Archive for November, 2012

20
Nov
12

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review 52: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Yay! Finally book #52, and I’m happy to report its a really good one.

But first, a bit of housekeeping. Now that I’ve hit my goal, I have to say I just don’t think I’m going to get around to reviewing the stack on the “to review” pile. These books include: Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner, World War Z by Max Brooks, Enders’ Game by Orson Scott Card, Julia’s Child by Sarah Pinneo, 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, Wool Vol. 1 by Hugh Howey, Messy by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, and The Truth About Forever/Keeping the Moon/Someone Like You/This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. Some were great (World War Z, Wool). Some were completely entertaining (Messy, Julia’s Child). Some were formulaic and predictable (Then Came You, all books by Sarah Dessen). And some I just didn’t get (I’m looking at you, Ender’s Game). I’ll start reviewing again in January for CBR5, but until then will be helping Joemyjoe and Bunnybean meet their Cannonball quotas by posting some reviews for them.

Earlier this year, along with many of my fellow Cannonballers, I fell under the spell of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I immediately pre-ordered the sequel on my Kindle, and was pleasantly surprised when it showed up last week.

Days of Blood and Starlight takes place pretty much immediately after the end of Smoke and Bone. After breaking her wishbone, Karou remembered her life as Madrigal, and her love story with Akiva. Now that she knows he is responsible for the deaths of Brimstone and the rest of her chimaera family, she will never forgive him or allow herself to love him again.

The brutal war between the chimaera and seraphim wages on. The chimaera are almost completely destroyed, but for a small group of rebels who are holding their own against the armies of angels attacking them night after night. For both sides, the only strategy is to kill as many of their enemies as possible — all of the potential peace and harmony once dreamed of by Madrigal and Akiva is now an impossibility.

While Karou and Akiva are still the main characters in the story, Taylor has introduced and/or expanded the roles of a lot of the others, and the narrative jumps from human to angel to chimeara smoothly. We spend time with Karou’s friends from Prague; Akiva’s bastard brother and sister; the seraphim emperor and his horrible brother; Thiago the wolf (who originally had Madrigal be-headed); jumping from past to present without a hitch.

The last book was a bit of a war-torn love story. In this book, I’d call it more of a love-torn war story (is love-torn a thing?). We spend a lot of time reading about the brutality of this ongoing war, and of the innocence lost by so many good souls. The love story is still lurking around in the background, but is by no means the main attraction here.

I’ll be honest, I had a tough time getting into the story. I expected to jump right in and be as swept up as I was last time. But it took me about 70 pages until I really got into its rhythm — and then, I couldn’t put it down. For once, I’m looking forward to the last book in a trilogy!

 

 

19
Nov
12

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Reviews 50 & 51: Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower 5) and Song of Susannah (Dark Tower 6) by Stephen King

For anyone out there that has made their way though Stephen King’s Dark Tower opus, you know that the last three books have definitely split the Constant Reader’s opinion. Many feel that King went way over the top by inserting himself into the narrative, while others didn’t mind it so much, and just wanted to go with the flow of the tale. Personally, I didn’t care. I just wanted to know what was up on at the top of the Dark Tower, and who from Roland’s Ka-Tet would make it there.

The first time I read Wolves of the Calla, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. And I found that I still enjoyed it this time around. Its a much lighter (and shorter) book than some of its predecessors, that takes place over a short 30-day time period. A quick refresher: Roland and his friends find themselves in the small, idyllic town of Calla Bryn Sturgis. The townspeople need the help of the gunslingers: in 30 days, “wolves” from Thunderclap will come and take half of their children away, only to have them returned “roont” (i.e., mentally and physically changed, and not for the better). The good folks of the Calla want the gunslingers to help them stand against the Wolves and save their children. Its a classic western tale — taking many plot points from The Magnificent Seven/The Seven Samurai, as well as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel Comics, and even King’s own ‘Salems Lot (with the re-introduction of Father Callahan, the vampire-fighting Pere of the Calla).

Song of Susannah, however, was my least favorite Dark Tower book when I first read it. And I can safely say that it will always be my least favorite.

As a character, and a member of Roland’s Ka-Tet, Susannah Dean has never been all that interesting to me. And having an entire book be more or less about her doesn’t help. A quick refresher: Susannah finds a new personality has taken over her body — that of Mia, who is pregnant with a child that belongs to The Crimson King. Mia and Susannah are transported through the  magic door in the Calla to deliver the baby in New York. The Ka-Tet splits up: Roland and Eddie go to Maine to find Calvin Tower and make sure he sells them his vacant lot, and Jake and Pere Callahan (and Oy!) go to New York to find and help Susannah (and really, only appear briefly in the book). And oh, its also when Stephen King becomes a major character in the story.

I’m about to start the last — and most controversial — Dark Tower book. I remember not minding the ending the first time I read it…we’ll see if that hold true this time or not.

Lastly, recently Aaron Paul announced that he’d love to play Eddie Dean if these books ever really get turned into a movie. How perfectly wonderful would that be?

11
Nov
12

Also…

I haven’t been watching Arrow.  But good lord, maybe I should.

Barrowman!

 

 

11
Nov
12

Jean-Ralphio Never Fails to Entertain

10
Nov
12

Joemyjoe’s #CBR4 Review 6: Ghost Buddy Zero to Hero by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

I just read a book called Ghost Buddy: Zero to Hero (I just call it Ghost Buddy) by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver. I loved it.

Its about a boy named Billy Broccoli and a ghost named Hoover Porthouse. Billy and his family move into a really old house and it has a ghost in it, a ghost of a boy who died there 99 years ago. At first, Hoover scared Billy, but they became friends after a while. Billy didn’t want his own ghost, but he realized that his ghost could help him with some bullies who bothered him at school.

Billy and Hoover played some tricks on a bully named Rod Broadstone. They made it seem like Billy was much stronger than he was, so that Rod wouldn’t think he was a weakling to pick on.

It was a good story about bullying and why you should never do it. It can hurt peoples’ feelings and their bodies. But it was also a really funny book. It made me  laugh.

There are more Ghost Buddy books and I want to read them all.

My mom says that when she was little, Henry Winkler was a really cool and famous guy. She sent him a tweet about how much I loved this book, and she was really excited that he tweeted her back!

02
Nov
12

No idiots, Rome was NOT really built in a day.

I keep seeing the new Google/Nexus commercial, featuring stupid people asking their tablets ridiculous questions.  Was Rome really built in a day?  Please.

The one thing that makes it bearable is the usage of Sleep on Needles, one of my favorites.  Do yourself a favor, download some Sondre Lerche.  You won’t be sorry.

01
Nov
12

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review 48 & 49: Wither and Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Wither was a book that kept popping up on my radar.  A few Cannonball reviews, and some recommendations from Amazon based on past purchases.  I wasn’t dying to read it, but last week when I walked in to my library, it was literally the first thing I saw when I opened the door (the YA section of our lovely little library is directly inside the door).  So I figured, why not?

Wither tells the story of Rhine Ellery, a 16 year-old identical twin living with her brother Rowan in future Manhattan.  In Rhine’s world, a terrible virus kills all females at 20 and all males at 25, so beautiful young women of child-bearing age have become a precious commodity. Rhine is OF COURSE kidnapped and brought against her will to become one of many brides for a young, rich man in Florida. And, you guys, SHE MISSES HER BROTHER SO MUCH. And she just has to get back to New York, no matter what.

I really didn’t care for Rhine, or anything that happened in her world.  I was more interested in the little tidbits of information that were casually tossed throughout the story about when the virus started, how it could potentially be stopped, and what happened to the rest of the world.  Rhine has been taught that the rest of the world no longer exists, but sometimes the story hints that JUST MAYBE that isn’t true.

When I took the book out, I had no idea that Wither was the first in a trilogy. The second installment, Fever, was also available, so I read that one, too (give me a break, we had a hurricane, so pickings were slim!).

Fever was even less interesting than Wither.  Rhine and her friend Gabriel are on the run, trying to get back to New York.  They get caught up in some crazy prostitution/carnival ring that takes WAY too many pages to get away from, but does give them some new and somewhat interesting characters to interact with.

I don’t know when book #3 comes out, and I”m not sure I’ll read it when it does.  I’d rank these two somewhere above Twilight, but below the Delirium books.  Eh.

 




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