Monday, 30 December 2013

1-2-3 Restart! Our January book pick is The Coldest Girl in Coldtown!

We went AWOL there for a while. Exams and life sucking all fun out of everything got in the way, but we're hitting the big reset button and starting afresh! Though in a far less dramatic way than what they do on Doctor Who these days... We are starting 2014 by reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.

About the novel:

Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Published: 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
"Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. 
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black" (from the author's website)

Why we chose it:

We both want to read this novel by a writer we've both either read or heard a lot about and have been recommended to us. Besides, the concept of monsters and humans forced together in what sounds like a kind of prison cities? Murder and mayhem? Revenge? Yes, please.

buy (affiliate link): The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (

Monday, 30 September 2013

Book Chat: Out of the Easy!

Kiwie: So how did you like it?

Kat : It was okay, but not my favourite book ever, to put it like that. It was a bit slow a lot of the time.

Kiwie: Agreed, it wasn't bad in anyway, but not great either. A bit meh. I felt that we were waiting for something through the whole novel (which I admit we were, but her acceptance/rejection to that school or if she got out of New Orleans was not what I felt I was waiting for).

Kat: That's how I felt as well. It was as if the book never really started. We jumped into it in the middle, read for a bit and then it was over without anything ever happening. Sure, I got angry with her mum and felt sorry for the Josie, but her story wasn't really very exciting. And I had much higher expectations to the feel and mood of the book, being set in New Orleans. I know Josie didn't like the city, but I still felt that the book could have been set almost anywhere warm.

Kiwie: New Orleans was not a "character" the way you might be led to believe by the title... I wish it had been. I also felt that the gallery of characters were made to be inclusive of all people ever in a way, sometimes that was pointless. For instance the whole Stephen thing, Josie sort of liking him (as well as obviously being attracted to Jesse), but then he turns out to be gay. That was a bit of a cop-out, either make HER decide or leave the hint of a love-triangle out of the damn story!

Kat: Yes, you're right. I felt like a lot of things never really got resolved, people just left or died in the end.

Kiwie: Right, and then Willie just shipped Josie out to Shady Cove when things got messy and she hung out there and flirted a bit with Jesse and it was just very boring filler!

Kat: I know! I felt like the author could have done so much better, as the book was well written and the characters was fairly developed, it was the plot that fall short of my expectations.

Kiwie: The characters were nice, they had some depth and weren't all the same, and the writing wasn't bad at all, but the plot really wasn't exiting at all with the exception of a few times.

Kat: True. My mental health kind of went out the window as I was reading this and I was wondering if my inability to enjoy the book was directly linked to that, but now I think not. The book was really not what it could have been, but I didn't hate it.

Kiwie: Also all the characters were either good or bad, even if Josie had complicated feelings towards her mother she was always bad, and even though Willie (in addition to being a madam) clearly wasn't "good" in the traditional sense she was always the good guy.

Kat : I almost wish I did hate it, because then at least I would care more about the book!

Kiwie: To sum it up: Meh.

Kat: Yeah. I don't really think it's much else to say about this book. Good it wasn't longer

Kiwie: No, which is sad, because I really wanted to like it, I just don't.

Kat: Me too.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

September novel: Out of the Easy

It seems that our reading circle flat lined sometime late July, but as the trees start ti wither we intend to blossom, or at least get back on track. For September we intend to read Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys:

Out of the Easy cover
Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
First published: 2013

From the publisher/book website:

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny

Why we chose this book:

We have both encountered talk about and reviews of this book online, on YouTube, Goodreads and blogs, and we've been intrigued. A book set in 1950s New Orleans, starring a seventeen-year-old, born of a prostitue, trying to get out and into a new life? Could be great.

What we expect from it:

Kiwie: I want to read this mostly because of the New Orleans setting, I have slight fascination with the city (or rather it's portrayal), but haven't really read anything about it lately which is why this is a book I've noticed and keep seeing and going "oh yeah I might read that" but not actually getting far enough to even stick it in my to-read list on Goodreads. Plus I'm guessing this is also a coming of age story, which I like.

Katastrofekat: As Kiwie already said, this book caught my attention because of it's setting. I have been fascinated with New Orleans since I read the first books in Anne Rices Vampire Chronicles when I was a teenager. Then I read Poppy Z. Brites vampire novels a few years ago and was reminded of how wonderful I found this setting. I hope this book has some excitement and some of that dreamy mood from Poppy Z. Brite. The description sounds very promising and I'm very excited going into this book

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

World War Z by Max Brooks

So, things didn't go quite as planned this month. I finished the book and completely forgot to write anything about it and then Kiwie didn't finish it. She might write about why, but she told me she bought the audiobook, like me, but she hadn't been in a mood to listen to any audiobook this month. So she will finish the book but she probably won't write about it here. I was planning to make up for that by writing a long review but that did not go as planned either. I have been feeling kind of rubbish lately and don't have much to say about the book, so this month you just get the short review from Goodreads. Just know that this is us being human and not the book being bad. I liked the book a lot, I just can't muster the will to write a lot about it at the moment. So, have a short review:

This is my favorite zombie-book. I loved the way the book is out together, how it really feels like you get to hear many different peoples stories. This book felt very real and it must have been a hard book to write, with so many points of view and so many people from differing countries. To research this book must have been a nightmare and I'm very impressed with the finished result. 

Also, this book was very fitting as an audiobook. It really made the oral history of the zombie war come alive.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Death's Daughter (Calliope Reaper-Jones #1) by Amber Benson

This wasn't one of my favorite books I have read for this book club but I did find it quite enjoyable. The idea was a good one and this was that kind of book I loved to read when I was younger, so I enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane, so to speak. 

Calliope is trying to live a normal life in New York, normal job, normal friends and normal interests all included. But she is the daughter of Death and even though she doesn't have any contact with her family, she gets dragged right back into her old life when her father is kidnapped along with her oldest sister and almost everyone working for him. Calliope is the only family member left who can take over her fathers job and if she don't do it, her fathers powers and immortality will be revoked and he might be killed. So Calliope don't have much of a choice, she has to become Death. Of course becoming Death isn't that easy and she has to complete a series of challenges before she can get her powers and everything gets really complicated when she is also accused of being her fathers kidnapper.

The book was exciting and the idea was a good one, but where this book failed a bit for me, was Calliope. She had an okay personality, but I just didn't like her that much. One of her go to reactions when life fights against her is to sit down and cry while she waits for someone to help her. I would have liked her to be a bit more kick-ass and luckily she gets better during the book. I also liked that she didn't change her personality during the book. She started out as shopping loving girl and she was still the same when the book was over, even though I don't think I would be good friends with her.

I did like Calliopes sister, Clio. She was one of my favorite characters in this book and I don't think Callie would have gotten far without her. I also loved Runt, one of Cerberus pups which is a great support for Callie during this book. 

The story isn't the most original but I thought that Amber Benson did it in an interesting way and although parts of the book was a bit predictable, overall I enjoyed it. In the end she managed to surprise me couple of times and the book was an easy, entertaining read. All in all, the book had a few short-commings, but I enjoyed spending time in this universe and I might keep reading the series, even if it's mostly to get to know some of the minor characters a bit better.

P.S. A little note about why we are only reviewing one book each, even though we were supposed to read both. I can't review The Ocean at the End of the Lane because I haven't gotten it yet. I pre-orderd the book but it has yet to turn up in my mailbox. This is why we are reviewing one book each, even though Kiwie has read them both and I will most definitely read The Ocean at the End of the Lane as soon as it turns up. 


The Ocean at the End of the Lane

My initial thought after finishing this: Beautiful. 

When I first started reading I wasn't entirely sure if this book would sit well with me. It is the first Neil Gaiman book I've pre-ordered. The first adult fiction book he's published after I fell in love with his words (which was sometime before the Graveyard book came out, which I got for Christmas in a really pretty edition from my aunt who is magical at gifs. Or psychic. Or she just talks to my mother.) for real. After I somehow learned that Gaiman is a writer who writes books. Weird, I have Coraline sitting on a shelf and it's been sitting there for years, and I've read Sandman and you know been generally aware of Gaiman since I was a kid, but it wasn't until 07/08 I really got into him and read most of his fiction. So I was worried I was going to be let down because I've built him up. I wasn't.

This was and wasn't Gaiman as I've know him. The book started off like books do, uncertainly, teaching the reader it's language and I was puzzled for a while, but by page 50 I was so drawn into the story that there was no putting it down until the final page. I read every single word. If books are boring, or parts seem to not be relevant to the overall plot I often read, but don't register much of what's going on. That didn't happen. Gaiman writes beautifully, sometimes his descriptions and observations make me go "this is truth" or feel like I'm having a eureka moment, which is a wonderful thing, or just making the words seem very real. (*coughpage112cough*) I'm expecting to see a lot of quotes from this floating about the web, in pretty fonts and on pretty pictures. 

It was beautiful, and scary and I wish it was longer and not. I also want to tip my hat for his naming skills. Ursula Monkton! Sounds villainy to me.

Not to mention the beautiful name and the cover of my edition. Well, the book underneath the dust jacket as well as the dust jacket (do you even call them that?).

Yes, there are flaws, yes there were parts where I wished someone had edited the language differently, but for the most part I wouldn't change a thing. I think this is a lovely little book and I cried at the end. There's a magic to it, and while the universe is intangible it isn't annoyingly so, not to me anyway (I know others will disagree). This is not my favoirte Gaiman novel (tie between American Gods, Coraline and The Graveyard book!), but I loved it.

Again: Beautiful, I wish I could say something better, but that's all I can come up with.

Best wishes,

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

July Novel: World War Z by Max Brooks

An oral history of the zombie war

Title: World War Z
Author: Max Brooks
First Published: 2006

About the novel:

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Why we chose this novel and what we expect from it:

Why not? It has a certain reputation/level of fame, it has been turned into a move and it presents itself in a documentary style, and of course: ZOMBIES!

Kiwie: No idea what to expect I've heard people love it and I've heard people hate it. All I know is: Zombies that nearly destroy us. Which is good, as I like both zombies and destruction!


Sunday, 16 June 2013

June alternate/#2 pick:

Title: Death's Daughter (Calliope Reaper-Jones #1)
Author: Amber Benson
First published: 2009

About the novel, as presented on Goodreads:

Calliope Reaper-Jones so just wanted a normal life: buying designer shoes on sale, dating guys from Craig’s List, web-surfing for organic dim-sum for her boss...

But when her father—who happens to be Death himself—is kidnapped, and the Devil’s Protege embarks on a hostile takeover of the family business, Death, Inc., Callie returns home to assume the CEO mantle— only to discover she must complete three nearly impossible tasks in the realm of the afterlife first.

Why we chose this book and what we expect:

Amber Benson wrote this, she's good on twitter, she was great on Buffy (Tara!) and you know she seem like a nice lady so getting friendly with her novels were the logical next step really, and when they're about death's daughter, well, that just makes them more interesting.

Kiwie: I've followed her tweets, and now the Bloodkiss movie kickstarter (where she'll be a singervampire, along with Neil Gaiman or other pick, who will also be a vampire!) and thought "why not read her novels?" and now I am going to give them a shot. I've been reading a lot about heaven and hell so why not add some more? Probably not the deepest book I'll read this year, but I love stories about Death so. Light, fun and deadly?

Katastrofekat: This sounds like a nice summer read. I'm always into paranormal stuff and this sounds like something fifteen year old me would have loved to either read or write so I guess this will be a good pick for my taste.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Kiwie: Haaaaaaai!

Katastrofekat: Yo!

Katastrofekat: So, Lolita then?

Kiwie: Yeah, what did you think about the read?

Katastrofekat: It was an okay book, but it was a bit longer than what I feel it should have been.

Katastrofekat: You?

Kiwie: Agreed, some parts were just too dragged out for my tastes. Like when they were driving around the country and Humbert Humbert (H.H) was basically just listing a lot of places and mentioning a thing here and a thing there. I just skimmed those pages and put the book down for a couple of days before I continued.

Katastrofekat: Same here.

Kiwie Kristine: This is really one of those books that I liked more after I was done and had a think than during. Not that it was bad, it was just tough to get through, not just because of the writing, but also the "romance" between H.H and a girl who is 12 at the start...

Katastrofekat: That is true. Also, I kind of whis we could have gotten to know Lolita  a bit better. She just was around a lot, but I don't think she had that much of a personality

Kiwie: Yeah, but that's the nature of a first-person narrative we only see people through the narrator and he didn't bother getting to know her at all. She liked movies and boys as far as he was concerned. Of course she was broken throughout and possbly hid her personality well.

Katastrofekat: Yeah, how can you not be broken if you grow up with a mother that resents you. No wonder she wanted to be loved, no matter how wrong the romance might have been

Kiwie: Yeah, and what we learn about her when H.H visits her with her new husband is equally disturbing, she really didn't have a chance, unless she got though and just let it happen. She seems a bit emotionally crippled to me, very no-nonsense. She bartered with H.H "I do this and you give me that," so she must have had an end in mind too.

Katastrofekat: She can't have had an easy life, no matter how though she got. I did like who H.H started to lose his mind when they were on their second trip through America. When he saw people following them.

Kiwie: I liked that too, when he was falling apart was great, getting paranoid, making up advanced scemes etc. We know he was in mental health institutions several times during his life and it wasn't until the end he himself truly realised how sick he was. Earlier he'd brush it off as if it was just exhaustion or something, but the really started to lose it when he got paranoid.

Katastrofekat: One thing that really annoyed me was when he narrated the story and suddenly changed to french. I had french for three years and I still didn't understand enough to actually know what he meant by it. I wish he could have stuck to english or at least translated the french in footnotes or something. I felt like I was missing stuff and that was really annoying.

Kiwie: Ugh, the french! I used google translate for some parts, made noe more sense with that... He also threw in some german and latin for good measure. Frustrating!
Kiwie: Well, some of it made sense, but sometimes he used his pet names for Lolita there as well and google translate was all "WTF?"

Katastrofekat: Yeah. Even though I liked the book, I didn't like it quite enough to actually bother with google translate.

Kiwie: I hate feeling left out...

Katastrofekat: Oh, the pet names! Omg, that girl had to many names if you ask me...

Kiwie: Yeah, and he couldn't keep other people straight either! I know he was making up names for them, but dude, stick to the same ones for the same people! He was too meticulous about the other stuff to not be able to do it (as a narrator).

Katastrofekat: In the start of the book I had trouble figuring out who he was talking about, when he called both Lolita and her mother by their last name.

Kiwie: Yeah. Everything was jumbled (and I guess it was so in H.H mind too, but I don't think that's an excuse for overdoing it Nabokov!)
Kiwie Kristine: H.H is an pretentious ass and that made it hard to read too sometimes. All those french philosophers and what nots.

Katastrofekat: Yes! That's excatly what he was. The story he told us was very interesting and disturbing at the same time, but I had a hard time relating to him at all.

Kiwie: I did a little research (okay, wikipedia) and there is apparently an annotated version that explains stuff (especially references to other things and I'm sure I only picked up on the Poe related ones...). I think that would have been more fun to read, this isn't exactly the kind of story that drags you into it anyway, the interruption would probalby be welcome. The story is interesting, and I loved how it started out as a defence of his actions and ended up as a confession of his sins instead. That is brilliant story-telling and perfect use of the first-person!

Katastrofekat: Yeah, I think I would have liked to read that version as well, as I felt kind of stupid at times while reading, since there obviously was stuff I was missing out on. I agree, the story-telling was good and this book wouldn't have worked as well if it wasn't written in the first-person. I'm glad to have read it, as I now will be able to get Lolita references but it won't be a book I will be in a hurry to read again.

Kiwie: Nothing is more annoying than when you know you don't get it. It's like banging your head against a wall. I won't re-read either I think. I do have a penchant for unlikeable main characters, but not the perverted ones. Tip of the hat to Nabokov though, he wrote a pretty good and unredeemable guy, who I think appears to be a good example of the pervert (as shown in the media at least), only with a different narrative. Nabokov gets a lot of it right, but also makes H.H annoying and in fact as childish as the child he abuses sometimes makes the novels somewhat annoying as well.

Katastrofekat: That's right, Nabokov wrote this book very well. Also, This is a main character I'm actually glad not to be able to relate to, if you know what I mean.

Kiwie: Haha, yeah, I'd be pretty disturbed at myself if I read it an thoguht "hey, that H.H's on to something!"

Katastrofekat: Ai, that would be pretty bad!

Kiwie: This could be a book peple get suspected pervs to read and go "so what did you think?" and if they liked H.H: lock em up!

June #1 pick: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
First Published: June 2013

What goodreads has to say about it:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark, from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman.

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

Why we chose this book and what we expect

It is a Gaiman novel. We don't really need any other reason as he's among our very favorite authors. Also the cover is really pretty.

Kiwie: Gaiman has a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf so when he comes out with a new novel I'm going to read it. Easy as pie! I don't have any particular expectations other than that, hopefully, I'll like it or even better, love it. It sounds interesting at least.


Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Conversation about Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angels

We had a little chat about the novel:

Katastrofekat: any thoughts?

Kiwie: Plenty, just, hard to sort out, there is some good and some bad in this novel. I read it really really fast considering how long it was.

Katastrofekat: Yeah, I think I read it in two days, so not the most complex book, but a lot of action. I liked that there wasn't much wasted time

Kiwie: True. A good light entertaining read, but not much more is sort of what I'm thinking.

Katastrofekat: Yes, I was thinking along those lines. Not my favourite main character though

Kiwie: No, Tessa was not interesting, nor developed enough I think. She just came over from New York, got kidnapped and it didn't seem to affect her much at all, other than that shes thought she looked bad after. Which is never a good place to start with a character. She is distraught over her brother, but oh, she knew all along what he was like and didn't do anything about it till the end. I wanted to slap her so many times.

Katastrofekat: Haha, maybe it would have done her some good! And she said she was distraught over her brother, but to me it seemed a bit like she forgot him whenever Will was in the same room as her. Also, I don't like the constant pining that seems to be in all young adult books theses days!

Kiwie: Yes! She kept forgetting about her brother, who according to her was all she had left, you wouldn't do that would you? Especially not when you don't know if he's a live or not, and then it took her ages to catch onto him in the end. Not a very good mind on her. Ugh. Pining, don't get me started. Fancying someone is alright, but do you really have to be so dramatic about it? I knows she's only, what sixteen, but come on. Just because someone is pretty and stuff you don't have to swoon and fall for them in a heartbeat.

Katastrofekat: If someone is all you have in the world, you damn well don't forget them! I might have found it more believable if she cared about her brother but had her doubts about him before she left New York. Yeah. Sure, you might fall for someone, but that doesn't mean you change your entire person. Also, if you live with your crush, fucking talk to him, instead of just thinking about it!

Kiwie: She just seems so emotionally unreal, and then there is the whole "proper lady do's and don'ts" that crop up, most of it from Jessamine, but some from Tessa, and she's supposed to change and she becomes more kick-ass throughout, but I didn't feel as if a lot changed inside her before she slightly broke at the end.
The shadowhunters were interesting though, I liked them, though perhaps not all their personalities. Herondale was just too obvious, and ugh, I hate too obvious. Charlotte and Jem were more interesting I think. It's just that Tessa seemed to trust them because they were pretty, which brings us back to how annoying she was, ha-ha.

Katastrofekat: Yeah. I actually kind of liked Jessamine better, at least she knew what she wanted and acted accordingly.
The shadowhunters fascinated me and I really want to know more about the downworlders and their underground world! I liked Charlotte and Jem as well, and I wish we got to know them a bit better. Since all Tessa could think about was her brother and Will, I felt like a big part of the world was left out of the picture.

Kiwie: True, but at least her brother was plot related, the whole "I think I'm in love with Will, maybe that other angel-boy who is dying is also totally hot though?" = COMPLETELY UNINTERESTING. I understand characters falling in love and having a love life, or just wanting sex, but this isn't that. It's something else I think, maybe. Actually, I'm not sure what the plot was. Was it her missing brother and her mystic ability, was it her relationships with people or was it just something bad is stirring among the mundanes and downworlders hate shadowhunters?

Katastrofekat: Yes, true. And she didn't really get to know any of them, she just thought they were pretty, and that kind of gets to me. She might have an underdeveloped personality, but because of that, everyone else seemed kind of one dimensional as well.  I felt like the author wasn't too sure about what the plot was either, and maybe she tried to make it character driven instead, but didn't quite make it? The book felt very much like an introduction to the world the whole way through

Kiwie: "Oh, they're pretty," *swoon* was it. Will could quite poetry, and that was basically why she liked him in addition to the pretty. Then he was mean and cruel (which we understand as it is spelled out for us on multiple occasions is a defence mechanism) to her, teasing her and things. One would think that would give her a reality check.
If this was supposed to be character driven if failed, it also felt like an introduction to a potentially interesting world, and I've read that this is her second series in the same one, and I don't know, shouldn't it be more developed and more quickly explained? Tessa was reading that damn Codex throughout! It went very slow even though she got thrown into it and should have gotten some education by the Shadowhunters first thing, not just Will throwing a book at her, and a few bits of information from the others, yet she learnt all about Sophie and Jem for instance.

Katastrofekat: This book was the first one to come out, if I have understood it correctly. The other series, The Mortal Instruments is a prequel series, but this book was the first one.
Kiwie: Oh, okay. I just saw a listing online and TMI were listed first
Kiwie: Nope, just checked, the first TMI came out in 2007, this came out three years later.

Katastrofekat: Okay, right. But you are right. It was an okay read, but didn't quite live up to expectations. I wanted more from the book. Also, the clockwork angel, it was always there, and that one time it was interesting, we didn't get to know what the deal was, and when the action died down, it was forgotten.

Kiwie: Yes! Tessa didn't even seem slightly curious! She got saved by her necklace! Come on! "my angel" was everything she said about it.
The next one better be about her parents, and the angel and other things or this series will be progressing in the wrong direction... I liked the novel as I read it, it was light and enjoyable, but often annoying, however I'll be reading the next one soon I think.

Katastrofekat: Yeah, that is true. I liked the book, but when I think back at it, I see the faults better then when I read it. The book wasn't my favourite, but it was only parts that really annoyed me while reading it and the world have a lot of potential, so I want to keep reading the series.

Kiwie: It seemed alright when I read it, but this whole conversation shows that I liked it less than I thought. Which is how it is with books (and life) some things are better in hindsight and some are worse. I think I'll finish the series, but not continue reading Cassandra Clare after that. I also think that I prefer adult supernatural romance to the teen version, at least there they get laid & kick-ass at the same time...

Katastrofekat: I like that! I think that pretty much concludes it.

Kiwie: Yeah. I could add that the whole "set in London" thing is pointless. That the city air isn't fresh and the Thames is dirty as fuck and some names does not create a setting...

Katastrofekat: Right. The only thing about the setting is that it isn't where Tessa grew up. Besides that, pointless.

Monday, 15 April 2013

May novel: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokof

Title: Lolita
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
First Published: 1955

What Goodreads says about the book:
Awe and exhilaration—along with heartbreak and mordant wit—abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love—love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

Why we chose this book and what we expect:
It's a classic and we wanted to read something different this time.

I don't expect much, other than what is probably an interesting story? I just want to read it to have read it so to speak. I feel like there is a Lolita shaped hole in my literary education (many other holes too of course) and I feel like filling it just about now. I already know the story so well, but I haven't got a first hand experience of it, so I thought I should.

I don't have many expectations and don't really know that much about the story other than a few things, so I'm going into this book pretty blank. I have it on my e-reader and thought I should read it some day and this is a very good excuse. Not that I need an excuse to read!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Post-read post: Every Day

What to say about this book? I laughed, I cried, I rolled my eyes and I loved it. That does not mean that this is a book without problems, because there are so-so many. If you like David Levithan, you'll probably like this too, because I think that without that fact I wouldn't.

I love the idea of waking up in a different body every day, and I hate it too. It is a fun thought experiment, but I wonder if this should have been turned into a novel.

Upside: It preaches a lot of tolerance. The genderlessness of A is really awesome, because gender is very much a body thing, if it wasn't for our bodies it would be just a personality thing. This part of the novel I love love love. It is also funny (did I mention that already?).

Downside: A really does not have a lot of insight into things, and a lot of the bodies A wake up in seem unreal. Also: I CANNOT IGNORE THE LACK OF ANSWER TO WHY!!!!!! Seriously. I hate that. There is so much goodness in this concept that just isn't realized.

It has so much great stuff going for it, some of the lives we peer into are awesome, and A falling in love and breaking all their rules. Then there is the stalking of the love interest, stalking is not cute, it is creepy. You do not have to see your loved one every day (intended) okay? Especially not when the person you are in love with wants you to back off. If the feeling is mutual? Go ahead, if it isn't? You're violating some privacy.

So it is an enjoyable novel, it is interesting as a concept, but it fails along the way. The writing is decent enough, but the stalking, the fact that we learn nothing of why A is like that, and very little of the "bad guy" is so fucking annoying. So in the end it comes down to this:
Read it if you liked Levithan & if you can keep yourself from thinking too much. Otherwise? Don't. It is a very quick read though. I finished it in February, it is the writing of the "review" that has been troublesome.

Best Wishes,

Sunday, 24 March 2013

April book pick: Clockwork Angel

Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
First published: 2010

What goodreads  says about the book:

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Why we choose this book and what we expect:
We choose this book because it has been on both our to-read-lists for a while, and when Cassandra Clare is on book tour with the last book in this series, we thought this would be a good time to read it.

I really don't know what I expect from this book, other then a new world where monsters are real and anything can happen. I hope the book is exciting and hard to put down, and I hope that this book will make me want to read the rest of the series.

Why not. Really, that's all I've got to say about this one. Once upon a time I had a real reason why, when I saw it, read a blurb or something and decided: Yes, why not, this looks like a novel for me. Okay, maybe I do have a reason: Victorian England! My favorite (fictional) time & place. Also vampires. I'd kill to be a vampire (pun intended/I mean this literally). Also they have a pandemonium club, I don't know what that is, but it sounds awesome.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

What did we think about Clockwork Angels?

When I first started to read the prologue in this book, I was slightly worried this would be another one of these books you want to like, but just can't get properly into. But after the prologue it got better. The universe in this book was really interesting and even though the main character was a bit boring at times, it was interesting to see the world through his eyes. Since Owen Hardy, the main character, has lived a very sheltered life, everything in this world is as new to him as it is to us, and Owens optimistic view on life colours all his experiences. I liked the conflict in the book, how Owen was a symbol for making your own choices and that choosing between two extremes isn't always the wisest thing to do. 

I liked the pace of the story and would have liked to learn more about some of the pople Owen meets and learn more about some of the places he goes. One thing that bothered me a bit, was that no matter what Owen did, everything always seemed to work out for the best. Those few times he really was in trouble, we just skipped over the problem, moved farther ahead in the story and continued when everything was alright again.
I feelt like the book was a good length, but at the same time, I wish we could get to know more about some of the things that was only hinted at, like the theories about other worlds and the myths about the Seven Cities.
When I was reading the book, it was entertaining and I wanted to continue reading, but as soon as I put the book down, I found it hard to pick it back up. That is why it only gets a three star rating. I liked the book, but the story didn't suck me in enough to get me to pick up the book every day.

This was a quick read, once I got into it I read it in large chunks and spent less than a week on it. The main character has faith in the Watchmaker and expects his future to be what he has decided, as manager of an apple orchard, marrying to the lovely Lavinia and that will be that. A comfortable, unexciting life. Good, if a little boring. Owen Hardy is a dreamer, and his late mother left behind a lot of books that he treasures and loves reading.

When you turn seventeen you are an adult, and Owen is sixteen and ready to be an adult, he just wants to be a little mischievous first, a little turns into a lot and he finds himself traveling, meeting strangers, joining a circus (which incidentally seems to be a theme in the books I'm reading these days. If only real circuses were anything like those in books), seeing the world and finding himself in the midst of a game, a pawn of no importance or possibly all the importance in the world. As if these adventures weren't hard enough he is after all a teenage boy and what would a story like this be without a little romance? The loss of virginity and some heartbreak?

This is no way a brilliant book, but it is a nice one, and the world Owen Hardy inhabits is interesting, recognizable and foreign. Order and chaos in extremes and so forth. It is a play with ideas as well as a fantastical coming of age story.

I only wish there were more pirates.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

February book pick: Every Day

Cover of David Levithan's novel Every Day
Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
First published: 2012

Copy & Paste from Goodreads:

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day

Why we chose this novel and what we want from it:
It is a YA Sci-fi/fantasy novel, so it checks a lot of boxes for both Kiwie and Katastrofekat. 

Kiwie: I love David Levithan, he's not my favorite writer nor the best one out there, but I've thouroughly enjoyed what I've read from him, such as The Lover's Dictionary and Boy Meets Boy. The light and sweet books that he wrote with Rachel Cohn, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson written with John Green. So I bought Every Day when it came out (and jumped with joy at the bookstore when I saw that there exists a Norwegian translation!), but due to a neverending to-read list, I haven't quite gotten round to i yet, but now I have no excuse.

I am intrigued by the concept of waking up in a different body every morning, and hope that Levithan can pull this story off, the premise is fascinating and probably very difficult to write. I also hope the love bit isn't sickeningly sweet, but charming and perfectly angsty!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Clockwork Angels: The novel

Title: Clockwork Angels: the novel
Author: Kevin J. Anderson (& Neil Peart via Rush lyrics)
First published 2012.

This is our January read, and I am sorry for not publishing it before the month is nearly over. We've been busy & forgetful. We have made a group on Goodreads, which will be equally neglected: The Cat's tale.

what goodreads has to say about it:

A remarkable collaboration that is unprecedented in its scope and realization, this exquisitely wrought novel represents an artistic project between the bestselling science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson and the multiplatinum rock band Rush. The newest album by Rush,Clockwork Angels, sets forth a story in Neil Peart’s lyrics that has been expanded by him and Anderson into this epic novel. In a young man’s quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life.

Kiwie's expectations:
Pirates! Carnivals! Anarchists! Fun & interesting stuff, which appears mixed with a coming of age story, I'm a sucker for those. I'm also interested in the connection between music and novel, though I don't know if I'll listen too much on it. Fingers crossed that it's interesting.