Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Hols Folks!

An updated version of my fave Xmas song :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Best of 2012

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Books I Read in 2012. 

1.  The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - my fave of the year!

2.  Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt - a close second fave.

3.  The Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell - thought-provoking and unique.

4. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder - best YA fantasy.

5.  Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey - best epic fantasy!

6.  Flat Out Love by Jessica Park - best romantic dramedy.

7.  To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis - hilarious tale of time-travel.

8.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - best book about dying, life, friendship and loads more!

9.  Code Name Verity by - best historical YA.

10. Bossypants and Let's Pretend This Never Happened (which I will finish on my next car trip) - great audiobooks that provide the LOLz.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Latest Review: The Book of Atrix Wolfe

Booklist Summary:
Driven by a formless fury when the prince of Kardeth refuses to halt his invasion of the kingdom of Pelucir, the great mage Atrix Wolfe creates a fearful hunter, "a warrior with no allegiance but to death." But the ensuing massacre of both armies and the king of Pelucir appalls the mage, and he flees to the mountains to live in wolf form among wolves until, 20 years later, the queen of the Woods demands that he seek out her daughter, who disappeared at the time of the great bloodbath. The ensuing story involves aspiring mage Talis Pelucir, son of the slain king, and Saro, a young, mute scullery maid in the castle of Pelucir whose background is unknown. Steeped in medieval legends of the wild huntsman, living trees, and shape changers, McKillip's tale is decidedly atmospheric, complex, compelling, and filled with rich imagery.

My Thoughts:
This is the first book I've read from the much-lauded Patricia A. McKillip and I really enjoyed this YA Fantasy tale!  The author's writing is very lyrical yet she still manages to be concise and convey a complex story within a slim novel.

I loved the magic and dark sorcery that permeates the book.  Throughout reading this novel you are biting your nails - wondering how the story will end and the characters restored after one awful instance of dark magic.

Fans of Robin McKinley will likely love The Book of Atrix Wolfe (and I'm guessing other McKillip books too).  This novel has mystery, magic, romance, sympathetic villains, unlikely heroes, and fantastic settings - who can resist? 
Highly recommended to fantasy fans!

4/5 stars

Sunday, December 9, 2012

2012 End of Year Book Survey

Time to do some end-of-the-year reading reflections!  I used Perpetual Page Turner's survey last year and decided to have a go at it again this year.
1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
Adult: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
YA: Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Unfortunately, Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen didn't really do it for me...but I think my expectations were too high.  Also, I couldn't get into Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry - I'm hoping I can come back to it with renewed interest later (I'm only 300ish pages into this chunkster).
 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 
That would be To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.  I wasn't sure what to expect from a historical sci-fi comedy of errors - but, wow was I enthralled with this book!
 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Definitely The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
I really enjoyed the first book in the Lunar Chronicles
 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
David Mitchell and Connie Willis
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I have to say, I didn't read much that was out of my comfort zone this year - but I loved the one non-fiction book I read which was Tina Fey's Bossypants.
 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (an intense conclusion to a great trilogy) and Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

 9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
Flat Out Love by Jessica Park - it was an adorable story with really witty dialogue...a treat to read!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
11. Most memorable character in 2012?
Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars and Patroclus from The Song of Achilles
 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Eeeek!  How can I choose?!  I'm going to say Cloud Atlas because each character's story was written in a completely different style - what a feat!
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
Probably Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.  Like I said in my review, it came at time in my life where some of the themes and insights were really comforting.
 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
I Captured the Castle by Dodie Smith - an adorable story!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once." - John Green, The Fault in Our Stars (what a terrific line!)

“Why fight the 'natural' (oh, weaselly word!) order of things? Why? Because of this―one fine day, a purely predatory world shall consume itself. In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction.”
― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
Shortest: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel at 224 pages
Longest: Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey at 1,015 pages
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness - what an emotional rollercoaster of a book!
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Wow, this is a really hard question to answer - there are so many!!  Just to include a new title to this post (you can just assume that any of my other faves feature amazing relationships) I would say the friendship featured in Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
The Probable Future by Anne Hoffman - recommended by Anne @ The Book Garden

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated of 2013

1.  The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister...a sequel of sorts to her lovely book The School of Essential Ingredients

2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer...really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy and can't wait for the next installment!

3.  Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys...I've heard great things about this author and would love to read a book set in New Orleans!

4.  The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig...I luurve Willig's fun Pink Carnation series and the premise of 'Downton Abbey' meets 'Out of Africa' sounds amazing!

5.  And the Mountains Echo by Khaled Hosseini...yayyyy!  I really loved both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns so I'm hoping that his newest novel is just as fantastic.

6.  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - because her YA rom-coms have thus far been consistently awesome!

This is all I can think of this week...what am I missing??

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Latest Review: Cloud Atlas (Movie & Book)

Goodreads Summary:
A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation—the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us

My thoughts:
I really loved this book.  I think that it came to me at a time in my life when I really needed a novel like this.  It's not an easy read and I don't know how readily I can recommend it to just any random person.  I think this would especially appeal to readers that enjoy a spiritual and/or revolutionary element to their reading.  The most compelling (aka page-turning) components of this book are the areas that involve conspiracies or revolutions.  However, my favorite storylines were actually the ones that were more quiet and character-driven.  

My favorite character of the book was definitely the charismatic composer Robert Frobisher.  His particular story was one that really spoke to me - who can read this book and not love this dashing fellow?  Robert's view of the choices he made toward the end of his tale helped me gain a different perspective on some recent difficult family events.  Sorry I'm keeping this vague but I don't want to ruin anything for those who haven't yet read Cloud Atlas.  

Also, I have to say that the reoccurring theme of reincarnation was really uplifting, even for the sadder storylines.  Let me get into things a bit further with my film review...here ya go!

4.5/5 stars (for both film and book)

Movie thoughts: 
Despite all of the lukewarm critic reviews, I was pleasantly surprised with the film adaptation of this book.  First of all, you can tell that the producers/directors of this film loved and respected this book.  The way they broke down all of the storylines into one film was genius.  They found parallel threads in each of the stories and interwove them perfectly (I might venture to say, they presented it in a more compelling manner than the book itself).  

I convinced four of my non-reader friends to see this movie with me - so obviously, none of them had any previous knowledge of the book.  They all really enjoyed the film (some even ventured to say that they loved it!) and understood the main points that the author was making with these intertwining stories.  Also, while some of the storylines were tampered with (including my fave Frobisher) I surprisingly approved of the plot alterations.  

I was blown away with how well they portrayed the main point of each storyline.  In fact, some of the storylines (especially Frobisher) evoked a much more visceral reaction than what I had while reading the book.  My favorite movie storylines: Robert Frobisher (more disturbing and moving in the movie...in the book he was just so likeable you almost couldn't take him seriously), Timothy Cavendish (movie version sooooo hilarious), Louisa Rey, and Sonmi 451.

The only problems I had with the film were some cheesy lines (that never existed in the book) and Old Georgie in the Zachry plotline...in the movie he was a weird green warty guy with a top-hat, WTF?!?  Otherwise, I thought it was one of the better film adaptations of a book...especially considering how complex and long this book is.

Overall, if you enjoyed the book, I don't think you'll be disappointed by the movie.  If you've never read the book and don't plan to...ignore the stupid leprechaun (aka Old Georgie) and enjoy a really good film adaptation of a very complicated book.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Deserted Island Books

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Books I'd Want On a Deserted Island

1.  A Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss - this one is a little more action packed than The Name of the Wind - also it's longer and I think length is important when you only get to have 10 books.

2.  To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis - again, this is a pretty lengthy book and it will fulfill any sci-fi or comedy of error yens I may have.

3.  Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - gotta have a book that's great for rereading over and over again!

4.  His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman - because I'm a cheat and I know you can get all three stories in one volume now :)

5.  Still Alice by Lisa Genova - for when I want a good cry.

6.  Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson - for when I want a good laugh.

7.  Siddhartha by Herman Hesse - for some spiritual enlightenment.

8.  The Bible - again it's super lengthy and I've never read the entire book.

9.  Ulysses by James Joyce - because why not get ambitious when you're stuck on an island?

10. SAS Survival Handbook by John Lofty Wiseman - this will likely be the most used book.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get out the vote

 Hey peeps, don't forget to vote today!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a touring meme where book bloggers share their bookish acquisitions from the week prior.  It is hosted this month by Edgy Inspirational Romance.  This week I wanted to share my birthday book booty with you guys!

My brother got me a bunch of comedian-authored books:

America Again by Stephen Colbert

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

My sister got me An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

And then I bought myself some books from the library sale:

Bel Canto by Anne Patchett

Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Exciting News from the NPLB Household!

I've got some delightful news to share...we're moving to Indianapolis!!

Woot woot!  Now, we won't be moving until sometime this summer, but nonetheless, I'm super excited about our relocation.  Here are a sampling of things in Indy that have me jumping up and down with glee:

The Indianapolis Museum of Art and the 100 Acres Park (home of Funky Bones for you John Green fans)

Indy Reads Books - yay for fun bookstores!  Maybe I'll finally get to attend some big-time author events now that we'll be in a larger city.

Art Theater - I already frequent this theater often with one of my friends up in Indy...but now it will be even easier for me to catch a good flick!

Lawn Concerts at White River State Park

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Kickass Heroines

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Kickass Heroines

1. Phedre Delaunay in Kushiel's Dart

2. Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and series)

3. Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables (and series)

4. Yelena in Poison Study

5. Katniss in The Hunger Games (and series)

6. Kat from Kat, Incorrigible

7. Alexia Tarabotti in Soulless

8. Katsa in Graceling

9. Liesel in The Book Thief

10. Wynter in The Poison Throne