Monthly Archives: December 2011

January TBR and Book Haul

I have a lot of books to read this month. I suspect most of them will leak into February, but that is fine by me. In total, I have 15 books in which 5 are manga, 4 are reference/self help, and 2 are part of a series that I haven’t read yet (i.e. they are books in the middle of the series). Library books will be read first. 🙂

Library Haul

My goal for library books was to learn more about investing for my future. I also threw in a book about anxiety and panic attacks because I do suffer from them. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Blue Bloods series so I thought I’d give that a try, too.

Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

Easy Money by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Anxiety and Panic Attacks by Judith Levin

The Borrower’s Answer Book by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

RRSPs & RRIFs for Dummies by John Lawrence Reynolds

Regular Book Haul

I got a couple of gift cards for Christmas so I was able to purchase some books I had my eye on for awhile. Luckily, both Wither and Angel Burn are now paperbacks so I saved some money on those. I got the Van Alen Legacy book for $2 and Shadowland for $5.

Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa De La Cruz (will wait to read this one)

Shadowland by alyson Noel (will also wait to read this one)

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

The cover art for Wither and Angel Burn are interesting, don’t you think? 

Manga Book Haul

I’m taking a course on manga and graphic novels and this is my required reading.

NANA vol. 1 by Ai Yazawa

Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima vol. 1 by Keiji Nakazawa (this looks really sad)

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam by Anne Marie Fleming (it is about a Chinese acrobat and magician)

Tonoharu part 1 by Lars Martinson  (it is about an American teaching in Japan)

Akira vol. 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo (a classic – see the film if you haven’t already)

 

So that is what I am reading… there are a lot of books but I look forward to getting through all of them!

Optional Questions for Readers,

  1. Did you recently buy/receive any books? What are they?
  2. What are you hoping to read in January?
  3. Are you interested in self help and reference books? Examples would be books on finance, health, spirituality, etc.

 

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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows is expected to be released January 31, 2012. 

Genres: fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, paranormal romance
384 pages

Description from Good Reads:

NEWSOUL 
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why. 

NOSOUL 
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame? 

HEART 
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all? 

I want to read this because I am always on the hunt for a new dystopian and I think it sounds rather interesting. The way the description is set up, makes it seem like there might be different point of views, but in the very least there are a couple of sub-plots already apparent. The cover is beautiful, the genres are interesting, and the description sounds like something I would enjoy without giving too much away.

 

Optional Questions for Readers:

  1. Are you also waiting for this book?
  2. Know of any other dystopian novels to reccommend?
  3. What do you look for the most in upcoming novels? Beautiful covers? Interesting descriptions? Genre types?

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Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading

This week’s questions: What kind of books do you like to read? Why? Provide specific examples.

I like to read almost anything, but it is necessary that I connect with a character or in the very least enjoy the character in some way.  The book itself needs to either be incredibly interesting and thought provoking or full of action. Slow books with weak plots, weak characters, and no additional insights do not appeal to me. I also like to read cook books, non fiction books about biology, and general self help books related to future success (such as finance planning).

Here are some favourites from different genres:

Fantasy

  • A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin (The first book is a Game of Thrones)
  • The Harry Potter series

Dystopian

  • Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner

After making these short lists, I realized that the author’s ability to construct a vivid world probably plays a huge role in why I like these books to begin with.

Optional Questions for Readers:

  1. Is the author’s ability to build a world important for you to enjoy the book? Does setting matter all that much?
  2. Have any fantasy or dystopian novels to reccommend? 🙂

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Favourites from 2011

 

 

I’m going to take this time to write about my favourite reads of 2011! These are books that I have read in 2011, not books that necessarily came out in 2011, so hopefully you can gain some ideas for books you would like to read in 2012. 🙂  Don’t worry, I won’t post any spoilers!

 

First, I am going to show you the Adult Fiction stack of books.

  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
  • Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson
  • The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin
807 pages
Published 1996 

This is the first book in the A Song of Fire and Ice series. I loved the world building, the diversity of characters, the cast of characters that served as points of view for each chapter (i.e. one chapter is through the perspective of one character, then the next chapter is another character, etc.), intense emotions, suspense, mystery, and sheer shock at some of the sub-plots. Almost each chapter ended with a cliff hanger, but I was left waiting until the story returned to that character’s point of view. Normally this would bother me but I was so excited to see a different character in the next chapter that there was never any downtime to dwell and hope for my favourite character to pop up again. As the first book in the series, I expected it to be a bit dull in order to build up certain characters, places, and plots. However, the book was full of intense action, suspense, and even humour. My favourite characters were Daenerys and Tyrion, for Daenerys’ strength and Tyrion’s hilarious wit.

A Storm of Swords
George R.R. Martin
1128 pages
Published 2000

This is the third book in the A Song of Fire and Ice series. Like the first, it was filled with all the same elements that I loved. I actually preferred this book over A Game of Thrones because each person’s plot was more developed at this point and there were so many crossovers of detailed information that I really just found myself not knowing what would happen next. When you get to this book, you realize anything is possible. If you read the second book in the series, A Clash of Kings, and like me, felt it was a bit underwhelming then please try the series again. This book is amazing.

Monkey Beach
Eden Robinson
374 pages
Published 2000

This is a story of a woman named Lisamarie Hill that makes the decision to search for her brother who is lost at sea.  The story takes place in British Columbia, Canada (where I am from) and is a blend of Haisla culture, nature, life and death. Through the search for her brother, Lisamarie begins to find herself. The book is written as a series of short glimpses into scenes, in which many are flashbacks. It is a dark novel and at times heavy on the psychological and emotional aspects, but at the same time it is so honest and raw that I can’t deny how much I loved it. It reminded me a lot of my own upbringing which I think is partly why I enjoyed it so much.

The Gargoyle
Andrew Davidson
465 pages
Published 2008

The Gargoyle is about an ex-pornstar that ends up in a car accident which badly burns him. While he is recovering in the burn ward of the hospital, a woman who claims to be named Marienne Engel from the psych ward comes into his room and tells him that they first met in medieval Germany. The writing is beautiful, the sub-plots are emotionally driven, and the main theme of the book is love. However, it isn’t a cheesy romance novel by any means. This book attempts to demonstrate love throughout different cultures, situations, and mechanisms. I almost gave up after the first 50 pages because I didn’t like the tone of the book. That obnoxious tone diminishes very quickly and only now I can reflect and see how it was necessary for making the book even better. The ending had me feeling like I could never write anything even half as good as this book. I can’t really do it justice, but this is the most recommended book from my favourites.

The Young Adult stack has the following books:

  • Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
  • The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth

 

Mermaid
Carolyn Turgeon
240 pages
Published 2011

Mermaid is a fairytale retelling of the original Little Mermaid story. Most people are familiar with the Little Mermaid, and this book is no exception. However, I really loved this book for it’s emotional tone, beautiful writing, and the sense of happiness I felt upon finishing it. It was a light, happy read that allowed my imagination to run wild. Besides, I have a soft spot for mermaids!

The Monstrumologist
Rick Yancey
434 pages
Published 2009

This was such a fun book to read! The Monstrumologist is about a doctor that studies monsters alongside his assistant Will Henry. This was an excellent Halloween read. There was plenty of graphic scenes full of gore, and you really found yourself caring about some of the characters such as Will Henry. The main monster in this book are called the Anthropophagi, which appear to be human-like in shape except with no head and their teeth are where our stomachs would be. There is a slight scientific edge to the story, which acts to make it feel more realistic, but the jargon doesn’t override the story. Any scientific terms are immediately explained to Will Henry (and the reader!) which makes it easier to concentrate on the plot. This book was full of vivid scenes, suspense, and adrenaline-inducing situations. This is the first book in a trilogy.

The Maze Runner
James Dashner
374 pages
Published 2009

This is the first book in a trilogy, and it reminded me of the book the Lord of the Flies except instead of children being on an island, they were in a compound surrounded by a maze. You get a great sense of self governance among teens as they try to solve the mysteries of the maze. The protagonist Thomas finds himself waking up in an elevator shaft-like box that drops him off into this community called the Glade. He doesn’t remember where he came from or anything about himself. The book is about him trying to find out who he is and also what the deal is with the maze and everyone in the Glade. This book was amazingly full of action and unexpectedly creepy. There were many situations where I asked myself what I would do in Thomas’ situation because I honestly did not know where the story was going, and when a decision was made, I still didn’t have a clue! The book itself was able to be almost fully resolved, but still left lots of new bits of information to be used in a second book. I was really happy with how the story turned out and I can’t wait to read the next one.

Divergent
Veronica Roth
487 pages
Published 2011

Divergent is my favourite dystopian novel of the year. The world building was the best part about this story for me. Future Chicago is divided into several factions, each with members that mutually agree on one specific character trait. For example, there is a faction that believes honesty comes above all else and another that believes knowledge comes above all else.  On Beatrice’s sixteenth Birthday, she must decide which faction to join. Does she stick with the one her family belongs in, or does she pick a different one? Her decision is ultimately what the book is about and the events that follow. This book was fast paced, exciting, and a bit frightening at times but very enjoyable.

 

Optional Questions for Readers:

  1. What were your favourite reads this past year?
  2. Are any of your favourites the same as mine?
  3. Suggestions for what I should read in 2012?

 

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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Sailor Moon Manga #3 by Naoko Takeuchi is set to be released January 17, 2012.

248 pages
Published by Kodansha

Sailor Moon is my all time favourite anime/manga series. I was first exposed to it when I was in Grade 2 and now as a 23 year old my love for the series hasn’t diminished at all. The manga is absolutely gorgeous and the story is even better. Many people don’t like Sailor Moon because they have been exposed to the English dubbed anime in North America, with it’s repeated  and censored storyline. The manga is much different. It is fast paced and contains so many elements that I love including strong female protagonists, elemental affinities, life and death, LGBTQ themes, a mixture of religious symbols to make you think about all the differences, personal responsibility, and the importance of self confidence. In addition, the manga starts off so happy that it always brightens up my mood. As an older reader, I am finding more things about the series that I originally missed such as looking at the series from a feminist perspective. There’s always something to think about.

Questions for readers:

  1. Do you read manga? If not, why?
  2. What manga do you read?
  3. Are you a Sailor Moon fan? 🙂
  4. When was the last time you read a comic?
  5. Do you think comics are too “young” for your age, or that there is an age that you should stop reading them?

 

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Other Waters by Eleni Gage

Other Waters by Eleni Gage

352 pages
February 2012, St. Martin’s Press
Genre: adult fiction, cultures

Description (shortened to avoid major spoilers):

Maya is an accomplished psychiatry resident with a terrific boyfriend, loving family, and bustling New York social life. When her grandmother dies in India, a family squabble over property results in a curse that drifts across continents and threatens Maya’s life.  A trip back to India with her best friend Heidi, Maya reasons, will be just what’s needed to remove the curse, save her family, and to put her own life back in order. Thus begins a journey into Maya’s parallel world– an India filled with loving and annoying relatives, vivid colors, and superstitious customs–a cross-cultural, transcontinental search to for a chance to find real love.

My Rating: 1/5

For me, this book just didn’t cut it. I gave up halfway through, which is a shame because I was really excited to read this book. The premise sounded interesting because the main character is a psychiatrist and I am a psychology undergrad, and also I was curious to learn more about India.  I was hoping to learn more about India’s culture but I didn’t feel like there was anything there that I didn’t already know. Maya’s character bothered me as well – despite her academic success, she gave up too easily for the sake of others and had very little personality that actually pertained to herself.  Some of the writing itself was awkward. There were several spelling mistakes and odd things, such as Maya referring to another character as her aunt one sentence and then her mother in another sentence. It might be a cultural thing but it was confusing, which just added fuel to the fire.

I think the story has a lot of potential, but the writing didn’t captivate me so I’m going to go onto something else instead. I don’t think the book is bad, but rather, the book just isn’t the right fit for me. I think there are many people that will enjoy this book.

Questions for readers:

  1. When was the last time you gave up on a book? What was it?
  2. Do you like reading books about characters that travel somewhere to “find themselves”? Another example is that book “Eat, Pray, Love.”

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Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by the blog Should Be Reading

This week’s question: How many books do you read in a week? Month? Year?

The amount of books that I read each month varies because I am a student and so most of my time is spent studying and cleaning up after my boyfriend (just kidding, Arthur!… sort of!). Sometimes my work load is intense, other times it isn’t. I also read manga which takes about an hour to get through a book.

I joined Good Reads in August 2011 and according to the site, I have read 40 books since then. I read a mixture of everything, so it really depends on the length and type of book it is – is it a slow, thoughtful read or an action filled, fast paced read? Generally, I read at least one book a week while also attending school. If a book is 200 pages then I can finish it usually within the same day if I like it, or 2 days if I’m not that into it. Larger reads, such as George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” took me four days to read (~700 pages). For large reads like that, I try to read 200 pages in a single sitting. For shorter books, I usually go for 100 pages and then decide if I want to continue reading or not.

I’m the type of person that can’t put a book down if I like it because I’ll just think about it while I am trying to sleep so it is more time efficient if I just get it over with and read the entire thing. Usually for shorter books this is no problem, but for longer reads it is more difficult! I think the worst case was for the last Harry Potter book. I took me about 8-10 hours to read. I remember I sat in my mom’s chair all day and got through it! My neck was incredibly sore but it was worth it.

I’m hoping to read 100 books in 2012 and I don’t think it will be much of a problem. As of right now, I am reading about one to two books a week and four to ten books a month, give or take a couple.

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