Sunday, January 27, 2013

Three short reviews

Three short reviews

Another short reviews post so soon? Well, yes. I’m on holiday, and also on a bit of a reading streak, so I’m getting through some books at a pretty steady clip.

And, I believe I’ve said before, I’m lazy. So short reviews it is.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.

Ah, the zombie love-story with a twist. In that it’s the zombie, R, who falls in love with the living girl, Julie … after, that is, he eats her boyfriend’s brain.

Zombies, remember?

Something big and bad has happened, and the world is divided into the Living and the Dead. The Living are confined to large Stadiums (actual sports stadiums), with occasional foraging trips into the dead city, where, of course, the Dead tend to be waiting.

R is slightly different from your average zombie. He seems to still have goals and aspirations, despite well, being dead, and also not remembering anything about his life. And then he meets – and rescues – Julie, and everything changes.

I did enjoy Warm Bodies. I liked it a lot. Lol that’s profound, isn’t it?  There’s lots to consider in such a short book, of course there is, especially given the subject matter, but at its heart, it’s a zombie-meets-girl love story, and although it hints at some profound changes beyond the scope of it, that story is the heart of it. (Could my sentence structure BE more awkward?)

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

I always forget – until I read another one – what a weakness I do have for fairytale retellings.

Rapunzel gets the treatment in Bitter Greens, which is set in 16th and 17th century Italy and France.

In 1697, Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been sent to an isolated convent by the King of France, for licentious behaviour. Charlotte-Rose – used to a life of luxury – has a difficult time adjusting, until one of the older nuns begins telling her a story of a girl called Margherita, who was locked in a tower 100 years ago by a witch …

Bitter Greens weaves the stories of the three women – Margherita, Charlotte-Rose, and Soeur Seraphina – in a truly compelling tale of magic, love and redemption.

Recommended. And then recommended again. :D

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by  Brian Selznick

Hugo Cabret is unusual, in that it’s really part novel, part graphic novel, with about half the book taken up with pictures and sketches, which you do have to pay attention to because they fill in for part of the action.

I’m torn on Hugo Cabret, to be honest. I really want to see the movie, because in the book, neither Hugo nor Isabella, are particularly appealing characters. The story itself – of Hugo being fascinated with clocks and automatons without really knowing why, until he meets an old toymaker – is interesting, even though, for me, it feels a bit rushed.

Overall, good, but for me, not great.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What are you reading on Monday

What are you reading on Monday?

Meme is hosted here:

At the moment, I’m reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, and Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth.

I’m (obviously) having a bit of a historical fiction moment. :D

This is my second try at Wolf Hall, I didn’t get much further than about 150 pages in last time, but this time around I’m loving it, it’s absolutely fascinating.

I’m really enjoying Bitter Greens, too, which is a Renaissance-era take on the Rapunzel story.

Also in the queue this week, Shorter Fiction by Terry Pratchett.

So … what are you reading? J

Friday, January 18, 2013

Short reviews

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

I love the premise of this one. It’s essentially every good thing about Jane Austen novels – satire, sisters,  social commentary, with the addition of magic.

Sisters Melody and Jane Ellsworth are very different from one another – at 28, Jane is heading for spinsterhood while Melody, who is a good 10 years younger than her sister – is flighty and never thinks past the end of her own pretty nose.

Jane Ellsworth is particularly skilled at ‘glamour’ – the use of magic and Melody is… pretty.

I loved the premise so much, and I enjoyed Shades but I wanted to like it more than I did. I think it would have been more cohesive if Kowal had focused on one Austen novel, rather than trying to force elements of all of them into the book. Still, a fun read and an intriguing premise.

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

A young woman wakes up in the rain. She has  no memory of herself at all, and she’s surrounded by latex-glove wearing corpses. There’s a letter in her hand, and she opens it to read “The body you are wearing used to be mine.”

So begins The Rook, a very thinky sci-fi novel by Daniel O’Malley. I have to admit, like the heroine of the story, I spent large parts of it massively confused. But O’Malley’s worldbuilding, and the idea that there’s a tradition-steeped, super-secret organisation like The Checquy watching over us, were fascinating enough to keep me going.

I really liked the main character, Myfanwy, who is literally a brand-new person, and the way she sets about finding out what happened to her predecessor.

Confusing and mind-bendy as it is, I would definitely recommend The Rook.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

I joined up at in order to take part in this: and Beauty Queens was the first read for that challenge.

The contestants for Miss Teen Dream have crash-landed on a desert island on their way to the competition. After some Survivor-style in-fighting, the remaining girls figure out how to survive in the hostile environment of the island.

However, not everything is as it seems …

I loved Beauty Queens. Absolutely loved it. The satire – while a bit obvious at times – was incredibly sharp and it’s good to see a book with girls being completely, 100% kick-ass. Even when the sexy pirates show up.

Fun, great stuff. :D

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Oh, hey

Happy New Year! I hope 2013 only brings good things. :-)

I decided not to do a best-of list for 2012 - entirely out of laziness, even though I love reading those lists.

I read 50 books in 2012 (yay!) and I'm aiming/hoping to read 75 in 2013. I also watched 76 movies, so 2012 was a pretty good year for reading/watching.

I'm hoping that in 2013 I can Read All of the Things, and also Watch All of the Things. I already have a pretty extensive list of TV shows.

Other than that, I'm going to try and curb my addiction to iPhone games. So far ... well, let's not talk about how I'm doing so far ...