tradition of many other Hardy heroes. Robert his brother to whom Anne once lost her heart when still a very young girl is a sailor – and something of a womaniser. The third suitor to Anne is the cowardly oafish Festus Derriman, a conniving Dragoon, and nephew of the local squire. It is Derriman whom Mrs Garland (later Mrs Loveday) champions in her social ambitions for her daughter.
Needless to say there are many obstacles, misunderstandings, tears and fainting aways to be gone through before Anne decides with whom her future will rest. Anne is ever so slightly irritating at times – I found myself tutting and saying “for heaven’s sake you silly girl!” However John Loveday – the Trumpet Major is wonderful – sigh! I also rather adored Uncle Benji – the horrid Festus Derriman’s uncle – he’s a masterful comic creation.
I won’t give away the ending so I will say no more of the story. Overall however I found The Trumpet Major entertaining and hugely readable – it has in fact a much lighter touch than many other Hardy novels and could be said therefore to be a quite quick read. It is certainly a lighter novel than Far from the Madding Crowd or Return of the Native, which the Hardy group read recently but for me it still has much to recommend it.

June Books: #69-79/200

Laurie's Loves by Lynnette Bernard
Louisiana Heat by Dominique Adair
The Girl who was on Fire ed. Leah Wilson
Fairest #4 by Bill Willingham
American Vampire #26 & #27 by Scott Synder
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Hark! A Vargrant by Kate Beaton
Monster by A. Lee Martinez
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade

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