Auto-Buy Authors | Top Ten Tuesday

Auto-Buy Authors | Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I’ve ignored the rules a bit this week because I do not have auto-buy authors. I would love it if I did, but I currently have no money, so I’m very nearly on book buying ban imposed by necessity. Instead, I’ve listed ten authors for whom I hope one day to have read every word they’ve published.

  1. Neil Gaiman
    I will probably never manage to read every book this fiction producing machine has published, but I’ll also never stop trying.
  2. Kate Atkinson
    I studied her first novel at school and never looked back.
  3. Maria V. Snyder
    A recent discovery. So far I’ve only read two books, but I will catch up.
  4. Margaret Atwood
    I have more than one of her books in my tbr pile currently, which is normally against my self-imposed rules. I should really get on that.
  5. John Green
    One of the few people on this list whose work I’m actually very nearly up to date with. I’ve read all his novels, anyway.
  6. Cassandra Clare
    I’m currently reading her books more slowly than she writes them, so this could take a while.
  7. Jostein Gaarder
    If any of his books don’t get translated to English I’m screwed.
  8. Marissa Meyer
    I preordered Winter today *bounces*.
  9. Catherynne M. Valente
    I’ve actually only read one of Valente’s books so far, but I’ll get there.
  10. Rainbow Rowell
    I’m up to date with her YA, but have yet to get to her adult work. I don’t know why that is, because Attachments sounds So. Good.

          Bonus: Terry Pratchett
                           Sadly he will never be an auto-buy author because there
                            will be no more books after The Shepherd’s Crown, but I
                            won’t stop until I’ve read every Discworld book there ever
                            was.

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Cress | Review

Cress | Review

spoilerwarning

cress
Star Rating: 5/5
goodreads~buy it

Cress introduces an (almost) new character to the world of The Lunar Chronicles: Cresent Moon. Cress is a programmer, exiled from Luna for the crime of being born without powers and imprisoned in a satellite to do Levana’s dirty work. But she has no reason besides fear to obey the Queen’s commands, so when a chance to escape presents itself, she immediately decides to flee her modern-day tower.
At first, it took me a little while to warm to Cress. Her tendency to hide under things and cry, while understandable given her years of imprisonment and minimal social interaction, got irritating quickly. This wasn’t helped by her gooeyness over Thorne, a man she’d never actually met. However, I began to realise that while she appears weak, Cress is principled and very intelligent, and does what she thinks is right despite being scared. In short, Meyer proves here that she can write a strong female character who isn’t a tomboy, and that’s a rare thing in YA.
This is a retelling of Rapunzel (if you didn’t gather that from the cover), and it stays about as close to the source material as Cinder, and definitely more so than Scarlet. To a certain extent, this gives an indication of the direction the plot is headed, but since this is the third book in the series, the wider story arc is prominent and at least a third of this book doesn’t concern Cress at all.
I really appreciate the way that Meyer is building up her cast of characters over these books. In Cinder there were perhaps seven or eight people the reader needed to remember, and only two points of view, but at this point there are a couple of dozen recurring names, and I think I counted eight perspectives. I did lose track of who people were a little bit, but in general it wasn’t hard to manage, because the introductions have been spread over the series.
Meyer’s writing is consistently strong, generally favouring action and speech over long descriptions, but still painting a clear picture of the environment and characters. I had some trouble picking out quotes which didn’t spoil anything, since the plot moves quickly and several twists occurred fairly early on. My to-do list from the last couple of days is barely touched because things just kept happening and I had to know everyone was going to be okay.
I think this is the strongest book of the series so far, and I want Winter. Now, please.

Quotes
Encircling the planet flickered thousands of tiny dots that indicated every ship and satellite from here to Mars. A glance told Cress that she could look out her Earth-side window right then and spot an unsuspecting Commonwealth scouting ship passing by her nondescript satellite. There was a time when she would have been tempted to hail them, but what would be the point?

“I’ll be nice to her!” said Iko. “I can take her net-shopping and she can help me pick out my future designerwardrobe. Look, I found this custom escort shop that has the best accessories, and some discounted models. What would you think of me with orange hair?” The netscreen on the wall switched to an escort-droid sale listing. The image of a model was slowly rotating, showing off the android’s perfect proportions, peachy skin, and royalty-approved posture. She had purple irises and cropped tangerine hair and a tattoo of an old-fashioned carousel that rotated around her ankle.
Cinder squeezed an eye shut. “Iko, what does this have to do with the satellite girl?”
“I was getting to that.” The screen scrolled through a menu, landing on hair accessories, and dozens of icons clustered together showing everything from dreadlocked wigs to cat-ear headbands to rhinestone-encrusted barrettes. “Just think how much potential she has with hair like that!”

All at once, it dawned on her. She was on Earth. On Earth.
She’d seen pictures, of course. Thousands and thousands of photographs and vids—cities and lakes and forests and mountains, every landscape imaginable. But she had never thought the sky could be so impossibly blue, or that the land could hold so many hues of gold, or could glitter like a sea of diamonds, or could roll and swell like a breathing creature.
For one moment, the reality of it all poured into her body and overflowed.

Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From | Top Ten Tuesday

Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From | Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. After some thought, I decided to ignore authors I was done with before I was 15. Because yes, I have read the basically the entire backlist of Jacqueline Wilson up to about 2005, but that tells you nothing about my reading tastes in 2015. You will notice, however, that I haven’t actually entirely stopped reading childrens’ books. Some authors just continue to blow me away. Also, this list surprised me a lot. At least 75% of what I read currently is YA, but you’d never guess that from this weird mixture of people who write for adults and people who write for 12 year-olds.

mostread

  1. Terry Pratchett (20)
  2. Neil Gaiman (14)
  3. Hilary McKay (11)
  4. Malorie Blackman (10)
  5. J. K. Rowling (10)
  6. Philip Pullman (9)
  7. L. M. Montgomery (9)
  8. Philippa Gregory (6)
  9. Kate Atkinson (6)
  10. Bill Bryson (6)
The Raven Boys | Review

The Raven Boys | Review

the raven boys
Star Rating: 4/5
goodreads~buy it

Plot
Blue lives in a house full of psychic women who have been warning her all her life that if she kisses her true love, he will die. But she didn’t need that incentive to keep away from the Raven Boys, the privileged and arrogant students of the local private school. Meanwhile, Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah are skiving lessons at that very school to chase ley lines and avoid problems at home.

I loved at least 90% of this story. The beginning took a little while to draw me in, and the end was too preoccupied with setting up the sequel, but the rest was very solid indeed. I appreciated that the majority of main characters already believed in the supernatural, so the reader didn’t have to work through their disbelief of the things that were happening to them. While the latter is more realistic, it can get repetitive if you read a lot of urban fantasy.

Style & Pacing
On the whole this book moves pretty slowly, but I was okay with that. It creates a suspenseful and eerie atmosphere, and gives the reader time to get very well acquainted with the characters. When I started reading I was expecting the whole novel to be from Blue’s perspective, so it came as a pleasant surprise to me to find that we also get to hear from Adam, Gansey and Barrington Whelk. It made the story richer to see where people were coming from, especially to hear both Adam and Gansey talk about money.
One of my favourite aspects of this book was the juxtaposition of the fantasic with the deeply, painfully realistic. Adam and Ronan especially have a lot going on in their lives which never becomes less important than the magical things they encounter.

Characters
It astonishes me how many characters I was able to keep track of in this book. Every one of them was so distinct and well described that I never even forgot which of Blue’s aunts was which. It’s a cliché to say that they felt real but… they really did. I was especially surprised at how well I related to the four boys, since I often have trouble with books about teenage boys, but not in this case.

Quotes
Gansey himself sat at an old desk with his back to them, gazing out of an east-facing window and tapping a pen. His fat journal lay open near him, the pages fluttering with glued-in book passages and dark with notes. Adam was struck, as he occasionally was, by Gansey’s agelessness: an old man in a young body, or a young man in an old man’s life.

One day, she would live someplace where she could stand outside her house and see only stars, no streetlights, where she could feel as close as she ever got to sharing her mother’s gift. When she looked at the stars, something tugged at her, something that urged her to see more than stars, to make sense of the chaotic firmament, to pull an image from it. But it never made sense.

Fairytale Retellings | Top Ten Tuesday

Fairytale Retellings | Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week my picks are split between five favourite fairytale retellings that I’ve read and five from my tbr. I’ve stretched the definition of fairytale a bit to include classic children’s books like Peter Pan.

fairy

Books I’ve Read
Wicked by Gregory Maguire (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
The Sleeper and The Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell (Sleeping Beauty and Snow White)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Cinderella)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Little Red Riding Hood)
Ella Enchanted (Cinderella again)

Books From My TBR
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Peter Pan)
The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (One Thousand and One Nights)
Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis (Snow White)
Splintered by A. G. Howard (Alice in Wonderland)
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (Rapunzel)

Under The Never Sky | Review

Under The Never Sky | Review

undertheneversky
Star Rating: 4/5
goodreads~buy it

Plot

Aria lives in Reverie, protected from the outside world, with nothing to do but escape endlessly into the Realms, where she can go anywhere and do anything without the slightest risk. Perry calls her kind moles. He lives on the outside, where every day is a fight for survival, clans war over the wrecked land, and genetic mutations have made their senses sharper than ever before. Aria calls them savages. They were never supposed to meet. They were definitely never supposed to be friends, never mind anything more.
I was expecting the plot to be relatively predictable, but I was pleasantly surprised. While the relationship between Aria and Perry developed just as I expected, there were some twists that I didn’t see coming, and I really liked the ending. I felt that it got the balance right between motivation to read the next book and wrapping up the ends of this story.
There were a couple of concepts I didn’t like very much, though. Firstly, while I’m prepared to accept that genetic mutations could give a person stronger hearing, I don’t see how that could be extending to hearing someone’s thoughts when you touch them. Also, I don’t understand how rendering works at all, or how it’s different from regular love. More explanation required.

Style & Pacing

This is hard for me to write about because I read this very slowly for me, only a chapter or two at a time until I got into the last third, which I flew through. This was nothing to do with the book, just life stuff getting in the way, but it means I don’t have a very good idea about the pacing. In terms of style, this was another third person past tense narrative with perspective switching between the two main characters. I’m enjoying those recently.

Characters

One of my favourite things about this book was the character development, which was most evident in Aria. She changed a lot over the course of the book, but in a very realistic, gradual way. You could see her learning from experience, which was satisfying. I also appreciated the relationship between Perry and Aria a lot. There were several points where Rossi could have manufactured an argument out of misunderstandings, and I appreciated that she didn’t. I get frustrated when people apparently forget everything they’ve learned about each other for the sake of unnecessary tension.

Quotes

He preferred the compound like this, in the dead of night. With winter coming and food in such shortage, Perry had grown used to anxious tempers clotting the air during the day. But after dark, the cloud of human emotions lifted, leaving quieter scents. The cooling earth, opened like a flower to the sky. The musk of nighttime animals, making paths he could follow with ease.

The lyrics flowed out of her, springing straight from her heart. Words full of drama and wild abandon that had always embarrassed her before, because who flung themselves at raw emotion like that?
She did it now.
She let the words fly across the roof and past the trees. She lost herself in the aria, letting it carry her off. But even as she sang, she knew the man below had stopped cutting wood and the dog had stopped barking. Even the trees hushed to hear her sing. When she was done, she had tears in her eyes. She wished her mother could’ve heard her. She’d never sounded better.

Similar Books

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds | Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds | Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s list took me hours. I wanted to include the quotes where the characters talk about books, and I kept getting distracted and reading past them and then to the end of the chapter before I noticed.

Mattie Gokey in A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

My head felt giddy and light, like the time Minnie and I filched brand from her father’s cupboard. Only this time it wasn’t alcohol I’d had too much of. It was books. I should have stopped after Zola and Hardy, but I hadn’t. I’d gone right on like a greedy pig to Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, Songs of Innocence by William Blake, and A Distant Music by Emily Baxter.

Cath Avery in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“How many people do this?”

“Write Simon-slash-Baz? Or write Simon Snow fanfiction?”

“Write fanfiction.”

“God, I don’t know. Thousands and thousands.”

“So, if you didn’t want the books to be over, you could just keep reading Simon Snow stories online forever…”

“Exactly,” said Cath earnestly. She’d thought Levi must be judging her, but he got it. “If you fall in love with  the World of Mages, you can just keep living there.”

“I wouldn’t call that living,” Regan said.

“It was a metaphor,” Levi said gently.

Tessa Gray in Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”

“I’m not sure a book has ever changed me,” said Will. “Well there is one volume that promises to teach one how to turn oneself into an entire flock of sheep-”

“Only the very weak minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry,” said Tessa, determined not to let him run wildly off with the conversation.

“Of course, why one would want to be an entire flock of sheep is another matter entirely,” Will finished. “Is there something you want to read here, Miss Gray, or is there not? Name it, and I shall attempt to free it from its prison for you.”

“Do you think the library has The Wide, Wide World? Or Little Women?”

“Never heard of either of them,” said Will. “We haven’t many novels.”

“Well, I want novels,” said Tessa. “Or poetry. Books are for reading, not for turning oneself into livestock.”

Juliette Ferrars in Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I spent my life folded between the pages of books.

In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.

Meggie Folchart in Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

He was probably right, but there was another reason why Meggie took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarrelled with her, clever, powerful friends — daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had travelled far and wide. Her books cheered her up when she was sad and kept her from being bored while Mo cut leather and fabric to the right size, and re-stitched old pages that over countless years had grown fragile from the many fingers leafing through them.

Marie-Laure LeBlanc in All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure reads Jules Verne in the key pound, on the toilet, in the corridors; she reads on the benches of the Grand Gallery and out along the hundred gravel paths of the gardens. She reads the first half of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea so many times, she practically memorizes it.

The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the globe . . . The sea is only a receptacle for all the prodigious, supernatural things that exist inside it. It is only movement and love; it is the living infinite.

At night, in her bed, she rides in the belly of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, below the gales, while canopies of coral drift overhead.

Rose Casson in Forever Rose by Hilary McKay

I cannot read Morte D’Arthur and never could: the bits I knew about had been read to me by Indigo. Still, I had to do something to pass the long long stretch of morning before it was time to go Christmas tree shopping. So I picked up The Once and Future King and found the first page.

Kay was there, and Arthur and Sir Ector. They were talking and I could hear. It was like walking into a strange room and finding it unexpectedly full of your friends.

It was hours later when I put that book down again, and the drumming had stopped and the telephone was ringing and my brain had the sort of dazed feeling you get when you wake from a very vivid dream.

So that’s what they were talking about, Saffy and Sarah, and Kiran and Molly and Miss Farley and Daddy and Indigo and Sarah’s parents and even the Unloveable Mr Spencer.

Reading!

Gilbert Norrell in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

“I have his book here.” Mr Norrell stood up and fetched it from the shelves. But he did not give it to Strange straightaway.

After a short silence Strange said, “You advise me to read this book?”

“Yes, indeed. I think you should read it,” said Mr Norrell.

Strange waited, but Norrell continued to gaze at the book in his hand as though he were entirely at a loss as to how to proceed. “Then you must give it to me, sir,” said Strange gently.

“Yes, indeed,” said Mr Norrell. He approached Strange cautiously and held the book out for several moments, before suddenly tipping it up and off into Strangc’s hand with an odd gesture, as though it was not a book at all, but a small bird which clung to him and would on no account go to any one else, so that he was obliged to trick it into leaving his hand. He was so intent upon this manoeuvre that fortunately he did not look up at Strange who was trying not to laugh.

Mr Norrell remained a moment, looking wistfully at his book in another magician’s hand.

But once he had parted with one book the painful part of his ordeal seemed to be over. Half an hour later he recommended another book to Strange and went and got it with scarcely any fuss. By midday he was pointing out books on the shelves to Strange and allowing him to fetch them down for himself. By the end of the day Mr Norrell had given Strange a quite extraordinary number of books to read, and said that he expected him to have read them by the end of the week.

Samwell Tarly in A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Samwell Tarly sat hunched over a table in a niche carved into the stone of the wall. The glow came from the lamp hung over his head. He looked up at the sound of Jon’s steps.

“Have you been here all night?”

“Have I?” Sam looked startled.

“You didn’t break your fast with us, and your bed hadn’t been slept in.” Rast suggested that maybe Sam had deserted, but Jon never believed it. Desertion required its own sort of courage, and Sam had little enough of that.

“Is it morning? Down here there’s no way to know.”

“Sam, you’re a sweet fool,” Jon said. “You’ll miss that bed when we’re sleeping on the cold hard ground, I promise you.”

Sam yawned. “Maester Aemon sent me to find maps for the Lord Commander. I never thought . . . Jon, the books, have you ever seen their like? There are thousands!”

Henry DeTamble in The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (There’s another quote I wanted to put here, but it was far too spoilery, so I chose this one instead, although it’s not as good.)

I find coffee in the fridge, and find the coffee maker, and start the coffee. While I wait for it to brew, I peruse Henry’s bookshelves. 

Here is the Henry I know. Donne’s Elegies and Songs and SonnetsDoctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe. Naked Lunch. Anne Bradstreet, Immanuel Kant. Barthes, Foucault, Derrida. Blake’s Songs of Innocence and ExperienceWinnie the Pooh. The Annotated Alice. Heidigger. Rilke. Tristram Shandy. Wisconsin Death Trip. Aristotle. Bishop Berkeley. Andrew Marvell. Hypothermia, Frostbite and Other Cold Injuries.

I hope that wasn’t too many long quotes. I don’t like cutting people off when they’re talking about books!